This is page numbers 5221 – 5256 of the Hansard for the 17th Assembly, 5th 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 development.


The House met at 1:29 p.m.



The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. Colleagues, before we start today, one of the respected elders of my home community has passed.

Mrs. Ida Sarah Rueben was born in Aklavik, Northwest Territories, on March 20, 1945, to parents Johnny and Ruth Kayotuk.

Her parents raised her along with siblings Moses, Leland, Eva Kayotuk and sister Lena Paul.

Ida attended school in Aklavik in 1955. She then left to attend school in Inuvik at Stringer Hall, where she met many of her friends.

Ida met and married Marcus Martin Rueben, son of Angik and Sadie Rueben, on May 4, 1960. They raised 10 children together in Paulatuk. Ida dedicated her life as a homemaker for the well-being of her family.

Ida enjoyed travelling out on the land with her husband, Marcus. They hunted in the spring, summer and fall, then prepared food for the year while out on the land.

Mrs. Rueben was a caring and loving wife, mother, auntie, sister, sister-in-law, friend and nanuk. She was a soft and kind-hearted person and everyone knew her as Nan. Her kindness and thoughtfulness will be missed by everyone she knew.

Rest peacefully. You will be forever loved and missed dearly. To Marcus and family, our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Mr. Ramsay.

Minister's Statement 121-17(5): Excellence In The NWT Business Community
Ministers’ Statements

Kam Lake

David Ramsay Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Mr. Speaker, NWT businesses keep our economy strong, employ local residents and supply us with goods and services.

Several NWT businesses have been recognized for their success lately and I would like to take this time to highlight some of them.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment partnered with the Inuvik Chamber of Commerce to host the Small Business Awards last month. I would like to congratulate Beaufort Beauty, Inukshuk Catering and the owners of Alestine’s and Cloud 9 restaurants, who all received awards. These businesses continue to provide excellent products and services to their community.

The Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce recently hosted its Business Awards Gala and recognized 10 local businesses. Congratulations to Just Fitness, KBL Environmental Ltd., Corother’s Home Hardware, Denendeh Investments, the Edge YK, Gaia Integrative Clinic, Williams Engineering, SSI Micro, Hovat Construction and Erasmus Apparel for their well-deserved wins.

The Business Development and Investment Corporation held an awards ceremony on October 27th . I was very pleased to be joined by Premier

Bob McLeod at the awards ceremony to present petroleum retailer DL Services of Inuvik with the Outstanding Business Performance Award for 2013 and Deh Cho Suites in Fort Simpson the Outstanding Business Performance Award for 2014.

We are fortunate to have many more businesses and individuals in the North that demonstrate true entrepreneurial spirit.

One entrepreneur I would like to acknowledge is Mr. Eddy Paul, CEO of NEXTreme Incorporated. Mr. Paul just received the Advanced Technology Award from the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia. Mr. Paul, whose business is located in the thriving industrial community of Kam Lake, is making significant efforts to promote and advance steel manufacturing technology in the NWT, and we are very proud of his accomplishments in this industry. In fact, NEXTreme Steel Specialists was just added to the listing of approved northern manufactured products for steel plate girder bridges and bridge and span components.

A local tour company, Yellowknife Outdoor Adventures, also received recognition from the popular travel website Trip Advisor. After

consistently receiving positive traveller reviews, the company was awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Mr. Speaker, leading-edge corporations based in this territory are negotiating multi-million dollar contracts with governments and resource developers. Local entrepreneurs are providing products and services for their communities, and northern and Aboriginal owned and operated businesses are dramatically changing the economic landscape of the NWT.

Through the NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy and Implementation Plan, we aim to create the conditions and competitive business environment in which we can advance and grow businesses and economic opportunities across our territory. We will continue to work with local businesses and entrepreneurs to strengthen and diversify our economy, a priority of this government.

Mr. Speaker, today in the Northwest Territories, many entrepreneurs are thriving. They are bright, energetic and vibrant, and are willing to take risks, innovate and work hard. They are a critical part of our territory’s successful economy, and I extend my thanks and congratulations to them today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 121-17(5): Excellence In The NWT Business Community
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. The honourable Minister of Housing, Mr. McLeod.

Minister's Statement 122-17(5): 2014 NWT Community Survey – Housing Results
Ministers’ Statements

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Mr. Speaker, later today I will be tabling information that provides a summary of housing results from the 2014 NWT Community Survey.

