With Canadian North’s hiring practices under fire from an Iqaluit MLA, a spokesperson with the airline said the company is making efforts to hire more Inuit in Nunavut.

Canadian North recently hired a director of Inuit employment and talent strategies to support local hiring and also recently brought aboard an Inuktut services specialist, said Annie Thomlinson, the airline’s manager of communications.

She added that the company posts open positions via social media, and also looks “to other avenues to advertise our positions, including through local career fairs and in partnership with local schools where possible.”

Asked to provide the existing Inuit staff rate at Canadian North’s Nunavut operations, what percentage of applicants are Inuit and the airline’s retention rate of Inuit staff in Nunavut, Thomlinson replied, “I am unable to share those figures at this time.”

Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Arreak Lightstone pointed out in the legislative assembly on May 27 that Canadian North is advertising for nine full-time cargo assistants and that the jobs are described as rotational positions that come into the community on a three-week on, three-week off basis. The airline also offers transient housing, another indicator that it’s pursuing workers from the south, said Arreak Lightstone, who raised similar concerns in November.

“I noted that many of these jobs can and should be filled by local residents,” he said.

Thomlinson told Nunavut News that Canadian North, as a wholly Inuit-owned company, “is fully committed to Inuit employment and staffing locally.” She added that job postings are now available in English and Inuktut.

“Our desire is to reach as many people as possible so that they know we are hiring and can apply easily. Retaining staff is also a priority and our experience is that those who are locally hired choose to stay and work with us over the long term,” she stated. “Given the need we have to ensure continuity in providing essential services, we also hire rotating staff when talent cannot be found locally.

“We are open to any opportunity to staff more locally. Feedback is appreciated and we welcome this input as we continue to build our employment programming.”

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