The Government of Canada has awarded a $592-million contract to Nasittuq Corporation to operate and maintain the North Warning System for the next seven years.
Nasittuq, majority-owned by Inuit, assumes the contract from Raytheon as of April 1. Raytheon took control of the duties from Nasittuq in 2014 after Nasittuq had maintained the 50 sites for 13 years.
The latest arrangement comes with options for four two-year extensions.
The responsibilities include upkeep of helipads, gravel runways, upwards of 100 buildings and more than 300 bulk fuel storage tanks at 47 North Warning System locations in the Canadian Arctic. There are also three facilities in Ontario included among the maintenance obligations.
The North Warning System was established through North American Aerospace Defense Command in 1985 to monitor for any threats to continental airspace. The system comprises 36 short-range radar sites and 11 long-range radar sites. A headquarters in North Bay, Ont., controls all the locations around the clock.
Nasittuq is an Inuit registered firm held by three shareholders: Nunasi Corporation has 51 per cent voting interest; Pan Arctic Inuit Logistics (PAIL) has 51 per cent equity interest; and ATCO Frontec Ltd. (ATCO) has 49 per cent voting and equity interest.
“We’re thrilled to bring the North Warning System contract home,” said Jody Langelier, president of Nasittuq. “The team is ready to deliver world-class technical and logistics services for this critical defence infrastructure.”
In observance of Inuit land claims agreements, Nasittuq has committed to pay 28 per cent of total wages and salaries to Inuit beneficiary employees, with a one per cent increase every two years; meet the 50.37 per cent Inuit benefits contract commitment, with a one per cent increase every two years; maximize the use of Inuit-owned firms in carrying out the terms of the North Warning System contract; employ at least four Inuit supervisors or managers; and manage a $2.5-million training and development program for Inuit beneficiaries.
Nasittuq has provided site support services as well as program management and administration support at Canadian Forces Station Alert since 2012. Approximately 10 per cent of the staff under that contract are Inuit, according to Langelier.
Harry Flaherty, chairperson of PAIL, said, “This contract represents an incredible opportunity for Inuit economic development in the North. As a majority Inuit-owned corporation, Nasittuq will deliver long-lasting benefits to our Inuit shareholder corporations and Inuit beneficiaries including earnings, employment, sub-contracting opportunities, and training to Northerners.”
PAIL is owned by Inuit shareholder corporations Inuvialuit Development Corporation, Makivik Corporation, Nunatsiavut Group of Companies, Qikiqtaaluk Corporation, Sakku Investments Corporation and the Kitikmeot Corporation.