Recovery Centre Coming to Nunavut

Press Release

From: Indigenous Services Canada

Friday, August 13th, 2021 — Iqaluit, Nunavut — Government of Nunavut, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Indigenous Services Canada

Many Nunavummiut  live with unresolved trauma and grief, due to events such as the impacts of historical and intergenerational trauma as a result of colonialization. Treatment based on Inuit cultural values, practices and knowledge are the foundations on which healing can begin.

Today, the Minister of Northern Affairs, Daniel Vandal, alongside the Government of Nunavut’s Minister of Health, Lorne Kusugak, and the President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Aluki Kotierk, announced $41.7 million in funding being finalized for the construction of the Nunavut Recovery Centre.  This funding is the result of a strong tripartite partnership represented by a newly signed and endorsed contribution agreement from all parties, and the signed Memorandum of Understanding by the Nunavut Partnership Table on Health.

The Nunavut Recovery Centre will provide a range of treatment and healing interventions that will address both substance use and trauma, and will be founded and developed based on Inuit cultural practices and values.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #21 called upon the federal government to ensure the funding of healing centres in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. The Qikiqtani Truth Commission has further called on Canada and Nunavut to ensure that health, social and education services are available equivalent to those outside of Inuit Nunangat.

The realization of the Nunavut Recovery Centre is an integral part of a system wide Three-Pillar approach that also includes on-the-land treatment in all three regions of Nunavut and healing, and support to increase Inuit workforce development and capacity. The work to formalize these agreements builds on the approach developed from a feasibility study endorsed by the Government of Nunavut, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, other Nunavut Partners and the Government of Canada in February 2018. Located in Iqaluit, Nunavut, the centre will be connected to services and community supports across the territory.

The Contribution Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding, which outlined the roles and responsibilities for the construction and ongoing operations of the Nunavut Recovery Centre, are a result of extensive discussions at the Nunavut Partnership Table on Health and build on the Joint Declaration of Intent outlining the roles and responsibilities of each member of the Nunavut Partnership Table on Health for the construction and ongoing operations of the Nunavut Recovery Centre.

The leadership demonstrated by the Nunavut Partnership Table on Health ensures that services will be Inuit-led and informed that builds on cultural strengths and Inuit societal values. The Joint Declaration of Intent, signed by all three parties in August 2019, outlines the commitment of all partners to support Inuit in defining and taking action on their health priorities, and promotes culturally relevant approaches which are informed by strong partnerships at the community and territorial level.

The Government of Canada is deeply committed to a renewed Inuit-Crown relationship to make progress on the issues that are most important, including health and wellness.


“This partnership will lead to comprehensive addictions treatment that integrates both cultural and clinical healing practices that allow Nunavummiut to receive treatment closer to home. The Nunavut Recovery Centre will ensure that Inuit Qaujimajatuqanngit are prioritized in the delivery of addiction treatment services for our citizens and will further the government’s goal to provide crucial in-territory care.”

The Honourable Lorne Kusugak
Nunavut Minister of Health

”We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Federal and Territorial Governments, in the true spirit of partnership and reconciliation, to address the need for a system-wide approach to substance use and trauma treatment in Nunavut. Our focus for the Nunavut Recovery Centre is to ensure it is grounded in Inuit language and culture, with strong linkages to community-based on-the-land programming, that we prioritize Inuit workforce development, and that supports continue for recovery and healing for Inuit in Nunavut.”

Aluki Kotierk
President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated

“Over the past number of months, even through this unprecedented global pandemic, we have been working diligently in partnership with the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated to progress the plans for the construction and establishment of the Nunavut Recovery Centre. This centre will be far greater than the walls that build it; it will represent the importance of culturally safe healing, the dedication toward reconciliation, and the imperative role of treatments based in Inuit traditions. We are hopeful this centre will provide a place for Inuit seeking treatment opportunities and to know that they’re not alone in their journey.”

The Honourable Marc Miller, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services

“Guided by the principles of the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework, the Government of Canada considers land, community and healing inextricably bound and that this relationship is vital to support the growth of families and communities in the North. The Recovery Centre in Nunavut will allow for healing to take place on the land and this centre will have Inuit culture and values at its core. This investment is a commitment to empower a community-level response to the issues of mental health and substance use based on distinct Inuit cultural practices and values.”

The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs

Quick facts

  • The $41.7 million in funding is part of the federal commitment to support up to 75% of construction costs in partnership with members of the Nunavut Partnership Table on Health and is included in the $47.5 million over 5 years (2019-20 to 2024-25) and $9.7 million ongoing to support trauma and substance use treatment initially outlined in Budget 2019.
  • The feasibility study, which was conducted through a consultative process as per Article 32 of the Nunavut Agreement, outlines the need for a three pillar approach:
    • Pillar #1: Enhanced community-based programming offering on the land healing camps and other in-community supports;
    • Pillar #2: A Recovery Centre located in Nunavut to provide residential treatment and outpatient services; and
    • Pillar #3: Development of an Inuit workforce that can staff both on the land healing camps as well as the Nunavut Recovery Centre.
  • The Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corporation is providing $11.8 million to fund the Inuit Counselling component of the Inuit Workforce Development pillar and NTI is providing $5 million one-time contribution to ensure Inuit participation in program development for the Nunavut Recovery Centre and ensure strong linkages to pre and post community-based care.
  • This announcement is a tangible example of the types of innovation in the work of the Nunavut Partnership Table on Health in the development of Inuit specific approach to health and wellness.
  • This initiative will support Inuit in defining and taking action on unique mental wellness needs and priorities of Nunavut communities, as well as culturally relevant approaches that are informed by strong partnerships at the community and territorial level.

Associated links


For more information from the Government of Nunavut, media may contact:

Chris Puglia
A/Manager of Communications
Department of Health
Government of Nunavut

For more information from Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, media may contact:

Malaya Mikijuk
Director of Communications Trainee
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
Tel: 867-975-4900/Toll-free: 1-888-646-0006
[email protected]

For more information from the Government of Canada, media may contact:

Ryan Cotter
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Daniel Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
[email protected]


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