Statement of Work


Needs Assessment for Inuit-Specific Urban Women’s Shelter and Housing in Ottawa, ON


Pauktuutit fosters greater awareness of the needs of Inuit women, advocates for equality and social improvements, and encourages Inuit women’s full participation in the community, regional and national life of Canada.

Violence and abuse prevention have been among Pauktuutit’s top three priorities since 1984. With the guidance and support of Pauktuutit’s Board of Directors and membership, the organization addresses a broad range of issues as they relate to the safety and well-being of women and children, including family violence, sexual abuse of children, elder abuse, human trafficking, administration of justice and victims’ rights.


The Inuit population—totaling approximately 65,000 people—primarily live in 51 communities spread across Inuit Nunangat. However, the flow of Inuit into urban spaces, particularly women, has been swelling steadily over the past few decades in Canada. Recognizing the growing number of Inuit women in urban centres, in 2017, Pauktuutit undertook a research study to explore the specific issues and challenges Inuit women and girls face during the period of urban transition and beyond. It was found that while some women actively seek better opportunities in southern urban centres, the availability and cost of housing, shortage of employment opportunities, poor-quality services, and experiences of physical and sexual violence in the North push many women to leave.

According to recent census numbers, about 30 per cent of Inuit now live outside of Inuit Nunangat, mostly in Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal. The most recent from Statistics Canada show that Ottawa, at 1,280, has the largest Inuit population outside of Inuit Nunangat. Service providers, such as Tungasuvvingat Inuit and Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team, who work directly with Inuit in Ottawa, suggest that the Inuit population is at least 3,700 and may be as large as 6,000 (CBC News, 2017). Inuit community organizations cite the data reflected in the census is “woefully inaccurate” as it drastically undercounts Inuit in urban centres (ibid). The incongruency between the data captured in the census versus the true number of Inuit in Ottawa, has significant consequences for the levels of funding organizations receive to serve the Inuit community.

Inuit relocating to southern cities experience stark differences between the two areas. Most northern communities are small and remote, where Inuit live among large extended families in communities that are a mix of traditional Inuit and contemporary western values, structures and lifestyles. The culture and language are strong in most communities – the majority of Inuit in Nunavut and Nunavik speak the Inuit language and services available are commonly delivered by Inuit language speakers. Inuit are often isolated in part by language, less connected to the public service network, and less attracted by this network, than First Nations people. This is coupled with the fact that many Inuit women and youth lack urban living skills and access to services that are culturally appropriate.

Pauktuutit’s research found that Inuit women are often reluctant to seek redress from mainstream or pan-Indigenous services and programs since they are developed and delivered on values, beliefs, and worldviews that are largely disparate from their own. The research also found that Inuit women want integrated services and programs that are developed and provided by those who share their ancestry, experiences and culture and are grounded in the social, political, and economic realities of their community.

Presently, there is no available evidence exploring the need for an urban Inuit-specific women’s shelter. Given the lack of research available on this topic, it is not known if Inuit women feel supported within the current shelter system. Additionally, there is no portrait of urban Inuit women’s housing situations and needs in Ottawa. This proposed needs assessment to be conducted in partnership between Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, Inuugatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families, and Tungasuvvingat Inuit would, therefore, fill an important exploratory research gap and will help to inform service planning and delivery. It would also identify other unmet needs related to the safety and well-being of Inuit women and their children as the first step in designing Inuit-centred programs to address these needs. 

Goals of the Project

The purpose of the proposed need assessment is twofold. First, the needs assessment will examine the shelter and support needs of urban Inuit women in Ottawa, with the goal of replication in other urban centres with significant Inuit populations. Second, it will explore the current state of urban Inuit women’s housing and homelessness in Ottawa. This is an important area of research, as there is a dearth of information on both topics, creating large gaps in the knowledge about the experience of Inuit women in urban centres. Consequently, there are knowledge gaps around the most effective and culturally appropriate service options for this vulnerable population. As it relates to shelter use, housing, and homelessness the proposed study will seek to gain a broad understanding of the specific needs and experiences of Inuit women and their children in Ottawa. The research will seek to ascertain what their needs from shelter facilities truly are, as well as address housing options for Inuit women in the city. The proposed project seeks to undertake a mixed-method research approach by utilizing surveys, focus groups and interviews.

The year-long participatory research project will culminate in a comprehensive needs assessment report. The report will identify barriers impacting Inuit women’s shelter usage. It will identify and engage key stakeholders that wish to collaborate. It will establish knowledge gaps and develop recommendations and strategies to enhance Inuit women’s safety and security in Ottawa.

