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2020 Year-In-Review: MARCH


Health Minister declares public health emergency


On March 18 Health Minister George Hickes declared a public health emergency in Nunavut effective March 20 due to Covid-19 concerns. This “unprecedented step” was taken based on the advice of Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) Dr. Michael Patterson, said Hickes.

Anyone who has arrived in the territory since March 15 and not in an “essential service delivery position,” should immediately start to self-isolate for 14 days stated Patterson in a news release.

Between 50 and 60 people  tested thus far and approximately half of the test results were received, said Premier Joe Savikataaq.

The samples are flown south to be tested and then the test results are emailed or faxed to Nunavut’s Department of Health.

Home swabs have also started in some communities, announced Patterson.

The public health emergency has been renewed 20 times, as of press time extending to Dec. 25.

The cancellation of the Nunavut Mining Symposium was just one sting to Nunavut’s economy which would be caused by Covid-19 concerns.  photo courtesy of Hark Nijjar Photography

Pangnirtung man jailed for vicious assault at home


Joshua Evic, 44, of Pangnirtung will be behind bars for three years, minus time served, for his part in a vicious assault on another man who required 16 staples to close the cut on his head. Jessica Akpalialuk, the 27-year-old co-offender, was sentenced to a year in jail, minus time served, for her part in the attack.

The assault took place at a mutual friend’s home on Mar. 5, 2019. The pair arrived and Akpalialuk got into an argument with the victim. She began punching the victim on his head and arm. Then Evic joined in and they began kicking the man as well, even after he fell to the ground. The victim was rendered unconscious.


Fight against domestic violence scales up


Family Services Minister Elisapee Sheutiapik requested $1 million from the GN on March 4 to aid existing family violence shelters and to put toward the planning and opening of new shelters in Pangnirtung, Baker Lake, Pond Inlet and Gjoa Haven. She’s also seeking $645,000 for five new positions to move forward with the Community Co-ordination for Women’s Safety Initiative.

A 112-page report that Pauktuutit released in January contains a multitude of recommendations to counteract the overwhelming number of violent transgressions - a rate 13 times higher for Inuit women than for women in the rest of Canada.

The report also a contained a recommendation for RCMP to get a better historical understanding of the plight of the Inuit and to become more familiar with their culture.


Secrecy shrouds police homicide


A  Kinngait resident is dead following an encounter with RCMP and an Ottawa police homicide unit is investigating the RCMP’s role in that death.

Neither police department is revealing any details relating to the late February tragedy.

“We haven’t heard nothing, I haven’t heard nothing,” said Cape Dorset mayor Timoon Toonoo on March 6.

Asked if he has confidence in once police force investigating another, Toonoo replied, “I don’t really have a say on that.”

The ordeal left some Cape Dorset residents feeling “stressed out,” Toonoo said, adding that the court circuit that was scheduled to take place in March was delayed until May in light of the tragic circumstances.


Coronavirus stings Nunavut’s economy


Nunavut’s economy took an estimated $750,000 hit from the cancellation of the annual Nunavut Mining Symposium, organizers calculated.

Hotels and airlines were among the businesses that felt a pinch from the loss of business associated with the mining symposium.

Businesses impacted by the decision to cancel the symposium were notified and the Nunavut Mining Symposium (NMS) issued full refunds to all delegates and sponsors who had made payments, according to a news release.

“If we see many more events cancelled like NMS and the AWG (Arctic Winter Games), it will be difficult for businesses associated with these industries,” said Victor Tootoo, president of the Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce.