GN still looking at who is eligible for remote work, minister says

MLA Joe Savikitaaq hopes new remote work policy will be for Nunavummiut only

Arviat-South MLA Joe Savikataaq questioned Human Resources Minister Margaret Nakashuk about the progress of the remote workers policy Wednesday in the legislative assembly. Savikataaq emphasized that Nunavut residents should be required to work in Nunavut in order to take advantage of a policy like this. (File photo)

By David Lochead

The Government of Nunavut is still looking at who will be eligible for remote work under its upcoming remote work policy, says Human Resources Minister Margaret Nakashuk.

Nakashuk gave an update on the policy Wednesday, in response to questions from Arviat-South MLA Joe Savikataaq.

“I would hope that somewhere in the policy it states that work can only be done by Nunavut residents within Nunavut,” Savikataaq said.

In March, the previous human resources minister, Adam Arreak Lightstone, stated the GN was closing in on a draft policy for remote work that would be tabled “within the coming months.”

At the time, Tununiq MLA Karen Nutarak said it was not fair that many people from the GN chose to work from the south when the pandemic began in 2020, while those in Nunavut were stuck under travel restrictions. She added that if a remote work policy required employees to stay in Nunavut communities, it would create more space for Inuit hires.

Now, Nakashuk says the GN is looking at multiple approaches to the policy. She added there are situations that make only working in Nunavut challenging, such as doctors working through telehealth.

Inuit Child First, Indigenous Services Canada

Savikataaq said he understands there will be exceptions to a remote work policy, but in general, he hopes it rolls out only for Nunavummiut.

To show his point, Savikataaq said, hypothetically, that if the Manitoba government was found out to have a sizeable amount of employees in the public service working in Nunavut there would be an uproar in the province.

He added that while he understands that remote work can be seen as an option when there is no office space or housing in a community, “it’s a slippery slope to go down.”

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(34) Comments:

  1. Posted by No oversight on

    WIth the number of GN staff who take hour-long coffee breaks and regularly show up to work an hour late, remote work with little-to-no supervision should surely fare well.

    • Posted by Remote Work on

      Remote work is already a “done deal”.
      The GN’s Human Resources department has been contracted to a southern firm. Check it out. http://www.sivummutsolutions.ca
      According to its website, the firm’s primary consultants are:
      Sharla Jaquard
      Jimmy Jaquard
      Jo Aucoin
      Leah Ayaruaq
      Darell Dunn
      Kelvin Eisses
      Catherine Foo
      Roy Green
      Nicole Hill
      Nadine Purdy
      Geoff Rigby
      Erin Strachan
      “Our entire team has lived and worked in Nunavut” and is now operating from Orleans, Ontario (a suburb of Ottawa).
      It sounds like no one bothered to tell the Minister. But then, everything within the GN is buried in secrecy.

      • Posted by Art Thompson on

        Some of these folk have been around doing contract work forever. Milking the cow for every loose GN dollar. And from the south. Why not?

        • Posted by ALmond Milk on

          It guess it depends how much productivity you are willing to sacrifice on the alter of local employment. For some people, that number is high.

          On the other hand many of us never stop complaining about lack of GN capacity and its famous incompetence, and for good reason.

          So, who would you rather have ‘milking’ it?

  2. Posted by Slippery Slope on

    Why would there be an uproar from Nunavummiut? They’d have competent people doing work, for once. The only complainers will be uncompetitive job candidates.
    The idea of having a public service only living in the territorial boundary is outdated. No one cares anymore. The tax base is irrelevant to Nunavut, as it lives on federal money anyway.
    This “be here to work here” philosophy is counterproductive. It is exactly the opposite of the approach that had (maybe not so much recently) worked well for the Federal Government. You could literally hire a few thousand Inuit living in southern Canada by next quarter if you expanded your myopic worldview.
    Joe, not many people want to move to Nunavut. Is that news to you? Half of the public sector jobs are vacant or more and have been for a decade or more. Its now an employees market so it’ll be worse. Inuit have not filled the jobs and will not fill them all for 30+ years. You need to understand that grandstanding will get you nowhere. But you don’t care, you care about political points and “buy local” nonsense in a globalized world.
    And what’s more, the hypocrisy. Most of HR and much of CGS are remote “consultants” masquerading as employees. It was a joke of a government when Joe ran it and it is looking like it’ll be a joke of a government going forward.
    Sincerely, former GN employee working remote for the feds from the south.

