This is page numbers 1921 to 1954 of the Hansard for the 16th Assembly, 3rd 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 honourable.

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Question 38-16(3) Medical Travel Concerns In Fort Simpson
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Question 39-16(3) Morale Issues In The Government Workforce
Oral Questions

October 24th, 2008

Bob Bromley Weledeh

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources, following up on my Member’s statement today. As I mentioned, I’ve become affected by the disillusionment and disappointment shown by a lot of our young people — our summer employees, our casual employees, our new employees — and they’re lamenting the waste that they see.

I know the Minister made a statement the other day that they’re embarking on a comprehensive human resource strategic plan, which I’m very happy to hear. How is the department going to ensure that all employees have input, specifically these new and potentially long term employees? Given their status as past employees, some of them are not with us. They were temporary, or they’ve become so disillusioned that they’re no longer with us.

Question 39-16(3) Morale Issues In The Government Workforce
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. The honourable Minister of Human Resources, Mr. Bob McLeod.

Question 39-16(3) Morale Issues In The Government Workforce
Oral Questions

Yellowknife South

Bob McLeod Minister of Human Resources

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As a government we are very pleased that we were able to offer summer student employment to 281 summer students. I’m quite surprised to hear it appears the majority were disillusioned, because of the fact that we’ve taken extra steps to ensure that summer students were gainfully employed. We provided orientation opportunities for them, and we worked very closely with all of the departments to make sure that their employment was meaningful and allowed them to gain some skills that they could carry forward.

As well, we do provide the opportunity for exit interviews for summer students, and all of these interviews are compiled into a report that is provided to the government.

Question 39-16(3) Morale Issues In The Government Workforce
Oral Questions

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you for those comments. I am surprised that the Minister is surprised, if he indeed does have access to those exit interviews. I want to be clear that the students and young people and new employees that I talked to are clear in that they’re very happy to have had the opportunity for employment. It is just the disappointment in the workplace — the missing teamwork and so on that I have mentioned.

One of the big ones is the incredible amount of wastage. I mention that again. The ENR, for example, apparently is the only department that has

mandatory double-sided photocopying and so on. What is this plan going to do to ensure that wastage of things like paper, employee potential, energy and so on is explicitly addressed?

Question 39-16(3) Morale Issues In The Government Workforce
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, it doesn’t sound like it’s a summer student issue; it sounds like it’s a government operations issue. Certainly one of the initiatives of our government is to work on making our operations a lot more effective and efficient, including the reduction and elimination of wasteful practices.

Question 39-16(3) Morale Issues In The Government Workforce
Oral Questions

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Once again, these are people that have thoughts and feelings about their employment. It is something we really want to take advantage of and address so we can improve our service to the public. One of the things they mentioned is the opportunity for a GNWT blog, where employees can log on and register their complaints and so on. What is the opportunity for anonymous contributions in order to protect these employees and enable them to make these comments and ensure we get a thorough assessment?

Question 39-16(3) Morale Issues In The Government Workforce
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, the Member referred to the human resource strategic plan that we’re developing, which will be a ten year strategic plan, with our ultimate goal to reaffirm that the GNWT public service is the best place to work in the Northwest Territories. It’s unclear to me what kind of retribution these summer students would be fearful of. We do provide them with an opportunity to respond through exit interviews. As we go through our consultation, if the general feeling is that we should provide a blog, an opportunity for them to respond, we are quite prepared to do so.

Question 39-16(3) Morale Issues In The Government Workforce
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. A short supplementary, Mr. Bromley.

Question 39-16(3) Morale Issues In The Government Workforce
Oral Questions

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate those comments by the Minister. A lot of the issues raised are government-wide issues, and I am hoping that this department and all departments will act to ensure that many of these things are addressed. They are brought up in real terms by our employees and our potential long term employees. I think it is well recognized by the Minister and others that we are not the employer of choice right now. We’d like to regain that status and both attract and retain employees.

So once again I would ask the Minister: is he willing to commit to working with the other departments on these issues, sort of beyond a human resource thing — just good management practices?

Question 39-16(3) Morale Issues In The Government Workforce
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, management of the public service is a shared responsibility with all departments. We do have a deputy ministers’ human resource committee, and we’ll make sure that all of the departments are aware of this.

Question 39-16(3) Morale Issues In The Government Workforce
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Before I go on, Members, I would just like to request your cooperation in the length of questions and supplementary questions. We have less than 20 minutes, and we’ve only had six questions asked. So, Members on both sides, if we can keep our questions and answers a little bit shorter. The honourable Member for Frame Lake, Ms. Bisaro.

Question 40-16(3) Analysis Of Government Reduction Strategy
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Mr. Speaker, I mentioned in my Member’s statement a number of questions that had come from constituents, various residents that had communicated to me their concerns in terms of revenue, budgeting expenses and so on. I would like to ask the questions that I mentioned in my Members’ Statement to the Finance Minister today. The first one is: where is the analysis of the impact of cutting jobs on GNWT finances?

Question 40-16(3) Analysis Of Government Reduction Strategy
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. The honourable Minister of Finance, Mr. Miltenberger.

Question 40-16(3) Analysis Of Government Reduction Strategy
Oral Questions

Thebacha

Michael Miltenberger Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is not clear to me if the Member is talking about government jobs, private sector jobs or just any job in general. We know there is an implication to transfer payments if people leave the North. We know that if there are layoffs in the civil service for whatever reason, there’s a ripple effect in that area as well. There’s been work done over the years in terms of the government — the plan we are taking with reductions both last year and as proposed for this coming year. But we’re very sensitive to the issue of having a negative impact on the private sector, given all that is transpiring as we speak.