Airline’s freight woes compounded by few local hires, MLA says
Iqaluit-Manirajak MP Adam Arreak Lightstone continues to criticize Canadian North’s hiring practices for freight workers, which he says targets southern workers rather than Nunavummiut.
He also says this approach hampered the airline during the last COVID-19 lockdown in Iqaluit because southern rotary workers were forced to self-isolate for 14 days, which contributed to the cargo backlog.
Arreak Lightstone pointed out to the May 27 legislature that Canadian North is announcing nine full-time freight assistants and that the jobs are described as rotational positions that arrive in the community on a three-week, three-week basis. . The airline is also offering temporary housing, another indicator of the prosecution of southern workers, said the Iqaluit MP, who raised similar concerns in November.
“I have noted that many of these jobs can and should be filled by local residents,” he said Thursday.
David Akeeagok, Minister of Economic Development and Transport, reinforced Arreak Lightstone’s point.
“Any business or activity that takes place in Nunavut, we strongly encourage them to hire locals and hire Inuit as much as possible,” said the Minister. “This is the position this government has taken and it includes our government taking this initiative as well.”
Arreak Lightstone noted that the Government of Nunavut has provided millions of dollars in direct funding to fly Canada’s North during the pandemic, giving the territorial government “some leverage” in setting the terms. He asked what requirements are in place for Inuit employment at the airline.
Akeeagok said the government’s primary goal is to allow airlines to continue serving communities during the pandemic, including medical and service travel for Inuit and other Nunavummiut, when COVID conditions permit. .
The minister also noted that discussions are underway between Transport Canada and airlines to help local applicants obtain ID cards to access restricted areas at airports, which is a requirement for hiring with some posts.
“There has to be a fair balance between airport and airside security and workers as to how to continue to address this issue,” Akeeagok said. “We have to balance this on all fronts and these obstacles are being highlighted and trying to find solutions on this.”