    • Posted by Seriously on

      Because we need as much money as possible to remain within Nunavut’s economy. By taking scarce payroll dollars out of Nunavut remote workers ona GN payroll in the South make the cost of living for everyone else that stays in Nunavut more expensive. Seriously, this isn’t that hard to understand!

      • Posted by scare dollars on

        when no one fills a job there is zero tax dollars whether it is a remote job or nunavut job. when someone fills the job remote there is nunavut payroll tax. it’s better to have jobs filled than empty forever, especially hard to find professional jobs (no one is talking about jobs under $40/hour)

        • Posted by Maq-Pat on

          Interesting point. So remote workers would be “At Pleasure”: able to be replaced by a local worker at any time?

          • Posted by scare dollars on

            i think most employees would be satisfied with two weeks notice because the GN will never fill these positions in my working life. the government actually budgets to fill less than half of all positions every year so they know they won’t fill them all. they can’t house them and they can’t pay them either so save $40k per employee move and let me login with a laptop already and i’ll perform like a rockstar like i did when working in Iqaluit.

    • Posted by valid point SS on

      Slipery slope has a valid point about working from home. If you support out of Nunavut work your idea should work and have one of the provincial governments do the work from south and be our government.

      • Posted by Sark Asm on

        Sort of like the federal government does now or how the gnwt did so without internet for half a century before 1999

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Slippery Slope has clearly never heard the economic term “leakage” it is the amount of economic gain that leaves the territory every year because jobs are outsourced to non-residents of the territory. This include taxes, (both territorial and municipal), goods and services that would normally be procured locally and last but certainly not least the impact of a ghost workforce on Nunavut’s statistical numbers, whereby the federal government determines everything from EI benefit ratios to per capita healthcare spending. And by the way I have a great many friends and acquaintances who work in the federal public service in Nunavut and the salad days for remote work are coming to very rapid end and very likely sooner than you think. Be prepared to return to your place of employment or find another job.

      • Posted by Slippery Slope on

        if there is leakage in an economy 99.9% funded by pouring federal money into it then so be it. I’m not sorry remote work might mean a few dollars out of Canadian Norths coffers. We should also ban amazon in nunavut since it is taking away jobs from people at the Northern.
        you are right about the remote work sort of ending. at least for cirnac. I have a department change in the works since it’s easy to work where the remote benefits flow. I also have contract work to do the same job i did for the GN at about 1.25x the cost from the south since they can’t seem to replace me.

    • Posted by UpHere on

      This comment describes colonialism … exactly!

    • Posted by UpHere on

      This comment describes colonialism exactly!

  3. Posted by Anonymous on

    Hopefully the government will be smart and stop flying in immigrants from the south, like they do for service Canada which costs so much money immigrants getting paid with Canadian tax dollars. Expensive airfare to boot.

    • Posted by Also hopefully… on

      Also hopefully Nunavut starts producing qualified and reliable workers so that the Feds no longer need to fly in “immigrants from the south”.

      News flash, dropping out of school and having kids at 16 is not how you gear yourself up for success.

    • Posted by You are joking on

      You are joking, right? The best approach would be to use a majority of southerners and enable them them to work from home. Less cost of wages and you know the work is done, and it’s done properly.
      As for your comment about immigrants; what do you mean? Every single one I met and have worked with are awesome people, hard and qualified workers.
      Your comment fits right to the statement of Karen Nutarak:

      “She added that if a remote work policy required employees to stay in Nunavut communities, it would create more space for Inuit hires”

      All I can say is…Keep on dreaming, and start living in reality

      • Posted by Observer on

        “Opening up more jobs” would be less laughable if there weren’t so many GN positions that are empty right now.

  4. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    With my 45 min coffee breaks, and a hour and a half lunch breaks you know I am always late.

    The work from home during Covid shut down was a joke. Nobody picked up any work. People reporting in would email at 11:30 am when finally waking up. Just a dream job for doing SFA but get paid full hours.

    This sounds absolutely horrifying.

    • Posted by Equality on

      why not first start with the Gov of NU dept of EIA? Long long long before lock down with the extra staff working in the south. Some are listed as OTHER in the staff listing and others have a NU tel number but based in the south. Let us start with equality for ALL. Question: how many work from home who are INUK vs others?

  5. Posted by Consistency on

    Oh Savikataaq is right with this one, it is a slippery slope. Yes we still have a long way to go to have the jobs all filled by Nunavummiut but if we just let true southerners (dont ever live in Nunavut) that really have no clue what like is like here how will things get better. And our children will grow up thinking even more that it is only qalluna that can do the professional jobs… and that is no true, we just need to encourage more education.

