Nunavut premier announces more than $8.5M in COVID-19 relief

Support includes food hampers for those isolating, money for municipalities to provide critical services

Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok announced new supports for Nunavummiut amid the COVID-19 pandemic and gave an update on his requests for federal assistance on Thursday. (Screenshot/Nunavut Legislative Assembly live stream)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Food hampers for people in isolation, money for municipalities to run critical services and financial support for small businesses and artisans are part of the Government of Nunavut’s COVID-19 response, while the territory awaits more help from the federal government.

Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok announced the three new support programs, totalling over $8.5 million, at a COVID-19 update on Thursday.

The largest chunk of funding is going to food hampers, to be delivered to Nunavummiut who need to isolate because of COVID-19.

The hampers are intended for people without friends or family able to get food to them. Due to a high number of requests, it may take hampers a few days to arrive.

Nunavummiut can email isolationsupports@gov.nu.ca or call 1-888-902-0872 to request a hamper. The GN is asking people not to call the regular COVID-19 hotline about the hampers to avoid backlogging the public health line.

To support small businesses, artists, craftspeople and harvesters, Akeeagok announced funding of up to $5,000, accessible to entrepreneurs making less than $500,000 in gross sales per year, or who have fewer than 10 employees.

To access this funding, people can go to www.gov.nu.ca/sbsp, or contact their local community economic development officer or regional economic development manager, Akeeagok said.

For municipalities, Akeeagok announced $4 million to be split up between Nunavut’s 25 communities to help with local COVID-19 responses, including keeping critical services running.

David Joanasie, the minister of community and government services, gave water and sewer services as an example of critical services the funding could help support.

On Monday, Akeeagok asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for more federal support to tackle COVID-19 in the territory.

Akeeagok said the federal government has responded by pledging to send 140,000 rapid tests to the territory and providing N95 masks, as well as help with ventilation in schools.

On Thursday, John Main, the health minister, said he is still waiting to hear back from the federal government about whether Nunavut will get any help staffing local health centres and filling vacancies so services like vaccine clinics can continue consistently.

Staffing issues have stalled vaccinations in multiple communities, although Main said he could not specify which ones.

“It’s unfortunate that we’ve had to do this but it has to do with the human resource capacity challenges that we’re facing,” he said.

But he said more mass vaccine clinics will be held across the territory later this month.

Akeeagok said he shares Main’s concern about the need for more health-care staff. He said he has been working around the clock to get assistance.

Danarae Sommerville, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, said there were 30 vacant public health positions as of Tuesday.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    Also…..there seems to be more people than ever struggling with food security…… GN, NTI, KIA/QIA’s, mining companies ….. please tryouts help them out . Some families are literally going without food for days.

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  2. Posted by HR Blunders on

    “On Thursday, John Main, the health minister, said he is still waiting to hear back from the federal government about whether Nunavut will get any help staffing local health centres and filling vacancies so services like vaccine clinics can continue consistently.”
    .
    John, I can tell you almost no nurses who have left this year have been given an exit interview. I think that is by design by your managers and senior managers, since most people leave because of their mismanagement. You should start there because you’re hemorrhaging staff much faster than you can hire them.
    .
    We are also on year 5 or so waiting for the publishing of the oft touted nursing retention package. Where is it? Nurses have long since assumed it has just been abandoned in favour for a poorly executed nursing agency contract.

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  3. Posted by Nunavut resident. on

    Great work ppl. Let make 2022 a better year.

  4. Posted by tuktuborel on

    Well it is good to hear that there is some funds available to help those in need.
    I do hope ,against all odds, that the lack of Nurses/Doctors/Midwifes/Health care workers will be addressed as we slowly recover from this pandemic. This has been a huge issue over many years that just does not get enough attention or resources to resolve.
    This is on your plate John, fix it please. enough is enough!

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  5. Posted by The 85% on

    85% of all housing in Nunavut is used for social housing. This is what happens when government doesn’t push back on the strange idea that having housing is a birthright entitlement.

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  6. Posted by Wow on

    All for 35000 people? It is absolutely insane the amount of money that goes into Nunavut.. for 35,000 people! While the rest of the country suffers and pays the price…
    And how much did those isolation hubs cost again? Millions and millions and millions and millions… who’s paying for all this? Just curious..

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  7. Posted by Bob Sakamano on

    Eventually, all this money has to be repaid. The government can do it by raising taxes, cutting services or printing more money. The latter option fuels inflation and we all end of paying. So they will probably also raise taxes (on the middle-class since that’s the biggest demographic) and cut services too.

    You think we’re going to get improvements to the health care system, new houses, better education for our kids. Not likely for a couple of decades anyway.

    The day of reckoning is nigh!

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