Nunavik program helps get drivers back on the road after DUIs
Nunavik police statistics show 453 impaired driving charges in 2020
Nunavik residents who have had their driver’s license revoked or suspended due to impaired driving now have support to get back on the road.
Kativik Ilisarniliriniq has launched a new program called Together, Let’s Stop DUI. It’s funded by the Kativik Regional Government.
The school board, which runs vocational programming and adult education in the region, recently held consultations with residents and employers to determine what kind of programming and job training Nunavimmiut wanted access to.
“We realized that there were a number of jobs that required a driver’s license,” said Mamadou Diop, interim director of adult education and vocational training at the school board.
“And there are a lot of people that were having trouble with DUI [driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs] infractions.”
One of Kativik Ilisarniliriniq’s most popular vocational training courses is its heavy equipment operator training, a certified program that gives students the skills they need to operate heavy equipment for northern villages, contractors or the mines in the region.
The school board also offers a heavy equipment mechanic course; while it’s not necessary to have a licence, most mechanics need to be able to drive.
The school board already works with Quebec’s Société de l’assurance automobile, the province’s licensing authority, to deliver driver training across the region. Roughly 700 Nunavimmiut have enrolled in that training since 2012.
Since launching Together, Let’s Stop DUI, school board staff have already met with 90 participants in Salluit, Inukjuak, Puvirnituq, Akulivik, Kangiqsujuaq.
Drivers’ ages vary between 18 and 50, and 84 per cent are men.
School board staff check in with participants individually, to gauge if they’re ready to get back on the road. The program also includes a road safety education course.
At that point, the board can refer participants to the final steps to getting approved to regain their licences: an evaluation with the province’s health and social services agency and entry to Société de l’assurance automobile’s alcohol education program, called Alcofrein.
So far, Kativik Ilisarniliriniq has referred two Nunavimmiut to the evaluation process and has been able to deliver Alcofrein in the region for the first time.
The school board hopes to eventually be able to do evaluations in the region, and offer its program in Inuktitut, Diop said.
“We know that the [Société de l’assurance automobile] process is overwhelming and not very well known,” he said.
“We want to support that process, in a confidential way.”
Nunavik police statistics show there were 453 impaired driving charges throughout the region in 2020.
Nunavimmiut can call 1-800-361-2244 extension 515 to register for the program and learn about KI’s upcoming sessions.