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Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society Established

NR 05-14 DIS ENG Disabilities Society.doc

(March 17, 2005 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik 2nd Vice-President Raymond Ningeocheak announced today the establishment of the Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society, a disabilities council for Nunavut. The inaugural meeting of the Society took place in Iqaluit this week, March 15-17, 2005.
This is a very exciting development because there has been no concerted effort to address disabilities issues on a territorial basis since 2000, when the first Disabilities Council was disbanded, said Ningeocheak. The Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society will work on acquiring funds for disability-related issues, including infrastructure needs and public awareness. The Society will also advocate on behalf of disabled persons in Nunavut, and will collect statistical information on disabilities in the territory, said Ningeocheak.

Using the rights outlined in Article 32 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, which require the federal and territorial governments to involve Inuit in the development of policies, and the design and delivery of disabilities programs, the Society plans to take a leading role in all decision making processes on programs and services that affect people with disabilities. The Society also hopes to engage Southern disabilities organizations in issues that affect disabled Nunavummiut.

In doing so, the Society hopes to remove all duplication of efforts on existing services, and to fully integrate persons with disabilities into our communities by removing societal barriers and promoting disability awareness. Our goal is to empower persons with disabilities in all aspects of life in Nunavut, said Ningeocheak.

During the three-day inaugural meeting, Ningeocheak said participants came up with the name for the Society, defined the role of the Society, and identified long-term goals and funding sources within the federal government, the Government of Nunavut and private sector foundations. NTI will donating office space to the Society, and will provide guidance on issues that need to be addressed.

The launch of the Society is part of an NTI initiative that began in 2003 when the NTI Board of Directors recognized that services available to disabled Beneficiaries were far below the standard found in the rest of Canada. The Board committed $100,000 and a full-time staff member to find long and short-term priorities to help remedy this situation. NTI then formed a disabilities task force, which led to this week’s conference and the launch of the Society.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada provided the funding for the meeting under the Adult Care Fund.

For further information:
Kerry McCluskey
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Tel: (867) 975-4914