Copyright © 2019 Senator Dennis Patterson.

QP – Nunavut Regulatory Boards—Review of Remuneration Rates

Hon. Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

May 1, 2018

Nunavut Regulatory Boards—Review of Remuneration Rates

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Welcome, minister. As you know, Nunavut’s regulatory boards were established as independent institutions of public government under the Nunavut Agreement. I think you would agree that they provide sterling examples of Inuit engagement in the regulatory process through co-management.

You know what I’m going to ask: The remuneration rates provided to the members of the board for carrying out their important work, set by the federal government, your department, has remained unchanged for more than 17 years.

I know the boards collectively initiated a serious discussion of this issue in November 2016, and there’s an extensive record of correspondence with your office — the latest dated April 2018 — all asking you, as minister, to take action to advance a review of these remuneration rates.

Can you advise when the review will be completed and will the results be shared publicly?

Hon. Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs: I thank Senator Patterson for the question, but also for the really important work that we were able to do at the UN last month and be able to have a side event based on the exemplary approach of co-management of lands and resources.

Senators here should know that these boards are hugely important as an example not only to Canada and southern Canada but to the world. On every board there is a federal representative, a territorial representative, as well as a representative of the rights-holders of the Inuit or in the case of Nunavut, but that the federal government would never appoint a member to that board that the Inuit did not approve of. So it is, I think, quite a hefty approach of understanding the need for Indigenous rights and Indigenous priorities.

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In the remuneration for these, at the moment the government has undertaken a full, whole-of-government review of all the boards and institutions of public government across Canada, including those in Nunavut. There is an ongoing consultation engagement with institutions that will lead to a recommended rate structure that will be consistent, fair and sort of reflective of the environment under which these institutions operate.

I think it will be very important, senator, for you to help us put a northern lens on this. We are hoping that this review will be done within the fiscal year. But I think that given the unique situations in the North that were pointed out to us by some of the board members — it may take them three days to get to a meeting — the usual travel expenses just don’t work if it’s also three days out of your life on both sides.

I think that lens will be really important to have in a whole-of-government review of these sorts of compensations and remuneration.