Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut September 13, 2017 - 10:00 am

Low Inuit staffing in government hurts Nunavut: NTI report

"We need a radical shift in political attention and will"

A new report commissioned by NTI estimates the losses associated with not fully implementing Article 23 of the Nunavut Agreement over the next six years.
A new report commissioned by NTI estimates the losses associated with not fully implementing Article 23 of the Nunavut Agreement over the next six years.

The underrepresentation of Inuit in the territory’s government workforce remains a major barrier to Nunavut’s economic success, a new report has found.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. released the new report Sept. 12, called “The cost of not successfully implementing Article 23: representative employment for Inuit within the government,” prepared by the firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Article 23 is the section of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, first signed in 1993, that stipulates government jobs for Inuit at a level should eventually reflect the territory’s population.

Currently, about 84 per cent of Nunavut’s population is Inuit, though the report notes that Inuit hold only 51 per cent of Nunavut-based jobs in the territorial and federal governments.

And there are costs associated with that: the report estimates that lost wages to Nunavut Inuit will amount to about $1.2 billion over the next six-year period, from 2017 to 2023.

The report also estimates the unnecessary costs to the government over the same period at $519 million.

“The lack of Inuit representation in government work forces is arguably the single biggest impairment to the ongoing economic well-being of Nunavut Inuit,” said NTI’s president Aluki Kotierk in a Sept. 12 release.

“This is unacceptable. We need a radical shift in political attention and will.”

Not only are Inuit underrepresented within the government workforce, but so is Inuit leadership; about 79 per cent of Inuit staffers work as administrative support, creating a noticeable wage gap between Inuit and non-Inuit employees.

And then there are the indirect benefits Inuit miss out on, such as improved health outcomes, better public services and greater control over policy, the report noted.

The new report is essentially an updated version of Annaumaniq, a similar analysis NTI did in 2003, when the Inuit birthright organization found Nunavut Inuit lost about $123 million in wages and housing subsidies due to a lack of Inuit government workers.

At that point, Inuit made up about 45 per cent of all government employees in the territory.

That initial report helped lay part of the groundwork for a $1 billion lawsuit that NTI launched against the federal government in 2006.

It was finally settled out of court in 2015 when the federal government paid out $255 million in compensation, the majority of which was directed towards employment training for Inuit.

But the GN hasn’t done enough, NTI said.

To better implement Article 23, both the territorial and federal governments would have to change their approach, by asking not only for the schooling required for certain job postings, but also by putting a higher value on Inuit skills and culture, and by including Inuit in the hiring process, NTI has said.

Each part of government should draft its own Inuit Employment Plan to increase staff, NTI has said, a document that should be revisited every five years.

As debate over Bill 37, proposed amendments to Nunavut’s Education Act, heated up last spring, NTI urged the GN to tap into a separate $50 million fund related to the lawsuit, which is also earmarked for Inuit employment development.

NTI has urged the territorial government to launch an Inuit Employment Plan for educators to increase the number of Inuktut-speaking teachers in Nunavut.

“No other part of Canada would accept a situation where, for example, 70 per cent of our teachers have to be recruited from outside of Nunavut, and are not expected to have Inuit language skills, values and community insights,” Kotierk said in the Sept. 12 release.

“The absence of Inuit representation in government undermines the underlying Nunavut vision of enhanced Inuit self-determination, and the building of government programs and services fully attuned to Inuit language and culture.”

You can read the complete report at

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(45) Comments:

#1. Posted by Iqaluit is the problem on September 13, 2017

Iqaluit Inuit employment is incredibly low especially at the Crown Corporations! What is being done to change this? Casual positions are given to friends and family until enough time is passed for these positions to be turned into term and then are awarded directly with no competition.

The Ministers of these CC and orgs need to be taken to task for these incredibly low (sub 30%) figures. There is no reason entry level positions are not advertised as Inuit only 100% of the time at least for the first advertisement. Casual employee abuse is a massive problem and Ministers and the UNION have a responsibility to push for compliance.

