Media Centre

Creating Employment Opportunities for Inuit Through Inuktut Skills

Iqaluit, Nunavut –  On the eve of the 20th anniversary of Nunavut’s creation, Inuit are investing more than $5.4 million over three years in accredited Inuktut language training through the Pirurvik Centre.

“Inuit are proud to invest in the Pirurvik Centre to meet the tremendous need among Nunavut’s employers for employees with strong Inuktut skills, to increase the pool of certified Inuktut language instructors and for the delivery of programs to enable more Inuit to acquire and develop the necessary competencies to work professionally in Inuktut,” said Makigiaqta Chair Aluki Kotierk.

Working with Elders and Inuktut language teachers from across Nunavut, Pirurvik will develop three Inuktut certificate programs and deliver the following outcomes:

• Increased access to adult learning programs designed specifically for the needs of Nunavut Inuit, including the skills needed to work effectively in Inuktut in a range of employment opportunities;

• For instructor trainees, there will be increased access to job-specific training related to language education and curriculum development;

• Strengthened capability to access and apply Inuit knowledge and practices in professional and personal context; and

• Increased confidence in Inuit cultural identity and capability to provide Inuit leadership in Nunavut’s workplaces.

Pirurvik has delivered courses in Inuktut First Language over a number of years, and Inuktut revitalization courses for Inuit learning it as a second language. This investment will see course deliveries expanded and developed into an Advanced Inuktut Working Language Diploma. Pirurvik will work to make this diploma accessible to all Inuit, including those who are enrolled in post-secondary education.

“Our rights to use, develop and transmit our language are recognized in the Canadian Constitution and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Aluki Kotierk. “Inuktut is the original language of Nunavut and still spoken by the majority. It should be the language of public service. Yet, its use is declining and both the Canadian and territorial governments have failed to provide high quality education and training in our first language, both of which are required to achieve a representative workforce.”


For further information:

Additional information on Pirurvik’s project, as well as other projects made possible with support from Makigiaqta, are available on its website,

Malaya Mikijuk
Assistant Director of Communications,
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
867 975 4907 Toll-free: 1-888-646-0006

Leena Evic
President and Executive Director of Pirurvik Centre

Tel: 867-222-6811



In 2001, the Government of Nunavut’s Bathurst Mandate declared that Nunavut would be “a fully functional bilingual society, in Inuktitut and English” by 2020.

In 2008, the Inuit Language Protection Act set the legal requirement for kindergarten to grade 12 Inuktut bilingual schooling by 2019. That was amended indefinitely by the Interim Language of Instruction Act, which received Assent on March 12, 2019.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report, accepted by Prime Minister Trudeau on December 15, 2015, call to action 16 calls for “post-secondary institution to create university and college degree and diploma programs in Aboriginal languages.”

The federal government built and funded schools to strip Inuit of Inuktitut and has not built any to restore Inuktut. In 2000, Canada built a language school in Nunavut for French. It continues to fund the school $1.4 million per year, or $15,800 per student annually.

The Government of Canada wrote a language bill, C-91, which ignores Inuktut.

The Inuktut taxpaying majority of Nunavut have been consistent, over decades, in seeking equity investments in Inuktut. In 1990, when the Tunngavik Federation of Nunavut signed the Agreement in Principle with Canada, the President of TFN demanded that Canada constitutionally entrench Inuktut rights, in particular education rights, within the Nunavut Settlement region.

Nunavut had Canada’s highest rate of growth in median household incomes over the past decade. According to the 2016 census, Nunavut Inuit median income was $22,523. Nunavut non-Aboriginal median income was $101,494.

Makigiaqta invests a $175 Million fund to enhance the preparedness for employment of Nunavut Inuit. Makigiaqta was established to provide funding and other support for training and initiatives that will provide Inuit with skills and qualifications for employment. Since its inception, the Inuit Training Corporation has invested in a number of projects across the territory which respond to the training and employment needs of Nunavut Inuit.

Makigiaqta invests in services, capability and research, in line with the strategic priority areas of early childhood development, learning systems developed around support for success in education, foundational skills development opportunities for adults, and advanced training and post-secondary opportunities for employment in targeted sectors.