Public service

Inuit representation in Nunavut public service stagnates at 50% – Eye on the Arctic

The latest annual report on the public service of Nunavut was tabled in the territorial Legislative Assembly this month. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

The territorial government has a long-standing goal of 85% Inuit public service

The latest report on the Nunavut public service shows that the territorial government is still far from achieving its goal of having a majority Inuit workforce.

Since the creation of Nunavut in 1999, the territorial government has aimed to have a public service representative of its population, which is approximately 85% Inuit.

But at the end of March 2021, Inuit made up about 50% of the government workforce, the same as in the previous two years.

The figures are included in the public service annual report for 2020-2021tabled June 13 in the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut.

The report provides details on the distribution of the 5,262 positions in the territorial government, Nunavut Arctic College, Nunavut Housing Corp. and the Qulliq Energy Corp.

In March 2021, 70% of these positions were filled. And of these, about half were occupied by Inuit.

The report also says this statistic does not reflect the fact that the actual number of Inuit employed in government has increased “significantly” over the years – from 1,493 in 2007 to 1,833 in 2021.

The government aimed to employ 2,151 full-time Inuit by March 2021, but fell short of that target at 317, according to the report.

Region by region, hiring in 2020-21 saw Inuit fill 27.5% of positions in Iqaluit, 43% in the Qikiqtaaluk region, 69% in the Kivalliq and 79% in the Kitikmeot.

Of the 68 direct territorial government appointments, 65 were Inuit, the report said.

Gender disparities, wage differences

Other notable disparities remain between Inuit and non-Inuit in the territorial public service.

Inuit women were the largest group in the public service with 1,365 or 38% of the total in 2020-21. In contrast, Inuit men were the smallest group at 415 or 12%.

The report also shows wage differences.

The average annual base salary for a government employee was $111,850. But average annual salaries for Inuit were lower — $108,452, compared to $115,247 for non-Inuit.

Figures from the report show that Inuit employment is lowest in the Department of Community and Government Services (41%) and highest (82%) in the Departments of Culture and Heritage and Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs.

At the Nunavut Business Credit Corporation, Inuit employment is 25% and at the Nunavut Housing Corporation, 39%.

Among communities, Iqaluit holds the most territorial government positions, with 2,170. But of the 1,464 of those positions filled, Inuit held only 488, or 33%.

Efforts to increase the number of Inuit in the territorial public service, which are cited in the report, include policy skills programs, new training opportunities and the Hivuliqtikhanut program, designed to build skills and capacity in leadership.

At the end of 2020-21, a total of 196 employees graduated from this program, an increase of 74 over 2019-20. Of the 2020-2021 graduates, 71% were Inuit.

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