Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut August 23, 2016 - 8:30 am

Nunavut government, college to launch Iqaluit-based law program in 2017

Nunavut Arctic College to partner with University of Saskatchewan on four-year program

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Nunavut Arctic College will launch the territory’s new Iqaluit-based law degree program in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan in September 2017, the GN announced Aug. 22. (FILE PHOTO)
Nunavut Arctic College will launch the territory’s new Iqaluit-based law degree program in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan in September 2017, the GN announced Aug. 22. (FILE PHOTO)

Nunavut Arctic College will launch a new Nunavut law degree program in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan next year.

The Government of Nunavut-funded program will offer 25 spots to Nunavummiut students in the four-year program, the GN announced Aug. 22.

Classes are expected to begin in Iqaluit in September 2017, the GN said.

The revival of a Nunavut-focused law program comes roughly five years after Nunavut’s Akitsiraq law school program folded due to underfunding.

Akitsiraq was a legal training program launched in 2001 by the University of Victoria, which produced 11 graduates in 2005.

But when the Akitsiraq Law Society partnered with the University of Ottawa in 2010 on a proposal to provide training to a second batch of beneficiaries, the GN rejected the society’s request for the $3.57 million needed to fund the program.

This past spring, the GN announced its plans to relaunch a law program, with an eye to working with universities it already had partnered with, such as those in Victoria and Ottawa.

But the GN and NAC opted instead for a new partnership with the University of Saskatchewan.

“The Government of Nunavut has made education a priority in our current mandate,” said Nunavut’s education minister, Paul Quassa.

“The delivery of a law degree program through the University of Saskatchewan will give Nunavummiut the best opportunity to learn about and engage actively in the legal profession.”

For itself, the U of Saskatchewan said one of its goals is to make greater investments and commitment to Indigenous advancement.

“Ensuring Inuit students have the opportunity to study law in Nunavut is a natural extension of our commitment to Indigenous initiatives and to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation calls to action,” said the university’s president and vice-chancellor, Peter Stoicheff.

The GN didn’t say how much the new law program would cost, nor has the government provided information on eligibility for enrolment or deadlines.

The goal of the new law degree program, the GN says, is to increase the number of practicing lawyers in Nunavut while also meetings its Sivumut Abluqta mandate’s education priority.

In addition to the new law program, NAC is expected to soon offer three other degree-granting programs in partnership with universities in order to allow Nunavut students to study in the territory.

That was one of the recommendations made in a recent feasibility study into the creation of a Nunavut university — that, rather than found a new university, the GN instead help NAC to deliver degree-level programs in Nunavut with the help of southern universities.

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