New contract gives Nunavut teachers 7% raise over 4 years

Top teacher salary climbs to $124,807 a year

From left: Education Minister Pamela Gross, Human Resources Minister Adam Lightstone, Nunavut Teachers’ Association president Justin Matchett and Premier P.J. Akeeagok are seen at a news conference Wednesday to announce a new contract for Nunavut’s teachers. The new contract between the NTA and Government of Nunavut goes until June 30, 2025. (Photo by David Lochead)

By David Lochead

The Nunavut Teachers’ Association and Government of Nunavut have signed a new four-year collective bargaining agreement that includes a seven per cent pay increase to members over a four year period.

The new contract means the top salary for a teacher with 11 years’ experience is now $124,807 a year.

“We feel like this agreement was both fair and reasonable,” Nunavut Teachers’ Association president Justin Matchett said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

He later added the pay increase in the agreement is the highest among teachers’ associations compared to other recently negotiated contracts in each province or territory in Canada.

The term of the agreement will be backdated to when the previous agreement ended. So the new agreement will run between July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2025.

The increases are applied each year on July 1. The first year’s increase will be two per cent, the second and third year’s increases will be one and a half per cent and the final year will be two per cent for an average of 1.75 per cent each year.

Unqualified substitute teachers will also receive a pay increase to $175 per day, up from $150 per day.

Other terms of the agreement include up to three paid days of domestic violence leave and a new provision for seasonal Inuit cultural leave that replaces hunting, fishing and harvesting leave.

Matchett said the inclusion of paid days for domestic violence was a progressive step forward.

“We have to recognize the rate of domestic violence here in Nunavut and how it affects our memberships,” he said.

He added that the teachers’ association has had members need to take extended leave and he hopes this policy can avoid them from being more financially burdened when they do.

The reason for changing the provision for hunting, fishing and harvesting leave to seasonal Inuit cultural leave is to include other traditional activities, such as sewing or camping, Matchett said.

Education Minister Pamela Hakongak Gross and Human Resources Minister Adam Arreak Lightstone also attended Wednesday’s announcement, and spoke at the ceremony, as well as signing the agreement.

“I think it’s always exciting to have a new agreement put in place, especially for a profession that is very well needed in each community,” Gross said.

While Matchett welcomes the new agreement, he said that teacher retention will remain a challenge. He added that teaching positions are now in high demand across Canada.

When Matchett spoke to Nunatsiaq News in September he said there were over 50 vacant teaching positions.

“We do hope this agreement goes the extra step in retaining some of our membership, but in my opinion, we do have ways in ensuring we recruit and retain more teachers,” Matchett said.

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(32) Comments:

  1. Posted by Balance please on

    Glad the teachers got a good agreement. Too bad this story isn’t balanced. Three people spoke at the event and the journalist focused almost entirely on the NTA President and included only one quote from the Education minister and none from the HR minister. Balance the story and include at least one quote from all three speakers.

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  2. Posted by protest on

    cut their pay in half. OVER PAYEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!

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    • Posted by Get this guy a teacher on

      Sounds like you could use a highly paid teacher to teach you how to spell “overpaid”.

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    • Posted by Greg on

      Was thinking of applying but I think I will have to pass. Why would anyone apply to work in a place where teachers are so disliked and disrespected?

  3. Posted by Still waiting on

    Meanwhile the rest of us GN employees are waiting on our contract that expired in 2018. $124k for a teacher, 6 week Christmas break, summers off, not having to “work from home”, I need a job change, where do I sign up?

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    • Posted by The Process on

      Go to university for six years to get your qualifications, then get licensed with one of the provincial colleges. Then you can apply to any of the Nunavut jobs on the education Canada website. Would be preferable to get a few years experience after that first, but it isn’t necessary to apply. The process is lengthy, but pretty straightforward.

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      • Posted by Nurse on

        Who said I didn’t? I am a nurse and make less then the teachers. Not all the nurses get treated equally, and see any of those bonuses. I would love to have a day off every now and then.

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        • Posted by Yeahhh Right on

          If you’re a nurse, you don’t make less than teachers. Go find your most recent paystub and tell us your gross pay.

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        • Posted by Half Way There! on

          Cool, you’re already half way there then. Same instructions as above, but go back to uni for two years and then follow the same plan. If you’re willing to go the States you can do it in one.

          Get yourself teaching math/science and you can write your own ticket across the country.

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    • Posted by what on

      you would sign up at a university and go from there

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    • Posted by Former teacher on

      That is the problem why Nunavut can’t get or keep teachers with comments like this. Everyone thinks teachers have it so easy but walk a day in their shoes then you can say something.

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      • Posted by Aasi on

        As a parent of a high school student who has filled in as a substitute I can tell you first hand I am still waiting to find a teacher who cares after 5 years subsituting. Most are here for that salary and make it well known that they dont work any overtime if they have to, and count down the days to every chance they can to “get out of dodge”. If we are offering teachers over 100k a year, with housing and we still can’t retain staff then perhaps there are bigger issues at play.

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    • Posted by Robert on

      If the teachers contract is similar to those in Sask, they typically do not get paid for the long breaks at Christmas, Easter or during the summer, they do not accumulate holiday pay and don’t qualify for unemployment over the summer…2 months without pay cheque. Marking and course prep are often in done evenings, weekends and unpaid time off. Its a tough job with a very high burn out rate. There are many that get paid far more for doing less.
      I am a father of three teachers in my family teaching k-12

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      • Posted by Aasi on

        You say its “without pay” for the holidays, but they will have a salary of $124k… So they are more then compensated for those ‘unpaid” days as they get paid a nice amount for 10 months of the year.

