Nunavut Economy Forecasts Continued Growth, while Health of Nunavut Inuit Decline
(Feb 20, 2019 – Iqaluit, Nunavut) The Nunavut Finance Minister has presented a budget that is virtually the same as previous years, an indication that the Government of Canada is continuing to underinvest in the Territory.
George Hickes reported the Territory’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown approximately by five percent annually since 1999 and growth in the economy is expected to remain growing by that margin into 2026.
During the Territory’s healthy economic growth we have continued to see statistics indicate declining quality in health among Nunavut Inuit. We are seeing an increase in the use of social assistance in non-decentralized communities with no plan on how to distribute the wealth across the Territory.
Since 1999 approximately 190 homes have been constructed annually. Statistics indicate Nunavut needs at least 250 new units annually in order to end homelessness and over crowded housing in Nunavut. The Minister has reported that 100 new social housing units will be constructed with no explanation as to why fewer units are being constructed.
“While it is encouraging to see additional investment in on the land treatment of addictions and trauma, it appears the Government of Nunavut budget continues to have a focus on balancing budgets as opposed to meeting the needs of Inuit in the areas of education, training, health and housing. We must see the Government create systems that allow Inuit to benefit from the economic growth the Territory has seen and will continue to see. The distribution of wealth in Nunavut needs to be addressed. We can not expect much change in the territory if we continue to see the same budget year after year,” said NTI President Aluki Kotierk.
“Thankfully we have the Nunavut Agreement to protect Inuit rights in Nunavut because 20 years after the GN’s first budget it is clear the Government of Canada needs to invest Nation-building dollars in the Territory. Until we receive this investment the Government of Canada is forcing the Minister to choose between balanced budgets and healthy people. On a day we should all be planning for an improved Territory, we find ourselves having to point out yet again that Government of Canada needs to invest in Nunavut or see their precious budgets suffer under growing social assistance and social housing needs,” concluded Kotierk.
For further information:
Interim-Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated