Nunavut offers $5,000 to small businesses to help during COVID-19 shutdown

Nunavut Arctic College suspension extended until May 4, 2020

David Akeeagok, Nunavut’s minister of economic development, announces a grant to help small business during the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, March 27. (Photo by Meagan Deuling)

By Meagan Deuling
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Government of Nunavut made two announcements at Friday’s daily COVID-19 update: Nunavut Arctic College classes will continue to be suspended until May 4, and the Department of Economic Development and Transportation is offering small businesses grants of up to $5,000.

NAC initially suspended classes on March 17 for three weeks. “Nothing’s been cancelled,” said Cate Macleod, press secretary to the premier of Nunavut. “The goal is to get everybody graduated.”

The hope is that classes resume after May 4, for the spring semester, said Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq.

Programs will likely be delivered through “alternative measures” like course packages sent out to students, online programs, and “programming using local resources,” said Savikataaq.

College graduations and convocations are also suspended until September, said Savikataaq.

Savikataaq said that plans around resuming college courses, as with everything around COVID-19, “are changing daily.”

“So this is what they’re planning now,” he said, referring to NAC’s board of governors and the minister responsible for the college, Patterk Netser.

As for money for small businesses, Economic Development Minister David Akeeagok said the $5,000 grants are being made available from the existing small business support program.

“We’ve been hearing a lot from our small businesses that they’re suffering, and they’re looking for help,” said Akeeagok.

He said that a “small business” is defined as one that grosses less than $500,000 a year or employs fewer than 10 people.

The definition also includes artists, performing artists or craftspeople who make all or part of their income through the sale of the products they produce, or plan to produce.

Finally, hunters and trappers are also eligible under the definition the GN is using.

The grant is accessible through regional offices, and will be available online, Akeeagok said.

The grants will be available right away, Akeeagok said, “because we really want to help. We understand that most of these artists and small businesses are going from paycheque to paycheque.”

There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.

Nunavummiut must continue to practise social distancing and wash their hands often for the foreseeable future, said Savikataaq.

“We’re all in this together,” he said.

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by James on

    “The goal is to get everybody graduated.”?

    Certainly the goal is for a high ratio of graduates. But the way the minister presents this is concerning. It’s not s merry-go-round where students go in, something happens, and then they graduate.

    There’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of quality education in this territory.

  2. Posted by Not a new program on

    This is not a new program. Not sure why it is being “sold” as being one to help businesses in response to the C19 virus?

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