GN closing in on draft policy for remote work, HR minister says 

New policy changes could increase Inuit hiring while discouraging applicants from south who work from their homes

By David Venn

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Tununiq MLA Karen Nutarak wants to see increase in Inuit hirings

Nunavut’s Department of Human Resources has almost finished a draft policy on remote working for Government of Nunavut employees, according to the minister for the department.

A finalized policy may be presented “within the coming months,” Adam Lightstone said Wednesday in the legislative assembly.

“The pandemic  has shown that the Government of Nunavut is capable of allowing for and accommodating employees who wish to work remotely,” he said.

Lightstone made the announcement while responding to questions from Tununiq MLA Karen Nutarak about Inuit employment, but he did not give any details on what the policy may entail.

In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic sent government employees home, many people working for the GN chose to work from the south, Nutarak said in an interview.

“It was not fair for other staff, for the essential staff who had to work,  who  were not able to travel due to restrictions,” she said, adding that all government employees should be treated equally.

Nutarak wants to see a policy for government employees requiring them to stay in their communities while working from home.

She said such a policy would discourage southern workers from applying to government jobs in communities, and leave room for Inuit hires.

“We need to make every effort to increase the number of Inuit who are employed in our communities,” Nutarak said.

The Nunavut government has a goal to reach a 58-per-cent-Inuit workforce by next year, up from 50 per cent in 2020, according to report released that year.

The long-term goal, according to the report, is to reach an Inuit workforce that matches the proportion of Inuit across Nunavut, which is 85 per cent.

Nutarak also noted the government’s Inuit priority policy was due for a review last summer, and she asked Lightstone if the department plans on making any changes to it.

Lightstone said the Inuit priority hiring is working effectively, and the department isn’t looking to make any changes.

David Venn  is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the  NUNATSIAQ NEWS . The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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