This is page numbers 6849 - 6882 of the Hansard for the 16th 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 safety.

Topics

Question 170-16(6): GNWT Workplace Health And Safety Performance
Oral Questions

Yellowknife South

Bob McLeod Minister of Human Resources

In the Safe Advantage program there are three categories that one can fall under. One is where your performance is so good that you get a refund. The second category is where you are middle of the pack, so you have a neutral assessment. Third is if you’re in the category where over a three-year period you’re exceeding the average of $40,000, that you pay a penalty. So we’re in the third category where we have paid a penalty of approximately $243,000.

Question 170-16(6): GNWT Workplace Health And Safety Performance
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Final supplementary, Mr. Bromley.

Question 170-16(6): GNWT Workplace Health And Safety Performance
Oral Questions

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Of course, I didn’t ask for those categories. It’s obvious, as we’ve heard, that we’re paying the biggest fine, so we’re clearly in the worst category. I asked for rates, statistics, and I’m hoping the Minister will provide those to us. Examples of good safety practices are available at most mines and industrial workplaces. Safety is usually right in your face. Even when I attended a meeting at the Explorer Hotel, we started with safety protocols simply identifying where the fire exits are and other important facts. So I know these workplaces have vibrant health and safety committees up and running. Closer to home I’m disappointed to have to ask if the Legislative Assembly even have a health and safety committee in place.

Question 170-16(6): GNWT Workplace Health And Safety Performance
Oral Questions

Yellowknife South

Bob McLeod Minister of Human Resources

Whenever we attend meetings with the mining companies and mining industry, we always start off with a safety first meeting. That’s been expanded to oil and gas companies. I’m sure as part of with the opening prayer we can also start with a safety first commitment. I think that as we go forward, I really believe that as a government we’re going to have to move in that direction. Safety is going to have to be first and foremost on everybody’s minds.

As far as statistics, we have lots of statistics and I can give the Member the top three events that are causing the significant amount of claims. The first is

falls; 21 percent of our claims are due to falls. Thirteen percent are due to overexertion. Nine percent are due to bending, climbing, crawling, reaching, twisting. Those are the main reasons for the high number of claims in this government.

Question 170-16(6): GNWT Workplace Health And Safety Performance
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Member for Frame Lake, Ms. Bisaro.

Question 171-16(6): Programs To Address Distracted Driving
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are addressed to the Minister of Transportation. I’d like to ask some questions of him with regard to programs that the department runs relative to distracted driving. It’s well known that distracted driving dangers are out there and that they’re really quite valid.

Early in 2011 the Minister made a statement or comment that the Drive Alive program would have different facets to it. In February, I believe, I made a statement about distracted driving and I asked the Minister about the Leave the Phone Alone pledge campaign, which he had indicated was going to be part of the Drive Alive program. At that time he gave me no information as to activities that the department had done with regard to the Leave the Phone Alone pledge campaign. So I’d like to ask the Minister, from February of this year to now -- we’re almost at the end of August of this year -- what sorts of things has the department done with regard to the Leave the Phone Alone pledge campaign.

Question 171-16(6): Programs To Address Distracted Driving
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. The honourable Minister responsible for Transportation, Mr. Michael McLeod.

Question 171-16(6): Programs To Address Distracted Driving
Oral Questions

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Member is correct; we had indicated that we would take on a number of initiatives to encourage people to leave their phone alone while they’re driving. It’s our goal to reduce the number of collisions in the Northwest Territories attributed to driver distraction. We have a number of objectives that we’ve set, and that is to have a large percentage of people acknowledging that distracted driving, driving with a phone or other electronic devices can cause harm, and that’s something they shouldn’t do.

We have also an objective to reduce the traffic collisions, by a small percentage, increasing every year. We also want to increase the use of seatbelts. We’ll do this by providing a number of messages. We’ve already started. We’ve sent out information to every house in the Northwest Territories. We will be taking out ads. We’re working with the Students Against Drunk Driving, with their public campaign. We’ll be providing them with some funding to do

some work on our behalf, or on behalf of this initiative. We’ll be providing public announcements.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done. Some of it is already ongoing and some of it will be coming forward.

