Urban Inuit will remain ‘marginalized’ and underserved due to insufficient funding despite growing demand for training and employment programs, says a representative of an Ottawa-based Inuit organization.
Jason LeBlanc, executive director of Tungasuvvingat Inuit (TI), says his organization will have to rely on its existing $374,356 annual ISET base funding and any shared funding from other Inuit organizations, despite the announcement of new federal funding.
“As the population continues to leave Inuit Nunangat and relocate into the Ottawa and Ontario region, it is very clear that our current base funding is completely inadequate to support the current population of Ontario Inuit,” said LeBlanc. “As data collection on the Inuit population in the south continues, we are talking upwards of 40 per cent of the total Inuit population in Canada that now reside in the south. The fact that no additional monies will be allocated to TI means we cannot serve the community in Ottawa and Ontario that requires this much-needed funding.”
Tungasuvvingat Inuit’s record of client interactions shows 128 clients in 2015, 108 in 2016, 121 in 2017, 159 in 2018 and 122 over the first seven months of 2019, which puts the organization on pace for a record high.
TI has delivered programs relating to construction, landscaping and technology mentoring programs, among others, over its 30-year history.
A few Inuit organizations in the North have committed a portion of their funding to assist Tungasuvvingat Inuit.
“We are thankful to Kakivak Association and Kitikmeot Inuit Association for committing funds that will support beneficiaries that have relocated to Ontario away from their home region,” LeBlanc stated.
A spokesperson for Employment and Social Development Canada stated that Inuit organizations were consulted prior to the allocation of the $161.2 million in new funding over five years for Inuit skills-development groups and their recommendations were accepted.