This is page numbers 271 - 299 of the Hansard for the 12th Assembly, 6th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was languages.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Allooloo, Mr. Antoine, Hon. Silas Arngna'naaq, Mr. Arvaluk, Mr. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Mr. Gargan, Hon. Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Koe, Hon. Jeannie Marie-Jewell, Hon. Rebecca Mike, Hon. Don Morin, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Mr. Ng, Mr. Ningark, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 271

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Good morning. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Keewatin Central, Mr. Todd.

Minister's Statement 23-12(6): 1993 Annual Report Of The Workers' Compensation Board
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 271

John Todd Keewatin Central

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, next week, I will table the 1993 annual report of the Workers' Compensation Board. This is the official record of the year ended last December 31st, and is being tabled to comply with the provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act.

---Applause

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This turnaround allowed the board to freeze the 1994 rates.

Last year, I told this Assembly that the board had adopted a funding strategy to return it to a fully funded position within one year without increasing employer premiums. There was some concern that this might be accomplished at the expense of injured workers. Let me stress that this was not and is not the case.

Throughout 1993, the WCB worked to create a more efficient, less costly and more accessible operation. Many internal changes were made to streamline the flow of information and improve the level of customer service.

The board introduced or refined policies on affirmative action, official languages and northern incentives, all of which are important to this Legislature. A communications campaign was initiated to reach all stakeholders through a series of community visits, focus groups and speaking engagements. A quarterly newsletter called "Directions" has been very well-received.

On July 1, 1993, the board began using a newly developed NWT impairment rating schedule to ensure fairness in awards for permanent disabilities.

Rehabilitation and medical programs were managed more effectively. The focus of rehabilitation programs was shifted from academic studies to on-the-job retraining. New courses were developed to promote safety awareness. More than 1,000 participants took part in 10 safety courses offered by the WCB in nine communities.

These changes were all directed at improving and providing quality customer service to both claimants and employers.

Faced with mounting liabilities and a sluggish economy, some jurisdictions reduced the level of benefits paid to injured workers. I'm pleased to say that our WCB has made no such cuts, and none are planned.

Turning briefly to the annual report, Madam Speaker, the board has responded to the concerns of Members of this House by including more and better information. The report shows that during 1993, the board accepted 3,307 claims, down slightly from 1992. The claim rate per 100 workers was also lower. The board served a total of 3,150 employers, which paid assessments totalling $22.5 million.

In conclusion, Madam Speaker, the board's careful attention to the balance between workers' and employers' needs has resulted in a fully funded position without cutting benefits.

The board's contingency reserve, which was completely depleted in 1992, has been re-established as two new reserves to ensure that stakeholders understand what they are intended to do. The catastrophic reserve, at $3.3 million, is to provide funds for disasters and unforeseen events. The operating reserve, at $1 million, is intended to protect against adverse financial results in future years.

Madam Speaker, I commend the board for its work during 1993, and I am pleased to accept this report and table it in the House later next week. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 23-12(6): 1993 Annual Report Of The Workers' Compensation Board
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 271

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Madam Premier.

Minister's Statement 24-12(6): Appointment Of The Board Chairman, Stanton Yellowknife Hospital
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 272

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Anthony Chang as the new chairman of the board of management of the Stanton Yellowknife Hospital.

As the Members know, the Stanton Yellowknife Hospital has taken on an expanded role as the regional referral hospital for the western Arctic. This expanded role required a new board structure including regional representation from all western Arctic health boards, as well as the north Great Slave. All representative groups, including the Stanton board, were contacted for nominations to the position of chair.

Mr. Chang is a 20-year resident of the Northwest Territories and brings to the position considerable management, business and volunteer experience. He is well-known as a result of his extensive travel within the north. He is an owner and operator of several enterprises and his strong management skills complement his experience in volunteer activities.

Madam Speaker, Mr. Chang will provide stability and strong accountable leadership to the hospital as it develops its new role as a regional referral hospital. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 24-12(6): Appointment Of The Board Chairman, Stanton Yellowknife Hospital
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 272

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Baffin South, Mr. Pudlat.

Minister's Statement 24-12(6): Appointment Of The Board Chairman, Stanton Yellowknife Hospital
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 272

Kenoayoak Pudlat Baffin South

(Translation not provided)

Minister's Statement 24-12(6): Appointment Of The Board Chairman, Stanton Yellowknife Hospital
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 272

Translator

I'm sorry, we're not getting any of the technical feedback.

Minister's Statement 24-12(6): Appointment Of The Board Chairman, Stanton Yellowknife Hospital
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 272

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Excuse me. I'm sorry, according to the translators we're not getting any of your comments back. It appears that we are having some technical difficulty. We'll recess for about five minutes to address it. Thank you.

---SHORT RECESS

Minister's Statement 24-12(6): Appointment Of The Board Chairman, Stanton Yellowknife Hospital
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 272

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Item 3, Member's statements. The honourable Member for Baffin South, Mr. Pudlat, do you want to try again?

Apologizing To Constituents For Absence In The House
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 272

Kenoayoak Pudlat Baffin South

(Translation) Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am sorry for the inconvenience I have caused. Madam Speaker, maybe you can hear what I have to say now. I stand today to express my apologies for not being in the House for the last two days. I want to apologize to my constituents. I realize I have a lot of work that I have to carry out. But, I was having health problems and was unable to participate during the last two days. I wanted to express that to you, Madam Speaker. Thank you.

Apologizing To Constituents For Absence In The House
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 272

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for High Arctic, Mr. Pudluk.

19th Anniversary As An Mla
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 272

Ludy Pudluk High Arctic

(Translation) Thank you, Madam Speaker. As we are all aware, we won't be meeting tomorrow as it will be Saturday. It will be October 15th tomorrow. I remember back in 1975, I was first elected on October 15th. I am very happy today that I am still here.

---Applause

At the same time, I realize there are difficulties we have to work through, whether they are verbal, or difficulties concerning our families and friends. I am very happy that I have been able to face those challenges. I expect to continue working within this House.

Looking back to October 15, 1975, it seems like a short time ago, but it has been a long time now. I want to express my gratitude to the people who have continued to vote for me and I want to thank you for helping me meet my challenges. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

19th Anniversary As An Mla
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 272

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Happy anniversary tomorrow. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Gargan.