This is page numbers 2867 – 2894 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 2nd 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.


Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Mr. Beaulieu, Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Green, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Robert McLeod, Mr. McNeely, Hon. Alfred Moses, Mr. Nadli, Mr. Nakimayak, Mr. O'Reilly, Hon. Wally Schumann, Hon. Louis Sebert, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Testart, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Vanthuyne

The House met at 1:30 p.m.


The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Deputy Premier.

Robert C. McLeod

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, since 2013, September 30th has been marked as Orange Shirt Day, a day for all Canadians to remember the survivors of the residential school system. Organizers chose an orange shirt as the symbol for that day based on a story told by Phyllis Jack Webstad, a survivor of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, B.C. In her story, Ms. Webstad tells of having a shiny, new orange shirt her grandmother had given to her being taken away on her first day at residential school.

We remember residential school survivors and their families on all days but especially on September 30th because it was around this time of year that children were taken from their homes to residential schools. It is also a time when schools have the opportunity to implement their inclusive, anti-bullying practices and policies for the coming year, setting the stage for education and learning about the impacts of residential schools that continue to echo today. Mr. Speaker, we are living in a new world where the need for reconciliation with Indigenous people is receiving more attention than ever before. We welcome this attention in the Northwest Territories, where approximately half of our population is Aboriginal, many of whom are survivors of residential schools.

Our government has been proud to lead the way in forging new relationships with Indigenous people and has made dealing with the legacy of residential schools a priority, including introducing a mandatory residential schools curriculum in 2012. We also remain committed to implementing the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mr. Speaker, Orange Shirt Day is a reminder of the often troubled relationship between Indigenous people and the wider Canadian society, including governments, churches and schools. Repairing those relationships in a territory where many of us, including myself, have had experience with residential schools, will be critical to creating strong, healthy and inclusive communities.

Orange Shirt Day took place on Saturday, Mr. Speaker. As we did not sit on that day, Members are proud to be wearing orange in the Chamber today out of respect for the survivors of residential schools and as a symbol of our commitment to reconciliation.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Lands.

Louis Sebert

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, our government recognized the importance of moving toward a stable and reliable recreational land use regime when we committed in our mandate to completing the Recreational Leasing Management Framework and a plan for the Yellowknife periphery area. The first part of our commitment, to develop the framework, is now complete. The Recreational Leasing Management Framework was tabled in March, and on June 1st, I outlined the work needed to create a plan for recreational leasing in the areas around Yellowknife. The Department of Lands is now reviewing approaches for implementing the action items referenced under the framework.

To advance the second portion of our commitment, the Department of Lands is completing section 35 consultation with Indigenous governments and organizations on a draft Yellowknife Periphery Area recreation management plan. The plan will provide the direction and guidance that the Government of the Northwest Territories needs in order to administer the lands outside and around Yellowknife, N’dilo, and Detah. Fundamental to this work is making sure that Aboriginal and treaty rights are considered, that we have provided accommodations where appropriate, and that we take the time to do meaningful consultation. We anticipate being able to release a draft Yellowknife periphery area plan for public review early in 2018, once our consultations are completed.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all those involved and the public for their continued cooperation and support on these initiatives. Our department truly values the input we have received. It helps us ensure that the interests of Northerners are being heard as we work together to shape the direction of public land management in the Northwest Territories. Mr. Speaker, in my second paragraph, I misspoke. I should have said “in June”, not “June 1”. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers’ Statements. Minister for NWT Housing Corporation.

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to provide you with a report on the Government of the Northwest Territories’ progress on meeting its mandate commitments related to housing. Under the priority of cost of living of the 18th Legislative Assembly, this government is committed to continuing to implement northern solutions for northern housing. Addressing homelessness is part of this commitment.

One of the related actions is our support for the Housing First project in Yellowknife. An agreement was signed with the Yellowknife Women’s Society to fund this project in the amount of $450,000 over three years. This project also has the City of Yellowknife and the federal government as partners. This program has helped move 10 people, both men and women, out of homelessness, and we anticipate that many more will benefit from this project in the coming years.

