Nunavut corrections officials have acknowledged severe overcrowding at the Baffin Correctional Centre, which was designed to hold half the number of inmates it houses today. ((CBC))

Tony Noakes, who has been fired as Nunavut's fire marshal, claims his dismissal stems from concerns he has about overcrowded and unsafe conditions at the Baffin Correctional Centre.

Noakes was terminated from his job this week, just as his one-year probation period was ending.

In a letter to Noakes, officials stated that he was "rejected on probation from the position of fire marshal with the government of Nunavut due to unsuitability."

The firing came after Noakes met on Friday with the RCMP to ask if criminal negligence charges may be in order with regards to conditions at the Iqaluit jail, where he said more than 100 inmates are being held in a facility designed to hold fewer than 50.

"It shouldn't be allowed. My recommendations were to fix this immediately by way of maybe closing the facility and moving the prisoners elsewhere," Noakes told CBC News on Tuesday.

"I think that sort of angered the upper management, maybe the thought of the fire marshal doing this. And possibly that might have been why I was terminated."

Construction materials questioned


Tony Noakes filed a complaint with the RCMP on Friday, the police force confirmed this week. ((CBC))

Noakes said the overcrowded conditions at the Baffin Correctional Centre made it difficult for him to do his job.

As well, Noakes said there are poor-quality construction materials being used for parts of the jail that are meant to separate rooms and prevent fires from spreading.

"Most jails have concrete walls, steel doors. This one has plywood walls, Gyprock," he said.

"There's instances of prisoners escaping through the roof of their cell. It's detrimental to public safety. It's detrimental to fire safety."

Noakes said he believes jail management and government supervisors ignored his reports about the jail because bringing the facility up to code would be expensive — costing as much as $20 million — and require transferring inmates.

Supt. Steve McVarnock, the RCMP's commanding officer in Nunavut, confirmed that Noakes did meet with police.

"That meeting ended with my commitment that if he was to send me some information in relation to his concerns that we would certainly review it, like we would [with] anybody else coming in," McVarnock said.

Noakes subsequently forwarded electronic files to the RCMP for review, McVarnock said.

Nunavut government officials refused to comment on Noakes's firing or his allegations on Tuesday.