Understanding the Needs of Urban Inuit Women – Final Report

Project Description

This report examines Inuit women’s experiences in five major Canadian cities: Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal. Women’s stories reveal that migration rationale does not usually take the form of a linear and logical sequence of events. Rather, a combination of factors simultaneously pushes them away from their hometowns and pulls them into cities. While some women actively seek better opportunities in southern urban centres, the cost of housing and poor-quality services in the North also push them into migration pathways. Many interviews revealed that living in the city often felt like a “consequence” rather than a personal choice.

Several factors contribute to positive experiences for Inuit women in cities; namely, the presence of a social network, kin and friends, secure and adequate housing, participation in cultural practices, good health and well-being, and economic opportunities. Conversely, factors in negative experiences may include poverty, homelessness, violence, illness, marginalization, and exclusion.

Furthermore, analysis of women’s material and non-material experiences demonstrates that available resources and services tend to focus overwhelmingly on material needs while addressing non-material needs and challenges only superficially. The report highlights the intersectionality of women’s experiences in urban centres, the multidimensional nature of urban Inuit women’s lives and the dynamic ways in which marginalization, exclusion, well-being, and security are all framed.

Project Details

Department Social Development
Year Published 2017