In defence of the Pairijait Tigumivik society

“The staff at the boarding home have been effective, polite and honest”

Last week, the Pairijait Tigumivik society lost its contract to operate the Tammattivvik boarding home for people visiting Iqaluit for medical care. (FILE PHOTO)

By Nunatsiaq News

I do not know about the contracts and structures and situations at the Tammaativvik boarding home, but I can tell you what I have seen on a first-hand basis, as I have provided relief beds for the hugely overcrowded situation for medical travellers.

I have been completely impressed by two things:

1. We can see that the building was operated by Inuit employees in a way that made it feel like a welcoming home-away-from-home for people who came from all over Nunavut, and it was a place where people really wanted to stay.

2. I watched the people who work there for the society work their fingers to the bone day after day after day, in very stressful and completely unpredictable circumstances, where many others would not last a week.

In my talks with the medical travellers who were staying at my bed and breakfast, I could see that nursing stations across Nunavut were sending people who arrived here in Iqaluit without warning for many legitimate and compelling medical reasons.

Some of my guests would tell me that they are reluctant to come, to even a welcoming space, because they would rather be in the Inuit hospitality of the boarding home, even if it meant sleeping on the floor.

This Pairijait Tigumivik society’s operation really showed Inuit capacity put to the test and succeeding. They worked with tenacity and good humour day after day, week after week, in circumstances that would drive most southerners to quit in a moment. This was truly a case which beautifully demonstrated the reality of the Inuit employment we all envision for this territory.

I see the Department of Health using this as an excuse to deflect from the situation that the department has simply not supplied enough beds to the people they knew were flooding into Iqaluit for years and years.

It is entirely to the society’s credit that they have succeeded in a close to impossible task over all that time.

I have had dramatic crises and drunken clients, but every time the staff at the boarding home have been effective, polite and honest, dealing with problems, yes, but being completely real and not pretending that these crises in our communities can be ignored or managed out of existence. I have really admired them.

The society should get a prize for their services. By importing any operation to take over at this point you are losing the home, the feeling and the amazing spirit of that operation. Anyone not rooted in commitment to communities would not have been able to do this task in these circumstances.

The department should be brave and face the issues in the way that the society has been doing for years. The chaos and shortages are the GN’s fault and not on the boarding home.

Rannva Erlingsdóttir Simonsen

Email your letters to

Nunatsiaq News welcomes letters to the editor. But we are under no obligation to publish any given letter at any given time.

In our print edition, we usually print letters on a first-come, first-served, space-available basis. In our online edition, we usually print letters as soon as we are able to prepare them for publication.

All letters are edited for length, grammar, punctuation, spelling, taste and libel. You may withhold your name by request, but we must know who you are before we publish your letter.

Share This Story

(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by Contractor on

    I’m in full agreement with Rannva. As an occasional contractor at the boarding home, the staff have always been friendly and good-natured in the face of massive volumes of people and processes. I wish the new operator good luck. The operational challenges of that facility are immense.

  2. Posted by Get serious on

    Are you kidding?? The staff at the boarding home are the worst and it’s managements fault. Friendly, nope. Polite, definitely not. Is the job hard? Absolutely but the Iqaluit boarding home doesn’t deal with anything other homes don’t and they don’t put people in dirty rooms and staffs don’t swear at people. I have zero sympathy for the people who run that place. So many complaints and finally someone listened!!!!! The boarding home is NOT welcoming and like home. It’s depressing and dirty. Thank god someones finally doing something.

    • Posted by D.king. on

      I worked there before and it was out of control and the food was horrible and The management was very poor and didn’t care. Thank god it’s finally changing the way it was being operated by people who just abused their way just for the money.

  3. Posted by Tiny on

    The Society did well with what they were given. This territory has through the roof pregnancy rates, and the government is now sending escorts with pregnant women (a good thing), which did not happen when this building was built. Why was this facility built with only enough beds for the patient load at that exact moment in time ? Why was it not built with a little foresight, with the obvious growth in the territory in mind? Any idiot could see that numbers were going to climb at an incredible rate.

