Models of Success – In Remote Communities – Pangnirtung Community Economic Development Office, NunavutModels of Success – In Remote Communities – Pangnirtung Community Economic Development Office, Nunavut

Overview

The Pangnirtung Community Economic Development Office (CEDO) is an organization that helps to support and build economies in the community. It is involved in policy development, industry negotiation, employment and training in the effort to raise the employment rate in the hamlet.

Who is Involved

The Pangnirtung CEDO works on an interagency council that is community-based and has funding support from the following partners:

  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Territorial government

Interagency Committee

  • Federal and territorial government representation
  • Municipal government representation
  • Private sector employers
  • Educators and education institutions
  • Inuit organizations

The Focus

Interagency Committee Model

The Interagency Committee meets once a year to identify priorities and plan the next year’s training and education. All the key stakeholders are present at this meeting to help support the plan. Over the past year, construction and pre-trades trading has been a priority due to the construction at the Port and Housing construction in the community. The committee attempts to assess and analyze where the future jobs will be so that the community can plan and be prepared.

The Interagency Committee has influenced the kind of courses being offered at the local college, resource designation for training, and recruitment of Inuit into the construction industry.

Credits for Bids

The Territorial government has a bidding process that credits contractors for the following:

  • Percentage of jobs going locally – Inuit
  • Rebate program
  • Reduced taxes
  • Credits for the local employment and training

Training for Pre-trades, Heavy Equipment, Electrical and Housing

Pangnirtung has been focused on construction due to the demand and employment opportunities in the community. Short-term training programs are offered in heavy equipment, housing construction and electrical trades. Recently, four Inuit women participated in training for Air Brake, Front End Loaders, Excavators and Dump Truck Operations. Three of the four graduated. The program was offered due to the strong interest of women in the community. Depending on the trade, training may take place in Rankin Inlet or as far away as Ottawa. Altogether, over 20 Inuit have been trained in heavy equipment.

High School Learning

A pilot project is underway that takes high school students out to the land to see the work and participate in Geographic Surveying. Diamond Mine Exploration exposes the young people to career choices and offers advice on the kinds of jobs that will be available in the future.

Crime prevention and Youth Development

Six federal agencies are involved in a crime prevention and youth development pilot project that has been operating for the past three years and will continue for the next three years. A youth coordinator is focusing on youth employment and training.

Why This Model Works

Currently, it is the interagency planning cycle and participation that works for this community. All the players and key stakeholders are working together to find ways to keep the resources circulating within the community.

Training taken outside of the community works best when it is short-term training. If it stretches into years, the success rates drop. However, the community is piloting one- to three-month training sessions, building on these times to help with the transition. Many youth can cope with and succeed in longer training in Ottawa or other urban centres, since they have had to go south for medical and other reasons throughout their lives.

Challenges to Work on

Housing Policies

The Government of Nunavut has a policy that if an individual vacates his or her house for a “period” of time, he or she may lose their housing. This policy is due to the critical demand for housing in all of the communities. As a result, individuals are afraid to leave the community for any length of time for training or employment.

Negotiating a stay from this policy for a period of time is difficult, since the government would lose too much income, which would in turn create a loss in contribution to the housing fund for communities.

The Government of Nunavut currently allows individuals on social assistance a $60 monthly rental fee. However, once someone goes into training or employment, the rental fee can rise to $1,000 to $1,500 per month. Often this rent increase deters individuals from wanting to pursue employment or training.

Education and Information

More training and education are required around the benefits of getting off social assistance and into training leading to employment. The economic benefits for family and community need to be stressed.

Planning for the Future

Over the next number of years, with large natural resource development and the potential of the Northwest Passage opening up, there will be huge economic opportunities for the far North. However, there have not been sufficient training resources or training opportunities. This needs to change to ensure that Inuit are not left out of these economic opportunities. Sim Akpalialuk from the CEDO of Hamlet Pangnirtung has the best advice for employers and others in the far North: “Training, training, training. Retention problems are a reality, so we need to train a larger pool of people to keep the job vacancy low.”