On Wednesday, February 17th, the first six weeks healing cycle will begin, starting the healing journey of nine women who have been waiting to receive support. After an almost one-year closure of our services, Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre is pleased to unveil its official 2021 Healing Calendar. This year, the Centre will host five cycles in total, three for women and two for men, for a total of 45 guests by the end of the present year.
The one-year closure of our services combined with a prolonged period of isolation and stress was hard on our waiting list. Indeed, the need for recovery services and resources is growing in the region for people who not only want to stop consuming, but also aim to reduce the amount and frequency of use.
If you are interested in our services or know someone who would, apply as soon as possible on our online platform at https://isuarsivik.ca/application-form/. All applicants will be added to the waiting list and the date of their application will be considered in the selection process. If they are admitted, they will receive a confirmation by email, and they should hear from us one month prior to the beginning of the next cycle.
The Isuarsivik management team has been preparing for the reopening of its services since September 2020 with the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services. In fact, the team implemented its Reopening Plan that now includes a revised version of the protocols as well as an Infection Prevention and Control Plan. All documents were approved by the regional health authorities, certifying that Isuarsivik has implemented the best protective measures in order to safely reopen its services to all 14 communities of Nunavik, protecting employees and guests.
At all times, applicants can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to follow up on their application process or to receive assistance to fill out the application form.
The COVID-19 vaccination campaign is well on its way across Nunavik. The Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre is thus patiently and eagerly awaiting the regional and municipal decisions to reopen the construction season in Kuujjuaq this summer. The contractor, Les Constructions Pépin et Fortin Inc., who was awarded the contract for the construction of the main building in April 2020, was able to ship certain materials and equipment required for the construction of the new facility last summer. In fact, all our teams are ready and excited to finally begin the work as soon as the warmer season sets in. The beginning of the new facility’s construction in 2021 will allow the organization to move into the new facility in the fall 2022 and welcome its first guests in 2023.
The construction of a new recovery centre in Kuujjuaq is a fully funded $40.6M project. It will enable the organization to triple its hosting capacity and include new and much-needed services, such as a family healing program and services for pregnant women.
The construction of the main facility was set to start in the summer of 2020, but the municipality of Kuujjuaq decided to delay all major construction projects due to COVID. The postponement of Isuarsivik’s project impacted the construction cost of the main facility and remaining eight housing units to lodge staff.
The most recent estimate assessed the additional costs related to the postponement and increased sanitary measures at $1.6M over the original construction budget. Isuarsivik has secured half of this amount already thanks to additional contributions from regional and federal partners. Amongst them, Indigenous Services Canada confirmed an extra contribution of $500,000 to the $6M already allocated for the construction project.
We are awaiting responses from the Government of Quebec and Makivik Corporation in the coming weeks regarding requests we have made to obtain more funding.
We expect to confirm shortly the full amount needed to cover the cost increase linked to the one-year postponement of the construction project.
Every year during the month of February, participants from all over the Nunavik region challenge themselves to cease drinking alcohol for 28 days. The Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre hopes to initiate change by showing participants the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, while helping its own cause to enhance Nunavimmiut inner strength and wellbeing through holistic and culturally sensitive healing programs.
Initiated four years ago, the reach of this month-long challenge has grown exponentially, leading to the enthusiasm we can witness today. This year’s edition has seen unexpected participation with a total of 265 participants, a 56% increase since last year! Work teams from organizations such as EVOQ Architecture, NERGICA, and Jaanimarik School have also joined the Challenge for the first time, cooperating to lead by example and raise awareness around substance abuse and addiction.
Isuarsivik hopes to reach a total of $50,000 through sponsorship donations, donations from organizations, and private fundraising campaigns. All funds will go to Isuarsivik to help make the Centre’s services more accessible to the 14 communities of Nunavik as well as to provide the new Centre with the equipment and accessories necessary to support its cultural mission.
If you want to make a contribution to the Pingngupaa Challenge, visit Isuarsivik.ca/donate/!
The Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre is pleased to unveil the reviewed and improved application process for its recovery services. This process includes new Application and Medical Evaluation forms as well as an online application tool. Interested applicants can now fill a form directly online, or simply download or print it from Isuarsivik website and sent it by email or fax. Physical copies will remain available at the Centre for anyone as well as in all 14 clinics in Nunavik and in some specific locations. Individual packages with physical copies of the new forms and promotional pamphlets were sent recently to over 50 different offices and professionals who assist Nunavimmiut in needs of healing and recovery.
This much-needed step was necessary to improve Isuarsivik’s guest experience. In fact, applicants can now enjoy a simpler, user-friendly, and more effective approach which will certainly result in a smoother application process. Compared to the previous version, the new forms are now available in all three languages (English, Inuktitut, and French) and the questions have been written in a client-based approach instead of a referral-based one.
This announcement comes as the organization is planning to reopen its services in the beginning of 2021. Anyone who would like to attend Isuarsivik’s services are encouraged to apply as soon as they can, either by themselves or with the support of a referral worker. The prospective guests will be placed on the waiting list and the date of their application will be considered in the selection process. If they are admitted, they will receive a confirmation by email and they should hear from Isuarsivik one month prior to the beginning of the next cycle.
