MLAs want to increase Indigenous representation in public service

A committee of regular MLAS that oversees government operations in the Northwest Territories wants to increase representation of Indigenous people at all levels of public service.

The Standing Committee on Government Operations announced in a press release on Thursday, that this aim will be its priority for the remainder of the 19th Legislative Assembly.

“Despite adoption of the affirmative action policy and other initiatives, the number of Indigenous people in the Government of the Northwest Territories public service has remained unchanged at approximately 30 per cent for more than forty years,” committee chair and Thebacha MLA Frieda Martselos was quoted as saying. “This is well below the 50 per cent target set by the GNWT for a representative public service.” 


The committee says it hopes to identify systemic barriers to increasing Indigenous representation, and will review the territorial government’s human resources practices and policies. It plans to table a report in the Legislative Assembly and make recommendations to government.

Other MLAs on the standing committee are Caitlin Cleveland representing Kam Lake, Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson, and Twin Lakes MLA Lesa Semmler.

They determined the priority during a strategic planning session at the Dene Wellness Centre on the K’atl’odeeche FIrst Nation reserve between August 17 to 21.

The standing committee has an oversight role for the departments of Executive and Indigenous Affairs, Municipal and Community Affairs, and Finance – which includes responsibility for human resources and the public service. The committee also has oversight of the Worker’s Safety and Compensation Commission, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation and statutory officers of the Legislative Assembly.