Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee
On February 9, 2017, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation CEO Duane Smith, with four other Inuit leaders, came together to sign a partnership agreement with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to work toward creating “socio-economic and cultural equity between Inuit and other Canadians.” This agreement created the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, which is devoted to tackling the unique economic, environmental, social and cultural challenges that Inuit face. These include health issues such as Tuberculosis (TB), which is far more prevalent among Inuit compared to non-Inuit based on many socio-economic factors. In 2015, the incidence rate of TB was still 270 times higher among Inuit than the non-Indigenous Canadian-born population.
A Tuberculosis Task Force was established to seek ways to address the Tuberculosis crisis in Inuit Nunangat. The Task Force will build on previous work and strategies by Inuit organizations and find ways to address major factors, such as overcrowded housing due to housing shortages, which have been identified as responsible for the high rates of TB in Inuit Nunangat. In March 2018, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Government of Canada committed to reduce the TB rate by 50 percent across Inuit Nunangat by the year 2025 and to eliminate it completely by 2030.
Since 2010, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation’s representatives have actively participated in the development of the Nanilavut Initiative. Each Inuit region of Canada hired a Nanilavut Project Administrator to help those searching for lost family member(s).
Beverly Lennie, the Nanilavut Project Administrator, is now managing and administering program services to help Inuvialuit locate lost loved ones and to share important information about the history of Tuberculosis. She will also share current developments to help Inuvialuit reduce or eliminate the Tuberculosis bacteria from spreading within households, communities and nationwide.
On March 8, 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized to Inuit for the Canadian government’s management of the Tuberculosis Epidemic (1940s to 1960s). The apology, on behalf of the Government of Canada, took place in Iqaluit, Nunavut and Duane Smith, CEO and Chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and five delegates from communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, attended to represent Inuvialuit who were—and continue to be—negatively affected by the government’s wrongdoings during the Tuberculosis Epidemic.
The Nanilavut Initiative was launched that same day. It was created jointly by the Government of Canada, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Makivvik Corporation, the Nunatsiavut Government, Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Kivalliq Inuit Association, the Government of Nunavut, the Government of the Northwest Territories and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.