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  4. Posted by Bad negotiations on

    CPI is at 4.9%. The inflation numbers this month will be higher. So whoever thinks a raise of less than 2% a year is a fool, you’re losing $2-3000 or more per year to inflation. I hope the NEU issues a strike mandate to force the hands of HR because it’s gonna take some serious cash to replenish the hundreds of staff who have left this year.

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  5. Posted by Recruitment & Retention on

    Inflation at 4.7%, collective agreement at 1.5%. That should solve all the recruitment and retention problems 🙂
    Education is not a priority in this territory 🙁
    Let the cycle of poor education and poverty continue and focus on elders instead of youth

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  6. Posted by Compounding on

    Minor detail, but increases of 2%, 1.5%, 1.5%, and 2% actually gives a total salary increase of 7.185% over 4 years because of compounding.

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    • Posted by Frank on

      Inflation will eliminate any raise. Expect inflation to be running close to ten percent before the end of 2022. And in reality, the government’s current figure of 4.8-percent should be doubled, since housing and energy are NOT included in the calculation.

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      • Posted by Compounding on

        I didn’t say anything about whether or not the increase covers inflation. I simply said that over the course of the 4 increases, the total is slightly more than 7%.

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        • Posted by Compounding Inflation on

          Compound 6%, 6%, 5%, 4% as inflation over the next four years and compare it to 7%.

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          • Posted by Compounding on

            That would be 22.697%. Once again, I’m not saying anything about inflation versus the salary increases. I’m not saying that the increases are too much. I’m just saying that “7% over 4 years” is not entirely accurate. You seem to be on the defensive about an offense that doesn’t exist.

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  7. Posted by Edsby on

    Lots of support for teachers and hate on anyone crying foul over them being the only one getting their contract ratified. Through all these lockdowns you can see who is here for the money when it comes to teachers. I have a kid in middle school and high school and the work they were given over the lockdowns, if they even got any was a complete joke. My kids were given no direction for work over months of lockdowns and no interaction from 80% of their subjects. And at the end of it were graded on some mysterious point system of “a combination of in class work, and IQ values”. How can I expect my kids to take school and education seriously when none of the governing agencies, and even most of the teachers don’t put any effort in?

    Judging by the volume of kids outside during the daytime its obvious we aren’t the only families scratching our heads at the lack of edsby work and involvement. I wish some of the reporters at these news conferences for covid would ask about the lack of quality education the past two years. One of my kids didn’t even bother completing any of the work he was given, ” no one else does it, its pointless “.
    There are entire chapters in math he has had no instruction on, doesn’t understand and still managed to pass. The system is failing our kids and we are giving them participation trophys

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  8. Posted by Iqaluit man on

    Are all occupation’s contracts discussed like this on the news or is this just to generate teacher bashing?

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    • Posted by Publicly Funded, Yes. on

      The same information will be given when the NEU and GN eventually reach an agreement. And there will be bashing.

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    • Posted by NEU on

      NEU contract expired years ago… the attempts at negotiating a new agreement have come with the urgency and vigor that NEU employees exhibit (when) in the workplace. Teachers are extremely important who else is going to supervise children during these times? While Regional Offices are closed (yes, they are) schools and teachers are operating “from work” and “not home”. It is unsafe for an adult to go into a cubicle, but it is safe for 30 children and a teacher to go into a classroom. NU World Order

  9. Posted by Alianait on

    I am an Inuk and I’ll be a teacher next year. Currently in my third year of NTEP. Reading news like this gets me more excited. I plan to be a dedicated teacher for our Inuit for decades!

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    • Posted by Good On Your! on

      Good on you, though your focus on only one of Nunavut’s demographic groups, particularly as a potential teacher, is concerning.

      Many of your classmates will realize that they can take that NTEP degree and make more money for less stress in many other GN jobs. I hope you stick it out.

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  10. Posted by Former teacher on

    Couldn’t pay me enough to stay in that hellhole

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  11. Posted by IQ values on

    When are they going to be mandated to be vaccinated? Nurses, healthcare staff and teachers in other territories and provinces were all fired over not being vaccinated. Here the DEA, union and GN has been utterly silent on why they are allowing non vaccinated and even some blatant anti vaxxer teachers to continue to be employed. There is a teacher at inuksuk high school who is adamantly against the vaccine, and has no problems saying so on social media and on school property.

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  12. Posted by Re-open on

    So It is January 26th, school closed December 16 /17 depending on the school in Iqaluit, and my kid has still had no type of school work or homework. What is going on with our valued teachers that they are still unable to teach our kids? My high school teen has had one in person day of school and they spent it talking about omicron and the protests, and had two classes out of 5 that were subsitutes.

  13. Posted by Blame the school board on

    If you want to find fault in the educational system, look no further than the school board – many schools have vacant positions even though qualified teachers have applied and wait by to be hired. Something that really needs to be looked into by our premier and Minister of Education!

  14. Posted by Lib on

    I started reading this because I am interested in potentially applying to teach next year. However, the obvious distain for teachers (people who are trying to help you and your children), is really turning me off. Only makes me wonder if teachers get verbally attacked often for trying to do their job. How about a little kindness and respect. That is the way to KEEP teacher. Geez Louise.

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