Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut October 21, 2016 - 11:45 am

Nunavut MLAs issue directions to language standards org

“We are just getting independent now as IUT”

IUT chair Mary Thompson and executive director Jeela Palluq-Cloutier during a break in their standing committee appearance Nov. 25 last year. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
IUT chair Mary Thompson and executive director Jeela Palluq-Cloutier during a break in their standing committee appearance Nov. 25 last year. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

Nunavut’s language authority, the Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit, will have a shorter leash moving forward following calls by Nunavut’s legislature for more accountability.

That’s according to responses—tabled by Heritage Minister George Kuksuk in Nunavut’s legislature Oct. 18—to standing committee recommendations for improvements in the organization.

The responses address a list of requests from the Standing Committee on Oversight of Government Operations and Public Accounts asking the language authority to fulfill some basic administrative functions.

That includes a request for the Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit (IUT) to provide the Government of Nunavut with work completed so far in its Inuktitut terminology database—a cornerstone project for the IUT—a timeline for the language authority to launch a website, “detailed accounts” of its activities, expenses and plans in relation to travel, and a “more comprehensive” outline of annual “activities, publications, priorities and future plans.”

The standing committee also requested that the IUT provide GN departments with the means to contact the organization, asking for “clear directions on the process by which entities may request and receive assistance from [IUT].”

The recommendations followed an appearance by IUT administrators before the standing committee in November last year, where MLAs reviewed IUT annual reports from 2012 to 2015—all tabled in bulk at the legislature in October 2015.

During that hearing, MLAs criticized the IUT for alleged favoritism in its hiring processes, its lack of availability to the public and the general slow rate of progress towards completing many of its assigned projects.

“Can you indicate how your agency promotes its role and services to departments, public agencies and other organizations in Nunavut?” asked Rankin Inlet-South MLA Alex Sammurtok during the November 2015 hearing.

“Currently we are using word-of-mouth. The government departments know we are available but we know we have to do more promotional work to the people of Nunavut,” said the IUT’s executive director, Jeela Palluq-Cloutier.
MLAs also questioned the IUT’s hiring practices when the agency—already short-staffed—failed to advertise positions publically while rotating the same people in and out of the organization through appointments.

“Is there no chance for us to be part of your group unless you’re looking for me in particular?” Tununiq MLA Joe Enook asked IUT Chair Mary Thompson.

“That has happened, to tell you the truth. There have been appointments. And as I stated earlier, we are just getting independent now as IUT. We’ve been working on that as the board,” Thompson said.

The responses tabled by Kuksuk indicate the new directives to the IUT that will be included in its next annual report.

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