How big is government?
GNWT has 3,488 positions; 650 vacant

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 27/99) - There is new information for those wondering about the size of the GNWT and what employment possibilities are out there.

According to Lynn Cook, who works for corporate resources and human development with the GNWT Department of the Executive, there are 3,488 positions in the GNWT as a whole and 650 are currently vacant.

She said this figure is for all government departments and most GNWT boards and agencies. "It's our normal turnover," she said.

"We have people leaving to take other jobs, we have people retiring and people moving away. The vacancy rate has been fairly constant over the last number of years. It's normal attrition for the North."

Cook said the vacancy rate on a department by department basis varies from about four per cent to about 29 per cent.

Still, she would not release which departments have higher vacancy rates because she said she did not know what the exact reason was for the vacancies.

"One department has 28 per cent of the positions showing as vacant. I don't know whether that's because they've got positions that they're planning not to fill or that they've got positions with high turnover. There could be a number of reasons for that," she said.

Cook did hint that the Department of Health might be one where there are more vacancies than other departments.

"We know that there are certain positions such as our health-care positions that tend to turn over more rapidly than some of our others," she said.

"We know that from our experience."

At public works, as one example of a department, there are 234 positions and about 10 vacancies, according to manager of human resources Shauna Yeomans.

"The 10 positions are throughout the Western Arctic, not just Yellowknife," she added.

"There would be a couple in Fort Simpson, about three here (in Yellowknife) and three or four in the Inuvik region so about 10 positions would be a close estimate."

Yeomans said all vacant positions in the department are currently being staffed.

"It's an ongoing process as positions become vacant either they get deleted if they are no longer required or they get staffed."