But one in five jobs is vacant

Inuit fill 50 per cent of government jobs


The Government of Nunavut passed a milestone of sorts this past March 31 – at least 50 per cent of their employees are now Inuit beneficiaries of the Nunavut land claim agreement.

This means the GN has at last reached the 50 per cent Inuit employment target that northern leaders set in 1998, just before the creation of Nunavut.

But at the same time, only 80 per cent of the 3,687 GN jobs available as of March 31, 2007 were filled, with more than 700 jobs – about one in five – sitting vacant.

The GN's latest employment report, issued Oct. 1, shows that 2,962 of those jobs were filled as of March 31, 2007 and that slightly more than half – 1,492 of them – were filled by Nuna­vut land claim beneficiaries.

In 1999, the proportion of Inuit employees stood at only 44 per cent. In subsequent years it dipped as low as 42 per cent.

In later years that figure rose rapidly, climbing to 48 per cent as of June 2006 and then hitting 50 per cent as of March 31, 2007.

But at the same time, the GN's overall capacity dropped slightly. As of June 2006, 83 per cent of GN jobs were filled. But in March 2007, only 80 per cent were filled.

That's still a big improvement over where the GN stood in June of 1999. When the new territory was created in April of that year, only about 40 per cent of GN jobs were filled.

These capacity problems recently attracted the attention of Paul Mayer, the federal government's representative on devolution, in a report that assesses the GN's readiness to take on new responsibilities:

"Nunavut has a largely transitional work force of often young and inexperienced people looking for their first work experience. This means that key positions can be vacant at critical times as workers find better opportunities," Mayer said.

Article 23 of the Nunavut land claim agreement says that until Inuit employment in government is equal to the Inuit share of Nunavut's population, about 85 per cent, governments must make special efforts to hire Inuit.

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