Personnel Department

Our personnel department worked daily with all of our employees. There was always research and revisions taking place as we try to find ways to administer personnel issues that are most confidential and often difficult as you are often dealing with the emotional make-up of the employees. We dealt with issues such as organizational reviews, lines of communication, personnel files, hiring procedures, policy development, training, personnel evaluations and so much more.
The employees participated in the overall regional benefit packages such as the Cree Pension Plan and the Cree Insurance Plan. These were introduced to the full-time employee after three months (CPP) and six months (CIP) of employment. The Human Resources Department currently has a Human Resources Manager, Sarah Blacksmith. Sarah is very busy keeping up with the daily issues revolving around human resources.

The Human Resources Department
Training and Development
As employment rates have vastly increased over the years, so are our training needs. We are planning to bring effective and efficient training programs for the employees. I believe that development is the process of improving knowledge, skills and abilities to prepare employees for future advancement opportunities.

The employees that have been taking the UQAT Certificate in Administration are in their final course in completing the program. It has been challenging to go to school and work at the same time; but the time invested in completing their assignments and attending classes regularly has a positive outcome. Most of them are expected to graduate and receive their Certificates, whereas, a few miss one or two courses to obtain their certificates. For the fiscal year of 2012-13, we are looking at bringing in more training programs that are recognized by MEQ and according to the needs of the staff.

This is one area that I have spent a lot of time in. When an employee leaves, it takes time to fill vacant positions, such as posting positions, interviews and selection. Nevertheless, this is one of the continuous tasks in Human Resources. We are planning to review and revise the existing questionnaire and score sheets.

Occupational and Safety
A few months ago, I created a working group to focus solely on the occupational health and safety aspects in the work environment. I think that this file has been put on the back burner too long. Employers, supervisors and workers are all responsible for creating a healthy and safe work environment. We are planning to promote and educate the staff to be more aware of the occupational and safety legislation. Consequently, in the coming months we are planning to bring more training programs for the staff in occupational health and safety.

Policy Development, Planning and Implementation
Although the Office Policy Procedure Manual has recently been revised and adopted, we will be reviewing the document again. In September of 2011, we started implementing the Employee Performance Evaluation Process. Salary increases will now be based on the merit of the evaluations, excluding Consumer Price Index (CPI). I believe that this is a positive tool to improve all aspects of our organization.

It has been very challenging in planning and especially, in the implementation part of the Human Resources. Nonetheless, we have to create effective strategies to address and identify the future needs of the Waskaganish First Nation. There is still a lot of work ahead of us and with much determination and teamwork, we will see positive results.

If you need additional information, please drop by my office located at the Eeyou Administration Office.

Thank you
Sarah Blacksmith
Human Resources Manager