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Unique Challenges Faced by Inuit Women in Urban Centres Regarding Housing and Homelessness


This project aims to identify challenges faced by urban Inuit women and gender-diverse individuals in urban centers (five southern Canadian cities – Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg, and one northern city, Yellowknife), including specific objectives described in detail below. The research project will culminate in a researchreport resulting from a mixed-method research approach, also outlined below.

The research question for the proposed study is the following:

How do urban Inuit women and gender-diverse individuals deal with unique challenges that theyexperience in southern Canadian urban centers1 regarding housing (renting, transitional housing, and home ownership in particular) and homelessness?

This research project is being undertaken by Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada (Pauktuutit) with financial support from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Goals of the Overarching Project

Pauktuutit has identified some of the primary challenges regarding housing issues and homelessness among Inuit womenand gender-diverse individuals in urban areas which should be given a specific focus in this study. Therefore, the specificresearch objectives (the goals) for this study include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Dependency on government financial assistance such as welfare assistance and family allowances (Boult, 2004; Harder & Wenzel, 2012).
  • Violence and discrimination faced by Inuit gender-diverse people in urban centres. According toTungasuvvingat Inuit, “Indigenous 2SLGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience violence than heterosexual Indigenous peoples. We’re talking about the marginalized of the marginalized. Twice as many are likely to experience assault, including physical and sexual assault, than non-Indigenous LGBTQ+” (Wright, 2022, October 20). Many queer Inuit move away from their home communities and seek out morewelcoming spaces, sometimes in bigger northern cities, but also often in larger southern urban centres like Toronto (Walley, 2018).
  • Overcoming challenges imposed by the North-South divide. Inuit life has unique attributes, including distinctlanguage, culture and traditions that could impose challenges for the Inuit in the South, such as linguistic barriers and cross-cultural misperceptions (Moore, Tulk & Mitchell, 2005). Particularly, incarceration requires Inuit offenders to leave their communities to travel “down south” in order to face justice (Shalaby, 2015). For many Inuit offenders travelling “down south” to serve their sentence invokes intense feelings of fear and frustration and puts a great distance between them and their community and culture (Shalaby, 2015).
  • Racial prejudice in the South. Because of anti-Indigenous racism, apartment hunting in the tight rental market in urban areas like Toronto is ‘demoralizing and dehumanizing.’ For example, as an Indigenous person in Ontario said in an interview for CBC, some landlords would want assurance that the couple would not be drinking on the property upon discovering their Indigenous identity. They also said no smoking was allowedwhen the couple explained they would smudge and drum for the ceremony (Johnson, 2019, February 24).
  • Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Indigenous women are most likely to go missing inurban areas and “are almost three times more likely to be killed by a stranger than non-Aboriginal women are” (NWAC, n.d.a, p. 5 as cited in Hansen & Dim, 2019). Also, human trafficking poses a significant threat to Inuit women and all other Indigenous females in Canada. Among many other factors that contribute to their vulnerability to being trafficked, colonialism is key (Bourgeois, 2015).
  • The need for culturally appropriate housing in the South. Women need more culturally appropriateaccommodation (Perreault, 2020). Culturally relevant housing models should accommodate large common spaces, windows that allow more daylight, larger sinks etc. (Semple, n.d.) Southern Canadian housing model is based on the concept of a nuclear family (two parents, two kids), which is culturally inappropriate for the Inuit(Knotsch & Kinnon, 2011). Shared spaces are too small for hunting preparation or collaborative domestic activities (Knotsch & Kinnon, 2011). The physical configuration of housing should facilitate Inuit ways of living and contribute to a sense of home (Baron, 2020).
  • Other challenges. We request that the researchers identify additional insights that might emerge through the study.

Scope and Deliverables

Primary Deliverable

The desired outcome is a research report based upon a mixed-method research approach, which outlines major key points of the study, detailed descriptions of each key finding and future recommendations.

Work Plan and Mixed-Method Research Method

The project and research study should utilise a mixed-method research approach through a literature review and by conducting interviews.

Literature Review

The research consultant(s) will conduct a literature review to identify and gather information from existing literatureto determine what existing academic or grey literature exists in relation to, responding to or providing insights toward the research objectives described in the section “Goals of the Overarching Project” above.

