Hire more Inuit and support them: NTI president

Aluki Kotierk says employers have a responsibility to train and sustain Inuit employees

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.. president Aluki Kotierk spoke about Inuit employment at her Nunavut Trade Show speech Wednesday. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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(47) Comments:

  1. Posted by Think About It on

    How about all children attend school and remove the social passing? That would be a start. Having students show up 30% of the time and still progressing to the next grade not only fails them when they are young but throughout their life. Why should new hires within the GN be expected to be fully engaged in worklife when they were allowed to sleep through their school aged years.
    To provide the supports required you need to have built a foundation that the supports can rest on.

    • Posted by Jamesie on

      It’s ironic that Aluki was once, and for a long time, the deputy minister at the Department of Education.

  2. Posted by John K on

    “Employers have a responsibility under the Nunavut Agreement to hire more Inuit and support them at work, says Aluki Kotierk”

    My fellow Inuit have a responsibility to apply and then actually show up. NTI knows full well that there is no lack of effort put into hiring Inuit workers in Nunavut. What does she suggest employers do about absenteeism and unreliability?

    Everything she says is always so vague and nebulous. Stop waiting for everything to fall into your lap.

    • Posted by JOHNNY on

      Some employers in our town have pick up service and lunch . some people won t go to work , if they are not pick up . I guess , that where that line ” YOU HAVE TO SUPPORT THEM” LINE COMES IN .

      • Posted by John K on

        This is just one more barrier for businesses to cross in Nunavut. No one is going to drag people to work.

        Is there anything else that everyone can do to enable my compatriot’s inability to work?

    • Posted by Sharon McAlpine on

      I totally agree with this statement. I work at Northmart & before they hired a manager from the South Tim Hortons well you never knew when it be open as no one would up to work or would show up half way thru the day. We can’t support people who don’t show up

  3. Posted by Northerner on


    • Posted by Nelson Muntz on

      Ouch!! My ears. There’s that word again.. “Work”….
      Please stop saying that word.🤣

  4. Posted by Floura Johns on

    Easier said then done, we lived in two Nunavut communities, and yes my two daughters are Inuit on their fathers side, and they applied for many positions. But one lady was in charge of hiring, my daughters never once got any interviews for any jobs they applied for. And both have gone to college, and one would believe they would get a position in Government. But according to what they were told from family and friends. They were never going to get a job, why? the lady was jealous of my girls, and said she’d never hire them. Nunavut’s problem is within your system, that you have to fix first. Now my girls both work for first nations in BC making $200K jobs wishing they could work for their people, but they both would for other people now. very sad, they have so much to offer.

  5. Posted by Talk the Walk or Just Talk? on

    The article sheds light on a very pertinent issue in Nunavut, and while Aluki Kotierk makes several valid points, there are other dimensions to the issue that need to be addressed. Firstly, what proactive steps are NTI and its leadership, including Ms. Kotierk, taking in this regard? It’s essential for key stakeholders like NTI to lead by example. It’s interesting to note that even within NTI and the Regional Inuit organizations (and especially their development corporations), the proportion of Inuit hires and training does not seem to reflect the ideals presented in Ms. Kotierk’s address.

    It’s also worth mentioning that the onus of building foundational educational skills and fostering a work ethic should not fall entirely on private businesses. They play a role, of course, but foundational skills are typically developed long before an individual enters the workforce. The community, educational institutions, and governmental agencies all play crucial roles here.

    Additionally, while the Nunavut Agreement is paramount to the region, my understanding is that it does not directly bind private businesses. Therefore, is it fair to expect them to adhere to stipulations they are not legally bound to?

    It’s commendable that there’s a push for resilience and sustainable employment in Nunavut. But to truly make strides, NTI and its leadership need to reflect on their direct contributions and actions towards achieving these goals instead of just grand standing.

  6. Posted by Tooma on

    Who are the Inuit? Baffin Inuit, kivalliq or qitiqmiut. To which audience the government is talking to?

  7. Posted by Hunter on

    You are putting the cart before the horse.

    Inuit need education before going in to the work place. Training on the job is not a good idea, production, services that are provided will become poor to bad if we continue down this road.

  8. Posted by Forever Amazed on

    Agreed, employers have responsibilities, however, so do Inuit. I worked in Nunavut and bent over backwards to support staff. Just simply asking staff to show up for work and working a full day was always too much to ask.

    • Posted by Judas Henry on

      NTI. In Nunavut, from Kindergarten and on, students need to be taught….”Society owes you anything just cause you’re a CUG. Go to school. Learn the 3 R’s rather than drum dancing, throat singing and making harpoon heads.
      Get a proper education instead of demanding training and expecting hands out and being baby talked to.

