The federal government says it has finalized a $41.7-million contribution agreement with the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) for construction of the Nunavut Recovery Centre.

Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal made the announcement on Aug. 13, the final day of a week full of funding announcements across Nunavut, in advance of a federal election.

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

In August 2019, the same federal government said it was committing up to $47.5 million when then-minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan visited Iqaluit, the final in a roster of federal dignitaries prior to the October 2019 election.

READ MORE: Inuit-led addiction and trauma treatment plan for territory in multi-million dollar partnership

“No one can work on their issues alone,” said NTI President Aluki Kotierk, adding the Nunavut Recovery Centre presents an opportunity for Nunavummiut to recover from their addictions within territorial boundaries. “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.”

Health Minister Lorne Kusugak added, “The Nunavut Recovery Centre will be built on treatment options available in the territory and we’re working in conjunction with the on-the-land programs running out of each of Nunavut’s regions, in-fact communities.”

The Department of Health is committed to integrating cultural and clinical practices to help the healing journey of Nunavummiut, according to Kusugak.

“The people of Nunavut have strong ties to the land and to our culture — by aligning with Inuit values and incorporating on-the-land programs with contemporary counselling techniques, (it) will increase peoples chances of success,” Kusugak said.

The feasibility study outlines the need for a three-pillar approach, which is as follows:

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

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 help fund the Inuit counselling component of the workforce development pillar. NTI is also providing a one-time $5 million contribution to ensure Inuit participation in program development for the Nunavut Recovery Centre

The Northern Affairs minister said it’s 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,” said Vandal. “This investment is a commitment to empower a community-level response to the issues of mental health and substance abuse based on distinct Inuit cultural practices and values.”

Construction is expected to begin at the start with next summer’s shipping season. The facility is expected to take two years to build, according to Kusugak.

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