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Nunavut allots $18.7M for Baffin Correctional Centre renovations

The Nunavut government plans to invest more than $18.7 million over the next five years in renovations and additions at the Baffin Correctional Centre, a jail that's been described as 'nothing short of appalling' in a report by Canada's Office of the Correctional Investigator.
The Nunavut government is allotting more than $18.7 million over the next five years for renovations and additions at the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The Nunavut government plans to invest more than $18.7 million over the next five years in renovations and additions at the Baffin Correctional Centre, a jail that's been described as "nothing short of appalling" in a report by Canada's Office of the Correctional Investigator.

That 2013 report concluded that the facility needed to be closed and replaced.

The dollars earmarked to renovate BCC appeared in the territory's capital budget for the upcoming year, which was tabled in the legislative assembly Wednesday on the first day of the fall sitting.

Earlier this year, a report from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada said conditions at Baffin Correctional Centre compromised the security and safety of inmates and facility staff and that the Justice department had been aware of the problems at the territory's only maximum-security jail for more than 20 years.

It recommended adding capacity and ensuring inmates were properly housed "either by contracting with other jurisdictions or by constructing in Nunavut."

Budget breakdown

The capital plan totals $196.6 million for 2016-2017 and $726 million over five years.

The Iqaluit International Airport project is getting the biggest chunk of change in the capital estimates. The airport, a private-public partnership project, is set to receive $59.8 million. That represents the majority of the $68.3 million budget for the Department of Economic Development and Transportation. That department's budget makes up just more than a third of Nunavut's total capital dollars.

The Nunavut Housing Corporation represents almost a fifth of the capital budget for grants and contributions for modernization and improvements to housing throughout Nunavut's communities. Its budget is almost $6 million more than last year.

Community and Government Services and Education round out the top three departments with $31.9 million and $26.3 million each. A large part of their budgets are for continuing projects, such as $12.9 million for Igloolik's new high school.

New funding in Community and Government Services includes $500,000 each year over the next five years to replace fire trucks in communities.

The capital budget is not finalized. MLAs will spend the fall sitting reviewing the numbers department by department before approving it.

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