Scope, Specifications of Work and Deliverables

This is an open call to individuals, firms, or organizations to provide a comprehensive proposal to:

  • Develop two versions of a survey—both online and in print—to sample shelter clients, staff, and housing associations. One survey will be designed for former or current Inuit women shelter users; and, those who have or need access to options such as permanent low-cost housing, rental subsidies, rent controls, co-operative housing, and public or social housing. The second version of the survey will be designed for a wide-range of service providers representing several agencies (e.g., emergency shelters, drop-in agencies, supportive housing agencies, community- based organizations, community health centres, etc.).
  • Conduct semi-structured small group discussions with Inuit women in and around the Ottawa-Gatineau area who are currently shelter residents or have had experiences within the urban shelter system. Focus groups are also to be held with Inuit women to discuss housing conditions in Ottawa.
  • Conduct a series of face-to-face and telephone semi-structured key informant interviews with Inuit women and employees representing different types of service models including emergency shelters, drop-in agencies, supportive housing agencies, community-based organizations, community health centres, etc. Key informants will be interviewed about their knowledge and experiences related to how Inuit clients are accessing and interacting with the shelter system and available housing options.
    • Develop a research methodology and accompanying materials, including an interview guide for key informants, a methodology for thematic analysis and a strategy for interview participant sampling and outreach (Inuit women and relevant service providers).
  • Finalize the research report.

Applicants must demonstrate an understanding of Inuit culture, experience in research, conducting literature review, environmental scan, develop methodology, and the ability to produce culturally-appropriate work.

We encourage the submission of proposals from Inuit or Indigenous researchers and organizations.

Additionally, the successful applicant/s will be required to:

  • participate in project meetings and teleconferences as required;
  • to travel and accompany Pauktuutit staff to regions to conduct interviews,
  • support project related work where necessary;
  • provide progress updates as requested; and,
  • submit all final project documents upon completion


  • bids accepted until February 20, 2020.
  • contract begins March 1, 2020.
  • delivery of final draft of the survey by March 31, 2020
  • survey analysis deadline to be determined in consultation with successful consultant.
  • conduct focus groups with Inuit women to be determined in consultation with successful consultant.
  • conduct key informant interviews with service providers.
  • Analyze data collected through surveys, focus groups and key informant interviews.
  • Finalize research report by July 1, 2021

Pauktuutit’s Roles and Responsibilities

The primary contact at Pauktuutit for this project is Samantha Michaels, Senior Research and Policy Advisor ( Pauktuutit commits to provide the information and materials necessary to complete the work and will respond to requests for information in a timely fashion.

Pauktuutit will provide a decision within five business days.

Confidentiality, Privacy and Copyright

The successful applicant shall not disclose to any party any confidential information gained or resulting from activities undertaken under this project, nor shall the applicant disclose any information concerning Pauktuutit or their affairs where such information is obtained through this Project.

It is understood that Pauktuutit retains ownership of any and all materials and intellectual property created, designed, or produced as a result of activities undertaken by the successful applicant when awarded this project.

It is understood that the successful applicant will generate original work for this project.

Proposal Instructions

  • Applicants must submit their company name, and confirm their incorporation, references, and/or portfolio;
  • Submit by email to
  • Word format or PDF;
  • Estimates/budgets must remain firm until July 1, 2021;
  • No payment will be made for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of a proposal in response to this RFP;
  • No costs incurred before receipt of a signed contract can be charged to the proposed contract;
  • Travel that may be required will be separate from this scope of work budget and will be paid for by Pauktuutit; and,
  • Pauktuutit reserves the right not to award a contract as a result of this RFP.

The proposals shall be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • cost breakdown;
  • cultural relevancy;
  • schedule;
  • originality; and


The proposal must:

  • Include a detailed budget not to exceed $67,500 + HST and that demonstrates that the objectives and deliverables for the project can be met;
  • Indicate the billing rate;
  • List any other expenses that might be applicable; and
  • Total bid MUST include 13% HST tax.

Rights of the Organization

Pauktuutit reserves the right to:

  • Enter into negotiations with one or more bidders on any or all aspects of this proposal.
  • Accept any proposal in whole or in part.
  • Cancel and/or re-issue this requirement at any time.
  • Award one or more contracts.
  • Verify any or all information provided by the bidder with respect to this requirement.