This literature review will guide the development of the interviews to be conducted in order to fill in informational gaps necessary in responding to the project objectives.

Developing a brief analytical framework that details the literature review approach (e.g. detailing the inclusion of grey and/or academic literature, listing relevant jurisdictions, outlining evaluation criteria etc.), conducting the literature review and drafting the resulting literature review texts will be the responsibility of the consulting research team. The consulting team will also include potential recommendations for further consideration in the literature review.

A draft literature review will be provided to Pauktuutit upon its completion. Pauktuutit will review the draft literaturereview, in collaboration with its funding partner, in order to provide additional insights, recommended edits or changes for the final version included in the final report.

Interview Guide

Following the development of the literature review, the consulting research team will be tasked with the development of an interview guide. This interview guide will provide guidance and greater details on the following important aspects of the interviews to be conducted:

  • The total number of interviews to conduct. The number of interviews should not exceed 50 interviews given cost restraints.
  • The interviews will be primarily with Inuit women. However, should also include interviews with Inuit service provider organisations.
  • A list of the names of Inuit service provider organisations, which represent or provide services to urban Inuit women and gender diverse individuals (approximately 5-10).
  • The length of time required for each interview.
  • The expected target demographics or other related interviewee specifics.
  • The general structure of the interviews to be conducted.
  • Typical questions that the interviews aim to find answers to.
  • The structure and expected venue, such as through online, telephone or in-person interviews. The platform thatwill be used for conducting interviews and specific details on how, when or through what means—such as which platform for online interviews— should be determined at this stage.
  • The recommended honorarium to provide to interviewees.
  • Review ethical considerations and protocols.
  • Prepare the form and contents of any consent forms required for interviewee participation, including translations into Inuktitut.
  • A description of how personal information shared with the consultants will be protected.
  • The form of engagement with participants (e.g. focus groups, one-on-one interviews).
  • The description of participants’ recruitment process.

As indicated above, the consulting research team will also be tasked with determining the appropriate serviceproviders and local organizations to conduct interviews within each urban area during the interview guide development. It is anticipated that the interview guide will consider and provide greater details on these interviews with organizations.

The consultant(s) will provide Pauktuutit a draft of the interview guide and consent form(s). Pauktuutit, incollaboration with its funding partner, will provide comments or recommended changes. Prior to finalizing the interview guide and consent form(s), the consultant(s) will modify and update the interview guide or consent form(s) based on these comments or recommended changes.


The consulting research team will conduct a series of semi-structured key informant interviews with up to 50 urban Inuit women (both newcomers to urban centres and those who grew up in urban areas) who have experienced or havebeen experiencing housing issues and homelessness in the following cities:

  • Edmonton
  • Ottawa
  • Winnipeg
  • Yellowknife
  • Toronto
  • Montreal

It is also crucial to consult local organizations across these cities to assess specific needs and to continue collaboration on the emerging priority of addressing the increased Inuit presence in urban centres. Therefore, interviews will also be conducted with service providers (e.g.

Tungasuvvingat Inuit). The consulting research team will be tasked with determining the appropriate service providersand local organizations to conduct interviews within each urban area during the interview guide development. It isanticipated that the interview guide will consider and provide greater details on the interviews with organizations.

The interviews with local Inuit women and gender-diverse individuals across these cities should aim. to enhance theability to recognize and understand unique challenges and barriers related to housing issues and homelessness. Dataand information obtained through these discussions may include direct narratives based on urban Inuit women’s perspectives and experiences.

Personally identifiable information or data collected will be obfuscated or removed from the data in any resulting outputs—such as the final report—to ensure that interviews remain confidential, and no person may be exposed to undue harm because of participation. Should personally identifiable information be collected during the course of research, the consulting firm will take all necessary precautions to protect this personal information.

The consulting team will provide Pauktuutit with regular updates on the progress of interviews during the interview and community engagement process.

Final Report

The research project will culminate in a final report of findings and recommendations produced by the consulting firm. The report will include the literature review and insights from the interviews with impacted Inuit women, gender diverse individuals and service providers.

