Ottawa to build five new emergency shelters for Inuit women, children
“This addresses a glaring funding gap that has existed for many decades for Inuit women,” head of Inuit women’s group says
The federal government will pay to build and operate five new emergency shelters dedicated to serving Inuit women and children, Indigenous Services Canada announced Thursday.
The investment stems from recommendations made in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s final report, as well as a specific request from the national organization representing Inuit women.
In June 2020, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada called on the federal government to fund five emergency shelters for Inuit women – one in each of the four regions of Inuit Nunangat and one in Ottawa, home to the largest urban Inuit population in the country.
“This announcement addresses a glaring funding gap that has existed for many decades for Inuit women,” said Rebecca Kudloo, president of the national organization that represents Inuit women, in a news release.
There are only 14 shelters across the 51 communities that make up the traditional Inuit homeland in Canada, and only four of them are in Nunavut.
The funding will come from the government’s $724-million Violence Prevention Strategy fund announced last year.
The federal government had pledged in 2020 to build 12 new shelters to protect and support Indigenous women and girls fleeing violence, though the locations of those shelters had yet to be determined.
Pauktuutit will now meet with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, as well as regional and territorial governments across Inuit Nunangat, to determine where the four northern shelters will be located.
The organization estimates the cost of constructing the five new shelters to run about $20 million. Indigenous Services says $40.8 million will be invested into the operation of the new facilities over four years, and $10.2 million a year beyond that.
“We were especially pleased to see the guarantee of long-term operational funding for the new shelters was also included in the announcement,” Kudloo said.
“This will ensure the shelters’ stable operation for years to come and that healing and other programs — designed and delivered by Inuit, for Inuit — will be in place for women and children who need them.”