This is page numbers 6757 – 6826 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 health.

Topics

Question 946-17(5): Business Incentive Policy
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. Final, short supplementary, Mr. Bouchard.

Question 946-17(5): Business Incentive Policy
Oral Questions (Reversion)

October 7th, 2015

Robert Bouchard Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Like I indicated, it seems like we’re trying to find ways to support southern businesses. We need to find, and my question is, how can a company provide 51 percent labour welding services and still not be BIP’d. Why is that BIP being delayed? Thank you.

Question 946-17(5): Business Incentive Policy
Oral Questions (Reversion)

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Thank you. Under the current rules of BIP, it’s being applied fairly by all vendors, and on the current tender, as it hasn’t been awarded yet, I couldn’t speak to that. All I can say is that we are ready, willing and able to continue to work with the manufacturing sector here in the Northwest Territories to ensure that products that can be manufactured here in the Northwest Territories are on the approved list of manufactured products. Thank you.

Question 946-17(5): Business Incentive Policy
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. The Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, Mr. Moses.

Question 947-17(5): Feasibility Study Of Universal Affordable Daycare In The NWT
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I have questions on a report that was tabled in our spring sitting, the feasibility study of the universal affordable daycare in the Northwest Territories. Coincidentally it was tabled on June 4, 2015, which is also the last sitting of our spring session. So, very little debate on it, even though it was something that was highly sought after by committee members as well as residents of the Northwest Territories.

In the report itself there are a lot of recommendations and I’d like to ask the Minister responsible, the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, obviously we can’t go through all the recommendations and he did mention earlier in the week that this report will be addressed by the 18th Assembly. However, one of the things that stood out to me in terms of program funding, the program contribution grant is the major source of public funding paying a regional base per diem according to attendance. However, the amounts have not changed since 2007.

I’d like to ask the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment whether a review will be done in the life of the rest of this government on this program contribution grant and whether or not it will increase, because since 2007 we have had a lot more private and public daycares in the Northwest Territories. I’d like to ask him, will that be reviewed and will an increase be forthcoming before the 18th Assembly? Thank you.

Question 947-17(5): Feasibility Study Of Universal Affordable Daycare In The NWT
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Moses. The Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Lafferty.

Question 947-17(5): Feasibility Study Of Universal Affordable Daycare In The NWT
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. The universal affordable daycare feasibility study that’s been requested by this House has been undertaken and has been tabled in May-June 2015. The Member is correct on that. There is a lot of information as part of the package. It’s a comprehensive review of the analysis of universal child care.

With any changes that are forthcoming, recommendations that have been brought forward, obviously the 18th Assembly government will have to deal with it. We only have another day of session.

This is an area that has been brought to our attention, the cost factor, the ripple effects across the Northwest Territories, whether it comes to infrastructure or the program accessibility and the contribution agreement that the Member is just alluding to. So those are the discussions that will probably be had with the 18th Assembly government once they’re in full force. Mahsi.

Question 947-17(5): Feasibility Study Of Universal Affordable Daycare In The NWT
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you. I did have a series of questions here, but in response to the Minister’s statement, he mentioned that the issue was raised in the tabled document. However, I know Members on this side of the House, prior to us putting the motion forward, have raised concerns and issues on the amounts for this contribution grant to the regional centres on more than one occasion.

Why is he saying now that we can’t do it before this government is done when even before today it’s been raised by Members almost every year? Can the Minister, as he’s still in his role as Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, now see it in a document and make those changes before the 18th Assembly? He still has that option. Thank you.

Question 947-17(5): Feasibility Study Of Universal Affordable Daycare In The NWT
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mahsi. With any changes that we make to contribution agreements, obviously it increases the cost factor as well. So that needs to be seriously taken into consideration. We’ve gone through the capital infrastructure just last week and this week and now we’re at the final stages of our session. Again, the recommendations fall to our attention. They will be laid out for the 18th Assembly government. They will be a full force government for the next four years. They’ll decide what to do if there are going to be any changes to the contribution agreement or moving forward on this affordable universal child care programming. Mahsi.

Question 947-17(5): Feasibility Study Of Universal Affordable Daycare In The NWT
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

I know we always have discussions in this House about the cost of social programs, our high costs within governments and we go and look into our debt, this is a great investment and by all more places to have child care facilities and more people to access them, it’s only going to benefit us. I think the same goes for every dollar invested in child care or early childhood development is a $7 return. I mean why do we have to wait until the 18th Assembly to recognize that? It’s kind of concerning to me.

Another question I had in regard to the report as I’m discussing this is income assistant child care benefit funding. I’d like to ask the Minister whether or not he’ll be looking at aligning the child care benefit payments with the actual costs of daycare and if he can look at trying to do that also as his term of Minister, six weeks left, if he would be looking into putting that forward as aligning the child care benefits with the actual cost of daycare. It would allow more people, especially in social assistance programs, to access daycare so that the single parents can actually go out and possibly find some work. Thank you.

Question 947-17(5): Feasibility Study Of Universal Affordable Daycare In The NWT
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mahsi. I believe in early investment. That’s why we’ve invested tremendously in early childhood development over the years and we’ll continue to do so. When it comes to the child care benefits versus the daycare, the subsidy that we currently provide has been working over a number of years. There’s always room for improvement as well. These are discussions that obviously we need to have with the child care operators, with the organizations that we work with across the Northwest Territories and also interdepartmental. The Income Support Program obviously provides those subsidies and we’ve made some drastic changes since 2007, 2011, 2015 as well. So we’ll continue to make those improvements. Mahsi.

Question 947-17(5): Feasibility Study Of Universal Affordable Daycare In The NWT
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. Final, short supplementary, Mr. Moses.

Question 947-17(5): Feasibility Study Of Universal Affordable Daycare In The NWT
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, the feasibility study was made in 2015 and it addressed the child care benefit. So, even though the improvements were made, it’s still an issue and needs to be dealt with. In a CBC report that was talked about, the study itself had mentioned that about 250 workers need to be trained and hired to address some of the offsets for this study.

I’d like to ask the Minister what steps is he taking to create an early childhood education certificate program and whether or not that certificate program can be put in one of our three Aurora College campuses. Thank you.

Question 947-17(5): Feasibility Study Of Universal Affordable Daycare In The NWT
Oral Questions (Reversion)

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mahsi. The Member alluded to the universal affordable daycare, the feasibility study that we’ve initiated, and obviously some of the obstacles and the challenges in a way where in order to meet the demands of the NWT we need to double the size of our manpower, the resource people that we have. So we’re working with the college to identify those needs in the communities. So the college does provide those opportunities and we’ll continue to push that forward.

Again, we have to work with organizations on what their demands are, what their needs are and provide that information. Now we’re working with the college to make that happen. Mahsi.

Question 947-17(5): Feasibility Study Of Universal Affordable Daycare In The NWT
Oral Questions (Reversion)

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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