Nunavut seniors advocacy society up and running in Iqaluit

The Nunavut Seniors Society's board president says the society is still in its early days, and needs further support to get fully off the ground.

Board president Lazarus Arreak says the advocacy society is the 1st in the territory’s history

The Nunavut Seniors Society began operating in Iqaluit on Jan. 29, but it's still in its early days says the board president. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The Nunavut Seniors Society, a non-profit seniors advocacy organization, began operating in Iqaluit at the end of January, but the board president says the society is still in its early days and needs further support to get fully off the ground.

President Lazarus Arreak said senior advocacy had been a long time coming for the territory.

"We did a needs assessment a few years back visiting maybe half the communities in Nunavut," Arreak said. "We found that [this] is a required move. Up to now we've really had no organized voice for the territory."

"Eventually we'd like to set up a sister operation … throughout Nunavut," Arreak said.

Lazarus Arreak, board president of the Nunavut Seniors Society, says a seniors advocacy organization has been a long overdue for Nunavut. (Elyse Skura/CBC)

Arreak said that although the organization is setting up first in Iqaluit, he hopes the society will expand to have representatives in smaller communities.

For now, the society has one full-time employee and a half-time employee but expects to expand to four or five.

Arreak said Nunavut is the last territory or province in Canada to have an advocacy group for seniors. The society was registered in 2013, and has been working on funding since then.

Elder care in Nunavut has been a long-running issue, with many candidates in the last territorial election making it central to their campaign platforms.

"We'll be voicing [seniors'] concerns and setting direction," Arreak said.

He added the society hopes to hold a meeting in Rankin Inlet in September.

With files from Pauline Pemik