From emergency to stability

The announcement in October that our city's water treatment plant was contaminated with fuel was an added setback in an already challenging year. We are grateful for the outpouring of support in the face of this crisis, and while this may just be a temporary setback for Iqaluit we are more conscious than ever of the ongoing drinking water advisories in other indigenous communities. While progress has been made, there are still 31 such communities across the country.

But even after the do-not-consume order is lifted, it's still far from certain if and when we will be able to secure enough water for our growing city. The lack of water has impeded development in a community with a severe lack of affordable housing, and the resulting overcrowding exacerbates a host of other social issues. Most Canadians don't need to worry about tuberculosis, but Inuit and First Nations communities still have outbreaks. On top of dealing with one emergency after another, both municipal and territorial governments are chronically understaffed.

All this is exhausting, particularly for those on the margins. Nonetheless we are hopeful that stability will one day be within reach. The territorial election in October brought in a number of fresh faces, with a new premier and dramatically altered cabinet. We would like to congratulate our newly-elected MLAs and look forward to working towards change together. In addition, we are excited about the possibilities that could emerge from the decision to explore Inuit self-government. After two decades of public government, the inequities between Inuit and non-Inuit cannot be ignored.

Despite all the calamity we've still been able to accomplish a lot! The fall cohort of our Pilimmaksaktut Pre-employment Training Program will finish with a community feast on Friday, December 17. If you would like to reserve a spot, call 979-4863 or email us. If you are interested in joining our next training group starting in January, please contact our Food Skills Coordinator.

On the advocacy and engagement front, our All-Candidates' Event for the Nunavut general election was a great success. Many thanks to all  the candidates who took part.

Soon-to-be premier P.J. Akeeagok at the event

With the help of Polar Outfitting and Community Food Centres Canada, we ran three sessions of an on-the-land pilot program for girls that involved whale hunting, seal processing and clam digging.

We're pleased to announce two new additions to our team—a Country Food Access Coordinator, Kenny Merkosak, and an Administrative Assistant, Annie Qaunirq. Welcome!

At the same time, Thea Zuiker has moved on to new beginnings after wearing many hats at our Centre over the past 2+ years. We wish her all the best!

We received a great deal of media coverage in the last month, so here are some highlights:

Broadview magazine: 3 organizations tackling food insecurity in Indigenous communities

CBC: Higher demand for meals amidst water emergency

CTV Your Morning: Interview with QCFC executive director (video)

The National: Iqaluit water contamination leads to state of emergency (video)

While we await the winds of change, we at QCFC will continue to do what we do best: Provide good food, education, training, and support for those who need it, and advocate for change at the systemic level. As you are likely aware, today is Giving Tuesday. While it would be naïve of us to think this is the only charitable donation request you'll receive today, we hope that you value our work enough to show your support.

There are a couple ways you can donate. First, there's our General Fund that pays for everything we can't cover through funding agreements, be it food purchases, staff wages or building maintenance. There is also the Inuksiut Resiliency Fund, where 100% of donations goes to pay hunters for the country food we use in our programs.

Whether you're a friendly face at the Centre or someone who has never stepped foot on the tundra, we wouldn't exist without the support of everyone involved.

Back to all stories...

How you can help

The support we receive from our community has a direct impact on hundreds of Iqalummiut on a daily basis. You can help us in the following ways: