The Arviat Elders’ Home kitchen in Nunavut, run by Nunavut Housing Corporation, has been shut down by the Department of Health. An inspection Aug. 26 found that both staff behaviour and kitchen infrastructure were not up to par. Image from the report courtesy of the Department of HealthStewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Sep 01, 2022 at 10:32

By Stewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Department of Health has shut down the kitchen facility at the Arviat Elders home due to inadequate results following a routine inspection by an environmental health officer. 

“The current condition of the kitchen no longer meets the standards required for food preparation for a residential care facility,” stated a Government of Nunavut news release Wednesday, Aug. 31. 

An inspection was completed February this year and Nunavut Housing Corporation, the building owner, was notified of the deficiencies. On Aug. 26, the environmental health officer completed a follow-up inspection that found continued deficiencies. 

Chris Puglia, manager of communications with the Department of Health, stated in an email that the inspection report included no evidence of staff washing their hands at time of inspection. 

“Liquid soap dispenser was empty and in the cupboard under the sink,” wrote Puglia in summarizing the inspection performed by Gary Nelson. “Poor hand washing is an ongoing long-term deficiency at this facility.” 

Nelson found 13 violations in his Aug. 26 report. 

“Insufficient number of sinks in kitchen,” wrote Nelson. “There is no true handwash sink. Staff had designated a handwash sink, but a staff member throw (sic) away the sign and told people to wash their hands in the bathroom. Handwash sink is required. Poor hygiene practices, with some staff refusing to wash hands in the kitchen.” 

The report also found staff not using the dishwasher because it uses too much water and “they are afraid that the site will run out of water.” 

It was found that there are not enough sinks in the kitchen for a food premise. 

“There should be a handwash sink and at least two other wash sinks,” wrote Nelson. 

Nelson also found many observations of poor food handling and food safety issues. 

“They included poor defrosting, lack of hand washing, poor final cooking temperature taking, no sanitizing,” wrote Nelson. “Some staff are not making good food safety decisions and are still washing their hands in a bathroom.” 

Renovations to the facility were originally scheduled in May but were delayed due to challenges procuring the necessary supplies, stated the GN in its news release. 

The Department of Health will be working with its partners to renovate and update the kitchen facilities as soon as possible to bring it back into compliance,” stated the release. “In the meantime, Inns North has been contracted to provide meal services to the Elders currently at the facility.” 

The Arviat Elders’ Home is owned and maintained by the Nunavut Housing Corporation, while the Department of Health funds and contracts the service provider Pimakslirvik Corporation to provide care for the Elders. 

This item reprinted with permission from Kivalliq News, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut