Salary information scarce for Nunavut’s Inuit associations

Voters head to polls with little information about salaries of the positions they’re voting for

Nunatsiaq News asked Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Kivalliq Inuit Assocation to share salary information for their executive and board of directors. Only Kitikmeot Inuit Association agreed to share this information. (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

By Andrea Sakiyama Kennedy

As Inuit in Nunavut head to the polls Monday, they’ll be picking officials who — at least in one case — will get paid nearly as much as the premier.

It’s hard to get much specific information about how much Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. or the three regional Inuit associations pay their elected leaders.

Nunatsiaq News asked each of the four organizations holding elections for salaries paid to their president, vice-president, secretary/treasurer, board members or community directors, and their chief executive officer or executive director.

Only one responded with specific information about salaries: Kitikmeot Inuit Association.

Its president is paid between $192,000 and $242,000, according to the association’s spokesperson Andrea Spitzer.

By comparison, in the last fiscal year that Joe Savikataaq was premier, he was paid $252,425, according to the Government of Nunavut’s 2020-21 annual report on MLAs’ compensation.

The Kitikmeot Inuit Association provided the following information about its compensation:

  • President: salary range approximately $192,000 to $242,000;
  • Vice-president: paid as a board member, plus an additional stipend of $1,000 per month;
  • Board members: honorarium of $500 per day, while attending KIA meetings;
  • Executive director: salary range approximately $182,000 to $230,000;
  • Housing and northern benefits allowance: $19,800 per year; and
  • Travel allowance: $165 per day for meals and incidentals.

As a private not-for-profit organization, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association is not obligated to publicly release any human resources information, said Spitzer, adding the information is provided in the interest of transparency.

She said the money paid reflects the organization’s commitment to offer competitive salaries and benefits packages to attract and retain high-calibre employees and board members.

Kivalliq Inuit Association also responded to the request for salary information, but Rico Manitok, an information systems officer, referred Nunatsiaq News to a bylaw that states directors are allowed an unspecified honoraria and expenses for attending board meetings.

Another section of the bylaw explains that compensation for the president, vice-president and secretary/treasurer is decided by the board “from time to time.”

NTI’s communications director Kevin Kablutsiak did not provide salary information for its executive or board members, saying the association’s total compensation budget — but not individual salary information — is contained in its annual report.

“That is the extent of what will be provided,” he stated in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

An email request to Qikiqtani Inuit Association about salaries, as well as a follow-up email, went unacknowledged.

Elections are taking place Monday for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the territorial organization responsible for ensuring obligations made to Inuit under the Nunavut Agreement are kept, as well as the three regional Inuit associations — Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Kivalliq Inuit Association and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association.

There are 62 candidates running for a total of 21 positions, which range from president to board member.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the three regional Inuit associations are responsible for the management and dispensing of a significant amount of money.

The four associations typically have a combined budget of $60 million per year, funded by the Nunavut Trust, according to NTI’s 2020-21 annual report.

In 2021-22, NTI also received a one-time injection of $63.1 million in federal Indigenous community support funds to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the significance of what NTI and the three regional associations do, however, voter turnout is typically low.

In February 2021, when Aluki Kotierk was elected president of NTI in a two-person race, 17.5 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot. It was the lowest turnout of voters in the organization’s history, Nunatsiaq News reported at the time.

Other recent elections at QIA, Kivalliq Inuit Association and Kitikmeot Inuit Association had even lower turnout rates.

For comparison of salaries, Nunatsiaq News looked at the compensation for other key leadership roles in Nunavut.

Federally, members of Parliament receive a standardized sessional allowance of $189,500, according to a House of Commons report on member allowances and services.

In Iqaluit, a first-term elected mayor’s salary is tied to what the city’s directors make. The city’s director pay band is $136,427.18, according to spokesperson Geoffrey Byrne.

