Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Nunavut
Nunavut is a relatively young territory, both in terms of its length of time as an independent territory (formed in 1999 when it split from the Northwest Territories), and in terms of the average age of its residents, with half under age 25. According to the 2006 Canadian Census, just over 10,000 residents of Nunavut were employed, with 1,880 of them working in business, finance, and administrative occupations such as accounting. The majority of those working in the areas of business and finance as indicated in the Census report (1,320) were female.
Nunavut has no territorial sales tax, which helps make the territory attractive. The corporate tax rate in Nunavut is the second lowest in Canada, at 4 percent on the first $200,000 of revenue. The government also offers a business training tax credit to companies with a permanent location in the territory, and that provide employee training. Businesses may claim up to 30 percent of business training expenses per employee, or up to 50 percent if the business training is for a beneficiary of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. This agreement is part of the largest Aboriginal land claim settlement in Canada’s history.
Aspiring accountants in Nunavut typically hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum. The main credentialing bodies for accountants in Nunavut are the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, the Certified General Accountants Association of Northwest Territories/Nunavut, and the Society of Management Accountants of the Northwest Territories/Nunavut.
While none of the “Big Four” international accounting firms has offices in Nunavut, opportunities exist in local accounting firms such as MacKay Landau in Iqaluit. Other employment opportunities for accountants exist within the territorial Government of Nunavut, and in the territory’s various industries.
Job Trends for Accountants in Nunavut
Major industries in Nunavut include mining, oil and gas, fishing, and tourism. Opportunities exist for accountants at various levels within all of these industries. Crown corporations owned by the government of Canada such as Qulliq Energy Corporation and the Nunavut Power Corporation, both located in Baker Lake, employ managerial accountants, budget analysts, as well as cost and capital accountants. The headquarters of mineral product manufacturers West Baffin Eskimo Co-Operative Limited in Cape Dorset is a leading industry employer of accountants in the area. Within the fishing industry, seafood processing company Nunavut Development Corporation headquartered in Rankin Inlet, is also recognized as a major employer of accountants in the area.
Financial institutions in Nunavut employ accountants as well. The RBC Royal Bank office, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), as well as the headquarters of Bronyk Holdings, are all located in Iqaluit.
The many departments of Nunavut’s territorial government, as well as Canada’s national government, employ accountants in various capacities. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Canadian Public Service Commission, and Health and Social Services Nunavut, are all located in Iqaluit.
Nunavut Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts
The Government of Canada reports that the average family in Nunavut earns $35,000 annually, and that the minimum wage is $11 per hour, the highest in all of Canada. Governmental accounting positions pay the highest salaries of all accounting positions in Nunavut. For example, a recently posted Financial Analyst position in the Department of Health & Social Services in Iqaluit listed a starting salary of $74,568. Many government positions also include a bonus for relocation to the North, which may be as high as $15,000 per year. This salary is even higher than the national average salary for accountants in Canada.