Canada invests in new Inuit-led community wellness hub in Iqaluit

News release

Iqaluit, Nunavut, November 16, 2022—Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, and Gwen Healey Akearok, Executive and Scientific Director of the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre, announced more than $7.2 million in joint funding to support the construction of a new community wellness hub in Iqaluit.

“We are committed to working together with Inuit to build a brighter, greener and healthier future in Iqaluit and across Nunavut. Investing in projects that are Inuit-led to improve community well-being is an integral part of that mission. Supporting projects like these is essential to fostering better health outcomes, including positive mental health and well-being. It is also key to advancing reconciliation and implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, and the federal response to missing and murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people,” said the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.

The Inuusirvik Community Wellness Centre will be a place where Nunavummiut can go to access a wide range of services and resources, including early learning language and cultural programs, childrearing and parenting support programs, land-based programs for youth, counselling, literacy programs, drop-in public health and health promotion programs, as well as community-led post-secondary and life-long learning initiatives.

The new facility will provide a home to three non-profit organizations: Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre, Ilisaqsivik Society, and Tasiuqtigiit Hand-in-Hand Society, which currently provide much needed support to Nunavummiut families, youth, and seniors, and those experiencing poverty in the Qikiqtani region.

“By working with the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre, we are supporting an Inuit-led initiative that will improve the wellbeing of Inuit and Northerners. With a new Inuusirvik Community Wellness Hub as well as the Nunavut Treatment Centre project, our government continues to work with Nunavummiut on projects that close the infrastructure gap for mental health and wellness services, and draw on local traditional knowledge, culture and expertise that best serve community needs,” said the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs and Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor.

“The Inuusirvik Community Wellness Hub will be an entirely non-profit building. Our goal is to provide a home for community-serving organizations delivering programs and services for families in Iqaluit. This funding from Infrastructure Canada is a significant investment in realizing our collective vision. We are grateful for the opportunity to bring it to life for the health and well-being of our families and community,” said Gwen Healey Akearok, Executive and Scientific Director of Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre.

Additionally, the building’s environmentally friendly construction, which includes steel piles to minimize vulnerability to permafrost thaw and materials that can withstand the unpredictable winds, will help further Canada along its path towards a more sustainable future.

By investing in infrastructure, the Government of Canada is growing our country’s economy, increasing the resiliency of our communities, and improving the lives of Inuit and all Canadians.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is investing more than $7.2 million in this project through Infrastructure Canada’s Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program and CanNor’s Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North (IDEANorth) program.

  • Infrastructure Canada is contributing $5 million for this project. CanNor’s funding totals over $2.2 million.

  • Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program funding for this project is conditional on the signing of the contribution agreement.

  • IDEANorth helps enable Northerners to take advantage of northern economic opportunities to grow a strong, diverse, and sustainable economy. It supports community economic growth through investments in small-scale infrastructure to allow communities and businesses to extend services.

  • The Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program is an integral part of Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan, providing $1.5 billion over five years towards green and accessible retrofits, repairs or upgrades of existing public community buildings and the construction of new publicly accessible community buildings that serve high-needs, underserved communities across Canada. 

  • At least 10 percent of funding is allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, including Indigenous populations in urban centres. 

  • Applicants with large retrofit projects to existing community buildings or new community building projects with total eligible costs ranging from $3 million to $25 million were accepted through a competitive intake process which closed on July 6, 2021. A second intake is anticipated later in 2022, however the date has not yet been determined. Details about the second intake will be published to Infrastructure Canada’s Green and Inclusive Community Buildings’ website as soon as they become available.

  • Applicants with small and medium retrofit projects to existing community buildings ranging in total eligible cost from $100,000 to $2,999,999 will be accepted and funded on a rolling intake basis.

  • Provincial/territorial governments, municipal or regional governments, public sector bodies, not-for-profit, and Indigenous organizations interested in the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program are invited to apply on the Infrastructure Canada website

  • Announced in December 2020, Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan includes 64 new measures and $15 billion in investments towards a healthy environment and economy.

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For more information (media only), please contact:

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

Tracy Wallace
Social Media and Communications Manager
Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
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