It would not be acceptable for the Department of Education to prevent all teachers from travelling south for the Christmas break, according to the head of the Nunavut Teachers’ Association (NTA).

In the legislative assembly on Tuesday, Education Minister David Joanasie was questioned about teachers being given leeway to spend the holidays with their families in the south in light of Covid travel restrictions.

Education Minister David Joanasie says his department is not “entertaining any educators to work from isolation hubs currently in place” following the Christmas holidays.
NNSL file photo

“At this time we are not entertaining any educators to work from isolation hubs that are currently in place,” Joanasie said. “(Health) Minister (George) Hickes has been adamant that Nunavummiut avoid non-essential travel, especially outside of the territory, and we are of this position… my staff at the department indicate that the teachers association has supported the government’s position on avoiding non-essential travel outside of the territory.”

However, NTA president John Fanjoy said while his association has consistently supported the GN’s travel restrictions and recommendations, the teachers’ union also believes that leave requests that accommodate the mandatory isolation period should be “carefully considered… in the context of supporting the mental health and well-being of their employees.”

“A blanket ‘No’ response to leave requests from our members during the Christmas break is not an acceptable approach,” Fanjoy stated. 

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Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

3 replies on “Minister, teachers’ association not seeing eye to eye on staff going south for Christmas holidays”

  1. Why not just cancel Christmas? That way no teacher will be left behind. It’s unfair on teachers that were hired from the South when they cannot spend their time with family and loved ones when most Nunavut residents will be with family.

  2. Jon Fanjoy should know that a blanket ‘No’ is about the only thing that is reasonable right now. Otherwise, the lament will be why can ‘he/she’ or ‘they’ leave and I cannot. Its about doing your part. There are lots of us who live in Nunavut who would love to leave as well, but like the majority of us in the same situation, (dealing with a global pandemic) we are staying put. Teachers spending time with family and friends over Christmas for their mental health, implies that the rest of us (who are also likely seeking a mental break) aren’t in the same predicament. Lets be realistic here, suck it up!

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