Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 13, 2012 - 10:28 am

Nunavut government makeover attracts mixed reviews

Thumbs up from women’s group, thumbs down from NTI

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

(Corrected and updated July 16)

The Government of Nunavut’s restructuring scheme, announced July 11, has attracted a negative reaction from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and praise from the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council.

Under its plan, the GN will take about half a dozen social service functions that now reside within different departments and stitch them together into a new entity called the Department of Family Services, as of April 1, 2013.

The Department of Health would continue as a standalone operation.

At the same time, the government would eliminate the Department of Human Resources.

The Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs would take responsibility for Inuit employment planning, training and development, and organizational design.

The Department of Finance would acquire responsibility for recruiting and staffing, employee relations, job evaluation, policy, and HR systems.

“Inuit Employment Planning and Training and Development are government-wide priorities and moving them into EIA will ensure that they are now a greater part of human resource planning efforts in every department,” a GN source said in an emailed communication.

This means the GN will increase its emphasis on Inuit internships and mentoring, career development and succession planning, Inuit development and Inuit language training, the source said.

The status of women council, in a statement issued July 12, said they “commend” the territorial government for its plan to create a new family services department.

“We are pleased that a department solely dedicated to social services, income support, anti-poverty, social advocacy and homelessness will be created,” the Qulliit organization said.

And the council said the creation of the family service department creates an opportunity to deal with long-term social issues.

“There have been many signals that there has to be a better way to deal with the social problems faced by Nunavut,” Charlotte Borg, acting president of Qulliit said in the statement.

Those social issues include women and homelessness, poverty reduction and family services, Borg said.

NTI, on the other hand, said they are worried about the elimination of the human resources department because of what it might mean for the GN’s ability to carry out obligations set out in Article 23 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

“I am concerned that the elimination of the department may compromise the government’s ability to ensure there will be priority hiring, the provision of training and development for all employees, and the ability to fulfill the objectives and obligations of Article 23,” NTI president Cathie Towtongie said in a news release.

The NTI statement said the organization will continue to be “attentive and vigilant” in monitoring the GN’s Inuit hiring efforts.

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