Iqaluit’s water emergency shouldn’t hinder holiday shipping, says Canadian North

“We are completely caught up as the holiday season approaches,” spokesman Andrew Pope said.

The backlog of cargo at Ottawa and Iqaluit airports is cleared and vacation shipments will operate as usual, Canadian North spokesman Andrew Pope said. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

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David Lochead

Vacation shipping times to Nunavut are unlikely to be affected by the Iqaluit water emergency, Canadian North spokesperson Andrew Pope said.

Initially, the water emergency delayed non-essential shipments to Nunavut, with an announcement on Oct. 18 that the airline was prioritizing bottled water delivery to Iqaluit.

This contributed to a delay in shipments to Iqaluit and small communities in Nunavut between mid-October and November 22, Pope said.

For example, Canadian North doubled the amount of cargo shipped in the first two weeks of the water emergency, working with other airlines like CargoJet. This decision helped clear that backlog.

“We’re fully caught up as the holiday season approaches,” Pope said.

Even if Canadian North is on schedule at this time, the weather can cause unpredictable delays, and Nunavummiut should expect all of their holiday shopping to be completed by December 9, he added.

Although he does not have exact figures, Pope said Canadian North is shipping just under half the amount of bottled water per week compared to the weekly amount at the onset of the emergency. He added that the company saw an increase in the amount of water going to Iqaluit last week.

The army’s water purification unit, which began operations on Nov. 9, had no impact on the amount of bottled water shipped to Iqaluit, Pope said.

The water purification unit delivered potable water to the city from the Sylvia Grinnell River. The operation was suspended after high winds damaged a tent that kept water tanks from freezing.

The Bank of Canada says the inflation rate in Canada between October 2020 and October 2021 is 4.65%, but the airline will not increase shipping prices during the holiday season.

However, Pope said, the rate of inflation could affect prices next year.

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