  9. Posted by Truestory on

    A no brainer here. Give B.I.M. the 12 million tonnes to ship a year. More ore, more job openings, trainings.

    • Posted by Putting this out there on

      I dont think this is the only solution, BIM already is employing ever Inuk that has/wants the training to work at the mine. shipping more ore will not increase the desire. i think they get the 12 million tons mark when Inuit make up atleast 50% of the work force and another 10% are Nunavumiut (non-beneficiaries).
      all the wages should not be sent south immediately.

      Also the Training should not only be on BIM, the education department needs to take some accountability in getting Nunavumiut with enough education to be employable.

      • Posted by James on

        You have to be kidding right?

        Just because they are Inuk does not mean the money stays in Nunavut.

        I know many Inuit who work at the mines in the Kivalliq Region and Baffin Island who live in the the south.

        And the reason why Inuit move south is there are no houses or apartments to rent in their home community or the rent is too high.

        END OF STORY.

        • Posted by Sergeant Prickles on

          I don’t think that is why they live in the south. I suspect it’s to get away from bad influences, abusers and moochers. I’m sure it’s a difficult decision.

        • Posted by Putting this out there on

          fair point, so then what are the percentages of Inuit that need to live in the south due to housing issues compared with the non-Inuit that have never lived in Nunavut and have no desire… even if housing was not an issue?
          Right now we need more Inuit in the jobs. That takes more people that want to work and training those people, not shipping out more ore each year.

  10. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    It all starts at home.

    have your Children go to school on time, every day, all year round. don’t have an attendance record of 55% and still expect to graduate onto to the grade and still maintain a quality education. Yes, in grade 2, 3 or 5 yes you can miss some days. but anything after that, you need a proper attendance record.

    give them a proper nights sleep.

    if you give them structure and a base of education which will give them a solid background so that when they enter the work force, you don’t start behind the 8 ball. it’s amazing and so frustrating to this day, you see our people who are given wonderful job opportunities with training on the job and huge amount of leeway, they do great for a pay period and start to shit the bed.

    time and time again, you hear at the Mine, people will start a job and they can’t even finish a 3 week rotation because they miss home. or their significant other accuses them of wandering eye or infidelity, I mean seriously they are there for work.

    or if they are going to the mine and they have to fly overnight through a city, guess what, the lure of a six pack of adult refeshments turns into a 18 or more and then they miss the flight to the site the next day. guess what, that Employer will not accept that.

    time to grow up and enter the real world.

    • Posted by Have to start early! on

      They shouldn’t be missing days in grade 2, 3 or 5 either. From kindergarten, they should go to school every day, and on time (like, really on time.).

      Learning how to do things you don’t want to do, at times you don’t want to do them, and do them reliably, is one of the key things missing from Inuit child rearing. Waiting until middle school is too late, the bad habits are entrenched.

      Little kids are fine with going to school every day, that’s when they learn how to do it. Sure, kids complain about getting up, they complain everywhere, but it would be easier if their parents would keep them on a routine so that they are getting their sleep.

      Also, if kids actually showed up reliably for school, the teachers could teach a LOT more, and the kids would come out with a lot more knowledge and skills. (The teachers unfortunately get into the same slacker habit in Nunavut, since expectations are so low.)

    • Posted by Right on

      Right now, none of the mines have ever managed to reach Inuit employment goals, and it hasn’t been for lack of trying.

  11. Posted by iThink™ on

    You can always count on Aluki to say the least informative or insightful thing on whatever topic falls under her gaze.

  12. Posted by Old timer on

    It must be voting day soon now that she is pretending to do this now.or is this to look good for the voters.

  13. Posted by Adam Noah on

    There are Inuit in my community who have bachelor degrees,business management pretty much highly educated, just like in all other small communities
    “Its not what you know it’s who you know” get realistic NTI!

    • Posted by Eskimos Fan on


    • Posted by Requirements Have Changed on

      A bachelor’s degree is not ‘highly educated’ by any stretch and has not been for a long time. It is pretty much the minimum entry level requirement for any non-trades/service industry work.

      With the lack of employment opportunity in the communities it is not surprising that these folks are unemployed.

  14. Posted by art thompson on

    the gn has this course where new employees can be sent to a course to embrace the cultural sensivities in nunavut, my thinking is that inuit hired by the gn need to be sent to course on professional and respectful office protocol.

