Kitikmeot wants HRDC office
Federal minister says discussions will continue

Malcolm Gorrill
Northern News Services

Iqaluit ( May 29/00) - Concerns over the lack of a Human Resources Development Canada office in the Kitikmeot have produced "no promises" so far.

Charlie Evalik, president of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, said HRDC has been asked to set up an office in the area.

"There's been some lobbying stuff and everything like that," Evalik said. But the community has not received a definite answer, and for people relying on the employment insurance program, "there's really nobody to assist them," said Evalik.

As a result, Evalik says they have been using resources at the Kitikmeot Inuit Association to help people.

"And it's not our mandate to do that. It's the federal department's responsibility to deliver the programs (like) employment insurance."

During a visit to Iqaluit recently, Human Resources Minister Jane Stewart said there have been "continued suggestions" that HRDC set up an office in the Kitikmeot region. HRDC has offices in the Baffin and Kivalliq regions.

"At this point I'm not in a position to say that we'll be moving in that direction," Stewart said.

"We'll continue to have discussions and make sure we work to provide the facilities that make sense and are cost-effective."

Stewart said working with third parties is an option for her department.

"It's looking at where the population is, how effectively they can service the communities from different locations," the minister said.

"We'll continue to work with the territory to understand how best to use the dollars we have."