New funding announced for job training in Nunavut following APTN Investigates report

Kathleen Martens
APTN Investigates
More training is needed to help Inuit get job ready in Nunavut, a joint news release acknowledged Monday.

The admission by the government of Nunavut (GN) and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) comes on the heels of an APTN investigation into Inuit employment in the northern territory.

The APTN Investigates report #Article23 exposed how southern Canadians are working in the capital of Iqaluit while many locals are unemployed and living in unheated wooden shacks.

The GN and NTI say they’re planning to spend $3 million on 12 different training initiatives to help Inuit get jobs in the private and public sectors.

The initiatives will be delivered by the Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corporation, which NTI is establishing in Iqaluit with $175 million.

The training is in addition to ongoing preparedness already offered by the GN and federal government.

“By funding these important projects, Makigiaqta started a process to help Nunavut Inuit obtain the skills needed to seek and maintain employment in all areas of Nunavut’s economy,” NTI President Aluki Kotierk said in the release.

“This path will lead us to healthy families, healthy communities, and healthy Inuit. This is what we envisioned when we negotiated Article 23 of the Nunavut Agreement.”

Article 23 sets a hiring target of 85 per cent Inuit in the public service but so far that number is only around 50 per cent. With only 21 per cent Inuit in senior management jobs.

The APTN Investigates report showed that working Inuit don’t get the same food, housing and northern living subsidies offered southern workers in the private sector.

The result is a two-tier society with southerners renting expensive apartments or buying homes while employed Inuit fill the homeless shelter, couch surf or live in uninsulated shacks on the beach because they can’t afford the high cost of housing.

The current affairs show APTN InFocus will delve further into the issue Feb. 8.

“Makigiaqta is committed to providing successful training and skills development to ensure Nunavut Inuit reach their full potential and lead the future of our territory,” Education Minister Paul Quassa said in the release.

“Nunavut has the youngest and fastest-growing population in Canada and access to skills training is critical to our economic, cultural and social prosperity.”

The GN is the largest employer in Nunavut with 4,000 positions. While NTI is a not-for-profit Inuit organization that oversees the billion dollars in trust negotiated with the federal government when the territory was founded in 1999.

The money for the training centre came from a $255.5-million settlement in 2015, after NTI sued the federal government for failing to implement Article 23 and put more Inuit to work.

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