Akeeagok hopes for health staff, infrastructure support in Ottawa meeting

Premiers sitting down with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this afternoon

Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok sits at the table with other Canadian premiers in Ottawa on Feb. 7. The group was set to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later in the afternoon in search for more money for health care. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok says when it comes to funding health care in the territory, his biggest concern is staffing.

Akeeagok is set to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Wednesday afternoon in search of a nearly $28-billion increase to the Canada Health Transfer. It is the main pot of federal money from which the provinces and territories fund the delivery of their health care.

Nunavut’s premier will be sitting beside his counterparts from other Canadian provinces and territories in search of the funding boost.

“Our number-one priority is to ensure that we have the human resources to provide,” Akeeagok told Nunatsiaq news in an interview at an Ottawa hotel where the premiers met before their session with Trudeau.

The meeting is taking place less than two months after Canada’s premiers, including Akeeagook, signed a joint letter demanding an opportunity to talk to Trudeau about increasing the health-care funding the federal government provides.

Quebec Premier François Legault, left, and Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson speak to reporters in Ottawa. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

“We’ve done absolutely everything we can to look at ways where we could provide that service, but the reality is the challenge we see not only in Nunavut. Right across the country, the lack of nurses and the doctors that are available to Canadians is affecting us in the North.”

Akeeagok said Wednesday’s meeting is about making sure all the provinces and territories get to have a voice.

After meetings with his counterparts from Yukon and Northwest Territories, Akeeagok said the northern premiers will raise their concerns, but also support a deal that benefits the entire country.

“We’ve really brought a unified voice with all the premiers coming here,” Akeeagok said.

“I come in very optimistic and very solutions-oriented in terms of tackling the issues that are there. I could never commit in terms of a time, without seeing what’s going to be offered, but once we have that opportunity we have our teams ready to be able to analyze what will be tabled today.”

Akeeagok said that once a deal is made with the premiers, he’ll be working toward negotiations for a separate funding deal to address Nunavut’s specific needs, but that will happen at a later date.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson is the chair of the Council of the Federation, which is how the premiers refer to themselves as a coalition.

It’s expected that Trudeau will table an offer to the premiers, and Stefanson presented an optimistic tone to journalists Wednesday morning, but said she doesn’t expect the premiers and Ottawa to reach a deal. She also did not provide a date when she expects a deal to be reached.

“We want to ensure that we are providing for a sustainable future of health care, a sustainable funding model for our health-care system,” Stefanson said.

“Today is the first time that we will as premiers be awarded the opportunity to see what that proposal looks like.”

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Ya Right on

    If your government cared about Health Human Resources you would treat staff with respect and provide real incentive to work and stay in Nunavut. You simply don’t, which is why no one will come here.
    When you treat staff poorly and they leave, its a small health community and the GN gets the reviews it deserves: good pay, but among the worse place to work for nurses. Nurses are regarded as a disposable asset, to be worked and denied every type of leave and retention benefit. The reason for this reputation is your management. Your senior management, meaning your Chief of Staff, nursing directors and ADMs, are the only variables that do not frequently change at Health and you don’t need to pay a consultant six figures to figure out you need to look at these people more closely. They are the swamp that needs to be drained to fix your HR problem.
    People might say staff need to complain or use the union (HA! what a joke the NEU is). No, healthcare staff in Nunavut do not bother with union grievances: they take a signing bonus and all expenses paid move to NWT and Yukon and Northern BC and Ontario.

  2. Posted by art thompson on

    This problem exists in other departments besides Health. Everybody pushing for more productivity from people who also want and need an actual life. Staff filling 2 positions for long durations. No wonder people just want a contract.

    • Posted by Observer on

      “Everybody pushing for more productivity from people who also want and need an actual life. ”
      Saying “do more, work faster” seldom gets positive results, even short term.
      What the GN needed are better ways of doing things.
      Ask: “Why are we doing this? Is it needed? Who benefits? What are better ways to provide what is needed? Is there a way to eliminate or reduce the need?”
      Eliminate the “wasted effort” parts of the job. Structure work so that people know they are contributing to improving the lives of Nunavummiut. Provide recognition for their contribution. Treat all employees as people with knowledge about “the real world”, and show serious interest in the perspective they can offer. They will accomplish twice as much in half the time. And they won’t take their job frustration out on their spouse.
      Confidential message to DM of Health and DM of HR. You can reduce domestic abuse and suicide of GN employees by improving the work environment.

  3. Posted by Roy Atkins on

    There is something weird going on in the department I work in. There are positions continually going unfilled, both union and excluded. Yet a person never sees the positions running as open competitions, And yet in some cases a person appears outta nowhere and is doing the job. Not casual. So are higher ups just avoiding the HR route and hiring who they please? I think in some cases there is some monkey business going on with the HR process.

    • Posted by Ya think? on

      Remember when QSO hired a principal and then promoted him to Director of a Dept while he had a court case back in PEI for harrassing a co-worker? Well vetted

    • Posted by The Power on

      Roy there are always things going on in the back ground that most of us are not aware of. Hiring staff is a task not many of us would want, the pitfalls of trying to hire here in the north is much greater then in the south, first of all there are less staff to pick from, less qualifications, living arrangements etc… Just because the jobs aren’t being filled doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to fill them.

    • Posted by As I See It on

      Ah, the joy of direct appointments…avoiding transparency and HR processes since forever – pretty good for empire building and nepotism though…

    • Posted by Article 23 on

      These are always appointments of Inuit under the auspices of Article 23. You will never see a position filled by anyone else due to the strict policies for staffing they have. The only other explanation is you work for CGS or Health that is afforded a luxury to hire private contractors who are essentially employees in to work. Think project managers and agency nurses.

      • Posted by Not Always, or Even Usually on

        Except they’re not ‘always’ this case.

        • Posted by Uh because they don’t exist on

          positions are not filled with inuit because qualified or nearly qualified inuit do not exist to fill them. inuit hold a major percentage of entry level positions that require high school or less. they hold less at higher positions because why go to university to earn $140 when you can earn $90 with no effort or time lost.

  4. Posted by Kevin Niptanatiak on

    My tenure with CGS for 16 years were the best as I worked with great people. I left the GN after 20 years in 2018. Thank you and I hope the future is brighter for our beautiful Territory.


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