The NWT Community Survey is a household survey conducted by the NWT Bureau of Statistics every five years. While there is a variety of important information from the survey, most important to the NWT Housing Corporation is the measure of core housing need.

Core housing need tells us how many NWT households are having housing problems like affordability, overcrowding, or poor housing quality and not enough income to address these issues.

Mr. Speaker, results from the 2014 NWT Community Survey indicate that while overall core housing need has remained relatively stable compared to 2009, there has been considerable progress in improving housing conditions in smaller NWT communities. Core housing need has dropped by 24 percent in our non-market communities between 2009 and 2014, with 20 out of the 28 communities having improved housing conditions.

The NWT Housing Corporation has invested considerable resources over the past several years to improve the quality of their assets and to support homeowners in making the necessary repairs to their homes. The value of these investments is reflected in these results.

However, Mr. Speaker, while these results show progress in our non-market communities, the core housing need in most smaller NWT communities continues to be higher than in larger communities.

The majority of this core need is for homeowners, and the NWT Housing Corporation will continue to work with these residents in partnership as they complete the required repairs for their houses.

Among the market communities, the core housing need improved slightly in most communities. The exception is Yellowknife, where core housing need increased from 9.1 percent to 17.8 percent of households between 2009 and 2014. The majority of the core housing need in Yellowknife is for residents in private market rentals that are experiencing affordability problems.

Mr. Speaker, the housing results from the 2014 NWT Community Survey indicate that progress is being made but there is more work to be done. The 17th Legislative Assembly made addressing

housing needs a priority. The NWT Housing Corporation will be examining the housing results from this survey in detail and the strategic priorities outlined in its strategic plan to determine potential actions to continue addressing the identified trends.

Mr. Speaker, I would again like to thank Members for their advice and support as the NWT Housing Corporation has introduced considerable changes over the past few years, and I look forward to continuing to work with them as we work towards the goal of all NWT residents having access to affordable, adequate and suitable housing. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 122-17(5): 2014 NWT Community Survey – Housing Results
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister of Education, Mr. Lafferty.

Minister's Statement 123-17(5): Early Development Instrument Results
Ministers’ Statements

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share the Northwest Territories three-year baseline results of the Early Development Instrument referred to as the EDI results. The EDI is a population-level tool that measures children’s ability to meet age-appropriate developmental expectations at school entry.

The EDI measures five areas of a child’s development, including their physical health and well-being, their language and cognitive development, their communication skills and general knowledge, their social competence and the child’s emotional maturity.

Mr. Speaker, the EDI focuses on the outcomes for five-year-old kindergarten children that, in the long term, affect their lifelong learning, health and overall well-being. It lets us measure whether children are coming to school rested, fed and ready to learn. It tells us if they are able to follow directions, to get along with classmates and to tell a story about their day.

The EDI results are telling us that 38 percent of all five-year-old children in the NWT are vulnerable in at least one area of their development as compared to 25 percent in the rest of Canada. In small communities as many as 50 percent of all five-year-olds are vulnerable in one area of their development.

We should be concerned about these statistics, Mr. Speaker, because long-term studies have shown that children who are vulnerable in only one area are more likely to struggle in later grades.

These same studies show that when kindergarten children are vulnerable in two or more areas of their development, their chances of struggling in school increase even more.

Mr. Speaker, right now 23 percent of all five-year-old children in the NWT are vulnerable in at least two areas of their development as compared to 12 percent in the rest of Canada. When we look at small communities separately, 37 percent of children are vulnerable in two areas of their development.

Over the past three years, the EDI has shown that 8 percent of all five-year-old NWT children are challenged in three or more areas of their development. Unaddressed, that could mean lifelong learning challenges for these children. So with all the other EDI stats, this is even worse in small communities, where 16 percent of all five-year-olds have been identified as having multiple challenges.

Mr. Speaker, this data demands that we act now. GNWT departments have started with the Right from the Start: Early Childhood Development Framework and Action Plan, but it cannot end there if we are to significantly impact the lives and futures of children in the NWT.

Mr. Speaker, we should not tolerate the status quo in terms of child development, and to change the status quo means changing the way we do business. It means trying new things. In some cases it means shaking up our current system. It means working together, all of us, rather than working separately.

Mr. Speaker, I truly believe that with the combined efforts of all Members of this Assembly we can collectively make a positive difference in the lives of our families, our children and the people we serve. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 123-17(5): Early Development Instrument Results
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. The honourable Minister of Health and Social Services, Mr. Abernethy.

