This is page numbers 107 - 142 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 community.

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, Mr. Lewis, Hon. Jeannie Marie-Jewell, Hon. Rebecca Mike, Hon. Don Morin, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Mr. Ng, Mr. Ningark, Mr. Patterson, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 107

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Good afternoon. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Nerysoo.

Minister's Statement 15-12(6): Federal Social Security Reform
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 107

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Speaker. In July, Madam Speaker, we released a paper called Creating Choices: Solving the Income Support Puzzle, which emphasized the need for reform of our income support programs and to link income support programs to jobs and training, so that we could make the best use of available money. We have stated that we wanted to put a northern face on the national reform of social assistance and unemployment programs. We want to show leadership in this necessary reform effort and shift the focus of income support towards more community responsibility and choice. We also know that people want to see all of these programs available in one office, and Cabinet has given my department authority to negotiate a three-year labour force agreement, with the support of the federal government, which would help make that happen.

Further, Madam Speaker, in early August, the Honourable Ethel Blondin, Minister of State and myself, announced a two-year, $8 million cost-shared pilot program aimed at career counselling, job preparation, skill training and community works projects for employables on social assistance.

Madam Speaker, on Wednesday, October 5th, the Minister of Human Resources Development Canada, the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, released a discussion paper on Improving Social Security Reform in Canada. The three main objectives of the reform being proposed are: helping Canadians find and keep employment; providing support for those most vulnerable; and, ensuring programs are fair, affordable and effective. The paper sets out what the federal government sees as the major issues and challenges for social security across Canada and emphasizes options for reform in three areas: working, learning and security.

This paper will be used by Minister Axworthy's department and the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development as the basis for public consultation over the next few months. Madam Speaker, I have already written the committee chair and invited the committee to visit and consult with people in the north. The federal government expects that the committee will report on the consultation in February, 1995, after which there would be formal discussions between federal, provincial and territorial governments. They anticipate that federal social security reform legislation will be introduced in the spring or fall of 1995.

The focus of this paper is on reforming federal programs: unemployment insurance; federal support for employment such as the Canadian jobs strategy program; support for post-secondary education through transfers to provinces and territories; the Canada student loans program, the Canada assistance plan; child benefits; and, vocational rehabilitation of disabled persons program. The paper emphasizes that reform is essential, given the fiscal realities facing governments in Canada. It states that there will not be any new money for new programs and that existing expenditures must be brought under control, and in some cases reduced.

To meet the objective of helping people find and keep jobs, the federal government is proposing that Canada needs to enhance career assessment and counselling, provide better labour market information and improve basic skill training. The paper says that employers have to play a greater role in training and we have to be innovative in our approaches. It also states that community and local needs have to be recognized, and that we have to eliminate inefficiencies and provide single-window offices for UI, training, social assistance and other labour market programs.

The federal paper also talks about designing a new employment insurance program which would provide basic insurance for occasional claimants and adjustment insurance for frequent claimants. It suggests a pilot approach to improve coverage of non-standard work and discusses questions regarding premium reduction and premium rebates for training.

To meet the needs of working parents, the federal government proposes to improve the access to child care. Federal officials have already had preliminary discussions with my department about our early childhood program and possibilities for increased federal support in the future.

The paper also recognizes that lifelong learning is key to economic success, and suggests possible approaches to maintaining a stable level of support for post-secondary education. It identifies school to work transition, making learning more portable, and taking full advantage of new learning technologies as ways of encouraging learning.

The federal government is also recognizing society's commitment to take care of the most vulnerable in society. As a result, they propose in this paper to remove barriers to work while ensuring support for persons unable to work. They are proposing to provide better support for low-income families with children, and increased access to employment services for people receiving social assistance.

Above all, the federal government is announcing that reform is essential and will occur. Last February, the federal budget included measures to reduce UI spending by $2.4 billion annually and noted that further significant savings in UI spending would result from social security reform. It has advised that social assistance payments will be capped, which will reduce payments to our government of an estimated $3 million over the next two years. The paper also proposes to cap financing for post-secondary education, which will result in increased tuition fees and the cost of education. However, the good news is that the federal government has committed to work with the provinces and territories to develop a process for discussions on social security reform. They want to enable governments to move forward with reform when the consultation is completed.

Income support reform is critical in the Northwest Territories, and we are developing an approach which recognizes the needs and priorities of people in communities. I will be tabling our government's discussion document and providing MLAs with a copy of the federal paper early next week. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 15-12(6): Federal Social Security Reform
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 108

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Nerysoo.

