Lengthy criminal record checks frustrate Iqaluit job-seekers

Agaaqtok Eetak was offered a job teaching music in Iqaluit, but decided he couldn’t spend three weeks ‘doing nothing’ while waiting for Iqaluit RCMP to clear a criminal record check.
Lengthy criminal record checks frustrate Iqaluit job-seekers 1:53

The average time to get a criminal record check in Iqaluit, Nunavut, is now three weeks, and for some job seekers, that’s too long.

Agaaqtok Eetak is a musician from Arviat.

He came to Iqaluit to play in the Toonik Tyme opening ceremonies and the Jerry Cans CD release party.

While in town, he was unexpectedly offered a job as a music teacher, but he says he can’t wait around waiting for clearance.

'I decided to go home because I can’t wait three weeks doing nothing waiting for the record check,' says Aqaagtok Eetak. (Facebook)

“I was supposed to go home Monday, and I would have stayed longer if I got the job, but I decided to go home because I can’t wait three weeks doing nothing waiting for the record check.”

CBC called six communities in Nunavut to get an idea of how long it takes for a criminal records check.

Most detachments said it takes anywhere from five minutes to two days.

Sgt. Yvonne Niego of the Iqaluit RCMP said that detachment alone receives at least 300 applicants per month.

“If they could save the records check for later on in the process, once they’ve made a shortlist of candidates, that would really assist, particularly in Iqaluit,” Niego said.

Many workplaces now require criminal records checks.

The forms have to be filled out and given to the RCMP or provincial police for processing.

In major southern cities, the average wait time is four weeks.

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