#2. Posted by Crunchy on September 13, 2017

I don’t disagree with the goal of this - to provide greater perspective. But it’s all very selective in its “counterfactual” analysis.

Yes, the status quo leaves much to be desired compared to what we would like to see. That sentence could be applied to any number of different situations.

The failure(s) they are describing are not just government’s failure. NTI has also failed, potential GN employees also fail, etc. Even if the GN had done everything right, who’s to say that would have been enough.

This report is using 84% as the representative Inuit employment number. According to the July 2017 Nunavut Bureau of Stats numbers Inuit are only 73% of the labour force. Why aren’t we using that as the number to compare to, it wouldn’t paint quite such a dire portrait. Or do we expect toddlers to join the labour force?

This is interesting food for thought, and hopefully it will prompt attention and action, but take it with a grain of salt.

#3. Posted by Context on September 13, 2017

What is the percentage of Inuit between 25 and 55?

#4. Posted by Ms.Tupak on September 13, 2017

So what will NTI do about it?
Give us some hope that NTI is serious about their jobs as a holder of the Agreement.
These words from NTI are too weak:-wants to make loud and clear-This is unacceptable-GN hasn’t done enough- should draft-should be revisited-has urged
Little children speaking childish words. Weak minded wanna be leaders.

#5. Posted by "Their Land" on September 13, 2017

In smaller communites like Cape Dorset, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet or other decentralised communites, nearly all government employees at their GN offices are all couples(wives or girlfriends) working in different GN departments. These people from the south are a small social group (non locals) hiring each others wives or girlfriends instead on Inuit from the communities. Just do a survey of each of these communities and see how many non Inuit couples are working for various GN departments

#6. Posted by Native on September 13, 2017

Any company or government hiring based on anything other then merit is simply wrong.

#7. Posted by ;-) on September 13, 2017

Yes it is great food for thought.  And I really wish more Inuit would work at the GN.  However, everything starts with the next generation of kids.  A balance between Inuit Values/culture and workforce integration needs to be found.

As an example, if one wants to become a doctor, nurse, social worker, accountant, etc., one needs to go to school and successfully complete his/her university.  It’s hard to become a professional if the kids don’t go to school (up to 12th grade).

Like I said, the key to the solution relies in our kids going to school and a good balance between Inuit Values/culture and workforce integration

#8. Posted by Spend less on expensive reports on September 13, 2017

Total agree that the numbers have to go up in the GN. It’s growing at a slow rate (too slow) but I think it’ll get there within a generation. What Nunavut needs is more high school graduates and that appears to be happening.

But there’s so much hypocracy when NTI reports like this come out. NTI just gave a southern firm a TON of money to tell us what we already know and payed more money for a media campaign that’s being executed (poorly might I add, no ome has used their hashtag yet) by an outside firm instead of their in house communications staff.

NTI may have close to 85% inuit on staff but those at the top don’t trust them enough. And you can be sure that 85% of the salary distribution isn’t going to Inuit or staying in Nunavut. But you won’t see that in their report.

#9. Posted by I laugh... on September 13, 2017

I laugh at this because, not everyone wants to work for the GN.
There are other opportunities out there, such as working for small businesses, opening your own business and or being a freelancer.
Sometimes PEOPLE don’t want to work and rather be hunters in their communities to provide for their families, and that is another thing that NTI has failed to evaluate and overshadow.
Also, the GN isn’t just going to give jobs to unqualified individuals. It takes drive and passion to be something great. You think it was the GN’s responsibility to ensure Jordan Tootoo made it to the NHL? No. It was his drive, and the support of his family, and the preventable suicide of his brother that drove him, that gave him the fire do his best.
NTI needs to work with the GN to make a better plan. You’re the birthright organization OF INUIT. You need to provide more support and opportunities to youth, more programs, and quit wasting money on lobbying the government for stats that we already know.

