Live your passion for computers, despite the challenge of getting online in Nunavut

Jacob, Kyle and Charlotte aspire to become actors, hockey player, and archaeologist respectively, but they have a common hobby: video games.

ans. J’adore les jeux.”,”text”:”J’aime programmer des jeux et les concevoir, explique Cayle, 10ans. J’adore les jeux.”}}”>Kyle, 10, explains that I love programming and designing games. I love games.

in Inuktitut, Beninguac Means player. This is also the name of the only organization in Nunavut that offers computer workshops for young and old to introduce them to the world of technology. They learn video game design, understand computer coding, and make 3D printing.

Pinnguaq offers computer programming and coding workshops for young people in Iqaluit.

Photo: Radio Canada/Mattis Harvey

I really love technology and science. So my mom found this group and suggested I join it., says Charlotte, 9. Being the only girl in her group, she is well aware of the low female presence on the field.

I want to make a difference someday, because there aren’t many signs. So I want to be a scientist when I grow up. »

Quote from Charlotte, 9 years old
Little girl smiling with laughing eyes.

“I really like that it’s an integral part of science and I feel like it’s part of my personality,” says Charlotte, a participant in a computer programming workshop given by Penguac, in Iqaluit.

Photo: Radio Canada/Mattis Harvey

Slow and expensive connection in the north

However, the world of technologies is not within the reach of all Nunavummiut. Many families in the territory do not have a computer at home.

Among the provinces and territories of the country, Nunavut is the only one that relies entirely on satellite internet, which leads to difficulties when the weather conditions are harsh.

Ben Westwell is a trainer and responsible for the workshops that the organization offers in Iqaluit: There are days when it happened that we no longer have the Internet. So we could not offer our own workshops.

In 2018, internet connectivity in Nunavut was about eight times slower than the Canadian average, according to the Radio, Television and Communications Commission (CRTC).

Satellite domes near Iqaluit.

All 25 communities in Nunavut rely on satellite internet connection.

Photo: Radio Canada/Mattis Harvey

Also, there is no service provider that offers unlimited internet plans, and their prices are quite high. A family in Iqaluit can expect a $100 bill for 150 gigabytes a month.

In a report published in 2020, the regional Inuit organization Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) notes that a household in Nunavut must pay at least $7,000 annually to reach the average level of data usage for a Canadian household.


An earlier version of this script stated that to reach the average level of internet usage for the rest of the country, a family in Nunavut would need to spend at least $7,000 per month. However, the NTI report mentions a cost of $7,000 per year.

2021, et il existe encore un fossé important avec le reste du Canada”,”text”:”Nous sommes en 2021, et il existe encore un fossé important avec le reste du Canada”}}”>It’s 2021, and there’s still a huge gap with the rest of Canadasupports vice president NTI, James Aitoluk.

According to him, this gap highlights the challenges facing the region in the education and health sectors. we need [connectivité] Faster and more reliable every day for learning, work and our core activities.

Iqaluit City in November.

Nunavut faces significant infrastructure challenges, including those related to communications networks, says NTI Vice President James Itoluk.

Photo: Radio Canada/Mattis Harvey

A glimmer of hope

In this context, young people who are considering a career in computer science must overcome many challenges, including the lack of post-secondary training in this field.

However, Nunavut Arctic College is developing a new technical training program for computer systems maintenance and repair.

Between 2007 and 2017, 25 students completed the old program, but the college had to stop it due to insufficient enrollment.

Jennifer Lynn, the college’s senior IT strategic advisor, says the new release will be more in line with reality. 2021, nous ne faisons plus du tout les mêmes choses […] qu’en 2007.”,”text”:”Il [touchera] le réseautage, la programmation, le matériel informatique et la sécurité, résume-t-elle. En informatique, les choses changent très rapidement. En2021, nous ne faisons plus du tout les mêmes choses […] qu’en 2007.”}}”>she [touchera] It summarizes networking, programming, hardware, and security. Things change very quickly in computing. In 2021, we no longer do the same things at all […] than it was in 2007.

The exterior of Nunavut Arctic College in November.

Nunavut Arctic College is the only post-secondary institution in the territory.

Photo: Radio Canada/Mattis Harvey

This is a huge advantage for Nunavummiut, because without this program, we don’t have any other options in the area, assures Ben Westwell. When I was going to school in Iqaluit, I didn’t feel like I had much opportunity [dans ce domaine].

Arctic College plans to open its program to the public in September 2022.

Young Charlotte does not lose hope: I hope that one day, when I still live here, we will have access to an unlimited internet connection. Many people do not have a lot of money, so they cannot pay more for the Internet.

Here is the far north

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