Skip to main content
Work for ITK

Request for Proposals (RFP): Strategic Input Report – Inuit Nunangat University

By June 20, 2022 No Comments


ITK is seeking a consultant to collect strategic inputs for the planning and development of the Inuit Nunangat University. The consultant will research critical questions, elaborate theories of change related to key strategic issues, and produce options for financing models and best practices in institutions of higher learning. These critical inputs will inform the strategic objectives of the university and ensure the needs of Inuit Nunangat communities are at the basis of its implementation.



ITK is the national representational organization for the 65,000 Inuit in Canada, the majority of whom live in four regions, including the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories), Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Quebec), and Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador). Collectively, these four regions make up Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland in Canada. Inuit Nunangat includes 51 communities and encompasses roughly 35 percent of Canada’s landmass and more than 50 percent of its coastline.

The comprehensive land claim agreements that have been settled in Inuit Nunangat form a core component of ITK’s mandate. These land claims have the status of protected treaties under the Constitution. ITK remains committed to working in partnership with the Crown to fully implement these land claims. Consistent with its founding purpose, ITK represents the rights and interests of Inuit at the national level through a democratic governance structure that represents all Inuit regions.

ITK advocates for policies, programs and services that impact the health, social, cultural, political and environmental issues facing Inuit today. ITK is governed by a Board that is composed of the following members:

  • Chair and CEO, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
  • President, Makivik Corporation
  • President, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
  • President, Nunatsiavut Government

In addition to voting members, the following non-voting Permanent Participant Representatives also sit on the Board:

  • President, Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada
  • President, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
  • President, National Inuit Youth Council

File Description and Objectives

Inuit Nunangat is identified globally as a region of strategic geopolitical, economic, and environmental priority, and is home to 65,000 Inuit in Canada. Most communities in Inuit Nunangat are poorly served essential services, and physical and communications infrastructure in comparison to the rest of Canada and the world. ITK advocates for conditions that promote the development and advancement of united Inuit through representation in governance and other strategic priorities, which includes Inuit-led research and dissemination of critical information.

Published in 2011, the National Strategy on Inuit Education recommended that a university in Inuit Nunangat be established to “build research capacity, expand post-secondary opportunities relevant to northerners, foster a more robust civil-society, and act as an economic and cultural engine.”[1]  In 2017, this recommendation was put into motion by the ITK Board of Directors, and in 2021 by the Inuit Nunangat University Task Force (INUTF) through the help of seed money from Mastercard Foundation.

In preparation of writing a critical roadmap that is based on clear evidence of the needs and capacities of Inuit Nunangat communities, and the best and most innovative practices in higher learning, INUTF seeks to identify and collect critical inputs that will help to confirm the institutional framework, as well as the objectives, processes, and resources needed for launching the university in partnership with key stakeholders.

[1] National Strategy on Inuit Education, 2011, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami:

The Inuit Nunangat University Task Force (INUTF)

Reporting to the National Inuit Committee on Education (NICE) and ITK Board of Directors, INUTF is the initial advisory and support group for the visioning of the Inuit Nunangat University. Members focus on sharing big picture ideas and guiding input to ITK’s development of an Inuit Nunangat University. The advisory group helps to shape this advocacy and helps to draw out information for each of the development themes. The role of the task force is to ensure Inuit experiences and views are heard and presented to shape future development of the Inuit Nunangat University.

Role of INUTF

  1. Select the consultant
  2. Approve plans, methods, and components of the report
  3. Provide consultation, e.g. identify key informants and documents for review, guide methods and assumptions and research questions
  4. Ensure the study reflects the needs of the Inuit Nunangat University working groups, and their respective communities
  5. Present the final report to Inuit leadership and community stakeholders

Strategic Framework

ITK and Inuit regional priorities are at the forefront of the Inuit Nunangat University’s strategic framework.

The Inuit Nunangat University’s contribution will involve providing research and training support around each of the following areas, while also researching possible synergies or conflicts at the strategic and operational level of the pursuit of these objectives.

