Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik September 21, 2016 - 8:30 am

Social regulation project takes off in two Nunavik communities

“Everybody agrees there needs to be change, but it has to come from within”

SARAH ROGERS
Saqijuq coordinator Aileen MacKinnon, Nunavik’s former police chief, is working to implement the social regulation program in Puvirnituq this year and Kangirsuk in 2017. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
Saqijuq coordinator Aileen MacKinnon, Nunavik’s former police chief, is working to implement the social regulation program in Puvirnituq this year and Kangirsuk in 2017. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)

KUUJJUAQ—Nunavik’s social regulation project is taking hold in two pilot communities, where it’s focused on helping and healing Nunavimmiut at risk of violence, substance abuse and incarceration.

Saqijuq, Inuktitut for a change in wind direction, is a product of the Regional Partnership Committee.

It focuses on community intervention as a tool to promote well-being, with the goal of preventing Nunavimmiut from going into the correctional system.

With dedicated staff, Saqijuq is now at work in Puvirnituq, with plans to roll out in Kangirsuk in 2017.

So far, says coordinator Aileen MacKinnon, Saqijuq’s role has been to mobilize community services.

“Everyone has the best of intentions, but they’re working in silos,” MacKinnon told Kativik Regional Government meetings Sept. 14. “When we work together, we achieve so much more.”

In Puvirnituq, for example, Saqijuq has tapped into existing social services, offering financial or human resources support to youth protection, Piatsiaq, the Saturviit Inuit Women’s Association of Nunavik and the community’s new men’s group, which was established earlier this year.

Justice and correctional system just aren’t equipped to evaluate and address the underlying causes of crimes, said MacKinnon, the region’s former police chief, and those systems rarely focus on the well-being of the accused or the victim.

That’s where Saqijuq comes in.

“We see what’s already in the community and try to supplement it,” MacKinnon said. “Sometimes, it’s just a matter of co-ordinating.”

“Everybody agrees that there needs to be change, but we can’t stress enough that it has to come from within.”

Muncy Novalinga, the regional councillor for Puvirnituq, said residents of the Hudson Bay community are starting to notice and welcome Saqijuq’s efforts on the ground.

Saqijuq’s mandate is guided by a coordination table and board of governors, which includes a handle of provincial departments, Makivik Corp. the KRG and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services.

The project is expected to expand to the region’s other communities in time.

Among its mid-term goals, Saqijuq aims to develop a mobile addictions treatment centre to travel throughout the region; sobering centres that would take in intoxicated people before they are detained and the creation of joint intervention teams, made up of police and social workers to respond to calls for assistance.

The project’s long-term goal is to help launch a new, expanded treatment centre for the region. Saqijuq is working with Isuarsivik, the Kuujjuaq-based treatment facility, on those plans.

Isuarsivik has been planning for over a decade now to build a new 20-bed in-patient treatment centre, to upgrade from its current nine-bed facility.

The new $17-million facility, tentatively planned for Kuujjuaq’s Nuvuuk Bay neighbourhood, would be accredited and include a family unit, a multi-purpose centre and a staff of 42, according to its board of directors.

The board will present a development plan to regional health officials in October.

Isuarsivik, the Kuujjuaq-based addictions treatment facility, hopes to move into a new 20-bed in-patient centre, to upgrade from its current nine-bed facility. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
Isuarsivik, the Kuujjuaq-based addictions treatment facility, hopes to move into a new 20-bed in-patient centre, to upgrade from its current nine-bed facility. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
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