#10. Posted by Northern Guy on September 13, 2017

#2 I agree with your assessment. The goal of 85% representation in the work force has always given me pause. Especially when, as you say, Stats Can. data clearly shows that the percentage of working age Inuit in Nunavut is closer to 70% than it is to 85%. I also question the accuracy of NTI’s numbers inasmuch as they are built upon an assumption that every working age Inuk wants to be employed by government, which is likely not the case. Government employment cannot be the basis for Nunavut’s future prosperity, there are too few available jobs, most of which are centralized within a limited number of larger communities.

#11. Posted by Northern Inuit on September 13, 2017

The nepotism that is rampant throughout the GN has to change.  Stories of Directors hiring Brothers, Sisters, Cousins and Aunt/Uncles rarely bats an eye anymore.  Casual positions extended beyond normal terms to give them enough experience to become direct appointment is not an issue. 

If we are going to be serious about increasing Inuit numbers in any role above the entry positions we need to focus on our education system.  Yes we need to ensure the curriculum is enough to give our Students a diploma worth the paper it’s printed on but more importantly you have to make sure your children go to school on time every day!

If they make it every day and you invest time and help them with their homework it will help give them a huge boost and they will take a vested interest in their education and feed their thirst for knowledge.  We can give them a proper start and trust me their future deserves this.

#12. Posted by Ms.Tupak on September 13, 2017

#6 The report proves non Inuit have more merit….?

#13. Posted by Little dictator on September 13, 2017

I listened to the Legislative assembly this morning on the radio and sounds pathetic. Inuit MLA are not helping the preservation of our language. Mostly spoken broken english, and sounds like lost little boys trying to speak their language. We need elders in the govt.ministerial positions.

#14. Posted by eskimo joe on September 13, 2017

nothing will really change unless hr bosses within gn are radically change. they tend to hire east coast, east coast and east coast. mostly relatives with different names, and that is why most aren’t qualified to do their jobs? because they are hired as relatives. calculate that inefficiency nti and see how much it cost the Nunavut and gn.

#15. Posted by Nanauq on September 13, 2017

Likes #5 comment, true.

#16. Posted by Silas on September 13, 2017

I believe one of the ways that the governments would be able to hire more Inuit to meet this requirement is by creating an Inuit school which is available in every community in Nunavut. An extra year whereby each high school student would be required to spend a year in the school in order to graduate and receive their diploma.
The way it is now, Inuit knowledge, traditions, elders who lived on the land, continue to pass on. The governments and the powers that be, Inuit organizations included, seem to be playing with Inuit culture by piece meting courses here and there with no continuity.
I believe this is the responsibility of the governments in the same way that they are responsible for the English and French streams in Canada.

#17. Posted by Tired on September 13, 2017

So tired of hearing about this. Nothing will change until Inuit are willing to leave their communities and get the proper level of education required for most of these GN jobs. Even “southerners” have to make this sacrifice, as they choose to leave their towns and families while attending college or university far away. That is the reality. Inuit also have to adopt a 9-5 work mentality, 5 days a week. It’s called hard work, not a handout.

#18. Posted by Complicated Issue on September 13, 2017

This is a very layered and complicated issue - a generational issue. There are many factors involved in this problem: how accurate are the numbers in the report? what about other sectors of Nunavut’s economy - why is all the focus on GN jobs? Why are there too few Inuit in GN positions - is it all about education or are there other factors at play? What would lowering the education and experience qualifications for employment do to the quality of the public service? What is with all this talk about non-Inuit hiring their relatives - has this been proven or is it all just conjecture? What’s being done right currently that can be expanded, ie successful programs -there has been a 6% increase in Inuit employment since 2003, which is a decent uptake. How do we not only keep this trend going but also speed it up?

#19. Posted by Tired too on September 13, 2017

All of this is based on the assumption that the GN is bombarded with resumes from Inuit. What’s the solution if they are not? That’s what the casual positions are all about. They hire casually until they can find a qualified Inuit person to fill the position. Seems to me the GN is trying but you can’t force people to apply. Maybe NTI should have a look at the hiring process directly. Check out how many Inuit resumes are submitted and how many positions are available, then they may be able to place blame appropriately. And by “qualified” I mean some kind of secondary schooling, hence the reason most are in administrative positions. You can’t give people jobs based on race if they can’t perform. How about hiring a non educated Inuit doctor? I wonder how many complaints would roll in then. Rather extreme but you get the point.

