Media Centre

Backgrounder: Thomas Berger’s Final Report on the Implementation of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

NR 06-10 BER BKGR ENG Berger Report.doc

(April 5, 2006 — Iqaluit, Nunavut)

In November 2004, the negotiations to renew the NLCA Implementation Contract between Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), Government of Nunavut (GN) and Government of Canada reached an impasse.

In May 2005, Thomas Berger was appointed conciliator to put the Parties back on track to conclude negotiations to fund and plan for the second planning period of the Implementation Contract.

On August 31, 2005, Berger released his Interim Report making recommendations on funding for the Institutions of Public Government (IPGs), and to improve the implementation process by putting in place a dispute resolution process that is not subject to a Government of Canada veto.

Berger’s Final Report to the Parties focuses on Article 23.

Efforts of the Parties since the Interim Report

In December 2005, the Government of Canada and NTI reached an agreement on implementing Berger’s recommendations from his Interim Report, particularly on funding for the IPGs. Since then (four months later), the Government of Canada has failed to implement any part of that agreement.

The Government of Canada continues to veto all attempts by NTI to refer disputes to the Arbitration Board in spite of harsh criticism from both the Auditor General of Canada and Berger.

Main Recommendations of the Final Report

The only way in which the objective of Article 23 can be achieved is by establishing an Inuktitut and English program of bilingual education from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Berger also recommends that the government adopt short-term measures which will increase Inuit representation in the long-term in the public service.

The annual near short-term measures Berger recommends are:

Expansion of Nunavut Sivuniksavut $1,300,000
Expansion of the GN Summer Student Program $950,000
Expansion of the GN Internships Program $8,000,000
GN Scholarship Program $1,500,000
Community Counselor/Career Development Program $2,600,000
Mature/Returning Student Program $5,225,000
Total $19,575,000

Reasons for the recommendations

A broken school system is at the root of Nunavut’s problems. There must be major changes – a new approach – a comprehensive program of bilingual education from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

The education system in Nunavut is a failure – 76 per cent drop out before completing Grade 12 and many of those who do complete Grade 12 actually function well below that level. Students are neither competent in Inuktitut nor English.

Article 23 (Inuit employment in government) lies at the heart of the promise of Nunavut but the supply of qualified Inuit is exhausted. The schools cannot supply enough educated Inuit.

Why a Bilingual Education System?

An English only education system is not workable and will not serve the objective of Article 23. English only schools have been tried in Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk and the failure rates are no better there.

The only solution, supported by studies and experience from around the world, is a system in which all students learn in their native language and English from Kindergarten to Grade 12.