Officials with Nunavut's Department of Human Resources have presented MLAs with a plan to address concerns raised by federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser about hiring practices in the territorial civil service.
Fraser appeared before the Nunavut legislature in Iqaluit on Monday to take questions about her report, which criticized how the government hires its employees.
The report, released in March, found that it took an average of 318 days from the time a Nunavut civil service job is vacated until the competition for that job has concluded.
Deputy human resources minister Louise Wasson told MLAs Monday that, for the first time, the government have started tracking job competitions with a computer database so they can see how long the hiring process is taking.
Wasson said the computer system will eventually be used across the whole territorial government, but for now it's being used within part of the Department of Human Resources.
"I emphasize we've started it only a few months ago and it is for the headquarters competitions," she said. "We will be expanding it to the communities and then inviting the [other] departments."
The Nunavut government will also take steps to track data on employees' skills, Wasson added.
The measures are part of a 16-page plan the Department of Human Resources presented to MLAs to address the auditor general's concerns.
Inuit hiring also an issue
According to Fraser's report, the Nunavut government faces a 23 per cent overall vacancy rate mainly because of two factors: the gross mismanagement of hiring, and a lack of qualified people.
Some members, like Akulliq MLA John Ningark, raised specific concerns about the government's goal of having an 85 per cent Inuit workforce by 2020. As of last year, Inuit accounted for only 52 per cent of the territorial civil service.
"It is now over 10 years and we have not achieved the goal that we were led to believe," Ningark said.
Wasson said there are a limited number of "educated and experienced Inuit" that the government can hire.
But Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott said the typically long hiring period means "we lose a lot of very good, qualified Inuit employees."
Fraser said it is too early to know if the Department of Human Resources' plan will result in any improvements.
"I would hope that when departments make commitments, that they're sure that they can actually live up to those commitments," Fraser said. "Only time will really tell how successful this action plan is."