Rankin Inlet mayor in ‘shock’ over loss of group home contract

‘Hopefully, they’ll keep the local employees on,’ Towtongie says

Rankin Inlet Mayor Harry Towtongie stands in front of the adult group home in his community. As of April 1, the hamlet no longer holds the contract to operate the home, which has seven residents and employs 14 locals. (Photo courtesy of Harry Towtongie)

By Jane George

The mayor of Rankin Inlet says he’s upset to learn the Government of Nunavut plans to award the contract for running a group home the hamlet has run since 2014 to a private Nova Scotia company.

“This is kind of a shock to us right now because we went out of our way to take over the job when we were asked by the government to run it in 2014,” Harry Towtongie told Nunatsiaq News.

The Issaccie adult group home provides care for seven people with developmental disabilities in the hamlet.

When the hamlet took over the three-year contract in 2015, it was worth about $2.4 million over the life of the contract. It had been extended several times until 2021.

“We tried to make sure the home stayed open and that it was run properly and had good staff. Now, it’s going to be like starting over for whoever is going to be running it,” Towtongie said.

The home received no complaints, he said.

The Hamlet of Rankin Inlet issued a news release Tuesday, saying it was “disappointed” the contract was going to Shift, a company that operates group homes.

On March 18, a Community and Government Services letter notified the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet “the proposals were evaluated according to the evaluation criteria expressed in the RFP document. The proposal from Shift scored the highest and will be awarded the contract.”

On Wednesday, Community and Government Services spokesperson Mustafa Eric said it was “premature” to speak about the government’s awarding of the contract because the department is still in negotiations about its request for proposals to run the home.

The department would not provide any other information, such as how Shift was ranked in the evaluation of the RFP, he said.

Shift runs two other Nunavut residences: the Ilagiittugut Centre for Youth in Iqaluit, an eight-bed, 24-hour treatment centre for girls between the ages of 12 and 19, and the 4D North Centre for Youth in Cambridge Bay, a six-bed, 24-hour therapeutic centre for boys aged 12 to 16.

Shift’s website says it was formed in 2011 under the name Atlantic Youth Inc. and now has a specialized focus on northern youth services.

Towtongie said the hamlet didn’t make money on the group home, “but we did it.”

It employs 14 people, part- and full-time.

“Hopefully, they’ll keep the local employees on,” Towtongie said.


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(15) Comments:

  1. Posted by Joe on

    The infamous NNI policy working its magic. Seriously when will the GN work to make changes to this less than perfect policy?

    • Posted by Karboneater on

      Really Joe, dig a little deeper then you’ll realize the GN NNI policy is not the problem. But Article 24 is the culprit that you should focus on. It needs to be amended for a better GN NNI policy that works.

  2. Posted by Oscare on

    Another Government tendering project supporting a southern company. What happened to supporting Nunavut companies eh GN?

  3. Posted by Northern Guy on

    $2.4 million to pay 14 employees to care for 7 full time residents? And the hamlet wonders why they lost the contract?

    • Posted by Paul Murphy on

      If you read the post and if I read it correctly it was for 2.4 million over the life (3 years) of the contract. 800k/year doesn’t sound bad.

  4. Posted by Name withheld on

    I am not surprise, I have seen first hand how CGS HQ operates and it does not support NNI Policy nor the Article 23 under the land claim agreement.

    • Posted by Paul Murphy on

      Please expand on your comment with details, not just a generalized anonymous statement like that.
      The Inuk Owned company I worked with for 16 years and almost on a daily basis worked with CGS. Never did either of us have a problem understanding and using the NNI policy.

  5. Posted by earth3rd on

    It would seem you can thank the Government of Nunavut. Last time I noticed the GN was made up of mostly Inuit.

    • Posted by Yup on

      Overwhelming Inuk, especially in the decision-making positions for sure.

      • Posted by Soothsayer on

        Nice catch, the Premier and all the Cabinet, which is to say the entire locus of executive power in Nunavut, is controlled by Inuit.

        • Posted by Name withheld on

          Yes I agree with you there but not the, but check the Deputy Ministers, Assistant Deputy Ministers and the Directors? Along with Managers, I’d say half a dozen if not little more are Inuit beneficiary…

  6. Posted by Not surprised on

    I’m not surprised, the GN staff usually change after 3-4 years and a new southern hire takes over, I’m sure the new hire doesn’t know the NNI or the Nunavut Agreement very well.
    Mustafa Eric Might be new to Nunavut, big problem with the GN is the revolving door of transient workers, ever few years we get workers leaving and a fresh batch starting which means projects, contracts can change.
    I think it’s why we seem to start all over with projects with the GN, why policies don’t change much over the years, directors and managers/coordinators don’t stay in one position long enough.
    Somehow the GN needs to tackle this and make improvements for the benefit of Nunavut, right now you look at the GN contracts and most of them go south with a lot of them with a token Inuk head, the system is very flawed and not working for Nunavut.

  7. Posted by anonymous on

    That is too bad, I hear ya Mayor of Rankin Inlet. As mentioned in this article about the Cambridge Bay Group Home, don’t think this is in operation. Not pointing fingers at anybody, but the CBay Group Home wasn’t well looked after when 4D North Centre had the contract. Broken kitchen cupboards, few maintenance problems with the 2 stoves etc. This facility housed the Mental Health Clients while their facility was being renovated. Just saying what I’ve seen.

  8. Posted by Tamaativik on

    Look at the example of Tamaativik – the Pairijait Tigumivik held the contract for years, but once it was cut off, Nunasi is handling administration of Tamaativik much worse. Tamaativik is now a hell hole for Inuit.

    Why is the GN Health awarding contracts to southern based companies (and likely for-profit companies) who have no clue how to offer culturally sensitive services? This story stinks of how the GN is becoming more and more disenfrachised with the majority of the people it serves

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