#20. Posted by Observer on September 13, 2017


There are 2 available positions within a department, both jobs are the exact same with the same pay, both positions offer on the Job training.

Dozens of Inuit cycle through position #1 during the year, while the one “southerner” takes the other vacant position and keeps the same job during the same time period.

From a business view, who would you rather hire? the person who shows up every single day or a dozen different employees?

The Government is a place of business, not a handing out Jobs Charity.

#21. Posted by Too tired on September 13, 2017

@ #19 There was a government position. There were some very qualified local beneficiaries who applied for that position. Who got the job? A non local girlfriend of another GN employee here. Different GN departments hiring each others wives or girlfriends. You scratch my back I scratch yours?

#22. Posted by eskimo joe on September 13, 2017

#16, it’s not the schooling, it’s a long standing hiring culture that started in the mid 70’s. tell me how many you see at gn offices that are from; edmonton, surrey, toronto and nunavut, make comparison to other regions of canada. see the culture? it started with co-ops and spread to other work places in hiring exclusivity with east coast hiring.

#23. Posted by where are the programs NTI on September 13, 2017

NTI was given $255 million to provide training for Inuit to have the proper education and training to apply for said GN jobs. What programs are they offering that can be used in todays workforce? the $255 million is suppose to be spent on training…..I would like to see what they have done for training and where all that money is being spent. Also what is the % of Inuit that have applied for jobs based on the % that have not applied for jobs?  what % of people on social assistants have applied for jobs and the % that has not. If we have an understanding of the % difference for ages 19 and up we can have an understanding of what needs to change and if the drive is there to work and make a living or not. Someone is not going to knock on the door and offer a director position if you don’t apply and have the required education for it. We cant always expect things to be given to us…we need to work hard and teach our children that. So NTI…how much education has the $255 mil provided?

#24. Posted by Here on September 13, 2017

WOW #12 you are really trying to pick a fight with #6 I am not sure what you read but don’t believe they mention Inuit or non-Inuit in their comment.

#25. Posted by Easterner on September 13, 2017

” it started with co-ops and spread to other work places in hiring exclusivity with east coast hiring”

eskimo joe (#22), you’ll also find a lot of East Coast people in places like Fort Mac. It has less to do with some kind of secret cabal of Easterners conspiring to take all the jobs and more to do with the fact that many of us who grew up on the East Coast looked around, recognized that we’d probably have to be willing to work away from home if we wanted a job, and then did so.

Meanwhile, it’s not uncommon for people to refuse to move if the job needs it. Remember when Cathy Towtongie essentially refused to move to Iqaluit even though that’s where the NTI president is supposed to be working from and where everything was set up to support the position?

#26. Posted by Colin on September 13, 2017

Good jobs are about education, qualifications, work ethic and attitude, Taken together, they’re about merit. See No. 6.

Respect requires filling positions with qualified employees so that jobs get done competently and willingly. 

In Peter Piseolak’s memoirs, written in the 1960s and translated into English by Ann Hanson, he said he expected his grandsons could become doctors. (The school in Cape Dorset is named after Peter.)

Renowned Inuit surgeon Noah Carpenter was born on a remote arctic island. On his way to becoming a doctor, he completed high school in 1963 while boarding at a hostel in Inuvik. Next, he went on to earn a B.Sc. in chemistry.

There’s not much chance today for an Inuit kid in Nunavut to become a doctor when the schools only start teaching reading English to kids ten years old using books for preschoolers.

Syrian refugees get education and support for university and professional qualifications. Why should Inuit kids get any less?

