Nunavut MLA complains about lack of probation officers
1,700 need probation services
Sanikiluaq, along with other Nunavut communities, needs probation officers, Allan Rumbolt, Hudson Bay MLA said in the legislative assembly March 13.
Rumbolt asked Daniel Shewchuk, Nunavut’s minister of justice why there are eight vacant positions in the territory, when there are 1,700 people on probation.
“It’s my understanding that there are communities with no probation services,” Rumbolt said.
There are 13 corrections or probation officer positions in the communities that are filled, Shewchuk said.
But the communities which don’t have officers are considered remote, which means probation officers from other communities fly in to do their work.
When asked by Rumbolt how often those visits take place, Shewchuk said there is no set schedule.
“It’s done on an as-needed basis,” he said.
Rumbolt wanted to know what plans the justice department has to fill those vacant positions.
“The intent is to have probation officers in every community,” Shewchuk said.
The struggle in filling the probation officer position in Sanikiluaq results from a lack of office space and staff housing, he said.
Jeannie Ugyuk, MLA for Nattilik also asked Shewchuk about probation officers March 12, during discussions about the department of justice’s main estimates.
“Which communities are being targeted [to have vacant positons filled]?” Ugyuk said.
Kugaaruk, Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbour, Clyde River, Grise Fiord, Resolute Bay, Kimmirut, and Qikiqtarjuaq are on that list, Shewchuk said.
In the past, the Department of Health and Social Services held some of the responsibility for providing probation services, but that changed this past Feb. 1 when Shewchuk’s department took over that responsibility.