This is page numbers 3161 - 3198 of the Hansard for 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 going.

Topics

Tabled Document 70-18(3): Government Of Northwest Territories Response To Committee Report 2-18(3): Report On The Review Of The 2015-2016 Public Economy
Tabling of Documents

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Tabling of documents. Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Tabled Document 71-18(3): Mineral Resources Act: What We Heard Report
Tabling of Documents

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following document entitled "Memo Resource Act: What We Heard Report." Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 71-18(3): Mineral Resources Act: What We Heard Report
Tabling of Documents

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Tabling of documents. Item 16, notices of motion. Item 17, notices of motion for first reading of bills. Item 18, motions. Item 19, first reading of bills. Item 20, second reading of bills. Item 21, consideration in committee of the whole of bills and other matters: Minister's Statement 1-18(3); Minister's Statement 19-18(3); Tabled Document 63-18(3). By the authority given to me as Speaker by Motion 7-18(3), I hereby authorize the House to sit beyond the daily hour of adjournment to consider business before the House, with the Member for Hay River North in the chair.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

February 12th, 2018

The Chair R.J. Simpson

I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. What is the wish of committee? Mr. Beaulieu.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, committee would like to consider Tabled Document 63-18(3), Main Estimates 2018-2019, starting with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, followed by the Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. Does committee agree?

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, committee. We will consider the document after a brief recess.

---SHORT RECESS

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

I will now call Committee of the Whole back to order. Committee, we have agreed to consider Tabled Document 63‑18(3), Main Estimates 2018‑2019. This is essentially our budget document, and for those following along at home, this document can be found at the Department of Finance's website under "Budget."

We have agreed to begin with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, which begins at page 25 of the main estimates. I will ask the Minister if he would like to provide any opening comments. Minister Moses?

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and yes, I do. Mr. Chair, Members, I am pleased to present the 2018‑2019 Main Estimates for the Department of Education, Culture and Employment. Overall, the department's estimates proposed an increase of $12.462 million or 4 per cent over the 2017‑2018 Main Estimates. Improving education outcomes and student success requires ongoing support from early childhood to post‑secondary education and training, and our 2018‑2019 Main Estimates reflect this approach.

The highlights of our main estimates include:

• $2.7 million from the federal Early Learning and Childcare Agreement that will be used to increase the accessibility and participation in quality early childhood development programs, services, and supports;

• $2.1 million to offset the costs associated with the territorial implementation of junior kindergarten. As well, due to lower enrolments, we will direct an additional $881,000 towards providing inclusive schooling funding for junior kindergarten students;

• $1.6 million to expand the Distance Learning Program in four additional small communities. This is the first year of a three‑year rollout aimed at bringing this much‑needed programming to all 20 small communities;

• $1.4 million to establish six new career and education advisors, who will engage with students and youth to help them make informed decisions about their education and career paths;

• $1.7 million to address the increased demand on the income assistance program;

• $478,000 to adjust program inequities in our income assistance and student financial assistance programs; and

• $4.6 million in funding from Canadian Heritage to revitalize, preserve, and enhance official Indigenous languages and to provide services and communications in French.

These increases will be offset by sunsetting programs such as the $1.25 million Labour Market Development Agreement which expires March 31, 2018, and our final year of reductions totalling $763,000.

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment continues to work to meet the priorities of the 18th Legislative Assembly. Among many of its planned activities, I would like to highlight some key initiatives that will be undertaken in 2018‑2019:

• The introduction of a renewed policy on junior kindergarten to grade 12 Indigenous languages and education that will help clarify the role schools have in the revitalization of Indigenous languages and indigenizing education in schools;

• The department will work in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Services to roll out a new school and community child and youth care counselling program. We will utilize existing and new resources to establish full‑time youth mental health counsellors, with positions in the Deh Cho and Tlicho regions. For the smallest communities, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment will continue with the travelling model of mental health support that has already been successfully piloted;

• Informed by the findings of the foundational review, Aurora College will complete a strategic plan that will help meet the needs of our labour market demands. The department is embarking on a new and exciting path towards expanded opportunities for post‑secondary education in the Northwest Territories and is developing legislation for the creation of an overarching legislative framework to govern post‑secondary education in the Northwest Territories. This work is a critical step toward increasing post‑secondary opportunities for NWT residents;

• We will implement the Small Community Employment Strategy, focused on increasing and maximizing training and employment opportunities for residents and improving employment outcomes in small communities;

• The department will be implementing changes to its social assistance programs that will help to reduce the costs of living, support seniors to age in place, and reduce poverty by increasing the income of low- and modest‑income residents. This will include change to our Senior Home Heating Subsidy and will expand the program to include seniors who have heating expenses in rental units and remove the phase-out percentages for income thresholds;

• Completion of a new four‑year Government of the Northwest Territories Culture and Heritage Action Plan that will highlight and outline culturally‑appropriate programming through the Government of the Northwest Territories.

These are a few of the highlights for the 2018‑2019 fiscal year. I look forward to working with Members to advance our priorities and the mandate actions related to the Department of Education, Culture and Employment. Mr. Chair, that concludes my opening remarks, and I welcome any questions from the Members. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Minister Moses. Do you have witnesses you wish to bring into the Chamber?

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Yes.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Minister. Sergeant-at-Arms, please escort the witnesses to the Chamber. Minister, you may take your place at the witness table. Minister, please introduce your witnesses for the record.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

To my right is Deputy Minister Sylvia Haener, and on my left, this is Deputy Minister Olin Lovely. Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Minister Moses. I will now open the floor to general comments on the main estimates for the Department of Education, Culture and Employment. Any Member wishing will have 10 minutes to make opening comments, and after every Member wishing to speak has made those comments, the Minister will be given 10 minutes to respond. I know the Minister doesn't have a clock at the witness table, so I will indicate when he has one minute left, if we get to that. So, do we have any opening comments from committee? Ms. Green.