#27. Posted by Turiisa99@ on September 13, 2017

Interesting, does this mean there is another law suite from NTI? Didn’t Aluki have an opportunity make those changes to increase Inuit employment while she was the DM of GN human resources. She should come back to head the administration of human resources in the GN. Maybe that will have dramatic impact. Bottom line is we need to get our children educated in any field they want. GN gives every individual an opportunity to go to school beyond high school. Youth, please go to school and take advantage of the financial assistance available to you. Not everyone has to work for GN, we have many mines on Inuit owned lands that Inuit are taking advantage of. Perhaps we should count them as Inuit employment in the public service

#28. Posted by radical shift on September 14, 2017

Interesting report from non-Inuit (link at bottom). Why can’t Inuit hires or the ones to be hired write this kind of report? Even the references to help write the report should be Inuit. Where’s the Inuit voice?

ok here’s mine NTI, cough up the cash to pay-off and ship-out ALL non-beneficiaries in GN and GN-related positions (medical, teachers etc.), and get back to the TFN goal of a claims-based government, not the public one we got sold out on.

Good luck attracting qualified beneficiaries back to Nunavut from the South. Good luck with retaining all the southerners in the south to keep this party going here.

Same old same old, blame the GN. NTI should just use its own ‘expectation’ provision of A-23 and get a new workforce ready for tomorrow. Use our claims-based budget to hire 5500 Beneficiaries today.

I have 36 cousins ready to start. Iam most confident you will love working with them if they ever show up every day, not.

#29. Posted by Toonik's Grandfather on September 14, 2017

Most Inuit believe finishing grade 12 is the end of thier schooling, and start look for high paying jobs, our thinking pattern is years behind…..sorry to say this.  If we can NOT encourage our children for further education, how to be indenpendent, feeling stuck comes to mind.  Staying home culture is so strong, it’s hard to break away from it, educate me, hand me a good job.  If we can train our children to be on time, get free education, self-care, it would be a start.  I know the system is NOT perfect but we Inuit come a long way.  Sometimes I feel lucky, liking your job is another thing.

#30. Posted by An old trope on September 14, 2017

The same old tired discussion about people who are under educated and under motivated not holding positions they have not earned. Not to fear, we can always blame people from the east coast. Whatever you, however, please avoid looking in the proverbial mirror. Gor it?

#31. Posted by Degrees on September 14, 2017

NTI should be going into all departments to investigate if these non inuit that are hired off the street are qualified or even have drgrees, certified diplomas some that do hire them from hearing that have been fired and now sitting happily getting good pay and good benefits.  GN better and others to step up and investigate when they check credit references.

#32. Posted by Samson on September 14, 2017

More training programs, more support for education, right from K to 12.
Proper curriculum for the schools not bits from Alberta, BC and other places, Inuktitut curriculum has to be made,
More Capacity building and programs in Arctic College.
Much improvements in department of education, much more priority in training and building capacity within the GN.
Status Quo within the GN has gone on long enough, time for some changes and move forward.

#33. Posted by Tuvanun on September 14, 2017

Dear Inuit,
I hope you are smart enough to see how destructive NTI has been to your people.  It is not the GNs fault that Inuit don’t care about education and hence cannot get all the jobs you feel they should be in (in case you were not aware all government jobs in an advanced economy require successful completion of secondary schooling) .  NTIs neglect of advocating for proper education in exchange for forcing cultural ideas and language is why there isn’t a single decent generation of thinkers sense residential schools.  But, like many organizations who are tasked with leading their people NTI knows the game as good as anyone.  Keep your people dumb and blame something else so they keep blindingly following (most of them from the welfare line).

#34. Posted by Name withheld by request on September 14, 2017

Inuit are smart, wise and have gone through so much! I had a math teacher that wouldn’t show me the process of a math question, he did the work and expected me to copy it. Having no understanding as to how the process was, I didn’t last in school. I had a conversation with my child’s teacher, I quote her “I see potential in your child, you don’t see that in all students” This was horrible to hear from a 30 year old ish teacher.
DON’T point your finger at the ones on welfare, they don’t have the support to better their lives. The people on welfare are strong to go through what their going through. Welfare clients are mistreated, given very little to last one month. If the homeless had a choice to better their lives, they would but they don’t have the guidance or help, their just given a couple hundred to last a couple days.

