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Preferential Hiring in the North Essay

Inuit in the north, specifically in Nunavut, have an agreement with the government that they receive special benefits to help with day-to-day problems because of what happened to their people in the past. It is common knowledge that when explorers and traders first went to the north, they mistreated the aboriginals up there. They introduce alcohol and tobacco, they forced them to become sedentary by killing off their sled dogs and setting up trading booths for fur trades and such, and they quickly made them become “Europeanized”. This is not a proud part of Canadian history, and there have been measures taken to try and make up for the wrongs that were done. One of these measures is preferential hiring for Inuit. Although preferential hiring may seem like a fair arrangement given all that has happened, it is incredibly unjust and creates unnecessary problems. It is a fact that in the north the government has to hire a certain percent of Inuit when they are filling job positions.

I do not agree with this because what ends up happening is that to be able to meet the agreed amount of beneficiaries hired, the government then has to employ people who may not have the qualifications necessary for the job, or who aren’t as trained and competent as other candidates. What also happens in many cases is that the requirements necessary to apply for a position get watered down until they are simple enough to target a larger crowd. This results in a slow-moving government with poor decision-making skills and no proficiency nor productivity. For example, a couple of years ago, in Iqaluit, there was a position as a secretary of a school that needed to be filled. However, there were no Inuit who applied that had enough qualifications for the job, so the school board then had to change the contract, saying that the minimum education requirement was a grade 10 education. A secretary of a school has many responsibilities, and I feel that it is needless to say that a person working in a learning facility should have a minimum of a high school diploma.

That example was not an uncommon occurrence, it happens far too regularly in the north. It is a huge part of the reason why there is no motivation for a higher education in the youth of the north. These individuals know that if they can at least graduate high school, then they are almost guaranteed a job, and often a six digit salary (or very close to it). They become lazy, and do not want to waste their time going to get a post-secondary education when they can easily get a job without one. This leads to my next point. There are many people who apply for the government jobs who have all the necessary qualifications and have the proper training and experience for the job, who don’t even get considered simply because of their nationality; if they aren’t Inuit, they aren’t wanted. This is borderline racism.

The most qualified person should receive the job; all other factors (within reason) should be irrelevant. It is unfair towards all those who take the time and spend their money going through university, to be overlooked because there was a beneficiary with a high school diploma who also applied for the job. My final point is that there is no reason whatsoever for an Inuit not to have the proper credentials for a job apart from pure laziness. They are given all the opportunities imaginable, and it is their own fault if they do not take them. There is no excuse anymore for them not to have an education, because the government pays for their entire schooling. In fact, Inuit students get paid to go to university and other educational facilities. They are actually making money instead of going in to debt like most students.

Therefore, one might wonder, why would someone not want to go to university and get a higher education if they are being paid for it? And the answer is because they do not need an education to get well-respected and well-paid jobs. There are plenty of examples why preferential hiring for Inuit is in fact handicapping them instead of helping them. The efficiency of the government in the north is nowhere near the same as the rest of Canada, and it is due to a lack of qualifications of those who are preferentially hired. By eliminating preferential hiring, you would be increasing motivation for a higher education and a better working society.


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