ontario news watch

Labrador Inuit leader feels hope after decades of neglect of region’s housing

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The leader of the Nunatsiavut Inuit in Labrador says a meeting Thursday with the federal housing advocate and the provincial government was an important step after years of neglect and dismissal.

Johannes Lampe was in St. John’s alongside housing advocate Marie-Josée Houle to discuss with Premier Andrew Furey the housing conditions in the Nunatsiavut region, which includes five Inuit communities along Labrador’s north coast.

Lampe is president of the Nunatsiavut government, and he says people in these communities live in “deplorable conditions,” where houses are overcrowded, poorly heated and overrun by black mould.

Houle and Lampe say the problems stem from houses that were hastily and poorly constructed, built to accommodate Inuit who were forced to relocate to these communities in the 1950s by the provincial government.

Lampe says Labrador Inuit have long been trying to get the provincial government to listen to them about housing, and now that Houle has joined the fight, it seems that may finally happen.

Houle and Lampe say they asked Furey and his housing minister to surrender control of provincial public housing in these towns to the Nunatsiavut government, and to create a position for someone to monitor the province’s progress on improving Inuit housing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2024.

The Canadian Press