Baker Lake should once again have a facility to provide basic levels of care for elders, the community’s MLA stated in the legislative assembly on Friday.

“Baker Lake has ample room for development and could
easily support a home for elders who may need a little extra care to live their lives safely and comfortably,” says MLA Craig Simailak.
photo courtesy of the legislative assembly

Craig Simailak asked Health Minister George Hickes why the Martha Taliruq Centre in Baker Lake was closed in 2018.

Hickes replied that the facility was not in good standing legally, partly because of unfulfilled financial reporting requirements. There were also a number of building code issues and the structure was “just not suitable for elder care purposes,” Hickes said, adding that it would have been more cost effective to build a new facility rather than to repair the existing one.

Simailak said, “There is a large population of elders in Baker Lake and I am confident that any one of them would tell you that if they needed to move into a facility to receive extra support and care, they would want to stay in their home community.”

After closing the Martha Taliruq Centre, Hickes said that the Department of Health added five home care positions at Baker Lake’s health centre to help seniors remain in their home community.

The GN’s new Kivalliq elder care facility will be built in Rankin Inlet, but it’s delayed a year due to Covid and challenges getting the building materials, Hickes acknowledged.

“At the end of the day, nobody in here wants to send people outside their community, but we have to do what’s best to provide the health care for elders… having them in regional centres gives that ability for people who are travelling to typically go through the regional centre to go anywhere else, it gives the opportunity to visit family members during any recreation or medical travel,” the health minister said.

Later in the day, Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak pressed Hickes on when he would table a comprehensive Nunavut Elders Strategy.

Hickes replied that it’s been discussed but Covid-19 has taken priority so he couldn’t provide a date.

Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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  1. I don’t want to move to tariuq land. I have lived here for 59 years. why should I move to Rankin? Why does territorial government always pick Rankin or Iqaluit? Why do elders have to move to another place. Why can we not stay home where we lived for decades, where we worked with or without pay. I would be willing to live in an old house if it means stay home. aisimasuarama

  2. I am near 60 years old. qamani’tuarmiutavunga. I live in staff housing. Government of Nunavut housing which were built for staff. Where am I going when I am retire? Outside? My family has no money, raised on welfare, overcrowded because some do not get along. I do not want to worry about getting good nights’ sleep, peaceful rest. I have worked since 14 years old, you have calculator and fingers, you can count how many years that is. Am I working now so the “big shots” can afford a home? but a long time Inuk soon to be elder has to move south? There are housing issues where I live like frozen door knob everyday during winter. I asked to have an arctic porch put in. My north facing door has fewer stairs so I use it. Some family are homeless so we take turns.. We love our family but haven’t I put in enough time enough decades of English, Inuktitut work? Can I be allowed to live in a place where I can sleep peacefully, not waken up at all hours because we share the room. Doesn’t my family deserve a bed of their own so they are not sleeping in school? What are the fire safety codes? Get more houses and better elder care. Elders help all the time without monetary. Why should I leave my ataatatsiaq anaanatsiaq land? Even now 70 years later inuit are mistreated. I tell to Ministers, MPs, Prime Minister fix elder care, not enough houses and stop letting two, three families to share one water tank. It is hard enough to keep up with washing with one family, to get rid of germs by washing. You guys known since 1950 seventy years ago. You take census so you can project numbers needed. Tell Federal Government and I tell all Government hurry up and fix. Lives are suffering needlessly under undue stress. If anyone has to sleep outside, you all look at weather report on computer Frostbite in less than a minute. Make the Qulliq Energy, Agnico help pay for homes for their workers. Why are English able to build cabins on our land when inuit are overcrowded and in unhygienic environments? The Qulliq Energy makes millions of dollars profit. They just made a something million dollar building. So they have money. The gold mine makes millions of dollars profit, which only less than half would greatly improve precious lives in Baker Lake and other inuit communities. Hurry up and fix. Use your power to not let another child sleep 2 or 3 to bed or on a floor space.