Nunatsiaq News
LETTERS: Nunavut April 06, 2016 - 2:15 pm

Inuit org applauds petitioner for advancing Inuit right to jobs

"His efforts will make life better for all Inuit"

Qaumariaq Inuqtaqau, 29, of Iqaluit recently started a petition calling on Nunavut businesses to hire more Inuit. (FILE PHOTO)
Qaumariaq Inuqtaqau, 29, of Iqaluit recently started a petition calling on Nunavut businesses to hire more Inuit. (FILE PHOTO)

I am writing in response to the recently published article entitled, Nunavut employers must hire more Inuit, says formerly homeless beneficiary.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. fully supports the petition that Qaumariaq Inuqtaqua is circulating, and welcomes the initiative and determination he is showing by doing so.

When Inuit signed the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement 23 years ago, we did so to make life better for Inuit. We wanted to become economically self-sufficient in our communities, our regions, and throughout our new territory. We envisioned Inuit taking full advantage of the jobs, training and other benefits and opportunities offered by the public and private sector.

Everyone recognizes the importance of Article 4 of the Nunavut Agreement, the article that created the Nunavut territory and government.

But many people forget the importance of Article 23. Article 23 commits the federal and Nunavut governments to develop workforces that fully reflect the Inuit proportion of Nunavut’s population — approximately 85 per cent.

There is still much work to be done to fully achieve the vision of Nunavut. The non-implementation of the obligations outlined in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement is precisely why NTI went to court for nine years to hold governments to account. A key part of our lawsuit was to make sure the goal of Article 23 is met.

The lawsuit ended in May 2015 when an out-of-court settlement agreement was signed. The agreement requires the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut to put $50 million, over the next seven years, into enhancing the ability of Inuit to qualify for, obtain, and retain or advance in employment.

NTI is also investing $175 million from its court settlement into the Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corp. to complement and supplement government training to fulfill their Article 23 obligations.

It is encouraging to see Nunavut Inuit, like Qaumariaq Inuqtaqau, stand up for Inuit rights. His efforts will make life better for all Inuit. By raising concerns, suggesting solutions and working creatively together, we can build a stronger Nunavut.

Cathy Towtongie
President, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

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