Nunavut government issues new tender for addiction treatment services

Health Department says it hopes to increase number of potential vendors to provide treatment

The proposed site for the Nunavut Recovery Centre is located just north of Toonik Pond on the Road to Nowhere. (Map courtesy of the Government of Nunavut)

By Sarah Rogers

The Government of Nunavut has put out another tender for addiction treatment services catered to Nunavummiut.

The GN issued the tender late last month, seeking a provider to offer inpatient recovery programming for substance abuse and addictions that is “evidence-based, trauma-informed and person-centred.”

The government’s plan is to develop community mental health and addictions teams to serve Nunavut communities, according to the tender document the government gives to prospective vendors. The new service provider would work alongside that team as well as with any treatment centres or other interventions available.

The new services would coincide with plans, announced by the Nunavut and federal governments in Aug. 2019, to create a territorial addictions and trauma treatment centre.

The tender is the second one issued by the GN this year.

The first, put out in January, sought culturally relevant addiction treatment “grounded in traditional Inuit or Indigenous cultural practices.”

Department of Health spokesperson Danarae Sommerville said the two tenders were issued to increase the number of potential vendors the GN can access for treatment and recovery services.

“To ensure that Nunavummiut have access to as many options as possible, the request for proposal was released targeting a broader audience,” Sommerville said in a June 30 email to Nunatsiaq News, “and though programs grounded in traditional Indigenous practices are encouraged to apply, it is not a requirement.”

No agreement has been signed for the original tender, she said, while the current tender is open until Sept. 17.

Both are requests for standing offer agreements, which allows the GN to build a list of potential vendors for specific services, but does not guarantee any volume of contracting, Sommerville added.

Meanwhile, the GN has proposed a potential location for the future Nunavut Recovery Centre, which could be built on a 7,700-square-metre parcel of land already reserved for institutional use just north of Toonik Pond on the Road to Nowhere.

The federal government pledged $47.5 million over five years for the centre’s planning, designing and construction costs, and $9.7 million annually towards operating costs once it’s open.

The Nunavut government will cover the centre’s programs, maintenance and staff housing, as well as 30 per cent of capital costs for the construction of the facility.

The Nunavut Recovery Centre would be the territory’s first treatment centre since the Inusiqsiuqvik Treatment Centre in Apex closed in 1998.

The GN has indicated it plans to issue a tender for the design of the new building this summer and aims to see the facility completed by 2024.

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(16) Comments:

  1. Posted by Rd to apex? on

    Isn’t that the Road to Apex? Across from the middle school?

    Or does that new road they’re proposing keep going and eventually connects to Road to Nowhere?

  2. Posted by Huvaguuq on

    This would be a good one in a community other than Iqaluit, Rankin or Cambridge.

    • Posted by Your Right Huvaguuq on

      I agree with you Huvaguuq, the center will not be effective in Iqaluit and will not be used as it would be intended.
      I would think that is would be better to build it in a place like Resolute. It is probably important to have the center located where there are full medical services.
      The center should be in Iqaluit where there is easier access to medical supplies.
      Education will be the key to a successful operation of such a center, there will be lots of training positions for beneficiaries after Kudlik builds the facility.

      • Posted by Kudlik? on

        Kudlik is building the facility?

  3. Posted by Predictable GN on

    What is decentralization anyway?
    This has been predictable for years. The GN will cave to mounting public pressure and build a tens-of-millions of dollars treatment centre in Iqaluit, which is the easiest place to put it but it’s also the worst.
    Then they’ll send in makeshift “teams” made up of southern workers that know nothing about the territory to all the other communities that will offer no stability or consistency of care.
    Most communities should have models that follow the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay’s On-The-Land program, which is super affordable. The GN should fund these programs across the territory.
    And I would support smaller treatment facilities for those with higher needs, but they should be in smaller communities where residents can feel a closer connection to the land and people, not a $50 million institution in a city where half the inhabitants are from somewhere else.

  4. Posted by Sad truth on

    Anytime the beer and wine store is mentioned, you get a bunch of people yelling for a treatment center as if it was the ultimate cure.

