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Representative workforce on the way, premier says

Nunavut News approached Nunavut Agreement negotiator and former premier Paul Quassa, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk and newly elected premier Joe Savikataaq to pinpoint a specific area where the implementation of Nunavut Agreement has benefitted Inuit and, where there have been challenges to implementation, how have Inuit been affected.

Michele LeTourneau/NNSL photo
For newly-elected premier Joe Savikataaq, the greatest challenge in implementing the Nunavut Agreement is in the area of a representative workforce, noting the government is currently finalizing a master Inuit employment plan.

Premier Joe Savikataaq is a former conservation officer and environment minister, so it's no surprise that his first mention of successful implementation is Article 5 of the Nunavut Agreement.

Article 5 is all about wildlife.

"The Government of Nunavut (GN) has seen great success working with our partners with the co-management of wildlife, as per Article 5 of the Nunavut Agreement. The GN is committed to active and meaningful involvement of Nunavut Inuit as co-managers of wildlife research and management," stated Savikataaq via e-mail.

The GN Department of Environment, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, hunters and trappers' organizations, and regional wildlife organizations all share responsibilities for the conservation of terrestrial species.

Savikataaq states, as per the agreement, the organizations work collectively and independently on their respective priorities, with the responsibilities on the GN side falling to Environment's wildlife division. "This division ensures that Nunavut Inuit are involved in all aspects of research project design, research study execution, and are consulted on the final wildlife management recommendations and study results. This includes ensuring Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is incorporated appropriately into wildlife research and management decisions," stated Savikataaq.

"I am very proud of this approach, and as an avid hunter, combined with my wildlife conservation background, it is near to my heart."

Article 23 – a representative workforce in the public service – is top of mind in terms of challenges to implementation.

"Unfortunately, progress on this front has not always been as quick as we had hoped, but we are making significant strides to improve opportunities for Inuit to be employed in government," he stated.

"Through our renewed commitment to working together for a common cause, and as a result of the settlement of the lawsuit between Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Government of Canada, we collaborate regularly with NTI and the Government of Canada on comprehensive measures to achieve our objectives to ensure increased Inuit staffing."

Savikataaq lists initiatives: the Sivuliqtiksat Internship Program, career development workshops, the Amaaqtaarniq Education Program, the Career Broadening Program, the Hivuliktiqhanut Emerging Leaders Program, the Training Travel Fund, and the Policy Foundations Program.

"Additionally, the GN recognizes the importance of completing detailed department Inuit Employment Plans as well as the government-wide Inuit Employment Plan. This requires strategic workforce planning over a 10-year implementation period," stated Savikataaq, adding the GN is finalizing a master Inuit employment plan.

"This extensive exercise allows us to plan properly. Building Inuit employment capacity within the GN is a common priority area, and I am confident these initiatives will lead to long-term success," he stated.