The amount of time between visits by conservation officers to Nunavut communities without one can be shortened, Premier and Environment Minister Joe Savikataaq conceded in the legislative assembly on Monday.
Under questioning by Uqqummiut MLA Pauloosie Keyootak, Savikataaq detailed which communities currently have vacancies: Whale Cove, Taloyoak, Pangnirtung, Qikiqtarjuaq, Grise Fiord, Hall Beach and Kimmirut. In Pond Inlet, the conservation officer is on a reduced schedule for personal reasons, Savikataaq added.
Some of those communities are close to filling positions, the minister said. Interviews of applicants have been completed in Kimmirut, he noted. A building for a conservation officer’s workplace in Pangnirtung could be acquired as early as Friday, allowing for advertising to begin to find an officer there, said Savikataaq.
However, there is no housing available in Grise Fiord or Qikiqtarjuaq, he said, although a request for staff housing has been made in the latter community.
Keyootak described conservation officers as “indispensable,” especially during the summer, but it can take months for them to show up in places where there are vacancies. He asked for that timeline to be shortened.
“A lot of harvesters have no employment and they have to wait for conservation officers to
sell their furs,” said Keyootak.
Savikataaq replied, “Yes, I would be able to approve the shorter time frame between visits from other conservation officers where communities have a vacancy.”