The city’s current mayor, Solomon Awa, was appointed to his role following the resignation of former mayor Kenny Bell earlier this year and serves part-time. Awa is paid $5,000 per month, without benefits or entitlements.

Under the city’s indemnity bylaw, councillors receive $20,000 annually, and the deputy mayor receives an additional $30,000 annually.


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(25) Comments:

  1. Posted by Confused on

    And what do they accomplish?

  2. Posted by Manapik on

    We get No bang for the buck!

  3. Posted by Transparency and Accountability on

    The salaries of all the staff of Inuit Organizations should be publicly available, particularly those in management positions.

  4. Posted by Nice to see on

    Alright, some journalism!

    • Posted by Pedro Valdez on

      I hope the salary information gets uncovered.
      “Transparency” is constantly a candidate platform.
      Once in, it’s…”My salary? None of your bidness.”

  5. Posted by Colin on

    Usually these salaries are required by law and are available in annual reports (at least by totals). Many Inuit organizations don’t prepare or don’t post this information their websites and gullible or uninformed beneficiaries, and government, let them get away with it. It’s racist to criticize! One of the most corrupt aspects of Indigenous governance is what these people get legally for doing bugger all, and never mind what they get otherwise for themselves, their friends and family, often by way of featherbedding contracts. Meantime, of course, there are people in real need.

    • Posted by Arnaq on

      These orgs do so much! They are so well paid because they do such a great job of supporting beneficiaries. They fill the gaps that exist in the territory. They provide concrete solutions for the: issues of language attrition, underfunded education system, dearth of qualified Inuit teachers, lack of mental health supports, food insecurity, closed health care centres…..they do all that and more with all the funding they have. They don’t just pay themselves and sit around whining though expensive white lawyers and pointing fingers at others and what others aren’t doing. They are such a competent part of the solution. They deserve their big, massive salaries and that’s why they aren’t ashamed to make them public to their beneficiaries. That’s why they educate their members to be critical and engaged voters and why they go to every community to consult and be transparent and accountable. They are a shining example to Nunavummiut.

      • Posted by do what now? on

        If they are so great, why are fellow Inuk doing 50/50 or any of those illegal lotteries on facebook just because they cannot afford to bury their loved ones? Most mentioned QIA will only cover a small amount and they have to fundraise for families to go back to the hometown for funeral. And what did NTI achieved with that free trip to Paris? ZILCH! that money spent should have been spent on fellow inuit. Since its the holiday season, how about NTI/QIA give a christmas hamper (coats, food, toys, etc) for every inuit family in Nunavut? make them really count, not just making hampers for a family of 4, make it realistic, as most inuit families are about 8 or more. Their lack of transparency for salaries is shameful.

      • Posted by Arnaq on

        What, no one got my sarcasm?????

      • Posted by Angut on

        You are a staff member, I can only guess with your defensive attitude. I wonder how much ITK presidents gets for salary?

    • Posted by Agm on

      The financials are presented every year at the public AGM that you can also tune into online.

      I go and almost every seat is empty, maybe 10 people or less in attendance.

      It’s just easier to write comments online than actually attend!

      • Posted by Salary Disclosure on

        The Financials just give the overall amount spent on salaries, not the individual positions break down.
        Were people supposed to be attending meetings during the pandemic?

        • Posted by Uhhh on

          His comment says it should be disclosed at least by totals which is exactly what’s disclosed and the last KIA agm for instance was in October, well past the pandemic, no mask required, etc. There’s no excuse really, people just don’t want to go and ask questions, they rather just sit online. You can see that attitude riddled across each community page. No one goes to Hamlet meetings for example but everyone has a Facebook voice to complain.

          If only people would actually get up and attend things and use their voice outside a comment section. Who knows what could happen.

