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Nunavut hiring policies unfair: former resident

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, September 19, 2011

A former resident of Nunavut said she left the territory because she was unable to find work as a non-beneficiary.

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Adrianne Veters, a former Nunavut resident, said she left the territory unable to find employment because she is a non-beneficiary.

Adrianne Veters lived in Iqaluit for six years between 2000 and 2011, leaving the territory to study.

Veters, 26 years old and trained in environmental studies, always hoped to return to Nunavut to work.

In her 11 years of Nunavut residency, she said she applied to more than 60 positions with the territorial government but was never granted an interview. She added finding work in the private sector was easier, but beneficiaries were given preference.

"I guess it is not so much I couldn't find employment in Iqaluit, just many times I felt I was qualified but (was) never given the chance due to priority hiring policies," stated Veters in an e-mail.

"The clue I was not granted interviews came from being qualified for the positions I was applying for and not even being considered. In the south, if you are qualified, chances are you will at least get an interview."

As she found it hard to find work in Nunavut, she said she chose to move back south to finish her schooling and eventually work.

"I know my skills and abilities are going to be looked at more closely than what my name and status are," stated Veters.

Anyone applying for a job at the Government of Nunavut is subject to the priority hiring policy, which means beneficiaries are considered before all other applicants. If the beneficiary meets qualifications and is successful through the interview process, then he or she is hired. If no qualified beneficiary applicants are identified, then non-beneficiaries are considered and those inside the territory have priority above those living outside.

With the policy, the territorial government is fulfilling its obligations set out the in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, stated acting assistant deputy minister of the department of human resources Richard Paton via email.

"The primary way we encourage beneficiary employment in the GN is through our Priority Hiring Policy, which is similar to employment practices elsewhere in the country as it relates to an under-employed workforce," he stated. "In Nunavut, Inuit beneficiaries are entitled under the NLCA to be employed at a representative level of the total number of beneficiaries in the territory and that percentage is 85 per cent."

Vetters stated it is "good" to give Nunavut beneficiaries a "fair chance" to get employment within all sectors, but she has issues with two things. When long-term residents of Nunavut are denied employment, "it is not right," she stated.

"There should be equal opportunity for those people," stated Veters. "I understand all of the jobs should not be given to southern hires but when you are trying to make a life and cannot find a job, it is hard to want to stay."

And many positions within the GN and others are not filled due to the lack of qualified people, stated Veters. Nunavut residents and those who have lived in the territory for a certain period of time should also have the same benefits, she stated.

"The priority hiring policy should look at qualifications equally and if two candidates are both qualified, then take the beneficiary for that position," she stated. "I think anyone who is born and grew up in the territory should have all the same rights when it comes to employment as beneficiaries."

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