Nunavut MP takes up cause for Iqaluit daycare

During Question Period in the House of Commons on May 21, Nunavut MP Lori Idlout spoke on the pending closure of Tumikuluit Saipaaqivik Daycare in Iqaluit, which requires an infusion of funds to remain open.

Idlout urged the Liberals to deliver on a promise to fund Nunavut child care services such as Tumikuluit, a facility that promotes Inuit culture.

“Immediate action to save the Tumikuluit daycare is needed," stated Idlout in the House. "Parents in Iqaluit and Nunavut should not have to risk losing their jobs because child care is not available. Inuit children deserve to have culturally-appropriate care in Inuktitut and learn Inuit culture. Parents deserve to earn income without fear of losing childcare.”

When contacted by Nunavut News, a media relations representative from Employment and Social Development Canada provided the following statement:

"The Government of Canada and Nunavut work closely together on early learning and child care. Canada will continue to work with Nunavut to ensure the sustainability of child care operations in the territory. The Canada-Nunavut Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement was signed on Jan. 23, 2022, and provides $66.1 million in funding and an additional three-year ELCC Infrastructure Fund funding of $7.99M for 2023-2024 to 2025-2026. Specifically, Canada-wide investments have been used to lower fees for families enrolled in Tumikuluit Saipaaqivik and support its workforce by helping to fund its wage scale and corresponding wage top-ups.

"We understand that representatives from the Inuit and territorial governments have been in contact with Tumikuluit Saipaaqivik‘s administrators and have provided detailed information to ensure they can apply for all available funding opportunities."

As of the morning of May 23, Idlout was able to provide Nunavut News with an update on the status of the daycare that would potentially put many employed Inuit parents in Nunavut's capital in a difficult situation.

"The daycare contacted me after I asked the question. [I'm] super happy because the federal government reached out to them right away. I'm just going to... keep contacting them every day to make sure that they get the urgent funding that they need to stay open.

"It sounds like they want to work with them to get them the funding that they need."

Tumikuluit Saipaaqivik daycare did not respond to requests for comment.

Kira Wronska Dorward, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunavut News