Nunavik to get more money, control

Block funding deal allows region to set priorities



More regional government money will be up for grabs in Nunavik after the new fiscal year.

The cash comes from the regional council’s recent decision to demand more autonomy from the provincial government when it comes to council spending.

Under a resolution passed at the mid-November meeting, the regional government executive got the green light to complete negotiations for a new block funding arrangement with the Quebec government. Currently, the regional government receives funding from upwards of 15 different agreements with Quebec.

The resolution to bring all provincial funding into one package — often referred to as the “single-window” approach — reflects the agreement signed last year between Quebec and the regional government to simplify the funding process, and in turn, make it easier for Nunavimmiut to govern themselves.

But council expects the new arrangement will do more than group funds into one block. The regional government also wants the $28-million in annual provincial funding to climb by at least six per cent every year.

Johnny Adams, chair of the Kativik Regional Government council, said the added funds would reflect the growing cost of living in the North. He expected the increase would give Nunavik at least $1.5 million extra funding by the end of the 2004-05 fiscal year.

“It [the change] will give regional council a lot more flexibility in terms of where to prioritize in the region,” Adams said.

Adams added that the new block funding would also have a population index, which means for the first time, Nunavik would receive funding to reflect its growing population.

Adams suggested the new money could go toward regionally administered programs in recreation or search and rescue services.

Adams, who has been involved with the block funding negotiations for several years, said this arrangement would last for the next 23 years and would come under review every five years, which would allow for increases to accommodate new provincial programs.

Although he called the new arrangement “a step in the right direction” toward decentralizing power to Nunavik, Adams said up to 27 more funding agreements had to be sorted out with the federal and provincial governments.

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