Grise Fiord needs nurses, social worker: mayor

The mayor of Grise Fiord, Nunavut, says she's frustrated with how long the territorial government is taking to hire nurses and social workers that her community needs.

The mayor of Grise Fiord, Nunavut, says she is frustrated with how long the territorial government is taking to hire nurses and social workers that her community needs.

Meeka Kiguktak said permanent nurses and a social worker are desperately needed in the remote High Arctic community, which has only temporary nurses.

Kiguktak said she has brought up the issue at every meeting of Baffin-region mayors, including the current meeting underway in Iqaluit this week.

"It's like a piece of paper that's been thrown in the file and never been looked at again," she told CBC News.

On Wednesday, Kiguktak directed her concerns at Hunter Tootoo, Nunavut's minister of human resources.

She told Tootoo that a government posting went up in July for a social worker to be shared between Grise Fiord and Resolute, but she is still waiting for that posting to be filled.

"I heard there's been applicants, and that person who has applied has never been interviewed yet," she said.

318-day hiring process

Tootoo said he will bring Kiguktak's concerns to Health Minister Tagak Curley, as well as order an audit of the Health Department's human resources practices.

"There may be a good reason for it; there may not be. But unless I know the details of it, I can't speculate as to what the problem would be," Tootoo said.

Federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser scrutinized the Nunavut government's hiring process last year, pointing out that it takes an average of 318 days from the time a job opens up until that job is filled.

Tootoo insisted that his department is trying to close that gap soon, but Kiguktak said that's not good enough.

Kiguktak said Grise Fiord's temporary nurses are also handling social work-related issues, and they are on the brink of burnout.

"Everybody is busy, too busy," she said.