This is page numbers 4075 – 4134 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 going.

Topics

The House met at 1:31 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. Before we get start today, I’d like to wish R.C. McLeod a happy birthday today.

---Applause

Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Health and Social Services, Mr. Abernethy.

Minister’s Statement 49-17(5): Electronic Medical Records
Ministers’ Statements

Great Slave

Glen Abernethy Minister of Health and Social Services

Mr. Speaker, we are transforming the way we use technology to deliver health care to our residents. People all over the world use secure, accessible technology for banking or to connect with their friends and family. Now we can use it to improve access to health services and provide better care to our residents.

We are moving from paper records to digital charts to create electronic medical records, often referred to as an EMR. This is an electronic version of a paper chart that contains a patient’s medical history and primary care information. It will be implemented over the next several years and will be used territory-wide.

Paper records in clinics and community health centres present many challenges to our health care providers, such as not having access to their patient’s important medical information to provide safe and effective treatment. This is especially true if the patient has moved from community to community.

Electronic medical records will improve patient care and safety. Information is typed, making it much easier to read than handwritten paper charts. This helps to reduce misinterpretation of clinical information such as medication and dosage.

Mr. Speaker, the new electronic system will better protect patient information. Unlike in a paper file, health care providers only have access to the types of information they need to treat the patient.

Rigorous quality assurance processes are in place to protect patient confidentiality, including password protection and a daily audit function. The EMR has other uses. It can provide reminders, for example flagging for a doctor or nurse when a patient needs a critical test to manage a chronic disease, and it can allow a team of health care workers to provide appropriate care. This will reduce duplicate lab tests and reduce the risk of allergy or drug interactions.

Dr. Ewan Affleck of the Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority has been a champion of electronic medical records, and was recently awarded the Order of Canada for his commitment to improving health care services in northern communities.

---Applause

He calls the EMR “a patient-centred charting tool that will promote the quality of care of each resident of the Northwest Territories.”

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the main estimates includes more than $2 million to put in place the foundation that will allow us to roll out the EMR, including bringing more health and social services authorities into the government’s shared technology service centre. We will provide better and safer patient care by supporting a team of authorized health care providers at different locations to care for the patient and increase the security of medical information.

The EMR roll out will continue in the coming fiscal year with implementation in the Hay River, Stanton, Fort Smith and Sahtu health and social services authorities. The following year the remaining sites will be implemented, including Beaufort-Delta, Dehcho and Tlicho.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased with the progress in moving this important initiative forward, and I encourage all Members and residents to visit the website betterhealthtogether.ca to learn more about the advantages of moving to a digital system. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 49-17(5): Electronic Medical Records
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Condolences On The Passing Of Nahendeh Resident Sarah Hardisty
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise this afternoon to commemorate the life and work of the late Sarah Hardisty, a well-respected Aboriginal elder and respected artist of Jean Marie River.

On a special note, she created the band of porcupine quill work that adorns our own territorial Mace.

Sarah Hardisty was born in Jean Marie River in July 1924 when the community was little more than a summer gathering place. Her family lived a traditional life, spending summers in Jean Marie and winters at Fish Lake. Although Sarah recalls many hardships, she fondly recalled a much simpler time and lifestyle.

Sarah married William Hardisty in 1941 and they had 12 children, four of whom have since passed on. When her husband passed away in 1961, she was left to raise eight children. With no formal education or social assistance, she drew strength from her faith, her community and had sheer determination to provide for her family.

Like many Dene women of her generation, Sarah began sewing when she was nine. She could prepare and tan a moosehide by the time she was 12. Sarah’s income was from selling moccasins and other traditional clothing she handmade. She quickly gained a reputation of being one of the best sewers in the region with porcupine quill work being her expertise.

Sarah was a testament to the traditional Dene woman. She touched many lives and inspired many women with her humour, soft-spoken words and wisdom while she was working with them.

Sarah taught workshops and sewing classes at the Jean Marie River school. She loved to travel and demonstrate her quill work in New Mexico, Washington and Arizona.

