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The defender Federal Housing Authority, Marie-Josée Houle

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In Nunavut and Nunatsiavut, In northern Labrador, the housing crisis is such that Inuit human rights are being violated, impacting their mental and physical health, including the spread of tuberculosis.

This is what concludes a report (New window) by federal housing advocate Marie-Josée Houle, who above all deplores inaction from all levels of government.

It's shocking and unacceptable, she immediately said at a press conference in Ottawa on Monday. The latter asserts that the federal, territorial and provincial governments have failed in their responsibility to guarantee Inuit the right to have access to adequate housing.

This dire reality is a direct result of colonialism and the failure […] of different [orders] of governments over many decades to invest in and respect the human rights of Inuit, she said. /p>

In 2021, approximately 40% of Inuit lived in overcrowded housing in Inuit Nunangat, which includes the four Inuit regions in the country, according to Statistics Canada.

In Nunavut, more than one in two Inuk resided in overcrowded housing.

Despite repeated promises from different [orders] of government, families continue to live in deplorable conditions.

A quote from Marie-Josée Houle, federal housing advocate

His report makes a series of recommendations, such as the transfer of jurisdiction over housing-related programs and services to Inuit governments as well as the creation of independent Inuit housing advocates or ombudsmen.

In February 2022, the Trudeau government mandated Marie-Josée House to examine the housing situation in Canada. Six months later, the defender traveled to two Inuit regions of the country to take stock of the housing situation in the Far North.

During her two-week tour, she visited Pangnirtung, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit, Nunavut, as well as Nain, Hopedale and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Nunatsiavut.

Marie-Josée Houle describes disastrous housing conditions.

She gives the example of families of up to 18 people living in a three-bedroom unit. In the community of Pangnirtung, its report notes that no new construction has seen the light of day in 10 years and that more than 28% of the population is waiting for social housing.

In Rankin Inlet, water and sewer infrastructure has reached capacity, putting new housing construction at a standstill, the report says.

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The community of Pangnirtung has approximately 1,500 inhabitants, according to Statistics 2021 census Canada.

Aluki Kotierk, president of the Nunavut Tunngavik (NTI) organization, which represents the Inuit of Nunavut, noted that the report's findings reflected an already well-known problem .

We live it and we observe it, she argued. Nothing is new for the Inuit.

Aluki Kotierk wants to see systemic and transformative solutions that promote true reconciliation with Inuit populations.

Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe believes that a first step would be the transfer by Ottawa of programs and services affecting the Labrador Inuit to the Nunatsiavut government.

Federal and provincial governments should move away from program-based funding. Instead, they should ensure that the Nunatsiavut government has the resources to design Inuit-led housing plans and programs that take into account the realities of our region, he noted.

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Nunavutsiavut President Johannes Lampe (left) and Federal Housing Advocate Marie -Josée Houle (right), during a press conference in Ottawa, Monday.

Reacting to the defender's findings, the federal MP for Nunavut, Lori Idlout, decried the absence in the last federal budget of investments intended specifically for the northern territories in terms of housing.

Housing is a human right, and the Liberal government is failing to provide the funding or means to build or repair homes, and Indigenous communities across Canada are paying the price.

A quote from Lori Idlout , Federal Member of Parliament for Nunavut

Marie-Josée Houle is hopeful that her report will lead to changes: It's not because the report is out that the work is done, she said. We will monitor whether it leads to results and action.

It will be up to Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser to accept or not his recommendations.

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