If you have any questions while filling this form, please do not hesitate to call 1-866-964-9994 and ask for the Admission and Intake Worker.
The Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre’s Board of Directors had planned to hold its Annual General Meeting for the 2019–2020 fiscal year on October 14, 2020, at Katittavik Town Hall in Kuujjuaq. But given the increase in COVID cases in the province, the directors closely analyzed the evolving situation as they wanted to ensure maximum safety for all stakeholders.
Mindful of everyone’s health conditions, the Board of Directors decided to exceptionally hold its Annual General Meeting for the fiscal year 2019–2020 electronically. This technology-based approach allows the organization to not only comply with its legal obligations as a non-profit organization, but also to contribute to keeping everyone safe, while, most of all, still being able to share last year’s great accomplishments. All members cast their ballot voting in favor of all three resolutions resolving that:
- 20201023-1/The Members approve the 2019–2020 financial statement.
- 20201023-2/Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is appointed to audit the fiscal year 2020–2021 and carry out all its mandate for a total amount of $13,925.00, plus indexation.
- 20201023-3/The Members appoint Pamela Stevenson and Jeannie Calvin as Directors representing the population at large for a 3-year term.
Individual packages were sent in October to all nine members’ presidents and executive directors. Isuarsivik’s Board of Directors want to thank them for their collaboration and continuous support, namely the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, the Kativik Regional Government, the Makivik Corporation, the Qarjuit Youth Council, the Northern Village of Kuujjuaq, the Avataq Cultural Institute, the Inuulitsivik Health Centre—Nunavik-Hudson Bay, the Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services.
Back in March 2020, Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre’s Continued Care Services Department reacted quickly to the current pandemic by developing a Virtual Aftercare Project. This Project would allow guests who have completed the 42-days healing program to obtain remote post-treatment follow-up and support.
This project aims to enable the organization to scale up its regional impact and develop the overall continuum of care for its guests. Ultimately, this initiative shall improve the quality of care Isuarsivik strives to provide from a multi-level perspective. It is anticipated that pre-care and post-care will improve the recovery rates, and result in a better client experience.
During the summer, the team focused on research to find the best virtual platform given the region’s limited technology infrastructure and capacity as well as best practices and regulations regarding safety measures and protocols. They also shared knowledge with Wanaki Center, Walgwan, Innulicare, On the Wagon, Hasu Counselling and Northern Counselling and Therapeutic Services to better understand their virtual programming, their preferred platform, their challenges, their approach, and their response to safety and confidentiality.
To validate Isuarsivik’s findings and to assess the former guest’s challenges and needs after completing the inpatient program, the team ran an in-depth survey among Isuarsivik’s former guests. Close to 10% of 2017–2020 guests took part in the survey by phone. The results are very informative!
We learned, among other things that the main challenges that former guest’s face after completing treatment are the proximity of family members or friends who drink, and their cravings to consume. However, almost all former guests stated that they have better control over their substance use since attending the Isuarsivik program. Three former guests out of four believe their recovery journey would have been smoother if a continuum of care was provided by Isuarsivik, and almost all former guests stated they would be interested in accessing virtual care services from within their communities if and when these services become available.
The majority of the respondents also stated that they would feel more comfortable to speak on the phone with a counsellor rather than by videocall or chat messages. We are grateful to our former guests for taking the time to let us know about their experience after the inpatient program.
Those results will guide the Continued Care Services Department in the coming phases of the Virtual Aftercare Project in 2021 and 2022, which are the development of the virtual services, and their launching and assessment.
September is the National Recovery Month. In 2020, Isuarsivik wanted to promote this important movement by showing support to all those in recovery. And because recovery is a growing process, Isuarsivik organized a plant sale.
From September 1 to 15, people living in Kuujjuaq and Puvirnituq had the opportunity to pre-order a 3-inch plant for only $40.00 to help the growth of recovery and to make a difference for Isuarsivik’s development projects. For each purchase, $25.00 was considered as a direct donation to the Centre. A total of $1,725 was raised and more than 80 people are now enjoying a new addition to their home. Among them, 10 were Isuarsivik’s former guests. They were surprised by a plant that shows support to their recovery journey, a generous donation from 10 individuals who intentionally bought a plant to be offered to one of our former guests.
We are amazed by the support we received from all corners of the region to all those in recovery. We want to thank Saqijuq for having promoted this new initiative and distributed the plants in Puvirnituq. A special thanks to the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services and the Northern Village of Umiujaq who bought 20 and 10 plants respectively to distribute within their organization and community to raise awareness.
This is what we call a simple initiative with major impact.
It is with care and compassion that Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre is suspending its services related to substance use recovery in Nunavik. The Centre’s services remain a vital need and a high priority in the region, but the quality of our services and the safety of our staff and guests are of the utmost importance. Without them, we can’t fulfill our mission.
