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2020-2023 Northern Action Plan – A $9.5M Investment for a New Air Inuit Staff House in Puvirnituq

Press Release

QUÉBEC, June 17, 2022  – The Société du Plan Nord (SPN) and Air Inuit jointly invest $9.5 million to build a new staff house for the airline’s workforce in Puvirnituq. This new building will help attract, mobilize, and retain company personnel, which operates and serves the Nord-du-Québec region.

Mr. Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Côte-Nord and Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine regions, and Christian Busch, Air Inuit President and CEO, have made the announcement today. The SPN will grant $3.2 million toward this project, while Air Inuit will cover the remaining $6.3 million to carry out this project.

The new building will help better meet the increasing air travel demand in Nunavik and comply with newly implemented federal regulations on pilot fatigue management. Air Inuit must, in fact, hire more staff to maintain its operations and avoid service interruptions while mitigating the effects of pilots’ increased flight time limitations.

The future staff house will host 25 rooms, 15 more than are available in the existing Air Inuit staff house. It will also feature private sanitary blocks designed according to COVID-19 health guidelines.

This project will be carried out by Kautaq Construction. The environmental dimension of this project will be emphasized to optimize the use of locally sourced resources and limit the project’s environmental impacts. The new building is scheduled to be unveiled in 2023.

The SPN grants $3.2 million in funding through the Northern Action Plan 2020-2023 Opportunity Budget. This budget aims to address issues and meet communities’ needs north of the 49th parallel during this period.

Quote :

“Today, I am pleased to announce our government’s funding toward this Air Inuit project. Through the Northern Action Plan, we aim to optimize area access while ensuring we meet each region’s needs. This new staff house will ensure the reliability of Air Inuit’s services, which are essential for Nunavik’s communities.”

Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Côte-Nord Region and the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine Region

“This investment is excellent news for the Northern Territory. Air Inuit, wholly under Inuit ownership, is important for Nunavik. This airline links the various northern villages and connects the Northern territory to the province’s south. The company also provides quality jobs for residents of the area.”

Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs

“Puvirnituq is the hub that links many of the surrounding communities on the Hudson coast and Hudson Straight, providing a consistent quality of service to this community is key. We thank the Société du Plan Nord for their contribution towards this project and applaud Air Inuit for its initiative and dedication in making sure that Nunavimmiut receive the services they deserve.”

Pita Aatami, President, Makivik Corporation

“Today, we are investing substantial sums to ensure the continuation of essential services in Nunavik and contribute to Air Inuit staff well-being, who work in sometimes harsh, winterly conditions to deliver quality airline services. We want to thank our partners, the Société du Plan Nord and the gouvernement du Québec, for their support in building this new infrastructure.”

Christian Busch, President and CEO, Air Inuit

Highlights :

  • SPN’s mission is to contribute to the integrated and holistic development of Québec’s Northern territory based on government-issued orientations. It does so in consultation with relevant regional representatives, Indigenous communities, and the private sector.
  • Founded in 1978 by the Inuit and wholly-owned by Makivik Corporation, Air Inuit was created to provide an airline connection among Nunavik’s 14 communities and between the region and southern Quebec to promote trade and to help maintain the Inuit culture.
  • The 20-23 NAP reflects priorities that Northern Quebec stakeholders have identified. It aims to provide relevant communities with the appropriate tools and enable them to inhabit the territory fully. The gouvernement du Québec will invest $778.6 million, or more than half of the amount provided in the 20-23 NAP, to support businesses and residents who are established and active north of the 49th parallel. Twenty departments and agencies of the gouvernement du Québec jointly designed the 20-23 NAP’s 49 socio-economic actions.

For further information: Source : Emmanuelle Ducharme, Press Officer, Office of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Minister responsible for the Côte-Nord region and Minister responsible for the Gaspésie−Îles-de-la-Madeleine region. Phone: 418 643-7295; Information : Laurie Richard, Communications Advisor, Société du Plan Nord, Phone: 418 643-1874, ext. 66455, [email protected]; Caroline Frappier, Communications, President’s Office, Air Inuit ltée, [email protected]

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