Ottawa announces $6.4 million for Inuit health research network

Funds will go to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami for National Inuit Strategy on research

Federal Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos (right) and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Natan Obed announce $6.4 million for a grant to support research into Inuit health needs across Inuit Nunangat on Wednesday in Ottawa. (Photo by Madalyn Howitt)

By Madalyn Howitt

A new grant will provide $6.4 million to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami for an Inuit health research network, federal Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos announced on Wednesday.

ITK, the representative organization of Inuit across Inuit Nunangat, will receive the funding for its National Inuit Strategy on Research that works to improve Inuit self-determination in research, Duclos said. 

The funding will come from the Canadian Institute of Health Research. Duclos made the announcement alongside ITK president Natan Obed and President of CIHR Dr. Michael Strong in Ottawa. 

“This funding invests in the four Inuit regions and their respective land claims organizations, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Makivik Corporation and the Nunatsiavut Government, to guide research that strengthens Inuit health,” Duclos said.

Obed said the money will go towards efforts like fieldwork, administering health surveys and strengthening a research network across the four regions Inuit regions that will foster better communication and partnerships on Inuit health issues. 

“It will be great to see over the next three years just how far the reach of this particular aspect of these funds will be. We have optimism that we’re building the implementation of our national strategy on research and creating Inuit self-determination in research, to allow for a platform of success across a number of fields.”

He said the research grant mechanism flows most seamlessly through ITK, which is why the government is partnering with the organization instead of directly with regional Inuit associations.

In some cases, grants flow directly from the federal government to land claim organizations, but there are others when the work being done is national in scope and all of the regions are part of it from the beginning, he said.

Nunavut MP Lori Idlout said in a statement to Nunatsiaq News that while the NDP welcomes the funding, the party will be pushing for more. 

“Many communities are struggling with the impacts of tuberculosis and other health problems due to unsafe housing conditions that consecutive Liberals and Conservatives governments have caused and failed to fix,” Idlout said. 

“New Democrats will push for more investments from the government so Nunavut can have the Inuit-led care they deserve.” 

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(15) Comments:

  1. Posted by Make it stop on

    Lori says
    “Many communities are struggling with… health problems due to unsafe housing conditions that consecutive Liberals and Conservatives governments have caused and failed to fix.”

    How can someone with such a superficial grip on ‘causation’ be a lawyer?

    The larger message is worse though, it says “we are powerless, we can’t be expected to solve our own problems, for us the Federal government is responsible everything.”

    What an embarrassment.

    • Posted by Jim on

      Nunavut housing/GN are responsible for housing in Nunavut, they need to get their act together as they can’t seem to get things done with so much funds available to them.
      No matter how much the feds throw at the GN for housing it’s never enough and poor quality houses/apartments are built costing the GN so much to build a few houses.
      The contractors are making millions and millions each year to build a few low quality homes that have mold are air quality issues. I don’t know how the homes ever get inspected and pass inspection.
      Major changes needed at housing/GN, where’s that story of the previous housing President who screwed up so bad costing the GN millions and delaying housing?

  2. Posted by Oscare on

    Enough of (“TALK THE TALK”) the studies and research already. We already know what we need and require for better health in Nunavut. Time for all levels of Government to “WALK THE WALK”

  3. Posted by Inuk Person on

    More money for research? When will strategies be ever executed? How about some concrete actions instead?
    ITK has become an organization that studies the hell out of everything and then produces reports that no one ever reads or does anything about it.

    • Posted by Inukman on

      Will to get to that level, concrete action we need to know what is needed and is a priority, we can’t just guess and assume what is really needed and how much it will cost,
      Research is key here and having for example the GN actually implementing the reports and studies is also key.
      By planning, research and implementation. Problem here is having our government actually working to get these done, that’s where it seems to fall apart and the research and studies get put on shelves collecting dust and becoming outdated.
      Part of this research should include why governments fail to implement them.

  4. Posted by Uvangatuaq on

    that 6 million could have been used to build homes.

    • Posted by Bob on

      You mean six homes maybe more like five now, it cost so much money to build homes for the GN about a million each, we need to know why it cost the GN so much money to build poor quality homes that are moldy, subpar and way too expensive to build.
      There must be better options out there, better way of building more homes, better quality homes for the same price or even cheaper.
      Or should we continue with how we are doing right now?

  5. Posted by Chesley on

    A need for more mental health and social health services and providers/capacity stands out. The culture of northerners and more so Inuit is to share with and care for one another. Elders for instance were not forgotten to live out their later years alone and neglected by their community (as so often is the case now.)

  6. Posted by 867 on

    Ah, yes, another million on “research”, that’ll make it all better

  7. Posted by Seriously? on

    If the Feds are planning on giving even MORE money to research the housing crisis, it should become blatantly apparent that the problems are coupled by a crippled water supply system here in Iqaluit. Without an adequate avenue to fix that resource (which barely limps along in supporting local infrastructure as is), how are we ever expected to provide residents with safe and reliable housing? The amount of monetary mismanagement in these territories makes me sick.

  8. Posted by How it looks from here on

    Natan, when are we going to see the results of these endless streams of ‘well meaning’ money poured into your coffers by the deferent (I know that matters to you, that’s your magic wand right?) Federal government? What have you achieved with all this? It appears nothing at all has been done.

    • Posted by Anita on

      CBC reports Natan as saying “It will be great to see over the next three years just how far the reach of this particular announcement in these funds will be. But we have optimism that we are building the implementation of our national strategy on research and creating Inuit self-determination and research to allow for a platform of success across a number of fields.” Surely these deliverables are specific enough to validate all the money going to support southern consultants, researchers, international junkets and speechifying. Those who don’t have enough money to feed their families while waiting a few more years for the results of this research to impact their lives will surely understand.

      • Posted by Let’s play make believe on

        Having read the ‘National Inuit Strategy on Research’ here is where I see this going; these funds will amount to little of value but a short burst, at some point in the future, of absolute junk science. Because the entire project is based on the fallacy that only Inuit are able, ethically, to conduct research on themselves. It is a reactionary vision that pretends to be progressive, seducing simplistic minds with its flowery but mostly vacuous jargon around ‘self determination in research.’ It will likely produce, in the end, a collection of predictable and uninteresting narratives impressively dressed in the garb of ‘science,’ with little real connection to serious research at all.

  9. Posted by Northern Guy on

    This getting ridiculous! How much taxpayer-funded money will continue to be poured into the coffers of an entirely unaccountable organization like ITK? How many millions of dollars of public funds will it take for the federal government to realize that the road to reconciliation need not be paved with gold?

  10. Posted by Scrubs on

    This is what is refered to as ‘pork-barreling’.

    Vast sums of money will be spent on research, and contractors will happily take all of it. By the time that results are released, the government will state that ‘things have changed’, and they need a new study- and then they’ll go out and have a tax-payer funded dinner with the people doing the ‘research’.

    It’s a shell game, enriching friends of politicians.

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