The Honourable Senator Peter Harder, Government Representative in the Senate
June 1, 2017
Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, my question is to the Government Representative in the Senate.
Senator Harder, as you heard in my statement today, Inuit are suffering in Nunavut because the government, it seems, has yet to rectify the Phoenix fiasco.
After more than a year of waiting, employees are finding their Isolated Post Allowance is missing, and southern pay officers have no idea what that even is. They don’t understand why northern employees are getting rent deducted. These are the people who are supposed to be helping Nunavummiut rectify their pay issues.
I would like to be able to tell Mike and many other federal employees in Nunavut who have approached me that the government is listening, cares and will do something to help them. I had suggested this to the ministerial task force. Will the government establish a unit that is trained and sensitized to deal with the pay issues of the North at their call centre and ensure that Nunavummiut are being properly helped?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I want to thank the honourable senator for his question as well as for his statement earlier. It is entirely appropriate for senators to advocate for their constituents. The case of Mike that you raise is one that would be of concern to any senator, particularly one in the circumstances that you describe.
I have, knowing that you were going to raise this case, made inquiries of the department. I want to ensure you that they are following up with your office with respect to this case, but also I would like to discuss with you how we might find a mechanism that can urgently respond to the cases that you are aware of. In the interim, I do know that you have written the minister. I can assure you and all senators that that letter will be responded to forthwith.