This is page numbers 4545 – 4588 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 services.


The House met at 1:31 p.m.



The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Minister’s Statement 72-17(5): NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy And Mineral Development Strategy
Ministers’ Statements

Kam Lake

David Ramsay Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Mr. Speaker, with increased legislative and regulatory authorities, the Government of the Northwest Territories is positioning itself to take a more proactive and direct approach to expanding the territorial economy and to providing long-term and lasting economic growth and opportunities for the people of the NWT.

Last year this government released the Economic Opportunities Strategy and the Mineral Development Strategy. We could not have completed these strategies without our partners in industry, business and community associations, and the federal government. I want to acknowledge the valuable input we received through our engagement with local and Aboriginal governments as well as residents and business owners from across the NWT. I also want to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure for your input and guidance on both of these strategies.

Mr. Speaker, we are aiming to release the implementation plans for both the Economic Opportunities Strategy the Mineral Development Strategy by June 30.

The Economic Opportunities Strategy Implementation Plan will map out the priorities, approaches and resources that the GNWT will be undertaking to address the 117 recommended actions outlined in the strategy, led by Industry, Tourism and Investment. It is focused on four key areas: supporting the territory’s small business community; growing a stable and attractive entrepreneurial environment; pursuing major

investment projects; and attracting, retaining and preparing residents to be active participants in the prosperous and sustainable new economic environment that we are building.

The Mineral Development Strategy Implementation Plan will provide a blueprint to achieve specific goals outlined in the strategy. These include growing a sustainable mining sector, encouraging responsible mineral development and exploration, improving geoscience information and research, enhancing Aboriginal capacity and creating a Mining Incentive Program.

We will continue to collaborate with our partners who helped to develop these strategies, and work together to promote the Northwest Territories as a place to invest, work and live.

Mr. Speaker, a key element of devolution was that this government and this Assembly would gain the tools to shape and direct the economy of this territory for the long term. Capitalizing on our full potential takes the kind of strategic thought and planning reflected in these strategies and implementation plans. I look forward to working with Members to advance both of these strategies and ultimately to achieve our vision of a prosperous territory. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 72-17(5): NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy And Mineral Development Strategy
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Minister's Statement 73-17(5): Our Elders: Our Communities
Ministers’ Statements

Great Slave

Glen Abernethy Minister of Health and Social Services

Mr. Speaker, every day, seniors across the NWT make important contributions to their families, their friends and their communities.

We don’t always give them the credit they deserve, but recognizing June as Seniors Month in the Northwest Territories and June 15th as World Elder

Abuse Awareness Day is one way to show our appreciation to NWT seniors.

Today we are wearing purple boutonnieres to raise awareness about elder abuse and its many forms, financial, emotional and physical. I would like to welcome and recognize members of the NWT Seniors’ Society and the Yellowknife Seniors’ Society present in the gallery today.

Seniors and elders are important keepers of traditions and culture. They are a valued source of wisdom and guidance and are role models and mentors for younger generations.

Elders and seniors should be given the best care possible, and our government is committed to meeting their health care and social needs. Partnerships with seniors’ groups help to ensure seniors receive the support they need.

Mr. Speaker, seniors are the fastest growing population in the NWT. In the past decade the seniors demographic has grown at a rate of more than 5 percent per year.

A goal of the Department of Health and Social Services is to enhance the continuum of care to ensure seniors remain independent and in their own homes and their own communities for as long as possible. We know that providing home and community care services for seniors reduces the demand for long-term and acute care and helps seniors maintain their quality of life. We all benefit when our elders are able to remain active and independent members of community life.

The GNWT already offers a range of programs and services that help seniors live independently, including home care, seniors housing, and the Extended Health Benefits Program for seniors. Home support is already available in every NWT community, and home nursing is available in communities with nursing staff. The department is also working with the NWT Housing Corporation to address independent housing needs in NWT communities.