  4. Posted by Desperate on

    I can’t believe anyone in their right mind could defend how that boarding home has been running and the staff that work there. They are not the victims here. They were paid to do a job and they sucked at it. Do other boarding homes have as much trouble or get as many complaints? No, they don’t because they’re ran by people with a brain. You get a contact, you get money, you have to do the job and figure out ways to make it work. They don’t have anyone to blame but themselves. This is the trouble with victim mentality. Take responsibility, buck up and do the job, get creative, find solutions. So glad these people are going away finally. Our sick sisters and brothers deserve better.

  5. Posted by Sad guest on

    You can’t be serious about feeling bad for them.
    there were fights and drunks everywhere and staff stealing guests confiscated liquor.
    It’s good people who know how to run an operation and get stuff done is in charge now.

  6. Posted by ᐃᓅᒃ on

    I’m glad something was finally done to put an end to the horrible services that the poor previous patient’s had to put up with for YEARS!!

  7. Posted by Questioning Polar Bear on

    Consider – The article writer above must have had friends working there or she lives in a bubble! The staff at the boarding home were not easy to work with, with countless complaints regarding assistance, alternate solution management and space. The place was/is a cesspool for drugs, alcohol, assaults (leading to death?) and prostitution. It is nice to sugar coat situations when you don’t have a realistic perception of reality. Maybe under a new direction the place can assist those that require it, In stead of looking the other way when things are happening. It is sad to see someone protecting people and crying about how great they were! If they were so good, why was a change required? I am pushing the “Bull Shit” button on the above comments regarding how wonderful the staff were, take off the rose coloured glasses and see the reality!

    Again we see the GN allowing untrained staff to run the place into the ground. Consider the BCC. Only hiring cab drivers and criminals, trained by people that have no training, led by leaders who can not lead, run by people who are not qualified, but hide behind their GN “POSITION”. No wonder the riots continue. Just another example of the poor leadership in the GN. Enough said about the management capabilities of leaders with the GN. SAD! OH! The future looks great! (Can I borrow your glasses?)

    • Posted by Correction(s) on

      Actually, anyone working at BCC must have a recent Criminal Record Check.

      • Posted by Questioning Polar Bear on

        Hey Bright one! Just because they pass a criminal record check does that mean they have the character to hold such a position? In the south you need a college degree, a thorough check is conducted on the character of the person, extensive interviews are coordinated with exams required for comprehension. (don’t see any of that here?) I am talking ethics, morality, honesty and a respect for the position they fill. What is happening here is that Correctional Officers (?) don’t even know what their job is, after they are trained! Come on Man! It is the equivalent of giving someone a gun, saying they are a cop – off you go to settle issues with no training. Oh when you screw up, don’t worry, we will fry you! Oh and the criminal part – well it is public knowledge – Cocaine dealer & postal thief were employees of our local establishment. (Nice) are just the tip of the iceberg.

        your leaders direction is leading to Riot after Riot with costs escalating out the window, good luck with that. We don’t need to go into this more do you? Stop covering up fro the incompetence of that department. Or just, loan me your glasses. Maybe I will see clearly. Obviously I don’t know what I am talking about. after all I only have 28 years experience in corrections. so what do I know? – =)

  8. Posted by Helen on

    Omg! Workers there were not very nicce! I hope no one will ever be left without a place to stay, we were once just left without having any place to stay, we had to (my 68 year old grandpa) look for a place to stay but couldn’t find one, so a good friend of mine gave her bed to my grandpa and we ended up sleeping on a armchair. I hope that will never happen again to anyone.

  9. Posted by Tommy on

    I had and probably will have a warm place to stay; that’s all that matters if you ever have slept outside.

Comments are closed.