Deadline for plans passed Dec. 31
Last October, a communication outage in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut highlighted the need for local emergency plans.
Soon after the signal returned, Nunavut’s Community and Government Services Minister Lorne Kusugak minister said each hamlet should have an emergency plan in place for the New Year.
Now, more than two weeks past Dec. 31, the job is far from finished.
Kusugak said the territory has done its part.
“We provided templates and also the knowledge and the background in terms of how to plan and deal with these projects,” he said.
The plans help communities identify how to respond or who to contact during events like power failures or if their airport or water supplies are shut down.
Hamlets need to pass the emergency plan as bylaws for them to be effective, and many still have not.
This includes the large communities of Rankin Inlet, Arviat and Igloolik.
In the cases where emergency plans have been finalized, they’re often not well publicized.
Akeego Ikkidluak, the senior administrative officer in Kimmirut, said her community has had a safety plan since 2008, but few know about it.
“I think a lot of the people we would have to remind because this was some time ago that they were trying to make the public aware,” said Ikkidluak.
With the unpredictable weather, the member of the legislative assembly for the electoral district of Quttiktuq, Ron Elliott, is worried.
“We’ve got the changing climate … it seems to be warmer, the ice is changing,” said Elliott.
The emergency plans are a work in progress, but officials from the hamlets contacted by CBC news said they are making it a priority.