Nunavut law program gets federal help for hands-on legal experience

Money will help pay for a legal clinic in Iqaluit

David Lametti, the federal justice minister, announces $1.8 million for Nunavut projects at a news conference at Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit on July 28. The Nunavut Law School is also set to receive $341,600 from the Justice Partnership and Innovation Program over the next two years. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

The Nunavut Law School has a new pot of money to help its students gain hands-on legal experience.

David Lametti, the minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, confirmed July 28 that Ottawa will provide $341,600 more through the Justice Partnership and Innovation Program over the next two years to the University of Saskatchewan, which partners with Nunavut Arctic College on offering the law program.

“It is an honour to support such a critical program that is working to meet the demand for lawyers in Nunavut. This initiative is an important part of the government’s commitment to see Nunavummiut better reflected in positions of leadership, including in our justice system,” said Lametti in a news release.

“Our investment in this program, and our support for revitalizing Indigenous legal systems, is an investment in Nunavut’s future.”

While in Iqaluit, Lametti also announced $1.8 million for projects to help abused women and children in Nunavut.

The money earmarked for the law program will let students engage in hands-on learning in legal advocacy and help to establish a legal clinic in Iqaluit where they can gain practical experience.

The program will also help provide guest lecturers on Arctic, Inuit and circumpolar issues, programming on cultural skills, Inuktitut legal terminology, as well as traditional law lectures.

The Nunavut Arctic College, in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan’s college of law, started to deliver a four-year post-secondary law program in Iqaluit in September 2017.

Successful graduates of the program will be awarded a Juris Doctor in Law degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

“This funding will help us provide our students with new opportunities to engage actively with the legal profession, obtain hands-on practical skills, and their knowledge of Inuit traditional law,” said Stephen Mansell, the director of the Nunavut Law program, in the release.

“I am very glad the Government of Canada recognizes the important role that the Nunavut law program will play in building the legal profession in our territory.”

Share This Story

(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by Narrative building on

    This funding will provide “support for revitalizing Indigenous legal systems” … This is the kind story I suppose we should all expect from the political class in Ottawa. Is it really what we are doing here though? Or is it a feel good exercise in language? Could we even call it deceptive?

  2. Posted by Jako Tiktu on

    I though the purpose of the program was for grads to head back to the communities to support their own people. What? are they all going to clerk in Iqaluit. The pure education element is important but the outcome is dubious at best.

  3. Posted by Paul Murphy on

    I hear you Jayko and support what you are suggesting that graduate lawyers should be required to got back to their home communities. BUT, this funding is for STUDENTS in the law program. They won’t get the support or supervision from graduate lawyers in their own community. The “lawyers” are here in bulk in Iqaluit and a few in both Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay. I would suggest tho that if the GN is going to fund one’s education then one should be required to work in their home community for at least five years. If you don’t then pay back the total expense that the GN entered into to educate you in the program.

    • Posted by Really? on

      Education is a fiduciary responsibility. It’s not a privilege; it’s a right. As a beneficiary, you are entitled to study in Canada wherever you would like, and when you graduate, gain employment wherever you would like. There is no clause dictating that a graduate must practice in their home community. Hats off to those who wish to do so, but it is entirely their prerogative to decide where they wish to live and practice. Unless you are a GN employee on education leave, the GN does not dictate where any other graduate of any other program lives and works, so why should they change the rules for the law program and the students attending?

      • Posted by Jako Tiktu on

        Because the purpose of the program was/is to increase legal capacity within the Territory, Like NTEP. Not to escape to the south. This is just like NTEP. Sponsored and paid for by the GN for the benefit of the Territory. Get it now?

        • Posted by Really? on

          You failed to mention that you were talking about the south. You said “I would suggest tho that if the GN is going to fund one’s education then one should be required to work in their home community for at least five years.”

          Now that we know what you’re talking about, yeah, I “Get it” now. I’m on the fence about that one. If you’re taking education leave, I agree. If you’re taking law school as no-strings attached student, practice where you want to practice and live where you want to live.

      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        Completely incorrect. Post secondary education is not a right nor is any student “entitled” to study anywhere they choose. Rather students are only entitled to study at the institution that admits them and only if that student this able to meet whatever criteria the instituion sets for continued participation in the program (usually that means meeting a GPA threshold). Having said that you are correct in saying that once graduated a student can work and live wherever he/she pleases unless he/she is under a contractual obligation e.g. employer paid salary or school fees which requires a return of service.

      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        Completely incorrect. Post secondary education is not a right nor is any student “entitled” to study anywhere they choose. Rather students are only entitled to study at the institution that admits them and only if that student is able to meet whatever criteria the instituion sets for continued participation in the program (usually that means meeting a GPA threshold). Having said that you are correct in saying that once graduated a student can work and live wherever he/she pleases unless he/she is under a contractual obligation e.g. employer paid salary or school fees which requires a return of service.

  4. Posted by Tulugaq on

    There is no doubt that the legal system is colonial for the Inuit and for the other Indigenous people in Canada. It has created quite the chaos in the North and failed to keep the communities safe – crime rates are much higher in the North than in the rest of the country and it’s in part caused by the inefficiencies of the court system. We also know (documented for decades) that legal systems and dispute resolution processes that are in harmony with Indigenous cultures are much more efficient to deal with disruptions in the communities.

    However, the federal government, whether conservative or liberal, ignored this fact (which is even clearly documented by its own commission of inquiry, the RCAP) and persisted in bolstering the actual system and ignoring Inuit legal traditions. So, one has to take Mr. Lametti’s comments with a grain of salt, at the eve of an election.

    • Posted by Please explain on

      I agree with you that the “Justice System” is failing Nunavut by allowing violent offenders back into the communities after repeated slaps on the wrist. However this isn’t just a Northern problem. The same happens on a regular basis in the South. Take the Officer involved shooting in Truro, NS last week. Reports are that the driver of the stolen vehicle who hit the officer had just been released from prison 11 days prior. Canada (not Nunavut’s) Justice system needs a total over haul. You currently cannot call it a “Justice System” as there is rarely any justice.
      You make mention of ignoring the Inuit legal tradition. What was/is this tradition, and how would it help make the communities safer?

  5. Posted by Billy on

    How does this program compare to any and all other Canadian law schools?

  6. Posted by Northern Guy on

    With all the capacity issues facing the territory, one would think that Canada would have found a better use for $341K other than pouring it into the black hole that is the law program.

  7. Posted by Sam on

    Do we really need more lawyers? How about more programs for office management, MBA, things to get Inuit into the GN management level.

    So much resources put into this law program.

  8. Posted by Sled dog on

    I am assuming rented space and utilities will eat up most of the annual funding. The question was always there and still is. How did the law school plan to article 25 or so students at once?

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*