During the 1970s Sarah belonged to the Jean Marie River Native Arts Group that exhibited their traditional arts in places as far away as Toronto. Among her proudest achievements was making a traditional Dene outfit for the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa in 1988 and stitching a porcupine quill territorial crest out of moosehide that was presented to Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Visit in 1994.

Sarah received various awards over the years and most recently the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medallion presented at a ceremony in Jean Marie River last year in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Aboriginal arts and culture.

In a sad turn of events, Sarah passed away February 9th . She is survived by her children,

numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, countless relatives and friends who cherished her hard work and a place she continues to hold in each of our lives.

On behalf of her family who call her “Ama,” she will be greatly missed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Condolences On The Passing Of Nahendeh Resident Sarah Hardisty
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. The honourable Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Public Service Human Resource Issues
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to talk about an issue that we, as MLAs, hear about on a very regular basis, and that is sometimes there are issues in our public service.

Mr. Speaker, we have a very large public service for a jurisdiction this size. We heard questions in this House last week about the Safe Disclosure Act and how if employees have problems in the workplace, they can use this as a vehicle to express concern. However, we also heard from the Minister that not one issue has ever been raised through this vehicle.

The Department of Human Resources has been before us in Committee of the Whole and they have shared with us the evolving revolving door, so to speak, on the issue of staffing levels and staffing needs. The Union of Northern Workers, who represents most of our public service, does have a role to play in bringing certain types of concerns, but my concern is that there are divisions, activities, secretariats, different compartments of people within activities of the government where, through changes, whether it’s consolidation or decentralization, shared services is a perfect example where certain activities like procurement and finance are being consolidated under one roof.

There are all these things going on and some of our departments are large. We know that Ministers cannot delve into personnel issues and ultimately, I would suspect that it is the deputy minister who is responsible for ensuring staffing levels are what they should be and everything is working well in every shop and every office in every institution of our government.

I think that’s a very, very tall order. I think we need – this is my idea, I have an idea for you – some form of an agency, a person, a team or something that can go in, that have the people skills and knowledge of human resources, and hear what some of those issues are and report back to the head of that department and tell them what their recommendations are.

I don’t know if that person or team would be out of the Department of Human Resources, if it would be

out of the program review office we’ve heard about, but I believe there is a need in our government to assess this. I think there are some troubled areas from time to time, as there would be in an organization of 5,500 public servants, and I’m not saying this as a slight against anybody, but I think there are often needs that need to be assessed and we need some troubleshooting in this area.

I will have questions later today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Public Service Human Resource Issues
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Member for Hay River North, Mr. Bouchard.

Hay River Winter Celebration And Recreational Events
Members’ Statements

Robert Bouchard Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s the beginning of March, March Madness. This weekend I was able to go back home and partake in several of the events. Kamba Carnival, our big annual spring carnival, took place with lots of dog races, pancake breakfasts, talent shows and many other different types of games.

The weekend also involved a novice hockey tournament and the third leg of the Hay River snowmobile races that have been going on the circuit.

I would like to thank all those volunteers who helped out in this busy weekend in Hay River. This is a very valuable thing to Hay River, this type of activity. We would like to thank all of those people that travelled in on the winter roads, from northern Alberta and from all over the country to attend many of these events.

March Madness includes next weekend. Polar Pond Hockey will be out on the 10 rinks on the river, in the outdoors. They were busy this weekend putting the rinks together, flooding the ice and getting ready for the big hockey games next weekend. There are still a few spots open. If you have a four-person team, sign up as soon as you can.

March Madness will continue on March 15th to the

23rd . Many of our young athletes will be going to

Fairbanks, Alaska, for the Arctic Winter Games, and some of us will be joining them, and hopefully they bring back a whole bunch of gold ulus and a whole bunch of ulus period.

Obviously, the last weekend in Hay River we have an event that’s called the Ptub Races and cross-country skiers will be out there competing. So, we look forward to the March Madness. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Hay River Winter Celebration And Recreational Events
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bouchard. Member for Range Lake, Mr. Dolynny.

