Nunavut Inuit organization gives COVID-19 cash to those most affected

Kivalliq Inuit Association uses federal money for $1,500 Arctic Co-op gift cards

Hard-hit communities like Arviat will benefit from $8 million in federal money that Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. has figured out how to distribute around Nunavut. The Kivalliq Inuit Association will use some of its cash to distribute $1,500 Arctic Co-op gift cards to each Inuit household in its region. (File photo)

By Jim Bell

After receiving about $8 million in COVID-19 relief money from Ottawa last November, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. has decided to push the largest chunks of that cash into the most affected communities, the organization said on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

The $8 million is part of a $19.36-million contribution the federal government announced Nov. 25, following an explosion of positive COVID-19 cases in the Kivalliq region.

The Nunavut government got $11.36 million, which it’ll spend on a lengthy list of needs, including personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, food, medical supplies, home-based learning kits and other forms of help.

For its part, Nunavut Tunngavik will spend its share of the money on food, including food hampers, and to help people get out on the land.

When dividing the money among Nunavut’s three regions, Nunavut Tunngavik decided to put most of it into communities that have been hard-hit by the coronavirus.

To that end, the Kivalliq Inuit Association will get the largest chunk: about $4.7 million.

Of that, about $4.2 million will go to the Kivalliq region’s affected communities: Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove.

Next, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association will get about $2 million. Of that, $663,665 will go to Sanikiluaq, where two people were reported as infected and then recovered.

The Kitikmeot Inuit Association will get $634,684, and Nunavut Tunngavik will get $593,765, which it’ll keep as a contingency fund in case more COVID-19 outbreaks occur in Nunavut.

Gift cards worth $1,500 going to Kivalliq residents

Also, the Kivalliq Inuit Association said on Dec. 8 that it’s worked out a deal with Arctic Cooperatives Ltd. to use its share of the money to hand out gift cards worth $1,500 each to every Inuit household in the region.

The Kivalliq association, in a news release, said this way of delivering COVID-19 relief money allows it to quickly provide a benefit without having people come into contact with each other.

And it also benefits local Inuit-owned co-ops, the Inuit association said.

The gift cards can be used to buy anything offered at a local co-op store, except for tobacco and bingo products. And the money must not be spent on paying down store accounts.

But the Inuit association cautions the cards aren’t yet ready to roll out.

That will happen after hamlet staff and co-op staff in each community work out ways of delivering goods purchased with the gift cards or places where customers can pick up what they’ve bought.

And the Kivalliq association says it’s working on a separate program with the co-op to build food security for the most affected communities in the region and to help people get out on the land.

The Kivalliq organization says it will provide more information about that program after the plan is finished.

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(28) Comments:

  1. Posted by Kivalliqmiut on

    Co-ops are not locally Inuit owned. Arctic Cooperatives is a Winnipeg based corporation so the majority of profits will be leaving the territory. Kono’s old board of directors from when he was the president of the coop board of directors will be happy.

    • Posted by Wrong on

      Sorry Kivillaqmiut, your statement about ownership is incorrect.
      Is Arctic Co-op based in Winnipeg ?- Yes.
      Who owns it? – The Co-Ops in 32 communities, including the 7 in the Kivalliq Region.

      Please don’t spread mis-information…

    • Posted by Judah Innualuk on

      How true, Inuit membership just a privilege not a truely Inuit owned, membership cannot decide even when they do, their decisions are vetoed by acl.

    • Posted by Larry Gray on

      Yes the Co-op is almost all Inuit owned in the community. Each Co-op has a percentage of ownership of ACL which is directed by the National board which is mostly Inuit elected.

  2. Posted by boris pasternak on

    No matter wr it goes its still going to nwc share holders or acl board of directors or private hands. 8 mil nti will allocate? That’s 120 a month going to elders. Bulk of lift over who know wr its going. I am not a man of kind words but changing of kia bosses is the best thing ever to happen in kivalliq region from dictator to listener.

  3. Posted by Kivallirmiut on

    What boggles my mind is why they are issuing a co-op gift card. The QIA gave $1,000 cash. Why do they get to dictate where the money is spent? Is it because Kono is buddy-buddy because he was the arctic co-operatives president prior to KIA? If they are going the gift card route, why not issue a pre-paid visa gift card? Their reasoning was that it would be issued quicker, but why should they be lazy to do administrative work?

    When I questioned this with friends and family, they were quick to back KIA saying, if they issued cheques or deposit, then there’s the added costs of check cashing fees, some don’t have bank accounts. But QIA was able to do this successfully with no issues, correct?

    I hope more people challenge this and that they don’t dictate where they get to spend it. I sure would have spent it at all the stores, including the gas station, local seamstress shops, etc.

    People even shamed me for criticizing this, but we live in a democracy, right? And the president and the board are all elected officials and should listen to the Kivalliq Inuit, let them allow them a space and a voice

    • Posted by boris pasternak on

      Why not coops? They had been underdogs unsppreciated for many years. Nwc’s share holders are mostly filthy rich. And private stores? most expert rip off artists. Coops work, just ask some communities

      • Posted by Kivallirmiut on

        I never said anything about the NWC and I would not want this money spent at northerns. But I would have liked to have bought gas, camping fuel, other stuff that we maybe cannot receive at a co-op store.