Construction is also near completion on the building that forms the Yellowknife Women’s Society shelter. This project will see the creation of eight new semi-independent units within the building. It is expected that these units will be available for occupancy in November. We are also working with the Salvation Army in Yellowknife to add seven single-room suites in the Bailey House. These units will share a communal kitchen, common room, and washrooms. In smaller communities tenders have closed for the creation of eight independent single room occupancy units to address homelessness under the Northern Pathways to Housing program: four in Behchoko, and four in Fort Simpson. These units will be available this December.

This House has also heard me commit to ensuring that there are homelessness supports in all of our regions. Planning to alleviate homelessness in Fort Good Hope is underway and a housing unit there has already been donated to the Yamoga Housing Society for the purposes of this project. Finally, a comprehensive review of homelessness programming will be completed in the coming months, which will provide important information on how we can do things better and help more people.

Mr. Speaker, boarded up units in our communities are not only unsafe; they occupy valuable land that could be used for other housing projects. I committed that 100 units would be disposed of over a two-year period. I can report that in 2016-2017, 61 units were disposed of; 30 units were demolished and 31 units were sold. There are plans to dispose of 56 units this year.

Supporting responsible utility consumption also contributes to northern housing solutions. To this end, the transformation of the Public Housing utility structure continues. Specifically, electricity subsidies have been revised over the past two years so that tenants have more responsibility over their usage. Information on ways to conserve electricity will be made available at all local housing organizations, and distributed to all public housing tenants.

Supporting the housing aspirations of Indigenous governments is also part of the solution in addressing our urgent housing needs. A partnership with the K’atlodeeche First Nation has led to federal leases being obtained for lots on the Hay River Reserve that will facilitate the delivery of social housing on the reserve. Another example of an Indigenous government partnership is the sale of surplus units to the K’asho Got’ine Government in Fort Good Hope, which will be used by the community to support their housing aspirations.

Having timely and responsive housing services in our communities is important to ensure that programming is effective and meets the needs of our residents. In terms of community-based property management, three new local housing organizations have been established, in Whati, Gameti, and Fort Liard respectively. Management and administrative offices are open and maintenance staffing is underway for the new local housing organizations. Engagement with these communities is occurring for the establishment of local housing organization boards and to ensure they have complete membership. In Wekweeti and Colville Lake, the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has been partnering with government service cfficers to provide local administrative support. Local maintenance services are used to maintain and repair units whenever possible. These developments are helping to build and maintain local capacity with regards to public housing in all these communities.

Effective partnerships is key to leveraging our scarce resources. I have worked with our territorial partners in Nunavut and the Yukon to ensure that the federal government understands that we are different in the North. I, myself have engaged directly with my ministerial federal counterparts on a number of occasions, educating them about our northern context, and explaining what support would be useful as well as what we are bringing to the table. In the end, our needs speak for themselves. I will be holding the federal government accountable to assist in addressing that reality.

Another partnership involves ensuring that there is appropriate and consistent housing for community policing. We now have a formal arrangement with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that will ensure that availability of housing is not a barrier to recruiting Royal Canadian Mounted Police members to our communities. These units, which are designed to the specifications of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, will be a mix of duplex and single-family designed homes as specified in a memorandum of agreement.

Mr. Speaker, the Legislative Assembly knows the importance of supporting our elders to remain in their home communities. Health outcomes are improved when our communities remain intact. To help with this, a Seniors aging in place repair and retrofit program has been introduced this year. This program provides assistance of up to $10,000 annually to help seniors with upgrades and energy-efficient retrofits that will complement our existing repair and maintenance assistance programs.

