Nunavut behind on elevator inspections, says official

The Government of Nunavut admits it has not been keeping up with elevator inspections, and says it's due to a lack of inspectors.

Territory's 3 busy electrical inspectors do elevators 'when they have a chance'

The Sivumiut building in Iqaluit houses the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Social Services. Its elevator inspection certificate inside says the last inspection was done May 18, 2004. It expired one year later. (Emily Ridlington/CBC)

The Government of Nunavut admits it has not been keeping up with elevator inspections, and says it’s due to a lack of inspectors. 

Government documents obtained by the CBC show more than three-quarters of the 81 elevators in the territory have not been inspected in the last five years, and some even longer. Records are either incomplete or missing altogether for some elevators including those in public buildings such as Nunavut Arctic College, Inuksuk High School and the Eight Storey apartment building in Iqaluit.

It's not clear if the one in the new wing at the Qikiqtani General Hospital has been inspected since it was installed. Its report is blank.

"Well we've fallen behind," said Ed Zebedee, director of protection services with the Government of Nunavut, the department responsible for ensuring inspections are done.

"We at one point did do all elevator inspections annually."

Zebedee said the elevators are safe but he admits his department could be doing better. The government plans to train current inspectors and update the records. He said a big problem is that there's a lack of people to do the inspections.

"Only three inspectors in the whole territory — electrical inspectors — do elevators when they have a chance to do so."

Wendy Ireland, executive director of the Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society, said that’s worrisome.

"A lot of people travel in elevators whether they use wheelchairs or not so I find it a little disconcerting to hear not all the paperwork may be up to date," she said.

Ireland said inspections should be done as it's a matter of safety for Nunavummiut.