This Hansard has not been finalized - this is the "Blues" in Parliamentary speak, or unedited transcript in regular speak.

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This is from the 18th Assembly, 3rd 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 work.

Topics

Question 44-18(3): Caribou Calving Grounds
Oral Questions

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Bathurst caribou herd did decline to about 19,800 caribou in 2015. It was a 96 per cent decline from peak numbers estimated, as the Member pointed out, 472,000. The herd was fairly stable 2009-12, but declined further 2012-2015. A calving photo survey will provide an updated population estimate, and it is planned for June of 2018, and then management will be revisited once a new herd estimate is known.

Question 44-18(3): Caribou Calving Grounds
Oral Questions

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks to the Minister for that. I take it from his response that there is no signs of recovery. GNWT has been leading a range-planning exercise for the Bathurst caribou herd, and I commended the Minister in the House for this work back in March of this year. Can the Minister give us a status report on this range-planning exercise and when we can expect to see a concrete plan and some actions to protect the Bathurst herd and its habitat?

Question 44-18(3): Caribou Calving Grounds
Oral Questions

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I need to commend some of the Aboriginal groups that are taking it upon themselves to preserve the caribou. I think just in the news lately, recently, there was a historic wildlife management agreement signed by seven Indigenous groups in Quebec that wanted to protect the caribou in Ungava Peninsula, and I think that takes a great deal of leadership. So they decided that they would do that on their own. The Porcupine Caribou Management Board also has taken an active role in the protection of the caribou in their area. The Member is right; we will be debating that motion later on today.

The working group met in late September to review a draft of the Bathurst caribou range plan, and the draft plan is based on the best available traditional knowledge and science and makes recommendations for managing disturbance to caribou. The draft plan will be presented to the Minister and Committee-of-Cabinet on economy and environment in November and will go out for public engagement.

Question 44-18(3): Caribou Calving Grounds
Oral Questions

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks to the Minister for that update. It was very helpful. Protection of NWT caribou herds is a complex matter as there are a number of communities that have traditionally harvested herds, most migrate between the NWT and Nunavut, there are different management regimes on each side of the boundary, and very little habitat has any permanent protection. That raises the issue of whether our government has any policy or position on resource development within calving grounds. Can the Minister say whether our government has a position or policy on resource development within caribou calving grounds?

Question 44-18(3): Caribou Calving Grounds
Oral Questions

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Mr. Speaker, GNWT has concerns about potential adverse impacts of projects on the population and habitat of transboundary wildlife species while recognizing the potential benefit of any proposed projects. Calving grounds are widely considered, both from a scientist and traditional knowledge perspective, as the most sensitive habitat for migratory barren-ground caribou herds, and so we do take very seriously and look at very closely any projects that are happening within the calving grounds. As the Member noted, we need to do what we can do to protect those calving grounds. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 44-18(3): Caribou Calving Grounds
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Frame Lake.

Question 44-18(3): Caribou Calving Grounds
Oral Questions

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President, and thanks to the Minister for that. It sort of sounds like we handled this matter on a case-by-case basis. The next case, though, has come up before us. Grays Bay Road and Port Project will cut through the remaining cabin grounds for the Bathurst caribou herd. GNWT did not object in principle to the project, and support a less rigorous review.

A review by a panel under federal legislation would have given us an opportunity to appoint individuals to that panel, would have guaranteed participant funding while still reporting to the same Minister, as a new to impact review board-led review. Can the Minister provide an explanation as to why our government supports a less rigorous review process for the Grays Bay project, where our rights and interests are less likely to be heard? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 44-18(3): Caribou Calving Grounds
Oral Questions

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

The GNWT recommended further review and left the decision to the Nunavut Impact Review Board. We felt that the decision for a northern project would be best handled by the northern. While there is potential for a federal panel that included GNWT reps, under the land claims agreement, the panel members are appointed by the Nunavut minister and federal minister and there would be no guarantee of NWT representation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 44-18(3): Caribou Calving Grounds
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Nahendeh.

Question 45-18(3): Employment Family Assistance Program
Oral Questions

October 20th, 2017

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, when I was back home during our break here, I ran into a number of constituents and they were asking about the Employment and Family Assistance Program, and asking for clarification on how it worked. I tried to explain as best I could, but can I get the Minister to please provide us with a brief explanation of how the program works? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 45-18(3): Employment Family Assistance Program
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Finance.

Question 45-18(3): Employment Family Assistance Program
Oral Questions

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Employment and Family Assistance Program is a confidential, voluntary-based counselling and referral service available to all GNWT employees and their dependents, to assist with a wide range of personal and work-related issues. The Employment and Family Assistance Program offers a wide range of services, including a variety of mental health services, and can be accessed 24 hours a day. The service allows people to discuss personal problems and concerns in an understanding and professional environment, away from the workplace. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 45-18(3): Employment Family Assistance Program
Oral Questions

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

I apologize for not directing my question to the Finance Minister. Thank you for that. Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minister for his answer; however, when I am talking to these people and we're talking about the treatment and that, they've informed me that they have to take sick leave to attend counselling and stuff like that, and this is now an added stress on to people who do not have the sick leave available to them. Can the Minister confirm if this is the process, and if it is, why?

Question 45-18(3): Employment Family Assistance Program
Oral Questions

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

My understanding is sick leave is used specifically for these purposes. That's why they accumulate sick leave that way, if they have to go out for some type of treatment. If they're away for treatment for a medical condition, sick leave can be advanced if no credits are available, up to 15 days and, if needed, employees can also ask for a payout of annual leave, experiencing financial hardship with being on sick leave without pay.

Question 45-18(3): Employment Family Assistance Program
Oral Questions

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

I thank the Minister for that answer. I guess it disappoints me that we as a government, and we're doing some really good things with our programs and providing these treatments and trying to help our staff people, but unfortunately, now you have to take your annual and sick leave to deal with it. That's disappointing. Can the Minister please advise this House how supervisors are educating and training on working with staff who are going through a counselling process?