This final report should provide greater clarity, insights and understanding that responds to the research question outlined in the section “Goals of the Overarching Project” above. This report should also provide significantly greaterunderstanding of the specific objectives outlined in the same section.

This final report should aid Pauktuutit towards accomplishing its mission “to foster a greater awareness of the needs of Inuit women, and to encourage their participation in community, regional and national concerns in relation tosocial, cultural and economic development.” This final report should also be valuable for other organizations involved in similar missions, or delivering services for Inuit women in urban areas, including other stakeholders such as government agencies or departments.

The consulting firm will invite Pauktuutit to review the draft report, which will be shared by Pauktuutit with itsfunding partner, for an opportunity to provide feedback or comments prior to the finalization of the report. Any feedback or comments should be incorporated into the final report prior to submission.

End Deliverables and Materials

To satisfy the requirements of this research project and the Request for Proposal, the consultant will deliver to Pauktuutit the following materials by March 29, 2024:

  • Final Report and Related Materials
  • PowerPoint Presentation Overview of Final Report
  • Project and Final Report Executive Summary

Final Report and Related Materials

The consultant(s) will provide Pauktuutit a final report which is supplemented with visual aids as required, that respondsto the research conducted and the specific research goals of the project. It will aim to inform the reader of the results of the research, including summarizing all research findings and document the overall project from design, implementation and completion.

The final report will include at a minimum, but not be limited to:

  • An executive summary
  • An introduction, which must include:
  • The research objectives of the project.
    • The goals of the research.
    • The research question.
    • The anticipated outcome and benefit of the research.
    • Reference to both the project proponent (Pauktuutit) and its funding partner (CMHC).
  • Methodology of the research, including the literature review and interviews.
  • The findings of the research, including outcomes from the literature review and interviews.
  • The literature review with appropriate referencing to materials, including an assessment of the literature reviewon gaps in the existing body of research related to the objectives.
  • An overview of the interviews and the interview processes, including references to the cities the interviews were conducted, why interviewees (such as demographics) were chosen, and the outcomes of the interviews.
  • Narratives about the experiences of those interviewed and the stories heard through the interviews in order to illustrate the findings of the research goals. Emphasis should be provided to ensure that the audience of thereport understand and feel these experiences.
  • A detailed explanation and report on the findings from the interviews which responds to the research objectives and goals.
  • Results and impact of the research, including the initial research goals and an honest assessment whichaddresses whether the project achieved its desired goals. It must also include how the resulting research may be relevant to service providers, the housing industry, the Government of Canada or other governments, Inuit organizations, the CMHC, and/or Pauktuutit.
  • Lessons learned, including information of the research project’s major takeaways which also highlights any unexpected challenges faced or discovered.
  • Recommendations for next steps related to the research question and the stated goals of the research. Thisshould also include the anticipated outcome from the research outputs

and the additional work needed, whereby opportunities or remaining barriers are identified.

The final report shall not include any references to personal information or any other sort of information that may lead to the identification of participants. The consultant(s) and report authors will take all necessary precautions required to ensure the safety and confidentiality of participants in the interviews. However, references to the challenges faced by orinsights gleaned from specific organizations may include the organization’s name as long as personal information orinformation which may identify a specific individual is obfuscated; the consultant(s) will seek permission from this organization prior to including the organisations name within the report.

Along with the submission of the final report, any support materials used—such as interview notes, consent forms,participant lists, or important communications with organizations—should be included as an addendum to Pauktuutit for record keeping and monitoring.

PowerPoint Presentation Overview of Final Report

Along with the final report, and in preparation for a final presentation to Pauktuutit and its funding partner about the results of the research project, the consulting team will prepare a PowerPoint presentation that summarizes andoutlines the results of the research project and the final report.

This presentation document must be submitted in a PowerPoint format and include at a minimum, but not be limited to:

  • The research objectives of the project.
  • The goals of the research.
  • The research question.
  • The anticipated outcome and benefit of the research.
  • Reference to both the project proponent (Pauktuutit) and its funding partner (CMHC).
  • An overview of the interviews and interview process.
  • The results of the research.
  • The expected impact of the research.
  • The lessons learned, next steps and opportunities.

Project and Final Report Executive Summary

This executive summary will be a one-to-two-page summary derived from the final report. The summary shall include the following:

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