    • Posted by Au revoir on

      If you are speaking to the vacancies in NTI, they may not be vacant poistions. How you ask? Well… simply, it could be people who never made it back from NTI’s Interpol trip to France. Perhaps, they are undercover somewhere in Paris, trying to apprehend Rivoire.

    • Posted by staff expansion on

      Positions at NTI under Aluki actually exploded. It’s gone from 70-80 positions to well over 100. You’d think this is a good thing but it’s not, there were tons of positions created out of thin air for friends for the top brass (she hired ousted Quassa’s Exec Assistant as a Senior Advisor, and when he quit the position disappeared). With the creation of all these positions you’d think more things would get done but they aren’t.

      Turn over at NTI has been huge too. I know plenty of people there who wanted out as soon as Aluki won. These were people who survived Cathy Towtongie’s equally awful tenure as president. The difference is that Cathy was so ineffective that she didn’t know how to maneuver through the red tape (there’s not that much red tape at NTI) and Aluki does.

      At this point, they’ve had two Premiers who are VERY friendly to NTI’s causes (which are good causes, everyone minus a few rotten citizens want NTI to achieve their goals) in Quassa and Akeeagok. The GN has made hiring outsiders very difficult so that we look internally. And things seem to be getting worse. At some point NTI needs to reflect, look inward and change strategies, but being accountable and doing the right thing doesn’t win votes–only finger pointing and unrealistic promises to voters.

      • Posted by Staff on

        Great response, but I’m not pointing out the vacancies. This is an issue in any industry or government right now. I was just browsing through the names of staff. Even though I don’t want to make too many assumptions, but it seems like there are several southern sounding names. How can it be that they were hired? Based on her ongoing comments, no qablunaat should be hired. I apologize if I’m wrong with this statement

  15. Posted by Where is the accountability? on

    What happened to the $255,000,000 settlement NTI received in 2015 for Inuit employment training?

    I’m sure it’s funding excellent post-secondary and southern private schools for the children of NTI leadership but it would be nice if they learned to share with the rest of us.

    • Posted by Could it be…? on

      My bet is it has become absorbed into the ‘pot’ that pays the wages of NTI staff. This is the incentive to keep the lawsuits coming, incidentally.

    • Posted by lol on

      Heard GN applied for funding under the NTI training program and rejected. Not a penny spent by NTI. Sitting in the TSX to pay $350k salaries at NTI

    • Posted by Monica A. Connolly on

      My father was a middle management worker in Southern Ontario in the 1940s and 1950s (and earlier). He lived near the office so he ate all his meals at home, where he was served first at lunch because his afternoon started before school afternoons. He attended work religiously, on time, five days a week. We children were expected to imitate him with school attendance, and we did.
      Go back 100+ years to 1843, when Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was published. My father’s exemplary work habits in Ontario in 1950 would have got him fired in London in 1843.
      When I ran the newspaper, there were a lot of training grants available. A successful clerical trainee told me later (by then in a government job) that it took her a year to get used to Southern attitudes to work schedules while she was in training.
      This is a fairly trivial cross-cultural issue having far too great an effect.
      Inuit groups, unions and employers, get your acts together and find out what Inuit values now say about job attendance – what are good reasons for non-attendance in workers’ minds? – and then negotiate training and working conditions that are a reasonable compromise.
      Ditto for school attendance. Hmm – do you suppose kids might arrive on time if there were enough room in their houses for them to have a quiet sleeping space?
      Aluki, stand your ground!

      • Posted by Whilly on

        Sorry, but going on a bender on payday and disappearing for days or weeks on end over and over again doesn’t have anything to do with not understanding southern attitudes toward work. The clerical trainee you mentioned seemed to get that.

  16. Posted by so much racisms and judgement on

    I am so sick of this, I know lots of hard working Inuit who can’t get hired. Over in the Kitikmeot I know of one person who tried to put a resume into competition and was denied even entering the competition because they are transgender. So much racism going on.
    I think we need to get rid of INCOME ASSISTANCE and the rent scale…who wants to work when almost half your paycheck will have to go to rent, or you can sit at home and get “free” money from the GN through income assistance, and only have to pay $60 a month for rent.
    How is one to succeed when you are working in a system that is set up to see you fail? All I hear is the Inuit this…the Inuit that… so racist. All these ppl putting the Inuit down for the residual trauma of colonization that is still effecting us.
    Then we have the GN that will pay for these outsiders to come up, pay for their mortgages and give them $100, 000.00+ salaries and subsidized housing right away, when Inuit who do manage to get indeterminate positions have to wait for staff housing, sometimes having to fight for it, get less pay then the southerners, and most times having to work with ppl who are racist and will make comments putting Inuit down. How is this encouraging for Inuit? Who was Nunavut made for? Definitely not the Inuit, we are the ones living in over crowded run down housing, we are the ones loosing our ppl to suicide and addiction. Nice try Aluki, I used to look up to you but all I have seen from you is talk, talk, talk and no action. You are getting rich while your ppl are suffering…