However, Mr. Speaker, we know that as this segment of the population grows, we will need to change the way we offer services. After an extensive review of continuing care services in the NWT which helped identify needs, best practices and system gaps, we have developed a strategic framework which outlines the broad principles that will guide how we design and deliver programs and services in the future. The framework document Our Elders: Our Communities outlines seven priorities for healthy and active aging. These priorities include: • ensuring that we continue to deliver home and

community care services that meet the needs of elders and communities;

• making sure that services are integrated and


• recognizing that we need to support caregivers; • working with our communities to ensure that

they are responsive to the needs of their elders and seniors;

• providing accessible and current information to

seniors and their families; and

• continuing to explore and implement sustainable

best practices.

Encouraging healthy and active aging promotes independent living and allows elders to contribute their knowledge and wisdom within their community. This benefits everyone.

This approach also supports a sustainable health system by increasing community supports, which reduces the need for acute care services and long-term care beds, and it helps to achieve our vision of ensuring the best health, best care and a better future for our residents.

Mr. Speaker, at the appropriate time, I will be tabling the document Our Elders: Our Communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 73-17(5): Our Elders: Our Communities
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. The honourable Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. Miltenberger.

Minister’s Statement 74-17(5): Update On Water Management
Ministers’ Statements

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, making sure our children inherit a healthy environment that supports traditional lifestyles in a modern economy through the wise use and protection of our natural resources is one of the main goals of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

As you are aware, as of April 1, 2014, ENR took over responsibility for managing water resources in the Mackenzie Valley and inland waters in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region through the administration of the Waters Act and Regulations.

This new legislation gives the Government of the Northwest Territories the authority to make sure water is used in a sustainable manner and is protected and conserved for future generations.

With Rivers to Oceans Day coming up the week of June 9th , it is timely to provide Members with an

update on water management in the NWT.

Mr. Speaker, the principles and vision of the Northwest Territories Water Stewardship Strategy continue to guide our actions post-devolution and ensure conservation of this valuable resource. We continue to build awareness of water stewardship among youth, with activities planned with Grade 3 students on Rivers to Oceans Day.

We are fulfilling our enhanced responsibility for water resource management, guided by the goals of the Water Stewardship Strategy. Through monitoring and assessment, research partnerships and advisory roles, the spirit and intent of the strategy is followed and applied.

There are many important programs and activities we carry out with our increased water management responsibilities. For example, in the fall of 2014 we

will finalize a new Canada-NWT Memorandum of Agreement on Hydrometric Monitoring for the NWT, for continued baseline monitoring of water quantity at key sites across the territory.

We continue to regularly sample water quality in major transboundary rivers as well as through a network of special interest sites.

We are working with NWT communities and other partners to build upon, and support, the NWT-wide Community-Based Water Quality Monitoring Program in the Mackenzie River Basin to help answer community questions about water. Monitoring results have been shared with involved communities and other water partners through regional meetings, workshops and the 2014 water calendar.

A booklet outlining monitoring results for 2012 is now available. Results for 2013 will be communicated in upcoming months.

In late October 2013, following the Obed Mountain Coal Mine spill near Hinton, Alberta, ENR worked with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to quickly mobilize and get water sampling equipment in place to address residents’ concerns about downstream waters in the NWT. ENR provided sampling equipment and gave ongoing updates about the spill to the public. Spring sampling is now underway and results of the monitoring will be released later this spring.

I am happy to report we expect there will be little or no impact on NWT waters.

ENR recently supported the Town of Hay River’s emergency measures office during breakup of the Hay River by producing daily breakup reports for the director of protective services and testing an ice jam flood risk model developed by the University of Alberta.

The ENR network of climate monitoring and snow survey sites across the NWT provides valuable information to a broad range of clients and researchers.

Mr. Speaker, we will be relying on the continued support and involvement of Aboriginal governments and other partners as we build capacity and undertake northern-focused research with a greater emphasis on the biological aspect of water monitoring.

ENR continues to support NWT communities in developing source water protection plans. ENR developed a community source water protection guidance document that has been distributed to NWT communities and water partners.

Collaborative partnerships are being established between ENR, other GNWT departments, Aboriginal groups, environmental non-government organizations, community representatives, federal

government departments and academic institutions in efforts to establish community-based monitoring initiatives related to source water protection.

