Nunavut government to review how it delivers welfare
Social assistance to the territory costs government $40 million a year
The Government of Nunavut begins hosting public consultations this week across the territory to gather opinions on how to re-think its approach to social assistance.
The departments of Family Services and Economic Development and Transportation will lead a series of sessions in each Nunavut community this fall to inform potential changes to how welfare is delivered in the territory, the GN said Sept. 11.
“Currently, 45 per cent of Nunavummiut receive income assistance, amounting to $40 million annually,” said Jeannie Ugyuk, Nunavut’s minister of Family Services, in a Sept. 11 release.
“The goal of these sessions is to work together with communities to determine how social assistance can better support Nunavummiut to take advantage of training and job opportunities.”
In hosting the sessions, the GN said it’s delivering on Premier Peter Taptuna’s Sivumut Abluqta mandate, which pledged to review social assistance to ensure that the neediest Nunavummiut are receiving it.
A 2013 report commissioned by the GN warned that welfare played too prominent a role in Nunavut’s income security system.
Instead, the report proposed that the system be rebuilt and focused on programs such as what it calls Basic Income — a type of guaranteed living wage — as well as better child benefits and a refundable cost of living allowance.
The report urged the territorial government to look to “springboard functions” or initiatives that would build work and learning capabilities.
To that end, the GN says the upcoming consultations will also help address potential economic development and job opportunities.
“The Government of Nunavut wants to understand what the current economic strengths are and how we can build on these to create more jobs and economic opportunities in each community,” said Monica Ell, Nunavut’s minister of Economic Development and Transportation. “This community engagement will also give us feedback on how to improve our programs.”
The sessions started this week in the Kivalliq, and will run through the fall. You can find a schedule of the public sessions here.