Minister's Statement 16-12(6): Mine Health And Safety Act
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 108

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am pleased to inform you and the Members of this House, that I have today conveyed the report of the Mine Occupational Health and Safety Board on Bill 5, Mine Health and Safety Act, to the honourable Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Gargan, in his capacity as chairperson of the Standing Committee on Legislation.

Members of this House will know that the Standing Committee on Legislation held hearings on Bill 5 and at the conclusion of those hearings, recommended that I immediately convene the Mine Occupational Health and Safety Board to review Bill 5 and the transcripts of the public hearings. And further, that I provide the standing committee with the report of the Mine Occupational Health and Safety Board by October 10, 1994.

Madam Speaker, on receipt of the standing committee's recommendation, I immediately appointed four new members to the Mine Occupational Health and Safety Board. Those members are Mr. Andrew King, representing workers from the national office of the United Steelworkers of America; Mr. Lance Flewellyn, represent management from Royal Oak Mines; and, two members knowledgeable in mining, Mr. Peter Sangris, a miner resident in Dettah and Mr. Jim Marshall from Strathcona Mineral Services Ltd., Nanisivik Mines. The chairman, pursuant to the provisions of the Mining Safety Act is the chief inspector of mine safety, Mr. Dave Turner.

I am delighted to report that the Mine Occupational Health and Safety Board immediately met, and the resulting report on Bill 5 is unanimous in recommending the bill, with a few minor amendments, which I strongly support.

With your indulgence, Madam Speaker, and honourable Members, I wish to give full credit to Mr. Gargan and the Members of the standing committee and its staff, for the remarkable care and attention they demonstrated in their review of Bill 5. They provided me with wise counsel and this has resulted, I believe, in the fine quality of legislation which will, I hope, shortly come before this House for your consideration. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 16-12(6): Mine Health And Safety Act
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 108

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Baffin Central, Ms. Mike.

Minister's Statement 17-12(6): Community Government Week
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 108

Rebecca Mike Baffin Central

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to inform the Members of this House about a positive initiative the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs has been part of to promote and encourage community government in the north.

Last week was community government week, from September 26th to October 2nd. Each year, the department, in association with the NWT Association of Municipalities and the Association of Municipal Administrators, team up to promote events for this week.

This year, the theme for community government week was developing an enterprising spirit. We selected the theme to highlight and pay special tribute to local organizations, clubs, private entrepreneurs, development corporations who improve the quality of life in their community with innovative solutions to stimulate the local economy.

Madam Speaker, it is extremely important that we continue to endorse community-based activities, new economic ventures, the creation of new community transfer initiatives and foster positive intergovernmental relationships with one another. And one way of doing that is to encourage municipal councils, local groups and organizations to devote one week every year to reflect on the tremendous amount of progress our communities are making in controlling their future.

Communities from east and west participated. To highlight just a few activities:

- Most communities held an open house of their community offices and offered tours of other community facilities;

- In Coppermine, a presentation was made to the school children on the roles and responsibilities of council and 257 people turned out for the open house and tour of facilities.

- Clyde River council had a phone-in show on the local radio station each evening which was so successful a public display of council activities is being planned for the offices.

- Cape Dorset held a variety of activities to familiarize residents and school students on the expanded community responsibilities as a result of this government's community transfer process.

- Iqaluit held radio quizzes about the community and offered donated prizes.

- Igloolik had a community parade, feast and poster contest for children.

- In Aklavik, students and residents attended open houses at the hamlet office and firehall, and rides on the fire truck were highlights for most children.

-Yellowknife sponsored guided tours of all city facilities and worked closely with the local chamber of commerce and the Yellowknife economic development authority.

- School students visited the town's office in Norman Wells and community staff visited students in their classrooms to talk about community government.

Community government week has indeed been a special opportunity to celebrate the achievements of each community government of the Northwest Territories.

In closing, I would like to thank the NWT Association of Municipalities and executive director, Yvette Bungay, and the Association of Municipal Administrators of the NWT representative Joe Kronstal, from the city of Yellowknife, who worked countless hours with the staff from MACA and Education, Culture and Employment to make community government week an outstanding success. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 17-12(6): Community Government Week
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 109

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Nerysoo.

Minister's Statement 18-12(6): Literacy Recognition Awards
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 109

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Madam Speaker, as we know, this is literacy week. The week provides an opportunity to think about the importance of literacy in our day-to-day lives and the role it plays in strengthening our society. The ability to read and write is essential to prepare for a job and is the first step in lifelong learning and education.

Language also plays an important role in maintaining culture. Literacy in our aboriginal languages is critical if we are to maintain our values and traditions and ensure our languages have a valid place within northern society.