Significant progress has been made on negotiations of bilateral water management agreements with Alberta and British Columbia. An intentions document is being developed for each to serve as a basis for the NWT to negotiate final bilateral agreements. Aboriginal consultation and public engagement regarding negotiations of these agreements are ongoing. We continue to pursue transboundary water management agreements with Saskatchewan and the Yukon.

Along with the regulatory responsibilities of reviewing water licence applications, providing technical advice to NWT regulatory boards and inspecting and enforcing water licences, ENR is now responsible for approving Type A water licences. Since April 1, we have approved two amended Type A water licences, CanTung and Con Mine, in a thorough and timely manner

Mr. Speaker, ENR is stepping up and successfully meeting the challenges of our new water management responsibilities post-devolution.

We remain committed to our vision of keeping the water of the NWT clean, abundant and productive for all time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 74-17(5): Update On Water Management
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Miltenberger. The honourable Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Mr. Ramsay.

Minister’s Statement 75-17(5): Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations
Ministers’ Statements

Kam Lake

David Ramsay Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Mr. Speaker, I rise before the House today to inform you that Cabinet has agreed to begin developing regulations under the NWT Oil and Gas Operations Act that will set out filing requirements for projects involving hydraulic fracturing.

The Northwest Territories has significant natural resource potential that could help create prosperity, jobs and economic opportunities for Northerners and the whole country. Devolution has given the Government of the Northwest Territories new powers to manage resource development. We are committed to using those new powers to ensure that the development of Northwest Territories petroleum resources proceeds in a responsible, sustainable way that creates prosperity for our residents, while protecting the environment and human health and safety.

As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, the GNWT mirrored the federal legislation that was in place prior to April 1, 2014. Our government assumed responsibilities for an already well-developed environmental protection and regulatory system as part of devolution. It is the same system that has overseen the development of diamond mining and

other projects in the Northwest Territories. That system already allows hydraulic fracturing under guidelines established by the National Energy Board prior to devolution.

Our strategy was to devolve and then evolve. Developing a made-in-the-North regulatory system that promotes responsible, sustainable management of our natural resources and protection of the land and environment is an ongoing process. That work is aimed at refining the current system to better reflect northern priorities and values. Developing regulations for hydraulic fracturing filing requirements is part of that process.

This is an important issue and we are putting together a plan for how we will proceed. We will not develop regulations without consulting Members, the public, Aboriginal governments, industry, NGOs and other stakeholders. Any regulations we do develop will be based on current science, recognized best practices and will consider all the views presented during consultations.

The GNWT has been working on this issue since early 2012 and has already undertaken research into environmental best practices used by industry and regulators in other jurisdictions. Standing committee has been involved in this process and I want to recognize their contributions. We will benefit from the significant work that the GNWT has already done and will also draw heavily from the good work that the National Energy Board had done in developing its hydraulic fracturing filing requirements. This will be an opportunity to strengthen those requirements and ensure they align with northern priorities and values.

Mr. Speaker, it is also important to remember that decision-making around resource development, including hydraulic fracturing, is shared among several Ministers at both the federal and territorial level and boards established under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. Proponents must also have a land use permit and a water licence, issued by regulators other than the regulator for oil and gas operations. These decisions are guided by an established legislative and policy framework that includes the MVRMA, territorial legislation, the Land Use and Sustainability Framework, Sustainable Development Policy, Water Strategy, Economic Opportunities Strategy and commitments under settled claims.

New hydraulic fracturing regulations would complement the integrated, already well-developed environmental protection and regulatory systems in the Northwest Territories. They would apply to any hydraulic fracturing projects in the NWT, in both the Mackenzie Valley, regulated by the NWT oil and gas regulator, and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, regulated by the National Energy Board. New regulations would provide clarity to decision-

makers, industry and the public around filing requirements, ensuring proponents understood NWT expectations before they prepared their applications.

Mr. Speaker, the Canol shale holds an estimated two to three billion barrels of oil which, if developed, would create prosperity for the residents of the Sahtu and provide for royalties to the GNWT that could support investment in NWT priorities. We are all aware of the proposed hydraulic fracturing activities in the Canol shale and the often heated and polarized debate around the use of hydraulic fracturing as a technique to extract petroleum from certain kinds of rock formations.