#35. Posted by Tukikii on September 14, 2017

#33 where do you get off saying Inuit do not care about education? Generalizing people in today’s day and age is a real problem, you sound like that senator who talks about indigenous people.
What the problem here is the department of education not living up to the education act and creating a dysfunctional education system with bits of curriculum from all over and NO curriculum for Inuktitut.

If you really understood the situation instead of providing ignorance you would not seems so silly for the rest of us that do. Get yourself educated on the matter before spewing your ignorance, it’s getting a little tiring having to explain that day in and day out to people like you.

#36. Posted by Inuk on September 14, 2017

I can’t believe they would post such ignorant and classless comment from #33. Who monitors this site?
The tone on that comment is judging a group of people with pure ignorance. I hope you are smarter than that Nunatsiaq news.

#37. Posted by In The Pudding on September 14, 2017

#36 When NU teachers are given a list at the beginning of each school year of students who will not show up, there is evidence that too many Nunavummiut do not care about education. Or at least, do not care enough. Likewise when attendance hovers around 60% and graduation rates hover below H. Clearly the importance of getting an education is not beginning in the home. How can we expect the GN to have a representative workforce of motivated, educated adults if parents are not motivating their children to become educated?

#38. Posted by Inuk on September 14, 2017

yeah ok number 37, this magic list tells it all, thank you for clarifying this and it is all the parents fault and the department of education is doing a fine job and they can do whatever they feel like doing.

Makes sense now.

#39. Posted by Name withheld by request on September 14, 2017

There is a reason to missing school and it’s not because we don’t care at home, There’s many reasons. If there really is a list given to teachers, why don’t they use the list for the best? Why is this list given? To make matters worse? There is too much ignorance going on, our lives are not something you play with,

#40. Posted by In The Pudding on September 14, 2017

#38, #39, Ask any teacher, they will verify this list exists, I have heard some teachers refer to it as the “Non-Attends List”. I surmise it is to allow teachers to focus their limited resources on those students who will actually attend. Regardless, it is a symptom of the larger problem, that parents are not forcing their children to attend school. Even if Nunavut had the greatest system in the world, it cannot make the child into an educated adult if the child does not go to school. Send your kids to school, or accept the blame when they fail at life.

#41. Posted by Name withheld by request on September 14, 2017

Ignorant! what your saying is, Teachers don’t want to be understanding? Understanding its not the kids fault for missing school! Racism is everywhere, ignorance grows and having nothing doesn’t help.

#42. Posted by Anonymous on September 14, 2017

Workplace bullying is very much existent within the GN. I experienced it myself and nothing was done. So I no longer exist in the GN environment because I developed anxiety.
I often felt small and always burned by the higher ups, I felt my voice didn’t matter.. Apparently workplace bullying is not tolerated, but it’s the manipulator’s who control the environment.
You don’t need to speak loud to bully. You can also do it silently, directly, or privately. it very much exists.

I know this is not the only reason for low Inuit staffing but this is a good reason as well.

I’m sure I’m not the only one here. What can be done?

#43. Posted by NTI bennie on September 14, 2017

I am sure there is more types of losses in Inuit staffing issues in Nunavut such as in NTI, RIA and in QC, Sakku ,Kitcorp, Nunacorp, Nunasi, Nunavut Trust, Attuqtuavik corporation and NCC. NTI should hire a beneficiary Inuk consultant to do the same work for all of NTI Inuit owned association and to all Inuit birthright corporation under the umbrella of NTI.

#44. Posted by Bert Rose on September 15, 2017

#2, 3 and 10.
Please read article 23. Representative employment is based on total populations.
Looking at Labour force statistics or other numerical analyses is just smoke and mirrors to try and ignore what in Inuit of Nunavut and the Government of Canada agreed upon.

#45. Posted by Solar on September 15, 2017

Every now and then this is a topic for discussion. Nothing changes. There’s an election coming up. If the population of nunavut actually cares about this, then say so with your vote. Simple.

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