New strategy to increase Inuit workforce in Quebec mines

Nunavik, Quebec (Radio-Canada archives)
Nunavik, Quebec (Radio-Canada archives)
Mining has become an increasing important part of the economy in Nunavik, the Inuit self-governing region of northern Quebec.

But the local Inuit population is still under-represented in the work force. Most jobs are still filled by workers from southern Canada.

When the local Kativik Regional Government did a survey in 2011, they found that Inuit represented only 15 per cent of the workforce in mines.

Quick Facts
  • Population of Nunavik: approximately 12,000 people
  • Jobs in region: 4000
  • Jobs in mining: 1000
  • Jobs filled by Inuit in mining sector: approximately 150

– source Kativik Regional Government

    Barriers to Inuit participation in the lucrative mining industry include lack of education, an unfamiliar culture, and the long periods that need to be spent away on remote mining sites.

    But a new mining strategy supported by industry, local government and schools aims to change that.

    Part of the strategy includes bolstering education, a focus not just on hiring, but on retention and promotion of Inuit and exploring ways to provide support services for Inuit at mining sites.

    To find out more about the strategy and why it’s so important to longterm economic growth in the region, Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn spoke with Margaret Gauvin, the director of sustainable employment at the Kativik Regional Government. To listen, click here

    Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

    Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

    Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

    Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

    Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

    Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

    Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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