    Those that think this is a good idea ask your self if you are ok with the Federal government hiring people that dont even live in Canada to do Federal jobs. China is often the bad guy, how about we export federal jobs there. it might be cheaper and there are lots of smart people there.

    For the Doctors that do tele health for hospitals in the south they are specialists, and they dont do it all over video. Also there are other doctors at the location they are communicating with along with the patient.

  6. Posted by Northern Guy on

    It’s going to be very hard to implement a local remote work policy when almost all of the communities in Nunavut do not have the necessary internet bandwidth to make it a reality.

    • Posted by Starlink on

      Starlink will fix that.

      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        Unlikely as at present it is estimated that only 10-15% of Nunavut’s population can afford the steep star- up costs of StarLink.

  7. Posted by Joe Is Right on

    I agree with Joe. I would never question whether a person is working or not if they are working from home or away but it’s not as effective as being in the office.
    The other thing that should be considered is the fact that these employees make money and while they are here spend the money locally. What happens to NU’s economy when we only have people here living on social assistance and fewer larger household incomes? Prices will get worst and retailers will take advantage in worst ways as they take advantage now with Nutrition North pricing.
    The GN should put time into that program and see how its working for the lower class. The only people benefitting are the greedy retailers. That’s a whole other story.
    Having fewer people contributing to the local economy will impact everyone. If you work in NU you should live in NU end of story.
    Keep up the fight Joe.

    • Posted by One Size on

      I get a front line workers, some manager of a museum or even staffing type people working here. There are many many jobs that must be in Nunavut. There are many jobs not compatible with remote work like cleaners or most hospital staff. There are employees who need direct supervision because they are juvenile.
      Then there are scarce professions who are in demand. We allow doctors to do telehealth. we have engineers doing project management from the other side of Nunavut. We have guys like Joe flying sea planes around during the heights of the pandemic while working.
      Why not give managers some discretion for professionals and hard to recruit employees? I mean if a Department can’t hire local engineers, CPAs and lawyers we are going to be paying high wages for southern consultants to do the work from the south anyway. There should be some options because today more than ever people are in demand in all fields all across Canada and the paltry wage slash NEU negotiated isn’t attractive to anyone.

  8. Posted by Performance Measurement on

    This go be the best or worst thing for Nunavut, and it hinges on performance management. If measureable daily, weekly, monthly, yearly service targets are set like the private sector then this could improve the quality of service Nunavummiut receive from the GN.

    BUT and its a BIG BUTT….. if the GN decides to manage like it currently does, people will sit around and just “show up” by logging on. The low standard of being a pulse in a chair is the reason our service is so dismal, and it kills all moral in the workplace. High performers in the GN are overworked, burnt out, and seen as ” to demanding” while those who hold a chair fail upward and keep getting promoted.

    So please GN if you are going to do this set performance from the start and make sure you can measure it!

    Signed a former burnt out employee.

  9. Posted by Eskiknows on

    as a former GN employee (Inuk)working in Nunavut at a management level, 1st and formost is the fact that the GN is run by beuracrats, not politicians. Top “officials” only feed the information that will get the decision they want from cabinet and sugarcoat all issues. Job descriptions are way over written to try to get competative salaries, some positions require degrees and experience so vast you’re already at or close to retirement when you qualify! If you want to “succeed” in this government, be prepared to say yes to everything DMs, ADMs demand and keep your mouth shut, otherwise you will get washed out no matter how compitent you are, especially if you are an inuk! Keep the jobs in Nunavut! Way to go Joe! If you want to live outside of this beautiful territory, find a job where you want to live, pretty simple.

    • Posted by But… on

      Most DM and ADM are Inuk. the top DM is inuk. the cabinet is Inuk. the mlas are inuk. if you mean that Inuk leaders take advice from educated and experienced southerners then i agree but you’re out of the loop if you think these bureaucrats dictate how things will run. they take their lead from cabinet and execute.

  10. Posted by Its cold out on

    Also stop bringing in “consultants” from outside the terriotory and giving them housing for positions you can hire for locally. If all this housing you are giving to consultants would be given to Nunavummiut more people will be inclined to stay and work in Nunavut. Anywhoooo what do i know…. Just a thought

    • Posted by Oh? on

      Had no idea you could hire a certified structural engineer locally? Tell me more

      • Posted by Structural Engineer on

        There are lots of skills that often cannot be hired locally.
        But structural engineer is not one of them.
        Every competent igloo-builder is a structural engineer specialized in building with snow.

  11. Posted by YCO on

    its a shame savikataaq wasn’t reelected as premiere, he did a good job. pj should be taking notes from my old colleague


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