Good communication with our seniors is critical to ensuring our programs meet their needs and inform them how to participate in our housing programs. Targeted communications campaigns directed at seniors have been successful in increasing the uptake of homeownership programming, especially to the preventative home maintenance program. Three seniors’ independent housing nine-plexes have been built in Aklavik, Fort Liard, and Whati. Similar complexes in Fort Good Hope and Fort McPherson are slated for completion by March 2018 and September 2018, respectively. These complexes provide a safe, secure home for elders, allow for healthy programming in common areas, and have on-site property management. All of these programs and initiatives are helping seniors to remain independent and in their communities for as long as possible.

Finally, developing northern solutions for northern housing should not be done without consulting those that know best: the users of the housing programs, our residents. A comprehensive housing engagement survey was undertaken earlier this year. Nearly 1,500 surveys were completed, or approximately one out of every 10 households in the Northwest Territories, which represents a very successful engagement with people and communities. This valuable input is being used to guide strategic housing renewal, including the redesign and development of housing programs and services to provide a greater future with adequate, affordable, and suitable housing for all residents of the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud of what has been accomplished on housing halfway through our term. Although the work is not complete and there are many challenges ahead, I commit to supporting and directing the development of programs and policies that align with the mandate of this Legislative Assembly. I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Members of the Legislative Assembly, Ministers and other orders of government, and stakeholders to advance northern solutions for northern housing. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Infrastructure.

Wally Schumann

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories is nearing the successful completion of its first season delivering Marine Transportation Services to communities on the Mackenzie River and Arctic coast. The delivery of essential goods by tug and barge to our communities on Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River, and the Arctic coast sustains the vital services that our communities rely upon. Since early July when the first tug and barge tow of the season departed Hay River, GNWT Marine Transportation Services has successfully delivered all of the critical petroleum products and deck cargo to all scheduled communities and clients and has met all of its commercial marine charter commitments.

This season, Marine Transportation Services registered and reactivated six tugboats, transported more than 37 million litres of fuel and carried more than ten thousand tonnes of deck cargo to communities and industry clients. This cargo includes diesel fuel, jet fuel, gasoline, construction materials, prefabricated housing units, heavy equipment, vehicles, and consumer goods. At the GNWT Hay River Shipyard, they completed maintenance work on Canadian Coast Guard vessels that provide critical support to navigation and shipping on NWT waters. Substantial charter work was also accomplished for large industrial clients. In this way, Marine Transportation Services supports small and large businesses, industrial operations, and stimulates economic development in the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, Marine Transportation Services also provides important employment opportunities to residents, supporting the development of a strong northern workforce. For the 2017 season, the Department of Infrastructure engaged a marine crewing contractor to recruit and employ capable personnel to operate GNWT Marine Transportation Services. At the peak of the season, more than 140 people were employed, and 60 of those employees were Northwest Territories residents. In addition to the employment generated, Marine Transportation Services has purchased more than $2.6 million dollars in goods and services from Northwest Territories businesses so far this year.

Mr. Speaker, this is a challenging business. To achieve these successes during its first operating season, Marine Transportation Services overcame many obstacles, including the challenge of moving the vessels necessary for community resupply from Inuvik to Hay River at the beginning of the season; and addressing several years of deferred maintenance of the tugs, barges, shipyard, and terminals. High water levels in the Mackenzie River delayed the Canadian Coast Guard's buoy and navigation aid setup, and delays in supplier shipments of cargo fuel resulted in temporary delivery delays to two communities. The Government of the Northwest Territories will use the lessons that we have learned this season to implement strategies to enhance our operations in future years. Drawing upon this experience, we are developing a long-term business and operating model for Marine Transportation Services; one that will best use business revenues to stabilize costs of essential marine services and enable the success of future operations.

Mr. Speaker, our investment in Canada's northernmost inland shipyard and in this tug and barge fleet signals that we value and support the Mackenzie River as a corridor for commerce and transportation. At the Port of Hay River, the most northerly connection of the continental railway system meets Canada's longest river. A reliable shipping route for generations, the Mackenzie River is the northernmost link of an intermodal supply chain that stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Beaufort Sea and beyond. The Mackenzie River is truly our marine highway to the Arctic Ocean. Continued improvement of marine operations in the territory depends upon investment in infrastructure, such as landings and wharves, channel maintenance through dredging, and improved charting and navigational aids.