  1. Land Claims Negotiations
  2. Financial Security and Poverty Reduction
  3. Infrastructural Equity and Spatial Planning,
  4. Inuit Health and wellbeing through Inuit -specific health and social development
  5. Support to the protection, study and promotion of Inuktut
  6. Climate Action to facilitate and finance response, mitigation and adaptation
  7. Empowerment through Research, Data and Information Access/Ownership/Dissemination
  8. Coastal Management, including marine infrastructure, environment and wildlife

Key Relationships

The key relationships that impact the capacity of Inuit Nunangat are its intersecting relationships with the Crown/Government of Canada, Inuit/provincial and territorial governance in relation to social services and territorial sovereignty, relations with non-Canadian Inuit, circumpolar international relations, relations with the private and NGO sectors, relations among other Inuit territories, and relations with indigenous nations worldwide.

Capacity Needs

The future Inuit Nunangat University will bring prosperity, unity and security for Canadian Inuit. Central to this capacity are social unity through the advancement of the four Inuit regions, men, women and the empowerment of Inuit Youth, food and water security, legal autonomy, access to energy and information, physical territorial control, including space, terrestrial, sub-terrestrial, and human mobility, livelihoods and housing, healthy marine and wildlife ecosystems, and preservation and active promotion of Inuit language and culture.

Conceptual and Practical Challenges

Difficult issues concerning the creation of a new university will need to be addressed and mitigated. Some include:

  • Western/Euro-Canadian institutional expectations and colonial legacies of universities
  • Discriminatory attitudes vis a vis an Indigenous university and resistance to the fundamental idea of what Indigenous self-determination means in practice
  • Pressure for the university to be all things to all peoples across Inuit Nunangat
  • Jurisdictional boundaries or hurdles
  • Managing multiple political and administrative relationships, expectations and objectives
  • Bridging geographic and cultural distances across Inuit Nunangat
  • Securing sustainable funding
  • Ensuring that Inuit students have access to the supports (housing & financial support, childcare, academic) they need to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the university


The successful applicant will work directly with ITK staff and INUTF on the following components and deliverables:

Component 1: Environmental scan and capacity needs assessment

The consultant will assess the context relevant to the delivery of higher education and identify capacity needs and opportunities by meeting the following two objectives:

Objective 1: Consultant will develop an environmental scan that compiles assessments of the context in Inuit Nunangat as relevant to the delivery of higher education (communications and physical infrastructure, knowledge and communications practices, youth culture and social roles, land-based activities).

Objective 2: Consultant will validate capacity needs based on available labour market information, education and training data, and the strategic capacity requirements of Inuit Nunangat.

Component 2: Data analysis and modeling

The consultant will perform an impact study that includes articulating theories of change through three levels of activities; summarize and recommend best practices of existing university models; present potential benefits and risks of partnerships and determine networking opportunities; and establish three financing models. The study will be driven by the following four objectives:

Objective 3: Consultant will perform an impact evaluation that elaborates at least three theories of change (key and priority interventions, and modes of function of the INU that best match the university vision and mission, Inuit Nunangat capacity needs and context and the key relationships and strategic issues outlined). Options and timeframes/timelines for each theory of change to be articulated by consultant at three levels, as well as the process for arriving at each theory.

  1. The most immediate level of articulation of the INU is: The protection and standardization of Inuit cultural and linguistic forms (Atausiq Inuktut), Inuit lifelong learning, early childhood education and literacy promotion, and the overall administration and promotion of post-secondary training for and by Inuit.
  1. The INU’s second level of articulation is with research, action and advocacy on the following: Environment, wildlife & climate change, and labour/human resource development foresight in light of the strategic issues mentioned above, including the strengthening of ITK and the four Inuit region’s capacity to pursue national Inuit priorities and initiatives through representation, advocacy, research and relations with the executive, judicial and legislative arms of Canadian government as relates to constitutional protections, infrastructure and security issues, public policy and program/service development.
  1. The INU’s third level of articulation is with research, outreach and advocacy on the following:
    • Financial and Health Security of Inuit
    • Suicide Prevention and Wellbeing
    • Public Health and Health Education
    • Health Statistics and Demography
    • Early Childhood Development, Education, and Skill Development
    • Food Security
    • Maternal and Pre-natal Health
    • Addiction, Recovery and Rehabilitation

Objective 4: The study will compile and integrate good practices among universities for promoting social unity, equity in terms of access to information and educational opportunities across gender, social class, ability and age differences, policy advocacy, indigenous or local leadership in higher education, protection of traditional knowledge, Indigenous free, prior, and informed consent, and self-government/sovereignty into its theory of change and prospective pathways to implementation.

