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Legislative Assembly briefs
210 homes on the table

Danielle Sachs
Northern News Services
Published Monday, May 20, 2013

Nunavut is slated to receive $100 million over the next two years for public housing which has been tentatively divided through 12 different communities.

The funding still has to be approved when the federal budget is passed, but Nunavut Housing Corporation Minister Peter Taptuna said the government is using a needs-based approach to figure out the units for each community. The current allocation is 30 for Iqaluit, 20 for Repulse Bay, 30 for Arviat, 20 for Clyde River, 10 for Coral Harbour, 20 for Kugluktuk, 30 for Baker Lake, 20 for Rankin Inlet, five for Whale Cove, 10 for Taloyoak, 10 for Cambridge Bay and five for Iglulik.

"This method measures how big the wait list is compared to how many public housing units there are in the community. Using the wait list alone would result in only the largest communities being served," said Taptuna. "This methodology ensures that units are allocated fairly."

Vet services needed

Pangnirtung MLA Hezakiah Oshutapik says veterinary services are needed in Nunavut communities to help the hamlets deal with out-of-control stray populations and disease outbreaks.

"Some of the communities have not had veterinary services for over a decade," said Oshutapik during question period at the legislative assembly on May 10. "It is often the hamlet officials who have to deal with strays, disease outbreaks and other aspects of dog control."

According to Oshutapik, regular visits by spay and neuter clinics, such as the one held recently in Pangnirtung, could make life easier for the hamlet officials.

Currently, the hamlets decide what kind of training and services their staff provide, said Community and Government Services Minister Lorne Kusugak.

Because of the lack of veterinary services, it's usually municipal enforcement officers or bylaw officers that deal with dogs, said Oshutapik. He said he'd like to see formal training and programs that deal with dog-related issues.

"I know that municipal enforcement officers do get training in areas they want to get training. The municipalities are responsible for training their enforcement officers," said Kusugak. "As to whether they get specific training to prevent dog bites and those things, I really do not know."

Early childhood education gets a boost

Justice Minister Daniel Shewchuk announced last week Nunavut Arctic College will soon be delivering more early childhood education training across Nunavut.

"This pan-territorial initiative is being made possible through the federal Aboriginal Head Start Strategic Fund and has been approved for $1.1 million over the next two years," said Shewchuk in the legislative assembly on May 14.

The college certificate program trains students to work with children from newborns to six years old. The funding from the federal government will allow the training to spread across the territory, said Shewchuk.

"This project will initiate, support, and enhance culturally sensitive programming in our communities. It also complements and supports our ongoing efforts to provide more early childhood education programming in Nunavut."

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