The NWT Literacy Council has made great strides in promoting literacy in all our official languages. This year they have embarked on two innovative publishing projects, one in the Dogrib language and one in Inuktitut. Efforts such as these ensure that our aboriginal languages remain vital.

During literacy week, we have an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of individuals whose dedication to literacy makes them role models for their communities.

Each year, we recognize those who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to improving their personal level of literacy or who have worked to promote and foster literacy within their community.

Today, I am pleased to announce this year's recipients of the literacy recognition awards. Five individuals from across the Northwest Territories are being recognized.

First, I wish to honour two women nominated by the Rankin Inlet community learning centre staff, Margaret Kannak and Pat Aklunark. I had the privilege of presenting these awards in person at the recent opening of the new community learning centre in Rankin Inlet.

Margaret Kannak is being recognized for her dedication and perseverance in overcoming extraordinary challenges to complete the Adult Basic Education English curriculum. She is a source of inspiration for others in her community who wish to complete their education.

Pat Aklunark is being recognized for her work as the student coordinator for three highly successful AIDS awareness plays which toured communities in the Keewatin region. She has also made remarkable gains in her personal level of literacy and has encouraged others to pursue their education. Pat is an excellent role model and has demonstrated leadership through her work at the Community Learning Centre.

The Colville Lake School nominated Edward Oudzi for his efforts in continuing the Hareskin language program at the school. Despite being hearing impaired, Edward has successfully maintained the students' interest in learning their dialect. His remarkable courage and caring make him a strong role model in the community of Colville Lake.

Gord McSwain of Yellowknife was nominated by the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre for his exemplary efforts as a student in the adult education program. Gord has greatly improved his reading and writing skills over the past year and has stated that he is looking forward to reading with his new son. He has demonstrated a commitment to improving his level of literacy as well as that of his family. Gord provides an excellent example to his peers, both at the Tree of Peace and in the larger community.

Finally, I am honoured to recognize Edna Elias of Cambridge Bay for her work on behalf of literacy, throughout the Northwest Territories. Edna was nominated by the Northwest Territories Literacy Council, the organization she founded and served as its first president. Edna has demonstrated a commitment to the cause of literacy as both a dedicated learner and a facilitator of other people's learning. As I indicated, these are people who are excellent role models and I want to congratulate them as being this year's recipients for awards. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 18-12(6): Literacy Recognition Awards
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 110

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Kitikmeot, Mr. Ng.

Housing Needs Of Unorganized Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 110

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, there are two unorganized communities in my constituency. They are Umingmaktok with approximately 60 residents and Bathurst Inlet with 22 residents. These unorganized communities have no official recognition under GNWT programs as they have no local council to represent them. Their interests are addressed on an ad hoc basis through the Cambridge Bay regional offices of the GNWT. They receive basic government services. Health services are provided via a lay dispenser through radio contact with the Cambridge Bay Health Centre. Bi-monthly health clinics are held by health personnel from Cambridge Bay and annual visits are carried out by dental and eye teams and by the regional physician. Social workers visit the communities on an annual basis while monthly social assistance requirements are attended to on an automatic basis. Over the past several years, housing needs through the NWT Housing Corporation's alternate housing program have addressed some of the housing requirements for residents of Umingmaktok.

However, Madam Speaker, the residents of Bathurst Inlet have been ignored with respect to housing needs. Most of the five existing housing units are over 25 years old. Two units are old northern rental units written off by the Cambridge Bay Housing Association and shipped to Bathurst Inlet in the late 1980s. Of the units constructed in the community, the most recent was completed in the early 1970s. All of these units are in poor condition requiring major upgrading or replacement to meet current residents' needs.

Madam Speaker, I urge the Minister of the Housing Corporation to extend the availability of this program to residents of Bathurst Inlet in order to address their housing needs. Koana.

---Applause

Housing Needs Of Unorganized Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 110

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Midwifery In The North
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 110

Kenoayoak Pudlat Baffin South

(Translation). Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise today to present to you my Member's statement. I, myself, have come into this world through midwifery practices. I'm probably not the only person who has come into this world like this. I was requested by the Baffin Regional Health Board to bring this to your attention. Midwifery has been a practice of the Inuit communities for a long time. I think it's a known fact that midwifery can be successful in some communities. I think in the other communities in the Keewatin region, midwifery has been practised and also it has been practised in the Northern Quebec communities.

I think we have to plan to have midwifery in other parts of the north such the Baffin Region. Madam Speaker, I think we have to plan ahead for midwifery to take place in other parts of the northern communities. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Midwifery In The North
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 110

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, Mr. Morin.