NEWS: Nunavut July 11, 2018 - 5:16 pm

Nunavut government reboots human resources department

GN cites Inuit employment as reason for resurrecting HR

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

The Government of Nunavut announced today that it is bringing back its Department of Human resources, six years after that department was dissolved in 2012.

“The creation of a more targeted department echoes the direction of full caucus, and is an important first step forward,” Nunavut’s new minister responsible for the public service George Hickes said in a July 11 release from the Department of Finance. 

Up until now, human resources were dealt with through the Departments of Finance and Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs.

The release cites “Inuit employment planning” as a priority for the new department.

This announcement comes shortly after a portfolio shuffle that saw Hickes made head of finance.

That shuffle happened just days after Hickes was voted into cabinet by acclamation when Arviat South MLA Joe Savikataaq became Nunavut’s new premier following the ousting of then-premier and member for Aggu Paul Quassa.

As a regular MLA for Iqaluit-Tasiluk, Hickes, along with Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Lightstone, championed the creation of a new human resources department, and said civil servants shouldn’t feel intimidated in their workplaces.

Pushback seen from regular members over a lack of a human resources department within the GN isn’t new.

In June of 2016, Nunavut MLAs voted to create a public service commission to handle staff recruitment, hiring, training and workplace wellness, even though at the time all of cabinet was against it.

Today, the GN is saying that its first step, following the resurrection of a human resources department, will be to plan, staff and budget for the new body.

“A planning team will be tasked with ensuring that the transition is smooth and effortless, and has as little impact as possible on employees, and government programs and services,” the July 11 release said.