The territorial government has released additional figures to clarify the number of decentralized positions that remain unfilled in the Northwest Territories.
A report tabled in the legislature earlier in March appeared to indicate that 122 of 150 decentralized positions – i.e. jobs moved out of Yellowknife and into smaller Northern communities – remained vacant.
That figure was reported by Moose FM, CBC and others.
Now, the GNWT says the figure in that report did not paint an accurate picture of the current situation.
In a news release on Tuesday, the GNWT claims 85% of jobs decentralized to date have been filled.
The government says the original figure – 122 vacancies out of 150 jobs – actually showed that those jobs were vacant “when the decision to transfer or establish them was made”.
In other words, those 122 positions were vacant at the point of being decentralized – but not necessarily after they had been moved into another community.
The government says, of those 150 jobs, 128 have been moved to date and 108 of those have been staffed.
Twenty-two more jobs are set to be moved in future fiscal years.
The initial report was issued following a request from Frame Lake MLA Wendy Bisaro.
On February 10, Bisaro told the assembly she “can’t condone” the way the policy has been implemented.
“Decentralization is nothing more than a numbers game for the government,” said Bisaro at the time.
“The current model calls for decentralization at all cost but there are costs associated with it both financial and personal.
“How many families have been uprooted since we started this initiative? How many are still in the public service? How many have left the NWT?
“The government’s population strategy looks to increase our population but the current callous application of this policy will see people leaving the North.”
Responding to Bisaro, McLeod said the policy is being implemented carefully and methodically.
He also told the assembly the GNWT has committed $21 million over three years to build additional housing and office spaces in remote communities to support workers who move there.