Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Employment within the public sector is one of the main topics I hear about from my constituents after housing. Recently, I heard from a student who after receiving an offer of employment was being told that she now had to prove that she is "the right type of Indigenous" as she was born in Nunavut. An indigenous engineering student on the path we encourage our youth to take and still she is asked to "prove herself" for a summer job. This is not okay. Speaking with other northern students and recent graduates, I'm bombarded with stories that detail the barriers to gaining employment by one of the largest northern employers, our government.
One such story is that of Kerri, born and raised in Yellowknife, who graduated from Sir John Franklin High School and studied graphic design. Kerri was a product of the Student Financial Assistance program and studied design for four years, when she maxed out her SFA benefits. During her post-graduate design studies, she was recruited by CBC National News, working with them for a time before coming home. Shortly after returning to the North, a position was available in the GNWT for a graphic designer. Kerri applied for this position but was not successful. Upon appealing the decision process, she learned that this position was awarded to a Southerner by direct appointment. This is a perfect example of a qualified Priority 2 Northerner being passed over for a position within the GNWT and failing to be protected by the system that had been developed to ensure qualified Northerners have meaningful employment.
SFA needs to work hand in hand with human resources, proactively advising them of graduates and their professions. The GNWT is paying for this education, and our talented northern students must be viewed as an investment in our future. We often hear from Cabinet that the North does not produce educated people in fields that can be utilized by the GNWT, leading to southern hiring. We only have to look at several current and past deputy ministers to see that we don't make northern candidates a priority when developing our human resources.
While hiring from the South may not hurt the GNWT fiscally as every new resident means more in federal transfer payments; however, what are the indirect losses: the historic knowledge that's lost each time someone leaves a role; the impact on staff with each new manager or employee; or the impact on project work as southern science and methods are applied out of ignorance or lack of experience. Additionally, many southern hires only stay between two and five years. How much do we lose paying fees for recruitment, relocation costs, administration costs, et cetera? Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.
---Unanimous consent granted