Funding finalized for Nunavut's new addiction and trauma treatment centre

Money promised from the federal government in 2019 for the construction of the Nunavut Recovery Centre has now been finalized with a contribution agreement between Canada, the government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

A $42 million contribution agreement has now been finalized to start building the facility

Minister of Northern Affairs, Daniel Vandal (left), and Nunavut Premier, Joe Savikataaq (right), at the announcement for long awaited money to start building an addictions and trauma treatment centre in Iqaluit. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

The federal government has now finalized funding to start construction on a trauma and addictions treatment centre in Iqaluit. 

At a press conference Friday, Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, announced that $41.7 million will be given to the government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI)  to build the Nunavut Recovery Centre.

The recovery centre was first announced in 2019 when the federal government, the government of Nunavut and NTI signed a declaration of intent to build the facility. 

While no new money was allocated, Friday's announcement finalized the centre's contribution agreement – a document outlining conditions for money to flow from one party to another – thereby readying the parties to start the project.

The tripartite contribution agreement, in addition to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Nunavut Partnership Table on Health, will allow the government of Nunavut and NTI to start the procurement process. Next steps include putting out a request for proposals for construction companies to bid on the project.

Lorne Kusugak, Nunavut's Health Minister, says the materials to start building the Nunavut Recovery Centre should arrive next summer. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

"This gives us a start where we can begin to work with the city and pick out an appropriate location for the construction of it," said Nunavut's Health Minister, Lorne Kusugak. 

Kusugak said the government has looked at some options with the city of Iqaluit and are considering a location close to the Arctic Winter Games arena. 

Kusugak said the government aims to have building materials shipped north by next summer. 

"The work begins now," Kusugak said . "Likely by next summer, early fall the actual physical construction of the facility would start and it will probably take two years to build. " 

In 2019 the Minister of Indigenous Services committed $47.5 million to help build the centre over five years. The $41.7 million commitment from Vandal accounts for most of those funds, but it is unclear where the remaining nearly $6 million will be allocated. 

"As the federal government we are very interested in moving this project forward as fast as we can and we are working with our partners to try and expedite this needed project," Vandal said. 

Once the centre is built, the federal government has promised to subsidise the operating costs of the centre with an additional contribution of $9.7 million annually. 

NTI has also promised another $5 million to ensure Inuit participation in the creation of the centre's programs. 

Makigiaqta Training Corporation — a subsidiary of NTI —  will provide $11.8 million to train Inuit counsellors for the centre.


Jackie McKay


Jackie McKay is a Métis journalist working for CBC in Nunavut. She has worked as a reporter in Thunder Bay, Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Iqaluit. Jackie also worked on CBC Radio One shows including The Current, Metro Morning, after graduating from Ryerson University in 2017. Follow her on Twitter @mckayjacqueline.