Nunavut Tunngavik is tightening its rules about who can run for a position on the executive. The board now requires anyone who wants to run in the upcoming election to provide a criminal records check.
The position of vice president, currently held by James Etoolook, will soon be open for nominations and Nunavut beneficiaries, who are 16 and over, will head to the polls in December.
"That's the difference from all the previous elections from NTI. None of the conditions have changed, just that we are now asking people to prove that they can clear a criminal records check," said Nancy Karetak-Lindell, the chief returning officer in Rankin Inlet.
Karetak-Lindell says candidates have always been required to inform NTI if they have a criminal record. Previously, the organization took candidates at their word. Now, candidates will have to go through the RCMP and show documentation.
That's easier said than done in some Nunavut communities. The forms are available from the local RCMP but are not translated into Inuktitut.
RCMP Sgt. Yvonne Neigo says some parts of Canada have a faster system, that uses electronic fingerprinting. That option isn't available in Nunavut.
That means that if RCMP find a potential criminal record, the person applying for the record check has to be physically fingerprinted and then those fingerprints have to be mailed to Ottawa. Once the prints are processed in the national database, the results are mailed back.
Niego says it's a lengthy process, especially if the person has a criminal record.
"It would be highly recommended the process start as early as the end of August or early into September. That would give time to make sure that a candidates record is identified time for mailing fingerprints and receiving the record back," said Neigo.
According to NTI bylaws, anyone convicted of a serious crime, or indictable offences, will not be allowed to run. People with summary convictions can still be nominated.
Nominations open October 27. The election for the vice president will be held on December 8.