Objective 5: The study will look at the potential benefits and risks of closer relationship between the University and existing post-secondary institutions and research centres in or serving Inuit Nunangat, with a priority to fill in existing gaps in post-secondary education throughout Inuit Nunangat.

Objective 6: The consultant will identify financing models that are appropriate for the establishment and development of a university proper, an institutional incubator, and a university monitoring and evaluation process. The consultant will also identify any regional and international legal instruments that may impact the accreditation, financing and strategic positioning of the INU (e.g. land claims/self-government agreements, provincial/territorial legislation, UNFCCC/Paris Agreement on Climate Change, UNDRIP, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, etc.).

Component 3: Strategic Inputs Report

Final Deliverable:  The final report will compile information from all six Objectives, as well as determine best practices and the most viable iterations that pertain to the strategic framework. The report should include:

  1. Executive summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Detailed summary of the responses to each objective
    1. Environmental Scan
    2. Relationships/Networks
    3. Capacity needs and opportunities
    4. Impact evaluation & theories of change
    5. Financial modeling
    6. Research and post-secondary partnerships
    7. Compilation of good practices, options and recommendations
  4. Conclusion and Next Steps

Component 4: Finalize and Present the Report

The successful contractor will also be required to work with INUTF to validate and refine the final report, respond to questions and requests for clarification, and present the final draft of the report to ITK staff and INUTF for feedback, and revise the report as necessary.

Role of the Consultant

The successful consultant will be responsible for the following tasks:

  1. Provide a plan with a timeline for each component and objective
  2. Complete the scope of work components with input from ITK and INUTF
  3. Bi-weekly progress reports to ITK staff, and monthly to INUTF
  4. Produce each deliverable within the timeline
  5. Sign an NDA/Confidentiality agreement


  1. Project Timeline

To commence July 25 2022 and complete first draft March 1st 2023, and final draft with comments integrated March 31st.

  1. Summary of Request for Proposals

We require a detailed proposal that consists of a visual flowchart, a cost estimate, the method for stakeholder engagements, and projected timelines for the four scope of work components.

  1. Selection Criteria and Process

The following are the criteria we will use in the selection process:

Skills and expertise (40 points)

  • Evidence of high standards in the conduct of social and economic impact studies, data analysis, drafting strategic recommendations, communicating findings, and writing reports.
  • Understanding of social and economic determinants of strong Inuit communities, and the impact of higher education on remote indigenous communities.
  • Expertise in market analysis, financial modeling, and drafting business cases.
  • Gathering inputs and assumptions for the strategic planning of complex projects.

Experience and references (30 points)

  • Experience working with Inuit of Canada, knowledge mobilization and system change, and familiarity with Inuit Nunangat needs and priorities.
  • Testimonies of achievements within the scope of work.
  • Strong recommendations from references, and an interview may be required upon request.

Work methods (30 points)

  • Detailed and organized plan with timeline (including projected costs for each component).
  • Value for money will be a consideration in assessing the proposals.
  • Potential for an excellent working relationship.
  • Approaches to consultation with stakeholders.
  • Compliance with the timelines.

*Note: Priority consideration is given to companies that are owned, managed or otherwise represented by a beneficiary under an Inuit Nunangat land claims agreement.

The proposals will be reviewed in detail according to the above criteria by a selection committee. Applicants considered will be promptly notified and may require an interview.

Conflict of Interest: Officials representing ITK and members of the INUTF have been part of detailing the requirements described in the RFP. Applicants/bidders shall not engage any of the involved representatives to assist in the development of any proposal responding to the RFP or to perform work to be conducted pursuant to any contract under this RFP. Failure of the applicant/bidder to abide by these restrictions shall result in immediate disqualification of that applicant/bidder’s proposal.

Please direct any questions in writing only to Vanessa Chaperlin, Senior Policy Advisor, [email protected] and Riley Winters, Policy Advisor, [email protected]

Submission Deadline: Electronic submissions should be sent by 4:00pm EST on July 20, 2022 to Vanessa Chaperlin [email protected] and Riley Winters [email protected]