New workplan developed to fix flagging Inuit job numbers at iron mine – by Steve Ducharme (Nunatsiaq News – May 17, 2017)

Inuit employment rate at Baffinland’s Mary River mine dwindles to 12 per cent

As the Inuit employment rate continues to fall at the Mary River iron mine, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. say an annual work plan approved this week promises better resources for training and hiring local workers.

The plan, mentioned in a May 14 QIA media release, addresses employment goals that have never materialized since the partners signed their original Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement in 2013, which has since funnelled more than $40 million dollars into QIA coffers.

But as the money has rolled in, Inuit employment rates have declined steadily—falling far short of the 25 per cent minimum Inuit employment target promised in 2016. Currently, that number sits at 12 per cent, down from 16.7 per cent reported in the first half of 2016 and 20.3 per cent reported in 2014.

The new IIBA work plan will complete proposed strategies and plans for Inuit labour, Inuit training and procurement, the QIA news release said. The plan will also develop and complete workplace condition surveys, as well as reboot the Work Readiness Program for Inuit interested in working at the mine.

That’s an important step following the death of a Mary River employee who was killed on the job in 2015. The QIA’s community director, Levi Barnabas, and Baffinland’s vice president of sustainable development, Todd Burlingame, are charged with overseeing the implementation of the 2017 work plan.

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