March 1st, 2021

Nunavut government tables health-focused budget as pandemic continues


By The Canadian Press on February 23, 2021.

The Legislative Building of Nunavut is seen in Iqaluit on April 25, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

IQALUIT, Nunavut – The Nunavut government has tabled a $2-billion budget that focuses on adding more health-care services in the territory, including creation of a Pandemic Response Secretariat.

Finance Minister George Hickes has delivered the draft document for the upcoming 2021-2022 fiscal year during his annual budget address.

Last year, Hickes projected Nunavut’s deficit would be the largest yet – higher than $30 million.

However, it sits at $21 million, because $130 million in federal funding was provided last year to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget sets aside $4.8 million for the new Pandemic Response Secretariat and $1.2 million for a colorectal cancer screening program in Iqaluit.

It also commits funding to a new bachelor of social work program at Nunavut Arctic College.

Members of the legislature are to spend the next few weeks reviewing and voting on whether to approve the budget’s contents.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021

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