“We know the impact of social distancing and isolation, as well as the decrease in stocks of alcohol available for sale, are additional stressors for our people with problematic substance use. This situation leads to deeper feelings of stress, sadness, anxiety, anger, or boredom. We are staying up to date with regional organizations and as soon as the restrictions are lifted, we will be ready to reschedule our next cycles and plan the welcoming of our guests,” confirmed Alicia Aragutak, Executive Director.
Since March 16, 2020, Isuarsivik has been supporting the decisions of the health care authorities and complying with all its recommendations to control the pandemic in our region. Given the seriousness of the situation, Isuarsivik decided to close its facility and to temporarily offer its centre to NRBHSS for emergency needs in the region.
Concretely, the upcoming women cycle scheduled in June and July is postponed until the region is given the green light to safely operate an inpatient program. As for the other sessions scheduled this fall, dates will be readjusted when the reopening of the centre is confirmed. In preparation of the next cycle, we have a plan to sanitize the centre, instill new safety and healthy measures for both staff and guests, and ensure quality and safety for everyone.
In reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, Isuarsivik has been proactive by initiating its first project under the Continued Care Services Division. Former Isuarsivik guests can now join a virtual peer support group called Isuarsivik Recovery Aftercare to connect and share resources amongst a community of peers in recovery. In addition, Isuarsivik launched a social campaign on Facebook in support of all those confined in their homes and living with trauma. As part of this initiative, we have put together a series of messages inspired by Inuit ancestors’ values to share compassion and nurture good faith for the difficult weeks to come.
Isuarsivik team is still connected and can be reached by email for any questions or follow-up on ongoing projects.
Last fall, Isuarsivik announced that it had secured $40.5m to build the new main facility and 12 housing units for staff. As planned, the call for tenders for the construction of the main facility was launched in early January 2020. On February 17, the Committee opened and reviewed the bids, and then confirmed the lowest compliant bidder to be Les Construction Pépin et Fortin Inc., a contractor with a solid experience in Nunavik.
The contract was supposed to be awarded the following weeks, but the COVID-19 outbreak forced us to postpone the signature of the contract. We had to engage in an extensive risk analysis while the construction sector was locked for several weeks. To enable Isuarsivik to take an informed position in this very complex situation, we’ve been in close communication with actors of the construction industry, legal advisors, regional organizations that are promoting construction projects, and our partners from all levels of government.
Taking into account the perspective of all parties, we finally awarded the construction contract to Les Constructions Pépin et Fortin Inc. on April 16, 2020. This date became an important milestone in Isuarsivik’s history because its dream is finally getting closer to becoming a reality.
Our project team and the contractor are working very hard to ensure everything is in place to start construction this summer, while respecting the increased safety measures adopted to protect the workers and the population of Nunavik. However, considering the uncertainties regarding the re-opening of the Nunavik region to the construction workers, Isuarsivik is working with its partners on a contingency plan to ensure the success of the project despite the current complex situation.
Isuarsivik would like to acknowledge the outstanding contribution of some individuals who have played a major role in this contract-awarding process, namely:
- Its Board Members; Dave Forrest, Mary Aitchison, Martha Greig, Shirley White Dupuis, Steven Kelly, Sean McDonald, Charlotte Perret, Minnie Maali Snowball, and Louisa Kuananack
- Its executive director, Alicia Aragutak
- Its development plan coordinator, Philippe-Alexandre Bourgouin
- Its construction project manager, Maxime Héroux
- The Council of project partners, Adamie Delisle Alaku, Silas Watt, Michael Gordon, Patrick Beauchesne, Yannick Larouche-Tremblay, Dave Forrest, and Mary Aitchison
- Its legal advisor, Jean-François Arteau
Thanks to the incredible power of word of mouth, we received a surprise contribution to help the cause of healing in Nunavik. In early March 2020, Desjardins made a $5,000 donation to the Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre to support the Pingngupaa Challenge, which took place last February in Nunavik.
This generous donation came as a nice surprise on a Wednesday morning in the form of a cheque, delivered by Clara Morrissette-Boileau, an employee of the Kativik Regional Government. Her brother Antoine, a Desjardins partner, explains, “Every year, Desjardins, in partnership with Freedom International Brokerage, donates a portion of its investment profits to a cause chosen by a Desjardins employee. And this year, I was the lucky one designated to choose the cause!” In a telephone interview, he stressed how he always had a strong interest in Nunavik and the Inuit people. That’s why he wanted to take this opportunity to make a small difference in the lives of people in need. “When I asked my sister to name organizations that play a key role in the region, she immediately told me about Isuarsivik and I was quickly charmed by the cause,” says Antoine.
Isuarsivik would like to warmly thank the Morrissette-Boileau family as well as Desjardins’s team for their trust and for contributing to the Centre’s mission.
Isuarsivik is a registered charity. We therefore accept donations from companies who wish to help making the Centre’s services more accessible to the 14 communities of Nunavik. Donations will also be used to buy equipment to support the cultural component of our new Centre’s programs.