Minister's Statement 124-17(5): Improving Our System
Ministers’ Statements

Great Slave

Glen Abernethy Minister of Health and Social Services

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to improving the health and social services system in the Northwest Territories. Over the last year I have travelled to every region of the NWT to consult with residents, communities, Aboriginal governments and staff in the regional authorities. Everywhere I go I have heard from people that they don’t care about bureaucratic boundaries and regional silos. They just want the best possible care for themselves and their loved ones. They want to be sure that we can afford to provide excellent care into the future.

Based on what we’ve heard from the people, and guided by experts in our system and the valuable insights of my colleagues in this House, the Department of Health and Social Services and the eight health and social services authorities have developed a proposed model for an integrated health and social services system. I have kept Members of the Standing Committee on Social Programs informed as the proposal has evolved and have received positive feedback and support from committee for this approach. We have also partnered on the development of a system-wide strategic plan that will help us to achieve our vision of best health, best care, for a better future.

Mr. Speaker, the proposed model addresses a major gap that exists in our system today. Right now communities and regions do not have a voice at the territorial level, and we want to change that. Our proposal is to move to one territorial health and social services authority with one territorial board of management, but regional advisory wellness councils will continue to provide advice on local and regional program delivery. By having the chairs of the regional wellness councils sit as members of the NWT Health and Social Services Leadership Council, we will ensure that community concerns and knowledge are brought forward and that every region of the NWT gains a voice in the design and delivery of territorial programs and services.

There is widespread concern about the health of NWT residents and particular concern about addictions, early childhood development and chronic diseases such as diabetes. We need to remove barriers for our system to work better and meet the needs of our residents. We have heard repeatedly that the key to success for our proposal is to ensure a meaningful role for communities and regions and to balance regional priorities with the need for clinical standards and improved access to service.

The proposed new system structure, vision, mission and goals were made available for public feedback in August of this year. The amount of interest from NWT residents was so strong that we extended the deadline for responses to October 31st , to ensure

that we heard from as many people as possible. During that time, 360 online surveys were completed and we heard from many residents during public discussions. The public feedback indicates overwhelming support for the proposed model and strategic plan. We have more work to do, but we have heard that we are on the right track.

Work is underway to move this initiative forward. I plan to introduce amendments to the Hospital Insurance and Health and Social Services Administration Act in the winter session. Based on the results of our consultation, the department will lead the development of the organizational design for the integrated system, with a goal of implementation in early 2016.

Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time the Government of the Northwest Territories has tried to advance structural improvements to the system, but it is the first time that the proposal is being met with a generally positive response. That speaks to the different approach we have taken this time around.

From the beginning I have insisted that our focus be on improving patient care and service to clients. In every region and community that I have visited, I’ve heard personal stories of frustration from people who have encountered barriers in our system. We can, and we must, do better.

We have also engaged Aboriginal governments and community leadership in a dialogue, rather than presenting a final model from the outset. We are committed to working in a government-to-government partnership with Aboriginal governments in the spirit of respect, recognition and responsibility, and we value their input into this process and their support for the changes we are proposing.

Finally, I have said from the beginning, and I reiterate today, that we are not talking about centralization. We do not propose to eliminate any positions, and we do not intend to move positions out of regions or communities. We have great people working throughout our system, and we need to keep them where they can make the biggest difference for our residents: on the front lines in our communities.

There is no reason that senior staff need to be in one location. This new structure will create exciting opportunities for the talented people within our system to assume leadership roles, working in virtual teams across the territory.

Mr. Speaker, I am really excited about the potential to transform the system. There are so many benefits we can realize from moving towards operating as one system. We can ensure consistent standards of service for all of our residents. We can deploy resources, both financial and professional, more easily to areas of greatest need. We can move patients and clients seamlessly through the system without delays or duplication. We can ensure that resources are used to optimum advantage by eliminating duplication and overlap. I am grateful for the ongoing support from Regular Members for this initiative.

This is an exciting and challenging time for the NWT health and social services system, and we are rising to that challenge. Working in partnership, we will provide the highest quality of care and services, we will encourage our people to make healthy choices to keep individuals, families and communities healthy and strong, and we will achieve our vision of best health, best care, for a better future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 124-17(5): Improving Our System
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Apprenticeship Awards
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This week is Skilled Trade and Technology Week in the Northwest Territories. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness about skilled trades and high-tech careers. In fact, this year marks the 50th anniversary of apprenticeship training and certification in the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, in the coming years the entire country will face a shortage of skilled workers. We’re witnessing a major transition to the so-called knowledge economy that relies on a well-trained and highly educated workforce to deliver value-added services.