      • Posted by Beneficiary on

        As beneficiaries, we are so tired or ongoing meeting without any results — too many “Yes” board members who keep getting on to represent the communities.
        Finally we are getting good journalism – I wonder where Inuktut CBC or Igalaaq is to support this type of journalism. – people are so bored with CBC/ Igalaaq and the weak journalist they are producing repeating the same stories or unless information to the public. Wake up Igalaaq producer and do some research!

      • Posted by Beneficiary on

        There are lots of Elders who need to know what’s happening but are missing out because CBC is too lazy to ask tough questions.

  6. Posted by I care about nunavut on

    These organization employees make a lot of money so don’t want to share this information. NCC will not share this information as they are run by a bunch of people from Newfoundland who intimidate good employees because they want to keep their jobs making big salaries. This in an Inuit organization so they beneficiaries should be hired first but this is not happening.

  7. Posted by Wow on

    I am sort of surprised NN is pursue stories that might cast light on the operations of NTI and the Inuit orgs. Usually this is just a GN bash blog so I encourage journalists reporting on a wider scope as Inuit orgs like to act like a government without any of the associated responsibilities to their people.
    It is a badly kept secret that NTIs president earns over $300,000 per year. Check a few senior management jobs in Ottawa for something similar. Indeed they pay higher than the public service and there are many other perks associated with the job as many sit on multiple boards including corporations they invest in which deliver additional income, trips and benefits that even senior public servants wouldn’t dream of.

  8. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Clearly “transparency” is an idea the Inuit Orgs. have a great deal of trouble grasping. Alsi kinda explains the long line of well known candidates. Who wouldn’t like a four year job that pays in the mid 6 figures for doing absolutely nothing?

    • Posted by The Fifth Estate on

      Indeed. It would seem transparency is a challenging concept at a few other levels of governance too. This underscores the need we have in Nunavut for an effective media, something we have missed for a while. This article is refreshing to see. I almost can’t believe it was written.

      • Posted by Leave it to beaver on

        Leave it to NN to ask the tough questions to inuit orgs when our own taxpayer funded public broadcaster can’t be bothered. Time to defund the cbc, they do nothing for Nunavut and Canada

        • Posted by Who can say? on

          The CBC would not dare challenge an Inuit lead organization because they know they would be publicly flogged as ‘racists’ doing a ‘colonialism’ and whatever other non-sense by said organization. The tribal mentality in Nunavut alone would probably rally half NTI’s critics to their side, just because.

          Effective media scrutiny, if it is ever to come, probably needs to be lead by a local (NN fits here) preferably indigenous media org or indigenous journalist.

          The hell-scape of identity politics comes at a price, here we can see it in full.

  9. Posted by G-man Choi on

    If its paid for by the Federal Government, then there needs to be transparency.

    It’s all our tax dollars given out to these clowns who do nothing for Nunavut.

  10. Posted by Uvanga on

    NTI voted to explore self government.
    NTI hired an Inuit Nurse to run the Covid vaccination program
    NTI got money for TB elimination
    NTI got money to train Inuit teachers
    NTI QIA just secured part of 800 million to create conservation areas
    They also secured housing money that also benefit their employees. Job ad come with home ownership support but doesn’t extent to its beneficiaries.

    Question, did they seek support from us as beneficiaries to the claim?
    How many municipalities are on Inuit owned lands. How many Inuit are running the municipal offices.
    NTI is so busy telling us how bad we are treated that makes us feel like shit sometimes. They should start encouraging us to become leaders and not make us awful in the international stage.
    What is their inuit employment rates.
    They should be accountable just like the government.
    They are are preparing for self government is my assumption.
    NN please keep digging.

    • Posted by Shocked on

      QIA didn’t respond to an email…I’m shocked…

  11. Posted by NTI vacation days on

    I’m reading this as I see on social media that NTI staff who make six figures are on a paid work trip in Paris at some indigenous languages event, which had the option of remote participation. The tickets alone would have cost at least $5,000. With per diem, that’s easily a $10,000 ‘work’ trip. We need more accountability from NTI.


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