Nunavut pulls financial support to Nunavut Sivuniksavut
“This funding had an end date to it, and the end date came”
The Government of Nunavut has decided to end its financial support of the Ottawa-based Nunavut Sivuniksavut college program.
For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, NS will no longer receive $175,000 from the Government of Nunavut’s Family Services Department, as it has for the past three years.
It’s unclear what impact these cuts will have on the organization. Representatives could not be reached for comment.
The decision to end its financial support to NS first surfaced last week in the legislature’s committee of the whole on March 5, when MLAs looked at the department’s budget for 2019-20.
That’s when Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Lightstone said he had noticed that funding to NS was no longer in the budget.
Family Services Minister Elisapee Sheutiapik said that “as much as NS program is a great program, it does not fit into mine.”
“I’m not going to play around and wiggle and make something fit,” she said.
However, NS students will continue to receive financial assistance from the Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students or FANS program, she said.
Premier Joe Savikataaq noted that this funding contribution of $175,000 per year to NS had started prior to his government.
“I’m pretty sure that they operated on more than $175,000 a year, and I’m sure that they operated for many many years before three years ago, so this funding had an end date to it, and the end date came,” Savikataaq said.
The NS total budget stands at about $2.3 million, according to information on the Canadian Revenue Agency website. Of that, government funding accounts for about $1.7 million.
Savikataaq delivered the same message about the funding cut to NS on Monday in the legislature, where, during question period, he said the money in the Family Services Department will be earmarked for those who can’t go to NS and who need other programs to work towards a job at the GN.
He noted NS gets money from the Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corp.
Makigiaqta, formed in 2015, has $175 million from the settlement agreement with the Government of Canada to provide funding for training and programs to help Inuit obtain the skills and qualifications for employment.
The issue arose again in the legislature on Monday, when Sheutiapik repeated that NS is a good program but that it did not fit into family services, which focuses more on Nunavummiut in need.
The decision to cut NS funding was also criticized by former premier and Aggu MLA Paul Quassa, who said NS is a tool that the government should use to build Inuit employment levels in the public service.
Last July, NS launched a new program to help its graduates prepare for careers in Nunavut’s public service.
The new program is a collaboration between NS, Makigiaqta, Carleton University, the federal government and the GN.
At the time, the GN said that it would provide financial support to qualified students through the FANS program, while Makigiaqta would pay for NS to coordinate the program and support the students.