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.

Topics

Question 528-17(5): Mental Health Act
Oral Questions

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

I have been having very similar conversations with constituents and front-line professionals myself, and there is no question that the current Mental Health Act is outdated, is not meeting the needs of our people, but it is the act that we have in place so we have to continue to be vigilant with the act we have and individuals have to keep coming forward and identifying individuals who are in need and reporting them to the RCMP and/or the health authorities as appropriate.

The bottom line is that the act doesn’t meet the needs of the people and we have to change the act so that we can actually start to make improvements for the residents of the Northwest Territories who are suffering from mental health or mental illness. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 528-17(5): Mental Health Act
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

In dealing with one specific family, in fact it is not just about one family, many families struggle with the same problem, which is the justice system recognizes that people with mental illness, this really shouldn’t be the first stop, but unfortunately it is one of the processes that just happens to happen. In cases – and this is the only example that I will give – where the family is helpless because the justice system says that unless they do something to themselves or others, they can’t do anything. The Department of Health sits there and says unless they do something to themselves or others, they can’t do anything. So everyone is struggling. I am asking the Minister what can be done, because these families are feeling exceptionally struggled.

My third question here, to really get to the bottom line on this one, is: What can be done for these families to help them, because the update of the new act, which I welcome and they welcome, may take maybe two, maybe three years before it is fully implemented, although I know hard work is going on behind the scenes. Thank you.

Question 528-17(5): Mental Health Act
Oral Questions

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, I’ve had a lot of conversations with our director of territorial services as well as social workers on this particular

issue. We know there are significant limitations in the legislation itself and we have to make those changes. I actually anticipate that the legislation is going to take less than two to three years to be rolled out. We are hoping to have legislation available in this government, in this Assembly, but it likely will be in the next Assembly. But we are moving on it because it’s that important.

As far as dealing with the individuals, we are continuing to make social services available. We are continuing to talk to Stanton, as an example, to encourage them to take individuals when front-line people call them. But there are some significant limitations to the legislation and we all have to continue to work together to find ways to be creative, to assist these people until such time as we bring in that new legislation. Thank you.

Question 528-17(5): Mental Health Act
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. Final, short supplementary, Mr. Hawkins.

Question 528-17(5): Mental Health Act
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Often families tell me the difference between voluntary and involuntary commitment to these programs causes great fear and anxiety, but they continue to struggle with this. I’ll simply just describe it as they feel like they’re treading water in an ocean all by themselves and no one is in sight to help them and they worry.

The Minister says creative. Any ideas on how we can be creative on this problem? He knows some of the examples. We don’t have the time to go through them all here today. I’m looking for ideas to inspire hope. When these families call me, I have to be able to give them some answer that we’re doing something, and saying the act is being worked on, although it helps, it just doesn’t make them feel warm inside in the sense that they can see it in their lifetime.

So can the Minister give us some examples of how we can be creative and make sure that we’re helping those loved ones that really struggle and when they face these challenges they’re not alone?

Question 528-17(5): Mental Health Act
Oral Questions

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you. I hear the Member and I agree with the Member, but we are still limited by the existing act. We have to be careful on what we do because we may be in a position where we breach the legislation, which we don’t want to do. We have to change the legislation. The changes are coming. I’m looking forward to working with the Member and all the rest of the Members to improve this legislation.

In the meantime, one of the things that we’re trying to do, as a government and as a department, is break down some of the stigma that exists around mental health and mental illness and provide people with the tools that they need. So they can encourage people to talk to the people who can provide services and can help, whether it’s

counsellors or doctors or psychiatrists and psychologists.

We need to continue to break down that stigma and we’re trying to do a number of things, including public awareness, education to help people understand and break down that stigma. Thank you.

Question 528-17(5): Mental Health Act
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. Time for oral questions has expired. Item 8 written questions. Mr. Hawkins.

Question 528-17(5): Mental Health Act
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to return to item 5 on the agenda, recognition of visitors in the gallery.

---Unanimous consent granted

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery (Reversion)
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery (Reversion)

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you. It gives me great pleasure to recognize a couple of the elders here who have done fantastic work here in Yellowknife, and I believe one, if not both of them, is leaving very shortly. I’d like to recognize Elder Ames, and I know he’s leaving here either today or tomorrow, and Elder Anderson, who’s come to Yellowknife to provide service, missionary work to the people of Yellowknife, and the work they do incredibly helps people. I want to thank them dearly for their contribution to our society. Thank you very much.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery (Reversion)
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery (Reversion)

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. Item 8 written questions. Mr. Dolynny.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery (Reversion)
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery (Reversion)

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to return to item 7 on the Order Paper, oral questions. Thank you.

---Unanimous consent granted

Question 529-17(5): WSCC Safe Advantage Program
Oral Questions (Reversion)

November 5th, 2014

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, colleagues. A key component in evaluating our Ledge Safety Policy is the Safe Advantage program administered by WSCC. The GNWT is no different than any other organization or company in the Northwest Territories. That is it must abide by the same rules and laws. On October 27, 2014, I spoke about this government lacking a safety culture. So I’d like to pick up where I left off to the Minister of Human Resources for some follow-up questions.

As we are aware, this government in the last couple of years faced some very stiff fines in failing a WSCC Safe Advantage evaluation. These fines and double fines exceeded well over $750,000 to which the taxpayers have to pick up the tab.

Sadly, the GNWT appears to have failed once again a questionnaire portion of the WSCC Safe Advantage program.

Can the Minister confirm this failing grade and inform the House what will be our fine this time for the taxpayers? Thank you.

Question 529-17(5): WSCC Safe Advantage Program
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Dolynny. Minister Beaulieu.

Question 529-17(5): WSCC Safe Advantage Program
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. The Member has better intel than me. I have been advised by the department that a questionnaire submitted for October 31st has not received a score

from the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission at this time. The 2013-14 claims, if there was any penalty calculated in that questionnaire, we will be advised by Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission in June 2015. Thank you.

Question 529-17(5): WSCC Safe Advantage Program
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you. Clearly, WSCC fines and the court fines all point to a lack of proper occupational health and safety programs. We clearly demonstrate a pattern of failure to provide a culture of safety for employees.

Can the Minister again inform the House how many safety officer positions do we have on payroll for our 5,000 employee base? Thank you.