Thank you, Mr. Speaker and good morning. Mr. Speaker, today I will provide Members with information on the development tools the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs has prepared to help communities become empowered.
Mr. Speaker, since community empowerment is community driven, communities set the pace and decide when they want to pursue greater opportunities. Our job, Mr. Speaker, is to facilitate the empowerment process by providing the tools, training and support. Mr. Speaker, community development is not an overnight process. We expect to be in this business for some time, as communities move from one level to another along the continuum of empowerment.
The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and other government staff are working together on a number of community development approaches that will provide support. My department has held workshops, developed resource materials and provided training to empowerment resource people in the communities. A community-based planning workshop was held last summer to train regional government staff in community-based planning and assessment. These training sessions were not just for MACA staff, they involved staff from all departments who work in communities and will assist in the community-based planning process.
A Training Information Fair was also held to streamline government training resources and strengthen training support networks. A Training Resource Catalogue for communities was compiled which lists all the government training resources available to elected officials, boards and agencies, community staff, government staff and the public. Copies of the Training Resource Catalogue were sent to community empowerment resource staff for further distribution to communities. Members of this Assembly also received a copy. Staff are also working to co-ordinate information on training from other sources and through programs like the Nunavut Unified Human Resource Development Strategy.
Late last year, community empowerment orientation workshops were held in all regions. These regional workshops increased awareness of community empowerment, developed a consistent approach to community development activities, and developed government staff to fulfil their role as regional resources to communities. Regional staff are now beginning their travels to communities to carry the message and have the necessary discussions at the local level.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that departments have formed interdepartmental teams at the regional level to plan information sessions for each community. MACA is co-ordinating these efforts and a greater understanding of the Community Empowerment Initiative is growing.
Recently, I provided all Members with copies of our newest resource kit called, "Stepping Forward: Putting Vision Into Action". This resource kit will assist northern communities in determining how to take increased responsibility for programs and services to better meet local needs. Skill development workshops are planned for community resource people. These workshops will develop local skills and confidence so communities can begin the visionary planning process. For those communities with identified training needs, training opportunities are available. Training is a shared responsibility between the individuals who will receive it, the communities who want and support it and this government who has available resources.
Our government departments continue to offer over 130 training opportunities to elected officials, boards and agencies, community staff, territorial government staff and the public. Regional interdepartmental teams are working in partnership with communities, to determine where training gaps exist and to focus training efforts to fill those gaps.
We recognise that communities are at different levels of readiness and ability. Several communities have already taken over certain areas of control from the territorial government. Many others have expressed keen interest but want more information on the initiative before forging ahead. Communities have many questions for empowerment resource people. I welcome their questions, suggestions and input.
Mr. Speaker, community empowerment starts and ends with people in our communities. It is our responsibility to help people take on more responsibility by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, training and support so they can empower themselves. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.