The GN wants more money from the federal government to help airlines during Covid-19. Today, at the press conference, Premier Joe Savikataaq announced that $35.8 million in funds will be given to Nunavut by the federal government for the territory’s health system, airlines, Nutrition North and small businesses.
“While we welcome these funds and the relief it brings, Nunavut needs more, and we need it now,” said the Premier. “Nunavut is chronically underfunded, and we cannot be expected to deal with this new global reality from behind the starting line.”
The GN views this initial fund as “a solid foundation”, but plans to work with the Government of Canada to obtain more money for the territory during Covid-19.
Four weeks ago, the GN had requested $42 million, said Savikataaq, adding “there’s quite a lag in getting our answers.”
Earlier this afternoon, Savikataaq expressed his disappointment to Dan Vandal, minister of northern affairs, about not receiving the requested funding and lengthy wait time for the response.
To date, the GN has already spent $20.4 million of its own money, revealed the premier.
Currently, the GN is spending $2.25 million weekly on airlines in order to maintain basic scheduling and keep the airline industry in operation.
“We need more investment from the Government of Canada in this area. Air travel is our only link between communities and the rest of Canada. It is vital that we maintain this service and ensure its viability after this pandemic,” expressed Nunavut’s premier.
“We can’t continue to fund the airlines at an indefinite rate because we don’t know how long this Covid-19 stuff is going to go on.”
The GN officials are working out the “exact details” on what is being funded, said Savikataaq, noting that “the bulk of the health funding portion has been funded.”
As of today, there are still no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Nunavut. Presently, 288 people are under investigation for Covid-19, while 181 have been cleared.