Question 171-16(6): Programs To Address Distracted Driving
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

All the objectives of the department are certainly laudable. I certainly support them. In all of the words in the Minister’s response, I really heard very little reference to the Leave the Phone Alone pledge campaign. In March of this year, again the Minister made a statement on the Year of Road Safety. He mentioned the pledge campaign as one of the initiatives. Again there was no real detail to it. To this day -- I checked the website before I came down today -- there is no mention on the department’s website, there is no mention in any communications plan, that I can find for the department, of the Leave the Phone Alone pledge campaign. It leaves me to wonder how important this campaign is to the department. I’d like to ask the Minister if he could explain that.

Question 171-16(6): Programs To Address Distracted Driving
Oral Questions

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

The campaign is very important to the department or we wouldn’t be doing it. There are a number of strategies and tactics that we have committed to provide. We need to get the information out into the public. Some of it we’ve already started. I certainly can provide a detailed information package to the Member.

We are, as I indicated, providing information to each community in the Northwest Territories. We have a window sticker campaign that is ongoing right now. We have news releases that are being developed on the new distracted driving law when and after the legislation takes effect. We have plans for public service announcements on CBC’s Northbeat. On CKLB we’re taking out ads and in the newspaper, to promote awareness about the new law. We have a social media campaign using Facebook ads. We have a brochure that’s going to be distributed. We’re providing, as I said earlier, money to Students Against Drunk Driving so that they can do public service announcements. We’re also going to involve the Students Against Drunk Driving in most of our public campaigns on distracted driving. We have, and are creating, a public service announcement for CBC TV website and radio. We have the French language version for radio also. We’re providing funding for school media studies and for professional assistance. We’re working with the enforcement people, the municipal people, the RCMP, and we want to start an advertising blitz in advance of back to school. There are a lot of things we’re doing, and certainly we can provide that in further detail to the Member if she’d like that.

Question 171-16(6): Programs To Address Distracted Driving
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thanks to the Minister for that somewhat exhaustive list of things. It’s unfortunate that most of the verbs that he used are future tense. I’m really quite disappointed that between January

2011 and the end of August 2011 it seems as though there’s very little that the department has done to promote this Leave the Phone Alone pledge campaign. I really feel that this is an absolutely wonderful opportunity to force people, to train people not to use their cell phones while driving. If they have a sticker on their vehicle which says they’ve pledged, they’re quite likely to think three or four times before they pick up the cell phone while they’re in the car.

I’d like to know from the Minister if he could tell me whether or not they will do such things as publicize the Leave the Phone Alone pledge campaign on their website, and if specifically the Leave the Phone Alone pledge campaign is going to be front and centre of their public activities.

Question 171-16(6): Programs To Address Distracted Driving
Oral Questions

August 22nd, 2011

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

The answer is yes and yes and yes. I understand the Member’s sense of urgency wanting to have this advertised and documented. We have the plans to do so. We had wanted to have the legislation passed first, prior to getting this out in the public. We have started, and I’m sure the Member will be happy to see, further information being provided.

Question 171-16(6): Programs To Address Distracted Driving
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Final supplementary, Ms. Bisaro.

Question 171-16(6): Programs To Address Distracted Driving
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Speaker. Thanks to the Minister. Yes, I will be happy to see it when I can see it. I guess I would like to ask the Minister: can he give me a date when I can go to the website and see a Leave the Phone Alone pledge access site? Thank you.

Question 171-16(6): Programs To Address Distracted Driving
Oral Questions

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

We ask the Member to be patient. We will have the information ready as soon as we have confirmation and we know that all the legislation is in place. We will be stepping up our initiatives through the public for information on their legislation, and that information will also be on the website as soon as possible. Thank you.