Though Health Minister John Main has cited in the past that the number of people who would require a medical boarding home in Rankin Inlet is low for the threshold of the government making such an investment, he did float the possibility in the future in responses to questions from Baker Lake MLA Craig Simailak.
“We are looking at the numbers and we are looking at how we can improve the system of people getting stuck in between their departure and their destination,” said Main, interpreted from Inuktitut, in the legislative assembly Nov. 2.
“We see them sleeping in the terminal, which is not very good to see.”
He said the government is leasing rooms from the hotels, which has helped, but it adds to the expenses as well.
“In terms of the prefeasibility numbers, as has been discussed in this house, they are low in terms of looking at a boarding home in Rankin Inlet and whether we need to move to the next step of a feasibility study,” said Main.
But looking at developments in the community such as the new long-term care facility, dental services and a birthing centre, Main said, “there are things that are moving us towards a feasibility study for looking at a boarding home in Rankin Inlet.”
Simailak responded that he thought it was time to make that happen.
“Far too many times we all have heard stories of people getting stuck in Rankin Inlet either because of weather in their home community, or the airline went mechanical while in Rankin Inlet,” said Simailak, asking when a feasibility study would be conducted.
“In terms of when we would move to a feasibility study, we would be looking to move soon,” said Main. “We would be approaching Indigenous Services Canada to ask for financial support to complete the feasibility study.”
He added that another big concern for the Department of Health in its meetings with Indigenous Services Canada is a funding agreement for non-insured health benefits.