The Government of the Northwest Territories is pursuing opportunities for funding that may be available through initiatives such as the federal Oceans Protection Plan to improve the state of marine infrastructure in the territory. The Department of Infrastructure has developed a list of priority marine infrastructure that requires improvement and has identified opportunities for investments to increase the safety and efficiency of marine operations. These include improvements to port and shipyard assets, intermodal facility improvements, harbour dredging, dock repairs, and maintenance at ferry landings and at all marine-served communities.

Mr. Speaker, we will build upon the success of the 2017 season. The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to ensuring that residents who rely on marine transportation services will get essential goods at a reasonable cost and get them without fail, while making strategic investments in marine transportation, creating jobs, and stimulating the economy of the Northwest Territories.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Deputy Premier.

Robert C. McLeod

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to advise Members that the honourable Bob McLeod will be absent from the House today to attend the first Ministers' meeting in Ottawa, Ontario. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Herbert Nakimayak

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Northerners have long been frustrated with poorly-designed laws and public policy made in southern Canada with no regard for the reality of life in the NWT. This is why the GNWT worked so hard to get a deal on devolution. It is too bad devolution did not include control of aviation. Maybe then northern airlines would not be worried about staying in business when proposed pilot fatigue regulatory changes are brought forward by Transport Canada.

Mr. Speaker, these controversial changes would put restraints on pilot flying time, such as capping shifts and restricting the number of take-offs and landings. This will negatively affect the northern aviation industry. Pilots will be tied up for longer periods of time, and companies will pay more for more pilots, or take longer periods to get the same amount of work done.

Small business operators in my riding and across the North are extremely worried about these new provisions and the possible impacts on small Northern airlines such as Aklak Air and North Wright Airways. I have been told that many smaller operators will have to reassess the viability of their businesses. A number of small regional airlines have already said the regulations will force them out of business. This can mean everything from reduced access to air transportation, loss of medevac services, loss of forest fighting services, loss of access to food and essentials, or at the very least, significant increase in costs of those goods and services to communities that can least afford it.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time we have felt the impact of southern political objectives that do not align with the best interests of northern communities. In this case, the proposed changes stem from recommendations made by the US National Transportation Safety Board, as a result of a 2009 air accident in New York state. Critics of this proposal point out that the new rules were designed with pilots of commercial jetliners in mind, not the bush pilots, medevac pilots, and others who do work such as transferring fuel from barges and ferrying people and materials to mining camps.

Mr. Speaker, Northern aviators care about pilot fatigue. They tell me pilot fatigue has never been the cause of a serious accident in Canada, let alone the North. Today, I am asking the Minister of Infrastructure to step up on their behalf, engage with his colleagues in Nunavut and Yukon, and let the federal government know, yet again, that they do not have the knowledge to speak for Northerners.

Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Cory Vanthuyne

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, racism and hatred is a very painful subject. We might like to think society has moved beyond racism, but it is still with us. It is as fresh and ugly as it has ever been, and it is hard to know how to combat it, to somehow undo the pain that it causes. Today in this house we wear orange shirts and orange pins as a reminder of that pain.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday morning I was reflecting on the news of the terror attacks in Las Vegas and Edmonton when I looked out the window and watched kids from my neighbourhood getting on the school bus. I could feel anger welling up inside me, realizing that innocent children have to grow up in this world where hatred and violence are now everyday occurrences.

Recent events in the world make it clear that hatred thrives. We can blame President Trump, but there are many other examples of hatred and intolerance embraced by people of all backgrounds, religions, and colours. Mr. Speaker, the people in this Chamber are leaders in our communities. We occupy a position of privilege based on our experience, desire to build a better world, and support of our constituents. What can we do, as principled leaders, to try to combat hatred in the world today? I think we must be very deliberate to demonstrate respect for others. When we have principled leadership, the tone of our society will be respectful and caring, and will not tolerate the condemnation and the scorn of others.

