Creating a Representative Health and Social Services System in the NWT

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area, Sahtu Settlement Area, Dehcho Region, North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: health services, retention strategy

Principal Investigator: Speers, Kimberly (1)
Licence Number: 16417
Organization: University of Victoria
Licensed Year(s): 2018
Issued: Nov 30, 2018
Project Team: Arlene Jorgensen (Researcher/Student, University of Victoria )

Objective(s): To analyze the barriers to Indigenous representation in the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority, undertake a review of Health and Social Services recruitment and retention initiatives and uptake by Indigenous candidates/employees, and to learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions within and outside of the NWT in order to make recommendations to improve Indigenous representation.

Project Description: The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) was established August 1, 2016 and was an amalgamation of six previously separate regional Health and Social Services (HSS) authorities. The NTHSSA is responsible for the design and delivery of territorial HSS planning across the Northwest Territories. It is responsible for delivering HSS in all communities across the NWT with the exception of the community of Hay River and the four communities included under that the Tlicho self-government agreement.

Serving a largely indigenous aboriginal population, the NTHSSA has struggled to recruit and retain an indigenous aboriginal workforce that is reflective of the population served. This is despite Government of the Northwest Territories and Ministry of Health and Social Services commitment to a representative workforce and an affirmative action policies and practices that have been in place since the 1970's.

The objective of this project is to analyze the barriers to increase Indigenous Aboriginal representation in the NTHSSA, undertake a review of HSS recruitment and retention initiatives and uptake by Indigenous Aboriginal candidates/employees, and to learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions within and outside of the NWT in order to make recommendations to improve Indigenous Aboriginal representation across the NTHSSA.

The primary research question is: What evidenced based actions can the NTHSSA take to increase the number of Indigenous Aboriginal people within it’s’ workforce.

The secondary questions are:
1) What is the current state of Indigenous Aboriginal representation within the NTHSSA?
2) What are the existing HSS recruitment and retention initiatives, and what is the uptake of these initiatives by Indigenous Aboriginal persons?
3) What are the perceived internal and external barriers to increasing Indigenous Aboriginal representation in the NTHSSA?
4) Do key stakeholders hold opinions or misperceptions about the GNWT Affirmative Action Policy and hiring Indigenous Aboriginal employees that create barriers?
5) What are the lessons learned from jurisdictions outside of the NWT that can be applied the NTHSSA?
6) Are there successes and lessons learned within the NWT that can be applied to the NTHSSA?

This project will use primary qualitative data gathered through surveys and semi-structured interviews, a literature review, and a document review. The surveys and semi structured interviews will provide data on what key stakeholders identify as barriers, their views towards affirmative action and the value of increasing the number of indigenous aboriginal employees, as well as their suggestions for increasing retention and recruitment of Indigenous Aboriginal employees. Hiring managers and Human Resources Officers play key roles in recruiting and retaining staff. If hiring managers see affirmative action positively, they are more likely to be flexible with education and experience equivalencies when hiring, and take advantage of recruitment and retention programs that are targeted, or could be targeted to Indigenous Aboriginal candidates.

Senior Human Resources Managers have expertise in recruitment and retention, and firsthand knowledge of the NWT and NTHSSA efforts, successes, and challenges in recruitment and retention of Indigenous aboriginal employees. They also have significant influence over the development of organizational Human Resource strategies. Understanding the perspective of these senior leaders provide critical insight into the current approaches taken by the HSS and the NTHSSA in recruitment and retention strategies.

A document review will provide data on Indigenous Aboriginal employment within the NTHSSA, existing HSS recruitment and retention programs and uptake by Indigenous Aboriginal candidates/employees, as well as GNWT reports and strategies specific to recruitment and retention of Indigenous Aboriginal employees.

It is anticipated that the results of this study will be shared with others in the following ways: A project report which includes the results and analysis of the data collected in this study that will be provided to the University of Victoria as well as to the chief executive officer of the NTHSSA. The project report may also be shared with other GNWT senior managers.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from November 30, 2018 to December 31, 2018.