    The sad truth is that this will only work for a fraction of its clients, no matter how good the staff and the resources. People don’t abuse alcohol and drugs just for the sake of it. They do it to cope with mental illness, and mental illness here run DEEP. It takes a lot of effort to get a mental illness under control because people are deeply afraid to fully confront the tramas of their past. Too many people are simply content with taking the first antidepressants that their doctor gives to them and then they don’t follow up. They just think: I guess I’m mildly less sad. That doesn’t last forever, if you just settle for taking a pill and not improving yourself, you’ll relapse. It takes a lot of maturity and confidence to tackle a mental illness head on, which is something people suffering lack.

    I really hope this center can make a tangible difference, but we need to stop treating it like it’ll take us to the promise land. It can help show us the way, but if we don’t listen and confront our tramas, then we’ll just end up blaming it like we blame every other service in Nunavut that aims to help people.

    • Posted by Southern practices on

      GN, do not compromise your commitment for “made in Nunavut by Inuit”. If these potential contractors are not from Nunavut and Inuit, then they shouldn’t be considered

      • Posted by Pork Pie on

        Whomever runs the facility should be educated and conversant in the best science on addictions treatment and up to date on best practices from around the world. This knowledge can and should be incorporated into cultural approaches inasmuch as possible. The strain of thought that suggests we must always close the door to the outside world and look inward for answers is parochial, small minded and is needlessly holding Nunavut back.

      • Posted by Trauma is trauma on

        People who are mentally ill will make a million excuses to not seak proper treatment. That’s not because they’re lazy, that’s because the mental illness works against its victims at every turn.

        You’re partially right that there needs to be a component of the treatment that needs to be made in nunavut. There need to be Inukitut services and workers present to help those who aren’t comfortable in English.

        But unless they somehow manage to hire 100% Inuktitut-English mental health professionals (impossible in 2021) the treatment center will have a sizable portion of its potential clients brush them off, simply for reasons like “you’re not Inuk and you don’t understand OUR trauma”. While there’s a bit of truth to that, trauma is trauma and treating it is similar around the world. It’s possible to want more culturally appropriate services while appreciating the expertise being given, otherwise it’s just going to be a big expensive building that many people won’t want to go near.

  5. Posted by Northener on

    There was a treatment center already built years ago in apex. It’s now the womens shelter. It was a total failure

  6. Posted by Not an easy thing on

    Successful residential treatment centres don’t just magically appear. In fact, in Canada, most of them grew on their own organically with government only stepping up to provide financial assistance once they had been well established in the community.
    I sincerely wish the GN the best of luck in this project. But, I have my doubts that this will be successful by just advertising a request for proposals and waiting for bidders. I really hope that they have consulted with successful residential programs down south to really get a sense of what type of entity or organization will make this thing successful in Nunavut.

    • Posted by not even on

      Nope. They put it out for tender, like they do with janitorial services. It’s governmen, so lowest bidder wins. For years they kept accepting the bid of the lowest price cleaner. It would last two months, and we’d have to fire them and go for the more thoughtfully priced, competent cleaner. It happened 3 times. The stakes are pretty low for office cleaning. Not so much with addictions treatment.

  7. Posted by Iqaluit resident on

    When I read the comments, I wonder why doing anything? Sounds like people already think it will be a failure and it will not be adapted to Nunavut. Why don’t we just stay in the status quo then? It seems like what the most motivated individuals end up being like anyways at the GN.

    And it is understandable, because doing nothing leaves you invisible, but doing something just raises negative criticism and attacks. Who are the courageous ones who will take on “the world” and try to build Nunavut?

  8. Posted by Behind by centuries on

    They should look to the Rankin Inlet Healing Facility for inspiration. They have a great addictions program where people read the bible and learn to ask the lord Jesus to save them whenever they are tempted to drink or use drugs.

    This is really innovative and cutting edge stuff.

    • Posted by Jesus Save Me on

      I really hope this is sarcasm.

      • Posted by Relax on


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