Joyce Nartok Krejunark of Kugaaruk received good news on Tuesday, when she learned that finally the Government of Nunavut had approved her application for income support assistance and she would receive a food voucher and money. Krejunark had applied for income support just before the Nov. 2 ransomware attack on the GN’s computers. (Photo courtesy of Joyce Nartok Krejunark)

Nunavut mother says ransomware attack led to delays in receiving income support

“We have an empty fridge and cupboards”

By Jane George

The past two weeks since the Government of Nunavut’s computers were taken offline by a ransomware attack have been long for Joyce Nartok Krejunark of Kugaaruk.

Krejunark had applied for income support right before the Nov. 2 ransomware attack.

She then had to wait two weeks before being approved to access the food vouchers that the GN decided to give income support recipients instead of money in the aftermath of the attack.

“We have an empty fridge and cupboards. I was asking if I can reapply like on paper, instead of waiting on computer and send that way,” Krejunark told Nunatsiaq News on Tuesday morning. “I hope things change soon.”

On Tuesday, she finally learned she would receive income support, in the form of cash—$20—and a food voucher.

There are seven members of her household, which includes four young boys.

Her 19-year-old daughter had been able to get food vouchers because she was already an income support client, Krejunark said.

“We had to wait on hers but when she did (get it) she helped us out,” Krejunark said.

The family also got by with food from her family, like fish and caribou.

After applying for income support, Krejunark said she continued to contact the local income assistance worker.

“Over the past two weeks, I’ve been calling and all they say is I have to wait for mine to be approved … and that the computers are still down,” she said.

The GN said last week that Nunavut’s Family Services Department was getting back on track after the ransomware attack.

But the income assistance program was back to normal only in Iqaluit, the GN said.

No timeline was given for when communities would be brought back onto the new system, except that this can’t happen until Iqaluit is fully brought back onto the new network.

Nunatsiaq News has asked for more information about the rollout of family services and has not yet received this information.

In 2018, there were 4,124 income assistance cases in Nunavut, made up of multi-person families and single adults, and 14,500 people received social assistance, according to recent reports.

That means about 38 per cent of Nunavut’s 2018 population received welfare payments—and many of them, like Krejunark, live outside Iqaluit.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Former Insider on

    Unfortunately, things are going to get worse before they get better.

    The cost of this “clean-up” will be huge, and it won’t be a one-time bill.

    The GN will be “paying through the nose” for years to come.

    And don’t expect an explanation or a responsible party.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Responsibility for this attack can be laid directly at feet of a great many GN employees who for far too long have been using their government computers and networks for entirely inappropriate non-work related activities. It was only a matter of time before something bad was either opened or downloaded and unfortunately this was the end result.

      • Posted by Occam’s Razor on

        I know it is in vogue to crap in the GN and their workers for everything bad that happens but in this case, the GN like so many organizations before them, fell victim to unscrupulous individuals targeting the lack of internet savvy among some of their employees. This attack was in all likelihood facilitated by nothing more sinister than an employee innocently clicking a link in an email which was not what it appeared to be.

  2. Posted by Northerngirl on

    It’s crazy that her community took so long to get the food vouchers out to people. It took our community only a few days and the vouchers are about equal to a normal payment.

  3. Posted by State Controller on

    Income support is nunavut state control by regional Inuit associations and the GN. Voucher is an understatement. Your allotted which store your voucher goes to. So in turn you either support either big companies, who would not do a damn thing to help income support recipients a good deal for shopping at their store. We pick the most vulnerable people in our society on how they should shop. Inuit oppressing their own Inuit. In a nut shell this women should thank KIA for the measly ? 20.00 rich!! Even though they don’t provide $$$ to income support funds.

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