We need to be careful to exercise leadership in a positive and constructive way. If we see individuals, groups, or organizations encouraging extreme behaviour through fear and rage, we must call it out. The example we set and the tone in which we speak conveys important things about our character and our leadership. That is why I refer to it as "principled leadership," and it is why I strive to exemplify these values. My own benchmark, the decisions or actions will always be, is it the right thing to do? Would I accept someone doing that to me? Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Cory Vanthuyne

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, Colleagues. Mr. Speaker, I have said it before. I believe justice must be a passion that we channel when we consider racial, cultural, and sexual diversity. Let us remember, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

When I watch those kids boarding that school bus yesterday, I felt upset that they may discover these ugly truths, but I also realize that they do not know hate. They will not know hate unless someone teaches them. If those kids learn racism and hatred, the haters will have won. Maybe that is what we can do, Mr. Speaker. We can act as principled leaders and be the best people we can possibly be, and let us always be mindful of what we say and how we act. Let us demonstrate compassion and generosity because it is the right way to build the future that we want, and it is the future our kids deserve. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Orange Shirt Day
Members' Statements

Kieron Testart

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, each year, Orange Shirt Day is recognized on September 30th, and this year that date falls on a Saturday, so I decided to devote my time today to speaking on an occasion that grows more important each year as our society works towards reconciliation between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, and also the constant recognition of residential school survivors. Mr. Speaker, last week, I was honoured to attend a school assembly for Orange Shirt Day at N.J. MacPherson School in my riding, and it was great to see children from junior kindergarten all the way to grade five, participating in this important recognition of the wrongs of the past.

Mr. Speaker, this important day is an opportunity for communities to come together and support a reconciliation and the future of all children. It all originates with a woman who was once a little girl named Phyllis. Phyllis Webstad is Northern Shuswap from Dog Creek, British Columbia. When she turned six years old, she was brought to the St. Joseph Mission residential school for one school year in 1973. When she arrived, they stripped her, and her clothes were taken away including an orange shirt she had picked out with her grandmother. From then on, the colour orange always reminded her of this outrageous treatment at the hands of people who were supposed to care for her, but instead, made her feel worthless. For many years, those feelings would haunt Phyllis and cause her to make decisions that would have a negative impact on her life until one day she decided to start telling her story.

Mr. Speaker, that story has grown into an annual day of recognition and remembrance where we discussed the trauma of residential schools, and how it has affected countless Indigenous people and their families. I would like to personally thank Phyllis Webstad for lighting a spark that grew into an opportunity to learn from history, to not rewrite the wrongs of the past, and to always remember the troubled legacy of residential schools in Canada, and acknowledge that legacy so that we can all reconcile with these hard truths and move towards a brighter future together. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Orange Shirt Day
Members' Statements

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statement. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mr. Speaker, Yellowknife has a rapidly growing population of seniors, and they have a growing list of needs so they can remain in their own homes for as long as possible. One of those needs is a day program that provides for their social and emotional well-being, and gives their caregivers respite.

Starting in January 2011, Avens provided a day program to meet those needs called Elders' Circle. It operated until last fall when it closed. Staff said the closure was temporary, pending an evaluation of the program's safety and quality. The Yellowknife Association for Community Living stepped in to fill the gap until the end of March when they were told the program at Avens would reopen.

Mr. Speaker, here we are a year later, and the Elders' Circle day program is still closed. When I asked about the future of the program last week at the Avens annual general meeting, I was told the organization has no plans to relaunch the program. The Avens board vice-president said they cannot afford to restart the program. The organization is already challenged to provide its core services, namely independent housing and long-term care, and there is no money to provide a day program as well.

