Minister Aglukkaq Announces Actions to Strengthen Health Services in Nunavut

Mar 18, 2015, 14:38 ET from Health Canada

New Investments to help reduce demand for out-of-territory medical travel and services.

IQALUIT, NUNAVUT, March 18, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, today announced an investment of more than $32 million over three years to strengthen access to services in the areas of mental wellness, chronic disease, and children's oral health and reduce reliance on out-of-territory health systems and medical travel.  

With this investment going to the Territorial Health Investment Fund, almost $3 million of funding over three years will be allocated to support Mental Health Services Capacity Development. This work will focus on establishing a high quality continuum of mental health services and developing human resource capacity within the mental health workforce. Building mental health service capacity is also a key commitment of the Nunavut Suicide Prevention Strategy.

The Nunavut Oral Health Pilot which provided assessments and treatments to Nunavummiut in Arctic Bay, Cape Dorset, and Repulse Bay in the fall of 2013 will receive $6.9 million over the next three years to provide services and treatments to the remaining 22 communities in Nunavut. The funding will also allow for an increase in dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, and local community oral health coordinators.

The Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut are also working together to reduce chronic disease and improve the standards of nutrition in the North by providing $3 million over the next three years to increase the number of clinical dieticians and the implementation of territorial standards for food services in facilities.

To offset the continued cost burden associated with medical travel, $17 million will be provided to Nunavut's Ministry of Health to help alleviate the significant expenditures. In addressing specific health care system needs by increasing services "in-territory" in mental health, and children's oral health, and supporting chronic disease prevention, the requirement for medical travel will be reduced in these areas in the years to come.

Nunavut is also leading a mental health pan-territorial project "E-Mental Health and Other Innovative Strategies for the Delivery of Mental Health Services in Remote Northern Communities". Nunavut's share of this project is $2.6 million over three years and will focus on supporting therapeutic services for youth with depression, an online service database for mental health services available in the four official languages of Nunavut, and population modeling to support mental health service planning.

Quick Facts

  • The Territorial Health Investment Fund, a $70 million, three-year pan-territorial initiative to strengthen health services in the territories was announced in Economic Action Plan 2014.
  • This three-year, over $32 million investment in Nunavut will improve services in mental health, and children's oral health, and support chronic disease prevention for all Nunavummiut.
  • The Northern Wellness Approach recognizes the unique health priorities of Northerners and enables northern governments with the flexibility to deliver health programs based on their needs.
  • Healthy Northerners and healthy Northern communities contribute to Canada's overall social and economic development and are an important component of Arctic sovereignty.


"By supporting strengthened health care services in Nunavut we are ultimately supporting strong communities and healthy people. Our Government is committed to working with Nunavummiut in the delivery of community-based, culturally-relevant programs that promote good physical and mental health, and a healthy start in life. We will continue building healthy and self-sufficient Northern communities that contribute to social and economic development in Canada's north."
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Environment

"In Sivumut Abluqta, the Government of Nunavut committed to addressing mental health and addictions for healthy families and strong communities. With these funds, Nunavut will build capacity and strengthen mental health programming for Nunavummiut."
The Honourable Paul Okalik
Minister of Health, Government of Nunavut

Also available in Inuktitut.  


SOURCE Health Canada