Qaujigiartiit still $1.5M away from completing Iqaluit wellness hub

Inuusirvik’s grand opening set for September 2023

Gwen Healey Akeearok, left, attends a federal funding announcement Wednesday with Mental Health Minister Carolyn Bennett. During the announcement, Akeearok said the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre is still $1.5 million short of paying for the Inuusirvik Community Wellness Hub’s construction. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre is still $1.5 million short of its goal to build the Inuusirvik Community Wellness Hub, which is scheduled to open in 10 months.

The non-profit is still fundraising to build the $12.5-million hub, said executive and scientific director Gwen Healey Akeearok Wednesday morning at the centre’s office in Iqaluit.

“As a non-profit, it’s extremely challenging to leverage capital investment in this type of building project,” Akeearok said.

Inuusirvik is currently under construction on Sivumugiaq Street, near Northmart.

Once built, the wellness hub will provide a centralized space for Nunavummiut to receive support, such as land-based, early childhood education and suicide prevention programs and counselling.

It will give organizations, such as Ilisaqsivik and Tasiuqtigiit Society, a space to work from.

“We all recognized the need to better support families, that was the spark that sent us on a journey for the next 10 years,” Akeearok said. “Our goal is to eliminate this fragmented model that families currently have to navigate in order to access services.”

Mental Health Minister Carolyn Bennett was at the centre Wednesday as well. She said Infrastructure Canada and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency have given Qaujigiartiit $7.2 million to help complete the construction of Inuusirvik.

She was not in Iqaluit to announce new money from the federal government; Bennett said the money had been committed to the project prior to the release of the fall economic statement.

Bennett said there needs to be a holistic approach to improving the territory’s mental health, including having better job opportunities and housing.

“In order to have the resources to meet the demands, we have to reduce the demand, which means keeping people well, not just patching them up when they get sick,” Bennett said.

Akeearok said the money is a significant help for Qaujigiartiit’s cause.

The grand opening of the wellness hub is set for September 2023, Akeearok said.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Treatment Centre on

    They should start a Go-Fund-me. The GN should contribute. Corporations and IO’s should step up.
    The goal is within reach!

  2. Posted by Inuk on

    Tukisigiarvik provides services similar to what QHRC is hoping to build. I could understand that it will be for everyone but let us not forget the amazing work that Tukisigiarvik is doing to maintain Inuit traditions by bringing people out on the land throughout all season. It helps the most vulnerable people in Iqaluit as well as those who would like to sharpen their skills at traditional clothing making. Men go hunting and build qamitiks etc. The men brign Inuit women out berry picking, clam digging, camping etc. Inuit eat country food that is provided by Tukisigiarvik and this helps in food insecurity that Nunavut face every single day. They also provide mental health counseling for people who have diverse needs. Imagine having two entities that offer similar services for different demographics of society. That would be a really great thing to see flourish. Best of luck to both and let us hope that there are enough funds without taking away from Tukisigiarvik’s reliance on funding. We would hate to see the drop in suffer. Thank you to the staff of Tukisigiarvik as well as the long time leaders (Dave Wilman and Elisapee Davidee).

  3. Posted by Tim on

    Is the GN putting anything towards this? How about the money they make off the Beer and wine store, I’m sure they can pitch in 1.5 million easily.

    • Posted by Larry on

      I think the GN is more interested in opening beer and wines stores and it’s their way of supporting treatment and mental health.

  4. Posted by modern times on

    QIA swimming in millions in payments from Baffinland should help out!! this is a regional centre that can help many. the money called the “legacy fund” should go to this. we won’t hear a peep from them. they as well announced recently that they would have a bigger presence in the communities…nothing happening yet…all pomp and circumstance.


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