Towards a Representative Health and Social Service System in the NWT




Jorgensen, Arlene F.

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Introduction This intention of this project is to identify actions the Northwest Territories Health and Social Service Authority (NTHSSA) can take to increase the representation of indigenous Aboriginal employees in their organization. The rationale for increasing representation includes improved health and social service delivery to Aboriginal people, supporting the self-determination of indigenous Aboriginal people in the Northwest Territories (NWT), and meeting the policy direction of government. Methodology and Methods A gap analysis was undertaken to understand the current state of indigenous Aboriginal representation in the NTHSSA including assessing plans and programs available to support increased representation and the examining the views and perceptions of human resource senior leaders, NTHSSA hiring managers, and human resource officers. To identify gaps that were preventing the organization from achieving the desired future state of increased representation of indigenous Aboriginal people, these key stakeholders were also asked to identify what they believed were barriers and further, were asked to make recommendations related to increasing representation. They were also asked for their views on the government’s affirmative action policy and the stated goal of a representative public service. Other data collection approaches included information gathered from an NWT organization that has had more success in achieving representation and a literature review that offered lessons about improving representation from other organizations and jurisdictions that could be applied to the NTHSSA. Key Findings The primary research for this project aligned with lessons learned from other organizations and jurisdictions and gaps were found to exist within the NTHSSA in the following key areas: • Monitoring, oversight, and strategic planning • Leadership • Education and training • Merit • Mentorship • Workload • Organizational culture Recommendations Organizational gaps were summarized into eleven themes in the report and were the basis for a total of forty-four recommendations. The high level recommendations are the following: • Improve planning and data collection • Improve clear messaging from leadership • Improve training for senior and hiring managers • Develop and improve supports for hiring managers • Establish supports for new staff including cultural and clinical mentoring for indigenous Aboriginal staff • Undertake program and job description reviews • Support active representation of indigenous aboriginal employees • Improve career planning with indigenous Aboriginal employees



Indigenous, Aboriginal, Health, Social Services, Affirmative Action, Representative Bureaucracy