Credit Patricia Johnson-Castle_cover_image

From increased flexibility to reorganizing the work calendar, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity to re-think workplaces through an Inuit lens, according to new research from Jane Glassco Northern Fellow Patricia Johnson-Castle.

Johnson-Castle was three months into her first management job at the Nunatsiavut Government when COVID-19 sent a shockwave through workplaces, upending established structures. She set out to answer what makes for a healthy workplace in an Inuit context, particularly in relation to Inuit women.

Johnson-Castle spoke to 13 Inuit women, who were all managing staff in organizations created to serve Inuit, to understand to what extent there was room for Inuit culture where they worked. She discovered that all but one interviewee felt that they had been discriminated against during their career, and that “many noticed the conflict between Inuit ways of being and the workplace.”

The result is a new research paper, Sivumulâvugut: (Re)Making Inuit Workplaces, that includes a call to action: Shaping our Institutions using Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and Inuktut. To work towards that, Johnson-Castle gives four policy recommendations:

  • Make workplaces flexible
  • Work fewer hours
  • Reorganize the work calendar
  • Train Inuit for permanent jobs.

“Patricia’s research provides a framework to rethink workplaces,” said Sherry Campbell, President and CEO of the Gordon Foundation, which runs the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship. “Patricia brings an Inuit lens to issues that are being widely discussed – from flexible working and work-life balance – and provides clear policy recommendations for positive change.”

The Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship is a policy and leadership development program recognizing leadership potential among northern Canadians aged 25-35 that has been running since 2010.

Johnson-Castle is part of the fifth cohort of Fellows, who receive policy skills training, mentorship, and networking opportunities as they undertake individual public policy research.

For more information and interview opportunities please contact:

Gordon Shallard-Brown, Communications Manager, The Gordon Foundation

[email protected] 416.601.4776 ext. 230.