        I am in no way ungrateful, it’s too bad that’s this is the sort of vibe you are getting from my comment. I am extremely grateful, we have been so lucky to have been receiving food hampers, handouts. It’s a free country, I feel like I am allowed to have a voice as well. How do you know I have money to feed my family?

        • Posted by boris pasternak on

          any of us or anybody who have been working for forty years plus have money…it’s bad choices in life that stray us to need…

    • Posted by monty sling on

      As coop member in kivalliq we know they really need this cash infusion boost. Nws and private retailers have been price goughing the public too long.

  4. Posted by Kivallirmiut on

    Another point I forgot to mention is, why is it per household?

    It’s not fair to a household that houses 3 families in 1. So the one who’s name is on the rental agreement is the one that gets the $1,500? Not fair to the others, not to mention the people that are homeless and couch surfing

    • Posted by Igutsaq on

      I totally agree with you. Nunavut houses more than 1 family in a home/house. And as for our family members who live from place to place. Makes you feel as though you don’t exist, because you don’t have a “home” and yes we love these people. Just the “per household” shouldn’t be a norm for Nunavumiut.

  5. Posted by Amaruq on

    Just PLAIN Grateful…no comments needed except..Grateful! Rest of those who comment…rather then putting in your One Cent Thought/ grateful as other don’t have money to feed their families!

  6. Posted by Inuk Man on

    its all good!! gift card or not!
    Thank you for the financial support we’ll be getting!!

  7. Posted by Royden Aggark on

    Just like the Qablunaaqs KIA is limiting access for Inuit once again

  8. Posted by Why tho? on

    I don’t understand the rationale behind this money? Covid has barely affected anyone in NUnavut. THose who worked at Mine are still getting paid same as before and nobody is out of a job that used to work. Once again Justin Trudeau virtue signaling in the North.

  9. Posted by Happy Inuk on

    I am very happy that it is going by Co-op gift card. No repeat of CRA covid funds everyone was frauding. Plus this way, they have a say what it can/cannot be spent on.

    Win/win for all the hungry children that the CRA covid funds left out and made the liquor stores way more profit.

  10. Posted by Misery has found its company on

    The pure misery and entitlement in these comments truly is a thing to behold.
    I see one grateful comment in the lot, the rest are just howls of angst ridden despair and whining many grounded in total ignorance and misinformation.
    A truly depressing spectacle.

  11. Posted by Inukness on

    Instead of complaining by writing on comments, better way is to email the organization and give them your opinion and tell them what is a better way to distribute the money

  12. Posted by Western Nunavut on

    Western Nunavut left in shadows once again, No Covid here so I guess no body is hungry,
    1/8 of the funding Kivalliq gets. 1/2 of that probably goes in KIA’s pockets.

  13. Posted by Urban Mama on

    My goodness, can’t you just be grateful . For those saying that no bank account, etc. If they issued a prepaid VISA (Co-op’s Spirit Card) I believe the service fees alone are $2-$3 per transaction. Those will eat away at the overall balance. This pandemic has changed the world
    be grateful for any assistance or help that you get. Especially living in Nunavut.

  14. Posted by Sam on

    Great gift,do we have to pay income tax on this free money

  15. Posted by Left out on

    I don’t know why all the fuss ? All of you should be greatful for your designated Inuit corporations. Our own KIA only give out a 200$ meat pack and all of the rest of Nunavut gets a gift card worth $1500 ? Kugmeots are the biggest losers in the whole territory with all of covid assistance going to the Grey’s bay road. Ever so shameful is the KIA to its own people , time for a new president who is not hell bound on getting mines and industry and roads right now but their for the people at this time of the pandemic. Our current president has his brain so ingrained on getting the all weather road that will he pratically insures his own Inuit will lose out big time. Kugluktuk is the most resilient community in all of Nunavut to have next to no assistance from their own KIA.

  16. Posted by John Franklin on

    1st wave of Covid-19 —receive assistance from Cambridge Bay KIA for supplies ,gas,fuel and groceries without a problem.
    2nd wave of Covid-19. KIA Cambridge Bay receives millions of $$$ for pandemic relief from Federal Canada for its people in the communities , KIA insists they have NO funding for people living off the land so 2wave of Covid-19 received NO help for anything

  17. Posted by in kugluktuk on

    Our Kitikmeot inuit assesotiation is only giving out meat packs from the co-ops so consider all of you lucky were lucky to get meat that we don’t even know where it came from. NO on the land program , no help for hunters, NO help for people wanting to stay at their cabins , the second wave of Covid-19 is definitely worse than the first so why is Kitikmeot inuit ass. being so cheap with all the funding their receiving for the pandemic? $1500 is six times more than what a meat pack cost
    kugluktukmeot should receive the same from their Kia

  18. Posted by GNer on

    How did the scavenger hunt go in Arviat yesterday? Did lots of people show up?
    Thank you Co-op!

    • Posted by 5 on

      yes there was 5 people. what is the limit

  19. Posted by Johhny Qablunak on

    Interesting that Inuit orgs don’t even trust beneficiaries with cash. Even the coupons are limited in how they might be used. Wondering if management gets a kick back of any sort by purchasing gift cards, or whether KIA development arms gets a tax break. Just another example I see of a class system.

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