Unilingual Inuktitut speakers should be accommodated in their language when using automated banking machines in Nunavut communities, Uqqummiut MLA Pauloosie Keyootak recommended in the legislative assembly on Monday.

“More than several people have voiced concerns about the fact that Inuktitut is treated as a secondary language here in Nunavut,” says Uqqummiut MLA Pauloosie Keyootak, who wants ATMs to provide service in Inuktitut in the territory.
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Keyootak said numerous constituents in Clyde River and Qikiqtarjuaq have expressed concern about ATMs providing service in English only.

“Some people use their children or grandchildren’s help when they get cash out of those machines, those unable to read in English, and this is a real concern by some people,” he said. “This is particularly because an Elder may get their money stolen when they are being assisted by another person in English, as it can also lead to fraud.”

Keyootak asked Languages Minister David Joanasie to work with the companies that supply ATMs to ensure Inuktitut is written alongside English when installed on Inuit lands.

Joanasie noted that the GN funds up to $5,000 per business each year to translate documents from English into Inuktitut. When businesses aren’t following legal language requirements, Nunavummiut can lodge complaints with the Office of the Languages Commissioner, he said.

He added that the GN is considering reminding businesses of their languages obligations when they renew their business licences and may enlist aid from chambers of commerce to advise members of the annual funding available to help cover translation costs.


Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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