Kusugak names new board at Iqaluit Housing Authority as strike reaches 19 weeks

Move called temporary measure to address labour dispute; NEU president says talks will resume Monday

Iqaluit Housing Authority’s board has been replaced as a measure to ease the ongoing labour dispute, the Nunavut Housing Corp. announced Friday. (File photo by David Lochead)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The entire Iqaluit Housing Authority board of directors has been removed and replaced by six new members.

Lorne Kusugak, the minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corp., announced Friday the shakeup is a temporary measure made in hopes of ending the 19-week-long labour dispute between the housing authority and its 13 striking unionized employees.

The six new directors are all members of the Nunavut Housing Corp., which oversees the Iqaluit Housing Authority.

That strike in Iqaluit began on March 17, and two days later the workers were locked out by the housing authority. The previous collective agreement expired June 30, 2020.

“The new board’s immediate focus will be to return to the bargaining table to achieve a settlement to the IHA labour dispute,” Kusugak said in a news release.

“I have asked the new board to ensure, within the next 90 days, that it stabilize operations at the IHA and then immediately initiate a process to seek out a new board” that does not include Nunavut Housing Corp. staff.

The new board members are Eiryn Devereaux, Juanie Pudluk, Eetuk Groves, Jazmyne Perkins, Jimmy Main and Danio Penuliar.

The release stated the Nunavut Housing Corp. has not been involved in negotiations between the housing authority and Nunavut Employees Union.

However, the release added, “given the length of time of the labour dispute and the lack of progress, more direct involvement from the [housing corporation] is required” now.

“I would like to express my appreciation to the outgoing board members for their dedication and service,” Kusugak said.

He said the Nunavut Housing Corp. “recognizes the challenges and pressures over the past months relative to the labour dispute … and the impact it has had on all individuals including employees, management, the board and tenants.”

Jason Rochon, president of the Nunavut Employees Union, said he’s excited by the appointment of a new board.

“I don’t want to say too much about how they’re conducting themselves, but I am happy that they realized that they needed to make some changes,” he said in a phone interview Friday.

Negotiations between both sides are set to resume Monday.

On July 21, the two sides met for the first time in four months in a bargaining session with a federally appointed mediator in Ottawa. However, talks broke down within hours, according to the union.

The union has said it is seeking improved working conditions and housing benefits as well as wages that keep pace with inflation.

“We’ve really taken direction from our 13 members and we’ve done exactly what they’ve asked us to do and I’m happy to support them,” Rochon said.

“I’m just really excited that we are about to get back to the table and have some really good discussions.”


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(15) Comments:

  1. Posted by Hunter on

    So by getting rid of the board is going to solve Iqaluit “Public” Housing Authority financial woes.

    Getting rid of the board is going to magically increase revenue that will allow them to offer increased wages and benefits to stop the strike?

    Interesting, why doesn’t NHC do this to all Public Housing Authorities in Nunavut if it works so well?

    • Posted by Hunter educator on

      @Hunter, well, that is one way to look at it, another way to view it is that maybe the old board, after having months to deal with the problem, proved that collectively they did not have the smarts to figure out how to put an end to the strike, so, by moving in a new more competent board, they will be better equipped intellectually, to finally end the stalemate. Kinda like a game of chess. Lets just wait and watch now to see what happens.

      • Posted by How it looks from here on

        This is a good observation. I’m not sure why anyone would think this is about “getting rid of the board… to solve Iqaluit “Public” Housing Authority financial woes.”


      • Posted by Hunter on

        Hunter Educator,

        This stalemate could have been ended long ago by NHC.

        NHC is the master here, NHC holds all the cards, all the money, all the rules and regulations local housing authorities have to legally follow.

        Now the Minister of NHC just appointed NHC employees to the Iqaluit Housing Board…..All NHC did was replace their rubber stamp.

        • Posted by it worked on

          Clearly a successful strategy.

  2. Posted by Jack on

    The union should send a team looking to get a deal. The IHA should send a team looking to get a deal. Seems only one side so far is trying to get one. Good luck.

  3. Posted by Moose on

    Kusugak is still around was he on holidays the first 130 days. IHA needs to pull up their socks. This change can only help

  4. Posted by JHoffaIQ on

    Things could have been done better on both sides (my view with the information provided to the news- im sure we all dont have all the information). Some things I have observed since this started– I have had 3 emergency service calls to my unit for plumbing and loss of heat – this is an continuous issue over the past couple year. Since the strike the iha has used a local company to do the callout, the work is done quickly “same day” where with the iha workers sometime we could be a 4 days to get service and it was ussually left in a big mess and not done correctly. 2nd thing is i dont know the union has the right person speaking to this, he does not really have any real experient managing a compliated issue like this and really just comes across as potato

  5. Posted by Union on

    Now it is time for the union and the employees to come to the table ready for a realistic deal. You can’t have everything.

  6. Posted by 867 on

    NEU members and the general public expect transparency. Union gas been completely silent on their demands, however realistic or unrealistic they may be.

  7. Posted by When Oh When on

    The article tells us that the Nunavut Housing Corp. oversees the Iqaluit Housing Authority. If that’s the case, the NHC has been doing a terrible job of overseeing for the past several years. When will someone “remove” the NHC?

  8. Posted by Huh the President of the Nunavut Housing Corporation on a local board? on

    Isn’t it strange that a Nunavut Housing Corporation President is now a board member for the Iqaluit Housing Authority. If the Iqaluit Housing Authority ask for more units, more money to operate from the Nunavut Housing Corporation, what will the President do? Say yes to himself?

    This is getting a bit screwy and needs a bit more investigative reporting don’t it?

  9. Posted by Northerner on

    It’s 2023. Get the ball rolling.

  10. Posted by Name withheld on

    Practically the new board members are employed by NHC!! ?

    It won’t go very far in negotiation as they are in the interest of the NHC. NHC prefers that the BOD stay within the budget of what they are allocated each year for their O&M

  11. Posted by hermann kliest on

    appointees are farce, specially Kivalliq one. finally gained receptibility. I doubt though old habits are to let go, specially $$$ earners……

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