New report identifies growing infrastructure gap between Nunavut and the rest of Canada

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Ottawa Construction News staff writer

Nunavut has the highest rate of overcrowded housing in Canada, the slowest internet speeds and the poorest access to local health-care services in the country, a new report concludes.

Nunavut’s Infrastructure Gap, prepared by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI). aims to identify disparities and highlight adverse impacts on Nunavut Inuit

The report calls for federal government investment and action.

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) released the Nunavut Infrastructure Gap Report recently, the first-ever comprehensive study of infrastructure in Nunavut compared to the rest of Canada. In every one of the infrastructure sectors reviewed, Nunavut faces a significant gap when measured against national standards.

The report analyzes a range of infrastructure priority areas including housing, broadband, health care, power, and ports and harbours. The research shows that Nunavut’s infrastructure is commonly inadequate, in poor repair, or altogether absent when compared with the Canadian baseline.

“Nunavut Inuit are not asking for special treatment. We are asking for the same level of infrastructure and services that other Canadians expect across the country,” said Aluki Kotierk, President of NTI. “The size of this gap isn’t a surprise to Nunavut Inuit: we live it every day. The gap is a barrier to our potential, and closing it is a necessary task of reconciliation”

Alongside the quantitative analysis of 55 infrastructure indicators, the report details the lived impact of this gap for Nunavut Inuit. A lack of adequate infrastructure is harmful to core issues of Nunavut Inuit equity and wellbeing, including economic opportunity, food sovereignty, and even COVID-19 preparedness.

“Through this report, we now know the size of Nunavut’s infrastructure gap. Now the federal government needs to partner with Nunavut Inuit and make the investments needed to meet their commitment,” said Kotierk. “Inuit are ready to do this necessary work together with Ottawa.”

Key facts from the report:

  • Nunavut has the highest rate of housing overcrowding in Canada, and the largest proportion of housing in need of major repair (nearly six times the national average).
  • Nunavut has the fewest staffed and operational hospital beds per capita in the country (1,095 persons per bed, compared to a national average of 409).
  • The fastest possible internet speed available in Nunavut is eight times slower than the Canada-wide average.
  • Nunavut is the only province or territory with no central museum or heritage centre.
  • Approximately half of the children born to Nunavut Inuit are delivered in Southern hospitals, and most major health care treatments must take place out of territory.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) is the organization that represents the territory’s 33,000 Inuit and their rights under the Nunavut Agreement. Inuit make up over 83 per cent of the population.

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