This is page numbers 6517 – 6558 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 need.

Topics

Question 896-17(5): GNWT Fiscal Responsibility Policy
Oral Questions

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

This is a consensus government that we operate in. There are mandate letters given to each Minister by the Premier. We work closely with committees. We have reviews of business plans. Of course, we are, in effect, a minority government and we serve at the pleasure of the Legislative Assembly. We have numerous checks and balances in terms of making sure that ministerial accountability is upheld.

Question 896-17(5): GNWT Fiscal Responsibility Policy
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights
Oral Questions

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

I think we would all agree that grandparents play a very important role in the lives of their grandchildren. In a follow-up to my Member’s statement, I have questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services.

In situations that I’m aware of – and I raise this concern on behalf of some grandmothers in Hay River

– when they are denied access or visitation or

are considered a priority for custody of their grandchildren,

they

not

only

deprive

the

grandparents but they deprive the grandchildren of a very important influence in their lives.

I’d like to ask the Minister, what is the status of NWT grandparents’ rights in terms of visitation and caregiving in the Northwest Territories at this time?

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. The Minister of Health, Mr. Abernethy.

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights
Oral Questions

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, I need some clarity before I can actually answer that question. Is the Member talking about through divorce proceedings or custody proceedings, or is the Member talking about through child and family services?

If the Member is talking about services through child and family services where a child may be apprehended or placed in different custody, the grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, brothers, sisters and other persons qualify as extended family, and under child and family services we work with

the

extended

families,

including

the

grandparents, and where appropriate we can use the fostering process to actually have grandparents foster children.

Under child and family services we absolutely respect the role of extended families, including grandparents, and we work with those families to ensure that they have access to children and we support those visitations and/or placements as appropriate.

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights
Oral Questions

September 30th, 2015

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

I’m also wondering: in

the case where the parents of those grandchildren are obstructing the rights of the grandparents to visit or to be granted custody of those grandchildren in a situation where they’re taken into care, what do we have in legislation that precludes that from happening, where a mother or a father of children would obstruct grandparents from being able to have access to and visitation rights and custodial rights when necessary? What do we have to address that?

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights
Oral Questions

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

I can only really answer the question in the context of child and family services. If we’re talking about a divorce situation or a situation out of child and family services, you might be better positioned to ask the

Minister of Justice that particular question as he is responsible for courts and those procedures.

Within child and family services, the social workers work with the families and we try to ensure that families are involved, families are engaged in the processes of supporting children. As the Member knows, we are moving forward with Building Stronger Families, which focuses on the family unit and trying to provide supports to families so that they can raise their children in a healthy, loving environment with the supports that they need, and those

extend

to

extended

families

where

appropriate.

But with respect to court proceedings or divorces, I am unable to answer that question. You may want to ask the Minister of Justice.

MRS.

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights
Oral Questions

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

I

recited

other

jurisdictions

in Canada today in my Member’s

statement

that

actually

expressly

recognize

grandparents and clearly give them opportunities to pursue their rights.

Will the Department of Health and Social Services look at that new and emerging legislation in other jurisdictions and consider amendments to the Children’s Law Act to formally recognize grandparents in territorial family law?

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights
Oral Questions

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

If I remember correctly, the legislation that the Member is referring to is specific to family law, which is specific around divorces and custody issues that are going through the courts and not necessarily child protection. Within child protection we have provided significant rights and responsibilities for extended families that include grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters. Once again, I will certainly take the information the Member is presenting and have the Minister of Justice take a look at it.

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. Final, short supplementary, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights
Oral Questions

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Of course, I recognize that we’re nearing the end of our terms here and this is not something that’s going to happen in this Assembly and the 17th Assembly, but if the Minister could commit to working with the Minister of Justice even in the remaining days here to at least begin the research and interjurisdictional research into what is happening in other jurisdictions in Canada, perhaps we could then get a fresh start in the 18th Assembly

in looking at implementing that so that our legislation is keeping up with other places in Canada with respect to grandparents.

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights
Oral Questions

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

I’ll commit to meeting

with the Member after the sitting today to get the specific details. We, as the Department of Health and Social Services, I, as the Minister, have committed to the families and working with families, and I recognize that family law and divorce is a

responsibility of the Department of Justice and I am sure that our two departments can work together to find a solution that the Member is referring to.

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. The time for oral questions has expired. Item 8, written questions. Item 9, returns to written questions. Item 10, replies to opening address. Item 11, petitions. Mr. Blake.

Petition 6-17(5): Support For Call For Proposals For New Distributor For Fuel, Gas And Oil Products In Aklavik
Petitions

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I mentioned earlier today, I have a petition here signed by the people of Aklavik.

We the undersigned citizens, homeowners, hunters and

trappers,

community

governments

and

recreational vehicle users are concerned about the high cost of heating fuel and gasoline, hereby support a call for proposals for a new distributor of fuel and gas and oil products in Aklavik. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Petition 6-17(5): Support For Call For Proposals For New Distributor For Fuel, Gas And Oil Products In Aklavik
Petitions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Blake. Item 12, reports of standing and special committees. Mr. Dolynny.