Our government is committed to protecting the health of our people and environment and creating prosperity for our residents by responsibly and sustainably developing our natural resource potential. We will continue to work with the people of the NWT, industry, the Sahtu, Aboriginal governments and Members to identify and adopt best practices on hydraulic fracturing that will allow us to balance our commitment to protecting the environment with efforts to create prosperity for NWT residents. We will provide more details on how we will proceed with the development of regulations and the timelines for consultation in late June. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 75-17(5): Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Hay River Electrical Inspector Position
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a little story I want to tell today and it ends with a question. What are we supposed to tell them?

For many, many years, Hay River has had an electrical inspector who works under the Department of Public Works and Services. Most of you will know that that was Stanley Norn. Stanley Norn recently retired, and congratulations to him on his retirement.

Now, the job was out for competition and candidates applied. This is a position that we have to fight to keep in Hay River. If a candidate who applies for the job lives in a different community, they can’t then just say, can you move that position to my community so I can stay home and do the job?

Mr. Speaker, we not only have to fight for decentralization to get new positions into our communities but it looks like we have to fight to keep the ones we’ve already got and have had for

many, many years. It’s not just a political decision. It comes down to issues like where are the majority of the electrical permit applications made? Where are the majority of electrical contractors? Where is the majority of the work that this electrical inspector would be doing? Where is it located? If it’s located in Hay River, the job has to be kept in Hay River.

So, Mr. Bouchard and I have both received communication from several electrical contractors in Hay River who are extremely concerned that they will not have ready access to an electrical inspector to process their applications when they need to pull a permit to do work in Hay River.

So, in response to that, we need to get some answers on what’s happening here. If we can apply for government jobs in a different location and then say can you just move the job to where I live, then I think everybody in Hay River should apply for a job with the government in Yellowknife, and when they are the successful candidate, they can just ask the staff, can we just stay in Hay River and do that job that’s actually a job in Yellowknife?

I think that we owe these folks in Hay River some answers. I don’t know if decisions have been made, but I had to bring it up here publicly today. We have not named any name of the candidates or potential candidates or where they live, but it’s a pressing issue for us as MLAs for Hay River.

Later today I will have a question for the Minister of Public Works and Services: What do we tell our concerned citizens about the position of the electrical inspector for Hay River? Thank you.

Hay River Electrical Inspector Position
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. The honourable Member for Range Lake, Mr. Dolynny.

St. Patrick High School Scuba/marine Biology Class 2013-2014
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we witnessed earlier today in the Great Hall with the education presentations, we have many great teachers throughout the Northwest Territories. There are those in our education system that are here to teach and those who serve to inspire their students to great heights.

Keeping on this theme, I’d like to dedicate my Member’s statement today to a group of inspiring Yellowknife teachers at St. Pat’s High School for going above and beyond what is expected as an educator.

Of course, I’m referring to the special St. Pat’s Scuba/Marine Biology 2013-2014 Club Administration Team comprising of Mr. Brent Simmons who is a PADI rescue diver, Mr. Todd Stewart, who is a PADI advanced open water diver and the driving force behind the program, Ms.

Michelle Thoms, the main course and scuba instructor.

The St. Pat’s Scuba/Marine Biology Class is a club that was started in 2000. During the past eight years, the club has taken five trips to British Columbia and as of this past May, three trips to Cozumel, Mexico.

The club’s main objective is to educate youth about marine environment, using safe and environmentally friendly techniques, the completion of a scuba certification and collection of data from a marine biology project.

Students receive credits for the marine biology course, learn First Aid and CPR and graduate with a PADI diver certification, which is also a high school credit course.

The students worked very hard at fundraising leading up to this trip and must maintain school-based academic and attendance requirements. Like any adventurous activity, there are always potential risks; however, I can assure you that these teachers supervised all the training, all PADI guidelines and provided a safe diving experience for their students.

I have great faith in our education system, knowing that we have teachers like Mr. Simmons, Mr. Stewart and Ms. Thoms going that extra mile to inspire our youth in lifelong learning.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Members of the Legislative Assembly, join me in appreciation for their efforts. Mahsi.

St. Patrick High School Scuba/marine Biology Class 2013-2014
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Dolynny. Member for Hay River North, Mr. Bouchard.