    • Posted by West Nunavut, Cambridge Bay. on

      I think getting rid of Income Support would cause a lot of hardship for a lot of families, unless
      you are replacing it with a food ration system ?
      The lady talks about companies encouraging INUKTITUT ? Does she not know it was put in
      charge of the Inuit communities 40 years ago, who hired friends and relatives instead of
      competent people ! Paying for that now.
      It is us Inuit who are in charge of Nunavut, but we do nothing.

  17. Posted by Delbert on

    t Aulki;
    Hire more and train more Inuit. That is a wonderful idea. First educate children enough so they are literate. So they can be trained with skills that are needed. Like professional trades men. Accountants, nurses, doctors who are also desperately needed.
    What you have now is uneducated and unwilling work force. To be brutally honest Inuit need to help themselves. Millions upon millions are being spent currently by the feds. Trying to provide services, jobs and training. But it’s failing to help. In fact the Inuit society is in decline.

  18. Posted by Advertise on

    One thing NTI and GN need to do is to have a robust campaign of advertising to parents to KEEP THEIR KIDS IN SCHOOL. It’s sad but, needed. It starts at home as the comment up top said – it’s parent’s responsibility to teach kids to get up and gain a work ethic. This should be the plan moving forward. For workers of today, please fellow Inuit go to work and do your best – if not then we’ll still heavily rely on hiring transient employees. This statement isn’t directed at Inuit who are doing great (keep it up!), it’s for those that need to be a bit more serious.

  19. Posted by Coop store, all Inuit on

    Coop store in kuujjuaq has all Inuit working. The store is often closed due to absentee. But open very excitingly when beer and wine sales. The gas station is closed most of the time, no workers. Coop had a celebration out on the coast where there’s a camp owned by coop. All board members attended and got a case of beer each while out on the rocks celebrating. No shortage of attendees to the camp. Hire Inuit has been accomplished at that coop, people try to support their local coop, support Inuit workers, and look at what we got.

  20. Posted by Kanatamiutaq on

    When Inuit are so resilient, people try to really put them down in anyway possible!! If you think so negatively about Inuit why not help make a positive difference especially for this newest territory!

    Thank you Aluki for saying this, it’s a beautiful encouragement.

    • Posted by Yess on

      “If you think so negatively about Inuit why not help make a positive difference especially for this newest territory!”

      Is it negative to say it is frustrating to have to chase down workers when they randomly disappear and stop showing up and don’t want to get the training required to do a job effectively? It happens a lot more often than you realize, perhaps. The GN has employ assistance programs in place to help people with mental health issues, addictions, legal issues, etc, but it doesn’t get used very often. Are employers supposed to force people to make use of it?
      When you say “help make a positive difference”, what does that mean to you? Actually. What, specifically do you mean?

  21. Posted by S on

    Koterik ” said there are more than 2,000 unemployed Inuit in Nunavut looking for work, according to recent figures she pulled from a Nunavut Inuit labour force analysis report.”

    I’d estimate the number is much higher than 2,000; more like 2,000 unemployed in Iqaluit and another six, seven thousand in the communities.

    More than 70% of non-professional government (including hamlets, boards, RIAs, and NTI) positions are really just make-work-jobs in administration, ‘policy’, and analysis.

    Those are staffed by highly-paid unemployed people.
    If we look more closely, even the majority of maintenance and support staff could be accurately described as unemployed, though well-paid. By private industry, or self-employed, standards the positions wouldn’t exist

    Truth be told, Aluki, with all reasonable factors considered, there are around 15,000 unemployed adults in Nunavut, including yourself.

  22. Posted by Judas Henry on

    “Society owes you NOTHING… just cause you’re a…”

  23. Posted by Eskimo Fan on

    LOL!!! There is “training” available. It’s called school and university.🤪
    Once I attended a basic 14 day manager level course in Banff, Alberta and two GN employees attended. There were too many syllables in English and they couldn’t understand the “big” words without the “F” word so they dropped out after 3 days.
    Their understanding was that the course would entail family life and how “the poor people of none of it” have been “victims” and society owes them a life.
    Embarrassing GN employees.🤯


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