Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik May 01, 2017 - 10:00 am

Quebec-Nunavik temporary cost-of-living deal extended one year

KRG and Makivik said they'll use the time to negotiate a longer-term subsidy

SARAH ROGERS
Kativik Regional Police Force cadets in Kuujjuaq took part in a 2014 workshop to learn how to construct a traditional Inuit qajaq. Nunavimmiut can now get a 30 per cent rebate if they purchase locally-built qajaqs through their hunter support programs. (FILE PHOTO)
Kativik Regional Police Force cadets in Kuujjuaq took part in a 2014 workshop to learn how to construct a traditional Inuit qajaq. Nunavimmiut can now get a 30 per cent rebate if they purchase locally-built qajaqs through their hunter support programs. (FILE PHOTO)

The Kativik Regional Government and Makivik Corp. say they’ve extended Nunavik’s cost-of-living subsidy for one more year to give the region more time to negotiate a long-term agreement with Quebec.

The province provides funding to Nunavik to help offset the high cost of living in the region. The KRG uses that money to administer six regional cost-of-living measures, which subsidize elders’ expenses, airfare, household appliances, gasoline, food and harvesting equipment for Nunavik Inuit.

Quebec paid out $33 million in cost-of-living subsidies to Nunavik between 2014 and 2017, an agreement that ended this past March.

Under that same agreement, Quebec helped to fund an in-depth study tracking the spending habits of Nunavimmiut, along with a comparative cost index.

The two-year study, which wrapped up in 2016, revealed that Nunavimmiut pay 13 per cent more overall to live in the region than they would if they lived in Quebec City.

Nunavimmiut also pay 48 per cent more for store-bought food than in the southern city, and up to 23 per cent more for transportation, clothing and personal care.

The study provides a good foundation for regional organizations to pursue better subsidies, but both KRG and Makivik say they need more time to crunch the numbers.

“This one-year extension will allow the KRG, the Makivik Corp. and the Québec government to pursue negotiations to define effective and long-lasting solutions to the high cost of living in Nunavik,” the organizations said April 27 in a joint release.

The regional organizations will get $12 million under this latest agreement, which runs until March 2018.

In the meantime, the region has added new harvesting equipment to its list of items eligible for rebate: Nunavimmiut can now save 30 per cent on the cost of locally-built qajaqs purchased through local hunter support programs, up to a maximum of $500.

That’s already the case for equipment like qamutiik, toboggans and ice augers, which are eligible for subsidies under the Household Appliance and Harvesting Equipment program.

The KRG and Makivik said the goal of adding qajaq was to “encourage the practice of traditional activities, contribute to subsistence harvesting and foster local expertise in qajaq construction.”

You can read more about Nunavik’s cost-of-living programs here.

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