Financial Incentives And Student Achievement
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last November when the tabled report on Education Renewal and Innovation Framework was originally discussed, the most alarming statistic for me was our truancy rates in the Northwest Territories. This statistical failure, coupled with our students’ low test scores and literacy rates were echoed by many in this room.

The truancy statistic that I couldn’t shake was that by Grade 4 the average NWT student has already missed half a year of school, or two full years by Grade 10. I mean, how do you begin to tackle the biggest elephant in this territory?

My search for answers did not come up with much success in Canada; in fact, even broadening my search yielded very little in terms of tangible solutions, other than more theories. However, I did stumble by chance on an economic paper by one Roland Fryer that talked about what economists were learning about Pay-4-Performance with students. In fact, this was a bona fide 40,000 student study in 261 schools in Greater Washington, DC, New York, Chicago and Dallas area where researchers gave $6.3 million in rewards to schools.

What did these policy-makers, economists and researchers discover in these controlled experiments? For one, incentives for output did not increase achievement. That is, the study showed paying students directly to get higher test scores failed to yield results. However, paying students to read books yielded a large and statistical increase in reading comprehension.

Second, and speaking to our NWT truancy rates, they found students improved their test scores when they were focused on improving the input to achievements such as attendance and behaviour.

Yes, I know, it’s always a bit risky to lean too much in any one study, even though this case study was controlled and randomized. So is there an application for the NWT to learn from? Seriously, if this controlled study concluded that by paying students to read books, come to school daily, sit in class and without causing a ruckus and other so-called input, all this showed a higher yield on test scores, then what is the risk in the NWT to repeat the parameters of this study?

This is the only gold standard study that tested assumptions of financial incentives for student achievement, to my knowledge, yet this has had policy-makers south of the border at least pause and consider such options. Even the Auditor General of Canada reminds us that change starts with the right framework which is measured by the right investment.

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

---Unanimous consent granted

Financial Incentives And Student Achievement
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Again, I bring today a study that is thus far singular in design, yet I know the policy climate in the NWT is in dire need of change. So if writing cheques or giving out iTunes cards will improve NWT student attendance and behaviour, then I for one welcome that at least we investigate this option. Thank you.

Financial Incentives And Student Achievement
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Dolynny. The Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Alberta Energy Regulator
Members’ Statements

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Recently the Premier announced that the Alberta Energy Regulator has been chosen to provide expert advice to our new oil and gas regulator, noting, “This model was arrived at by careful review and consideration of several possible models.” I would very much like to see the report that Cabinet considered on this.

Since then, I have received many expressions of dismay from the public at the intent to use the Alberta regulator; with some saying they felt sick to their stomach at this choice. They provide me with a little review and consideration of their own.

Here are some highlights from the report they provided me released last July, assessing Alberta’s regulation and monitoring of oil and gas activity. Lead author Dr. Timoney says, “Examination of the records in the Alberta Government’s Environmental Monitoring System demonstrates a legacy of over 9,000 environmental instances from 1996 to 2012, while environmental legislation remained virtually unenforced. Over 4,000 of the incidents were violations of Alberta’s environmental laws and regulations,” and incidentally, records for the previous 29 years were completely missing.

Minister Ramsay said he took some issue over my concern about the Alberta regulator, and that “they have the technical and professional expertise,” from Hansard. In fact, the report revealed that Alberta has a dismal enforcement rate of 0.9 percent, 17 times lower than the U.S. With that expert advice, we will enforce our own rules in less than one of 100 violations.

Here are a few more conclusions in the report to be tabled later today. “A recurrent feature of the incidents it that the volume, duration and chemical composition of the releases in the air, and spills, leaks and discharges to land or water are unspecified or unknown. This lack of basic data limits the ability to understand the industrial impacts and represents a significant deficiency in government and industrial monitoring,” and, “The contraventions were chronic and repetitive and

indicated little progress towards better management practices.” Finally, “Industrial self-reporting as the foundation of the environmental record, both on the part of Alberta government and the Alberta Energy Regulator, fails the test of openness and transparency that are essential to good governance.”

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

---Unanimous consent granted