Meeting with Minister Valcourt : The Inuit demand immediate solutions to the housing crisis in Nunavik

Kuujjuaq, Quebec November 28 2013 – Makivik Corporation is pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, to explain the disastrous consequences of the serious housing crisis in Nunavik which is jeopardizing the health of many hundreds of Inuit families.

Jobie Tukkiapik, President of Makivik Corporation felt that Minister Valcourt was receptive to the concerns expressed by Makivik regarding the housing crisis and noted that the Minister was particularly concerned with the negative impacts of this overcrowding on Nunavik children. The Makivik representatives underlined to the Minister the fact that Inuit housing conditions instead of improving were in fact regressing; as a result up to 10 people are forced to live in a two bedroom house and some Inuit families today are even forced to live in tents in the winter in totally unacceptable conditions.

We explained to Minister Valcourt that as a result of the increase in new families and the backlog stemming from the fact that no new housing construction took place between 1994 and 1998 inclusively, there is a need for 899 new houses. In order to address this situation, funding is immediately required, over and above existing agreements, to build additional houses. I hope the federal government is not creating the budget surplus, recently announced by Minister Flaherty of $3.7 billion, by not spending the monies we need for housing” stated Jobie Tukkiapik.

Summary
According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, the population of Nunavik was 12,090 persons, of which 89% were Inuit and 34% were less than 15 years old. Nunavik has the highest level of overcrowding in all of Canada, 68% of the families live in overcrowded housing.

This chronic overcrowding has resulted in a significant increase in cases of active tuberculosis, 320 cases per 100,000 residents as compared to 3 cases per 100,000 in the south.

The Quebec Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse in a report concerning Nunavik youth indicated that the security and development of Inuit youth is at serious risk as a result of the lack of adequate housing.

As part of the 2010-2015 Housing Agreement, 337 housing units will be built. The government of Quebec has undertaken to finance the construction and operating cost of an additional 300 units to be constructed between 2012-2016.

Concerning Makivik
The Makivik Corporation is a non-profit corporation created pursuant to the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (1975) and mandated to represent the social, political and economic interests and well-being of Nunavik Inuit. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty and education of Inuit in Nunavik communities. Makivik is a signatory of the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (2008).

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For Information:
William Tagoona
Senior Communications Consultant
819 964 2925
wtagoona@makivik.org

Catherine Escojido
Coordinator Communications

514 927 8807
catherine@escojido.com

Meeting with Minister Valcourt : The Inuit demand immediate solutions to the housing crisis in Nunavik