Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut April 02, 2018 - 9:30 am

QIA stages community meetings ahead of talks with Baffinland

Sagging Inuit employment a subject of concern

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Baffinland's mine camp at Milne Inlet, seen in 2014. The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is holding meetings with beneficiaries in five communities impacted by the mine as it prepares to renegotiate its benefits agreement with the company.
Baffinland's mine camp at Milne Inlet, seen in 2014. The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is holding meetings with beneficiaries in five communities impacted by the mine as it prepares to renegotiate its benefits agreement with the company.

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association wants to hear from its beneficiaries as it gears up to renegotiate its benefits agreement with Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.

Starting on Wednesday, April 4 and continuing until Thursday, April 12, the QIA will hold public meetings and information sessions in Igloolik, Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet, Hall Beach and Clyde River. These five communities are most directly impacted by the company’s Mary River mine.

These meetings will be hosted by the QIA’s negotiation team. That includes former-premier Eva Aariak, who is serving as chief negotiator, and former MLA George Qulaut, who is co-negotiator.

The negotiatiors plan to hold special meetings with hamlet councils, hunters and trappers organizations, community land and resource committees, as well as public gatherings for community members.

The Inuit impact and benefit agreement between the QIA and Baffinland calls for reviews to take place every three years. These reviews could prompt the renegotiation of certain articles of the agreement.

Inuit employment is bound to come up. The proportion of Inuit employed at Mary River slumped to 12.5 per cent in early 2017. That was a big drop from the rate of 20 per cent seen one year earlier, and just half of the agreed-upon target of 25 per cent.

The QIA said during its annual meeting this past October that the current employment gap represents about $9 million in lost wages for Inuit. The association has said it wants to see the 25 per cent target reached by 2020.

The QIA and Baffinland have made recent efforts to turn these employment numbers around. Earlier this month, the QIA touted how 14 more Inuit were employed at Mary River working as apprentice trades assistants, thanks to a new program launched last fall by QIA and the company.

The QIA aims to train 360 Inuit through the program by March 2021.

QIA’s community meetings will take place in Igloolik on April 5, Pond Inlet on April 9 and April 10, Hall Beach on April 11 and Clyde River on April 12.

You can find schedule details here.

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(4) Comments:

#1. Posted by I know on April 02, 2018

The mine workers will give jobs to their relatives first. Also, Inuk who hires will not hire good potential worker with good resume and will give the job to friends first. If, white who hires people will give the job first to his relative from south or to a friend, even if they do not have good resume and if someone complaint about not hiring Inuk. There story will be like this, that Inuk worker not show up for work. Look at the Frobisher Inn, who will not hire an Interpreter because, the potential worker will be Inuk.

#2. Posted by Testify on April 02, 2018

#1 If it helps at all I can verify that the issues of truancy and tardiness are very real and not manufactured to keep Inuit down.

#3. Posted by Jeff on April 04, 2018

I agree with #1. Baffinland like GN in Iqaluit, only hire their relatives and friends. I applied Baffinland and they were really interested in me until they found out I wasn’t relative of some guy there who had same last name. Then they told me I wasn’t Inuit so wouldn’t hire me. When I said they don’t hire Inuit already the guy hung up on me.

#4. Posted by Truth on April 06, 2018

25 per cent is already way too low. A mine on Inuit land should be employing 100 per cent Inuit. Otherwise why even have it?

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