Nunavut government seeks Inuit, Indigenous-focused addictions treatment programs
Request for proposals says Health Department hopes to create community mental health and addictions teams
The Government of Nunavut is looking for somebody to provide culturally relevant addictions treatment programs in the territory.
The Department of Health put out a tender in January, seeking recovery treatments “grounded in traditional Inuit or Indigenous cultural practices.”
The department is looking for services that can be specifically targeted to Nunavimmiut youth, mothers and families, according to the request for proposals, which closed Feb. 26.
The Department of Health specified that it’s looking for inpatient or residential services, though the service provider may be able to deliver aftercare to individuals living in remote communities.
The tender does not make specific reference to Nunavut’s plans to create a trauma and addictions treatment facility in Iqaluit.
The government does not currently oversee any in-territory addiction treatment programs, but the territorial government and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. are jointly working on the creation of the Iqaluit-based Nunavut Recovery Centre.
The federal government has already committed $47.5 million to the construction of the centre as well as operating costs once it opens.
Until then, the Nunavut government continues to fund out-of-territory counselling and treatment; the government’s latest budget allotted $10.6 million to renew those services for the year.
To that end, the tender acknowledges that out-of-territory mental health and addictions services “will remain a necessary part of Nunavut’s system of care for some time.”
“It is recognized that it is necessary to continue to use out of territory service arrangements while service capacity within the territory is established,” it states.
“It is the [department’s] plan to develop community mental health and addictions teams. It is anticipated that these local teams will have access to a greater range of specialised clinical resources through telemedicine and visiting specialists, clinics, and day treatment programs.”
The GN hasn’t offered a timeline for the construction of its recovery centre. But Finance Minister George Hickes suggested in his budget address last week that the government is anxious to get started.
“This [facility] will help Nunavummiut recover in-territory, surrounded by friends and family and closer to our traditions, culture and language,” Hickes said Feb. 23. “We are very motivated to move forward with this work to benefit our people.”
A consultant’s report produced for the GN in 2018 described a three-pillared approach to addictions treatment in Nunavut, which included the Iqaluit-based facility, community-based facilities as well as on-the-land treatment, at an estimated cost of $102 million over five years.
The plan would see up to 256 residents treated annually through the centre’s residential treatment programs and services, and up to 80 residents per year treated through on-the-land healing programs offered in each region of Nunavut.