Here in the Northwest Territories, new mining projects are projected and devolution will attract new investment. The economic outlook released by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment predicts that by the year 2020 our workforce will increase by more than 2,000 jobs.

Mr. Speaker, segments of our population are undereducated and under-skilled and just plain unprepared for these new job opportunities. If these young people don’t have the necessary skills, they won’t be employable. So it’s vital that we support our homegrown talent and young people.

With this in mind, I’d like to congratulate the top 10 achieving apprentices from Hay River, and they are having a ceremony today at the Education, Culture

and Employment office in Hay River which, unfortunately, my colleague and I are unable to attend but wanted to congratulate them from us today. • Austin Larocque, an automotive service

technician working for De Beers Canada;

• Cameron Sapp, a heavy equipment technician

within the GNWT’s Department of Transportation;

• David Nolan, a carpenter working for Arctic

Canada Construction;

• John Dahl, an electrician apprenticing for

Zapped Electric;

• John Pidhirniak, a plumber and gasfitter working

with Taylor and Company,

• Daniel Richards, power line technician with

Northland Utilities NWT Limited;

• Michael Young, a gasfitter working for Stittco

Energy Limited;

• Michael Giesbrecht, a welder with Concept

Energy Services; and

• Tristan Campbell, an industrial mechanic and

millwright working with the Diavik Diamond Mines.

So, Mr. Speaker, later today I’ll have questions for the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment on what our government is going to do to have more young people in the trades and receiving the kind of training that they need, and I’ll be also bringing into that the fact that Hay River has a beautiful trades shop. Maybe we need a centre of excellence for trades training for our young high school students.

I’d just again like the House to join me in congratulating these accomplished young people in their success to date. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Apprenticeship Awards
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Member for Frame Lake, Ms. Bisaro.

United Way NWT
Members’ Statements

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Twelve years ago a small group of people came together in Yellowknife to create a new branch of the United Way, or Centreaide. They were inspired by the good work the United Way does in other parts of Canada and they wanted to see this same good work happen here in the North, and so United Way Yellowknife was born.

The promise of the United Way came to fruition thanks to generous donors, and tens of thousands of dollars was invested in community projects. In 2012 the United Way Yellowknife board decided to extend its reach to the whole territory and it became United Way NWT.

Staff of the Government of the Northwest Territories right now are in the midst of an annual United Way fundraising campaign. GNWT employees are being invited to sign up to donate to the United Way through payroll deductions.

Mr. Speaker, I donate this way and it’s an easy way to give. Staff’s donations are recorded on their T4 for easy tax return preparation, and donors can designate their donations to specific registered charities or to the general fund of the United Way NWT.

The funding priorities for the United Way NWT are focused on healthy people, healthy communities, helping kids be all they can be, and moving people from poverty to possibility. Last year the United Way NWT gave over $50,000 to 16 different projects impacting residents territory-wide.

Here’s a couple of projects: funding from the United Way enabled the Foster Family Coalition to purchase two new propane stoves for their summer camp, Camp Connections, an outdoor camp for children who receive social services. Many of the children from across the NWT have said being able to go to camp is a highlight not only for the summer but for their whole year.

United Way NWT also supports the NWT Breast Health/Breast Cancer Action Group. This group of volunteers provides ongoing support for breast cancer survivors by offering them creative opportunities to connect and express themselves. Funding from the United Way NWT paid for facilitators to present two breast cancer survivor workshops earlier this year.

These projects are just two of 16 projects that were funded last year. Many of these projects wouldn’t happen at all without the United Way NWT. Right now United Way NWT is working to sign up new donors via payroll deduction campaigns in their work places. The goal of the current United Way NWT campaign is to raise $65,000 to give away for community projects in 2015.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

United Way NWT
Members’ Statements

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

I’m proud to say that I have been a long-time United Way donor and it’s good to see that the Premier, also a committed donor, is the honourary campaign chair. Others in this House are also United Way donors, and good on you, I say. If you are not a United Way donor, I challenge you to start, and start this year. Get the form, sign up for payroll deductions. It’s easily done. Ask me, I will fill it in for you. You will be donating to your constituents and to your communities, and as the slogan says, change starts here. Thank you.