Media Centre

NTI is pleased with the Nunavut Court of Justice Decision to Allow the Equality Rights Lawsuit for Inuit Students to Move Forward in Court

(March 3, 2023, Iqaluit, Nunavut) On March 2, 2023, the Nunavut Court of Justice released its decision to reject the Government of Nunavut’s (GN) attempt to throw out the lawsuit seeking to end discrimination against Inuit students in Nunavut’s public schools based on the absence of Inuktut education. NTI began the lawsuit alongside two Inuit families on behalf of all Inuit. It asks the court to intervene under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect Inuit students by addressing the discrimination after over a decade of NTI attempting to work with the GN with no progress.

Last fall, Justice Paul Bychok of the Nunavut Court of Justice heard legal arguments from both NTI and the GN on whether the lawsuit should proceed to trial or be dismissed from court entirely before there is a trial.

NTI was appalled by the GN’s arguments. The GN argued that Inuit do not have equality rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protect Inuit from being discriminated on based on Inuktut language. The GN argued that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms only protects English and French students from discrimination, and, on that basis, they argued the lawsuit should be thrown out and not go forward to a trial.

“The court decision that the lawsuit should not be dismissed is a significant validation that the claim is worth advancing. NTI will continue to pursue all legal avenues to legally prove that Inuit students in the education system – Kindergarten to Grade 12 – are treated differently in not having the choice to receive Inuit language of instruction that connects them to their cultural identity. Although this decision by the Nunavut Court of Justice is welcomed, the GN’s motion to dismiss caused another year of unnecessary delay in this important case,” said Aluki Kotierk, President of NTI.

NTI welcomes the Nunavut Court of Justice’s decision to hear the full case in court. NTI will take all the legal steps necessary to legally prove discrimination in the education system exists, and that systemic changes are urgently needed to ensure Inuit students can achieve greater educational attainment and success in a school system that fosters their language and culture.



Kevin Kablutsiak

Director, Communications, NTI

Tel: (867) 975-4900 / Toll-free: 1-888-646-000

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