Mr. Speaker, when I raised this issue in the spring session, the Minister said he was waiting for the review of the Elders' Circle program and the continuing care plan to be completed before he could make any commitments. The Minister tabled the continuing care plan last week. It does mention adult programming in the context of providing space in new seniors' housing. It also talks about expanding day programs throughout the territory with local municipalities. It is unclear how either of these options apply in Yellowknife. In the meantime, the department has completed a review of the Elders' Circle program at Avens but has not yet made it public.

Where does that leave seniors and their caregivers who use the Elders' Circle? Nowhere, Mr. Speaker. Whether the day program is offered by Avens or by Yellowknife Association for Community Living or another community partner, the bottom line is that Yellowknife needs an adult day program and we need it now. I will have questions for the Minister. Mahsi.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statement. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment received a briefing on the Resource and Energy Development Information campaign from Industry, Tourism and Investment last week. It was formally announced on June 22nd by the Minister when he said that it "will ensure these resources are used safely and sustainably." This sounds a lot like trying to build public confidence in our ability to develop resources in a responsible way. I would have thought that that should be our approach given the failed attempt to regulate hydraulic fracturing in the last Assembly.

Having met the Minister and his staff and reviewed the materials, this campaign is clearly about promoting resource development, something that ITI is very good at. It is not about providing balanced information about the benefits and risks of resource development or about providing opportunities for our citizens to be involved in decision-making around resource development. There is virtually no discussion of any negative environmental or socio-economic impacts, about trade-offs, or effectiveness of current efforts to manage resource development.

This campaign is about doing more of the same rather than introducing innovative ideas that would truly build public confidence in our decision making. Here are a few examples of what we could and should be doing:

• Appoint a science advisor to support informed decisions by Cabinet such as the recent initiative by our federal government;

• Establish an intervener funding program to level the playing field and ensure that Aboriginal governments, communities, and organizations can meaningfully participate in resource development decisions;

• Re-establish a roundtable on the economy and environment to facilitate a dialogue between NGOs and business interests, and to provide independent research on issues of the day;

• Set up an independent panel of experts to investigate and provide recommendations on whether the NWT should allow fracking, and under what terms and conditions; and

• Complete land use plans and protected areas to empower the conservation economy.

Pardon the pun, Mr. Speaker, but REDI will not get us ready for resource development. I will have questions for the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment later today. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Tom Beaulieu

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi Cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to speak about the lack of strategic spending on the part of the GNWT. The GNWT must increase the amount of money they spend strategically. I am going to speak about an easy one, low hanging fruit, as the saying goes.

Mr. Speaker, seniors care spending is the first scenario that I will speak of. The NWT Housing Corporation could retrofit seniors' homes designed to keep them in their homes and in their communities for an extra ten years on an average of $70,000 per unit. Mr. Speaker, these units could be brought to a barrier free or seniors-friendly level. If the needs of the various nuclear groups has not changed significantly since 2000 which indicated that seniors' household have the highest average need of about 30 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, just for information, on the other side of the spectrum, couples with no children have a core need under 5 per cent, the non-seniors singles and families are somewhere in between the two. However, Mr. Speaker, I do not know 100 per cent if seniors still have a higher need than single.

Mr. Speaker, there are number seniors lead households and 30 per cent of them are in need. Mr. Speaker, if we were to take the 300 seniors homeowners and we were to retrofit their units including energy upgrades, not only would we be taking many seniors out of core need, but we would keep them out of long term care for years. Mr. Speaker, long term care costs the government about $140,000 per senior per year.

Mr. Speaker, you can do the calculations. Over a ten-year period, each senior that remains at home would defer $1,400,000. You can multiply that by 300. Mr. Speaker, that is $420,000,000 over ten years of cost deferral to the GNWT.

Mr. Speaker, this can be completed over four years at about 75 households per year for about $5,000,000 per year. In addition, Mr. Speaker, that calculates to about 60 to 70 jobs plus businesses for building supply companies. This would benefit the NWT immensely. Finally, Mr. Speaker, we can employ homecare workers and make the seniors stay at home easier. Maybe about another 30 employees. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.