An overview of the network
Nunavik’s health and social services network includes the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, the Inuulitsivik Health Centre (Hudson Bay) and the Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre (Ungava Bay). The signing of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) and supplementary agreements established guidelines for the development of health and social services in Nunavik. The organization of health care and social services is a provincial jurisdiction, but it is adapted to regional realities.
Given the size of its population and its cultural characteristics, Nunavik is unique in combining curative and preventive methods. In the fields of health and social services, promotion, prevention and protection activities can be carried out in a more harmonious and natural fashion.
So much more than work
Living in Nunavik is a chance to venture off the beaten path in the wild heart of Quebec, discover a new culture, participate in the development of a community, reassess your values and savour an unforgettable personal and professional experience.
The ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) has designated Nunavik as health and social service region 17. The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS) manages a health and social services budget of almost $157 million for the population of the 14 communities.
The NRBHSS employs approximately 65 Inuit and non-Inuit people. This includes the Department of Executive Management, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Planning and Programming, the Department of Administrative Services, the Department of Inuit Values and Practices and, since recently, the Department of Out-of-Region Services and the Department of Regional Human Resources Development.
A board of directors composed of 20 members oversees the NRBHSS
Fourteen people representing each community in Nunavik, the executive director of each health centre (Tulattavik and Inuulitsivik), a member appointed by the board of directors of each health centre among elected village representatives, a member appointed by the Executive Committee of the Kativik Regional Government (KRG) and the executive director of the NRBHSS.
In addition to its administrative functions, the board is responsible for identifying priorities for the population in terms of health and social services, priorities that are subject to the NRBHSS annual public information session. The law mandates a majority of Inuit people on the boards of the NRBHSS and other institutions.
Working in the North puts you in contact with people whose personality traits are very recognizable: opening-mindedness, adventurousness, non-conformity. You will create strong bonds through social and professional activities.
The arrival of a health care worker in Nunavik creates a special kind of exchange. On the one hand, your skills will provide a valuable service. On the other hand, you will be opening yourself up to a different and unique culture, supporting the efforts of Inuit people to take responsibility and helping them to identify problems and find solutions. Health care workers should always be looking for ways to participate and use their expertise to help develop the local skills pool.
Today, Inuit occupy nearly half of public service jobs. In the field of health and social services, Inuit people are administrators, program managers, nurses, dental assistants, officials in northern settlements and community workers. Despite the significant involvement of the Inuit in the management of their health care system, Nunavik still relies on skilled labour from outside the region.
Health and social services jobs in Nunavik are remunerated based on the same pay scales as elsewhere in the Quebec network, taking job title, training and relevant experience into account.
- The isolation premium and cost of living allowance varies based on the community in which you work. The farther north you go, the higher the premiums get;
- A retention bonus is paid to all employees (except for certain job titles), and the amount varies based on your length of service in Nunavik;
- An installation / retention premium is paid only to physicians and pharmacists.
All new employees recruited in Quebec over 50 km from their place of work in Nunavik are reimbursed for the following:
- Travel and living expenses from their home to their place of work in Nunavik for themselves and each of member of their family at the time of hiring;
- Transportation costs of personal belongings, and, if necessary, the belongings of family members from their home to the work location;
- Storage fees for all furniture and personal belongings requiring storage in the south;
- Transportation costs for a motor vehicle such as car or truck, or for two recreational vehicles such as an ATV or snowmobile during the first two years of employment.
- Furnished, heated and lighted housing that meets their family’s needs, with some establishments charging minimal rent;
- The reimbursement of travel and living expenses (four times a year for a person without dependents or three times a year for an employee and their dependents)
from the village where they are working to their place of recruitment in the south;
- Payment for days in transit at departure and arrival for each of these trips;
- In addition, at the Tulattavik and Inuulitsivik Health Centres, employees working in Quebec’s health and social services network can apply for leave without northern pay. This leave may be authorized for a maximum period of four years.
Services are organized locally and by sub-region — Hudson and Ungava — and delivered through two multi-purpose facilities, the Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Puvirnituq and the Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre in Kuujjuaq. These institutions provide general hospital services and specialized care (25 beds per centre) as well as long-term hospital care. Both centres offer midwife care services.
The Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre, in partnership with the municipality of Kuujjuaq, the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau and the Nunavik regional board of health and social services, maintains a residential facility with 12 beds for people with reduced autonomy. The facility includes a day centre for visitors and Kuujjuaq residents with reduced autonomy.
Other services are available, including child and youth protection (there are two youth protection departments, one in each sub-region) and a regional rehabilitation centre. The facilities include a regional rehabilitation centre with 14 beds in Salluit, two sub-regional group homes with eight beds each in Puvirnituq and Kuujjuaq and two specialized resources with four beds each for children aged 6-12 in Kuujjuarapik and Kuujjuaq. There is also a CLSC in each of the 14 communities.
The CLSC in each community includes a team of professionals from various fields and disciplines. These teams provide a range of health care and social services to the population. The composition of the teams varies from one community to the next, depending on the population size and the team’s functions.
Secondary health care services are limited in Nunavik. The use of resources outside of the region is the norm for almost all specialized examinations and treatments. Some services are offered by the two health centres through visiting specialists such as gynaecologists, psychiatrists, orthopaedic specialists, etc. If specialized or ultra-specialized services cannot be provided in the North, the patient will be referred to resources in the south, based on agreements with the Réseau Universitaire Intégré de Santé (RUIS) at McGill or other agreements.
A patient services unit in Montréal serves as a liaison and a support mechanism in the event of a patient transfer, ensuring the delivery of reception, transportation, housing, interpreting services. It also communicates with institutions in the North.
The Inuulitsivik Health Centre manages a regional crisis centre with five beds in Puvirnituq and a rehabilitation centre in Inukjuak, offering secondary mental health services.
Among people who had never been to Nunavik, 70% would take a job there given the advantages.
The majority of people with experience working in Nunavik said that the experience made them more desirable as employees.