This is page numbers 4183 - 4214 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 work.

Topics

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 10:01 a.m.

Prayer
Prayer

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Elder Christine Tatti

[English translation not provided.]

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Please be seated. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for the Status of Women.

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Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to waive Rule 36(4) so that all Ministers' statements provided to the Clerk can be delivered today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Unanimous consent granted

Prayer
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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for the Status of Women.

Minister's Statement 87-18(3): Increasing Representation of Women in the Legislative Assembly
Ministers' Statements

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, a discussion paper tabled by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly titled "Temporary Special Measures to Increase the Participation of Women in the NWT Legislative Assembly" was tabled.

On March 8, 2018, a motion was adopted by the Legislative Assembly establishing a goal of increasing the representation of women in the Legislative Assembly to 20 per cent by 2023 and 30 per cent by 2027. It was my honour to second this motion, made by the Member for Yellowknife Centre, MLA Julie Green. Members understand that the white paper is intended to generate discussion on the advancement of these goals.

We must take the opportunity to discuss our common objective, set out in the mandate, to support initiatives designed to increase the number of women running for elected office in the Northwest Territories. Women's voices are important in leadership at all levels of government: community, territorial, federal and Indigenous governments. Advancing women's participation in a range of forums is crucial to the political and social development of our territory.

Mr. Speaker, the Women's Advisory unit and the Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs have been working throughout the 18th Legislative Assembly on measures designed to increase the number of women in leadership.

Those who know me know that I am passionate about getting more women into leadership roles. I take every opportunity I can to promote women in leadership at all levels and in any forum available. I know that my colleague, the Member for Yellowknife Centre, also promotes this work to the best of her ability. However, Mr. Speaker, we cannot do this work alone, nor should we. It is imperative that everyone works together to advance women's representation in leadership positions.

As the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, I am glad to see such a high level of interest in the representation of women in this House. I call on the men in the House to support this movement and engage in these important conversations. I look forward to advancing the discussion in this Legislative Assembly and seeing real change throughout the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 87-18(3): Increasing Representation of Women in the Legislative Assembly
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

Minister's Statement 88-18(3): Climate Change Strategic Framework
Ministers' Statements

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Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories made a mandate commitment to develop a territorial climate change strategy that takes into account northern energy demands and the cost of living, while reflecting international and national commitments to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Earlier this month, the GNWT publicly released the 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework, our government's coordinated, comprehensive response to mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Working alongside the 2030 Energy Strategy and NWT Petroleum Resources Strategy, the Climate Change Strategic Framework provides the roadmap that will enable the Northwest Territories to transition to a strong, healthy economy that is less dependent on fossil fuels and that supports our residents in becoming more resilient and adaptive to a changing climate.

Our government recognizes the concerns that NWT residents have about the impacts of climate change, along with cost of living. This framework takes into account our unique northern energy needs, while aligning with international and national commitments to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, understanding the impacts of climate change on the North, and supporting our communities to become more resilient to those changes.

Mr. Speaker, Canada has committed to a 30 per cent reduction in annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The GNWT has been actively working to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for years and has set a consistent target for the Northwest Territories to ensure that we are contributing to the goals outlined in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Canada has expressed support for our plan, affirming that we are indeed doing our part to effectively and proportionately reduce our emissions by 2030.

The GNWT recognizes that we must also ensure our economy remains strong and viable while we take concrete actions to lower our dependence on fossil fuels and promote clean growth. Our government's united approach to addressing our unique northern needs in regard to energy and climate change will accomplish this.

Mr. Speaker, the Climate Change Strategic Framework provides the GNWT with a long-term, comprehensive, and coordinated response to climate change, outlined in three goals. The first goal is to transition to an economy that is less dependent on fossil fuels, thereby reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The actions that we will take to achieve this are outlined in the 2030 Energy Strategy, which serves as the primary mechanism for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions related to energy supply and consumption. The framework will focus on tracking and reporting our progress.

The second goal of the framework is to increase our understanding of climate change impacts in the NWT, whether on the natural environment, residents' health and safety, culture and heritage, or infrastructure. Developing a better understanding of current and future impacts and opportunities will support informed decision-making at all levels.

The third goal is to build resilience and adapt to a changing climate. We need to find ways to adjust to changes that are occurring by adapting our planning and operational activities.

An action plan for achieving the Climate Change Strategic Framework's three goals is under development, and the public will be engaged on it over the summer. Once developed, the action plan will be implemented over the next five years through partnerships with Indigenous, community, and federal governments, along with non-government and industry stakeholders.

As the lead department responsible for climate change, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will provide strong leadership on related coordination within the NWT and with other provinces, territories, and the federal government to implement the action plan.

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT remains committed to addressing the threats that climate change poses to the sustainability of our communities and the way of life of our residents. Though we have already invested millions in adaptation efforts related to climate change, alternative energy projects, energy retrofits, improved transportation infrastructure, and improved building standards, the GNWT recognizes that significant adaptation projects and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions cannot be realized without substantial federal funding, and we will continue to actively pursue funding opportunities as they arise.

I look forward to working with Northerners to establish a lower carbon economy, to increase our knowledge of climate impacts, and to build up our resiliency in the face of a changing climate. We know that there is still work to be done, and it will take time to achieve, but with a clear plan, and by working together, we can support a sustainable future that all will benefit from this long-term vision for generations to come. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 88-18(3): Climate Change Strategic Framework
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Justice.

Minister's Statement 89-18(3): Programs Available to Inmates in NWT Correctional Facilities
Ministers' Statements

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Louis Sebert Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, our government has committed in its mandate to pursue innovative ways to prevent and reduce crime. The dedicated employees of the Department of Justice, in particular our frontline corrections professionals, know first-hand how important it is that our programs and services focus on the root causes that lead to an individual coming into contact with the justice system.

Within our correctional facilities, programs are delivered in a way that recognize the importance of culture and take into consideration the short time that most territorial inmates are incarcerated. Our corrections staff work with inmates to ensure that the time they spend in custody promotes their successful reintegration back into their communities.

After hearing feedback from MLAs, past and present inmates, and through the Auditor General's report regarding programming at the North Slave Correctional Centre, the Corrections Service has worked hard to develop basic life and pre-employment skills of inmates and incorporate cultural elements into our programs. Traditional healing programs will move from being offered inside the facility to being offered in the yard of the North Slave Correctional Centre now that the security upgrades are complete.

We are also offering a number of programs at many of our corrections facilities and recognize the importance of Indigenous cultures and traditions. The Substance Abuse Management, Violence Prevention, Living without Violence, and the Respectful Relationships programs are all evidence-based programs aimed at supporting inmates to become aware of the triggers that lead them to engage in unhealthy and unsafe behaviours. Traditional liaison officers or elders also participate in these programs to help inmates reflect on their culture and learning.

Since being launched in 2016, the Substance Abuse Management program has been delivered 23 times in correctional facilities and probation offices in Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Providence, and Inuvik. The Corrections Service has also delivered two of these programs specifically for women, one at the Fort Smith Correctional Complex Women's Unit and another at the Yellowknife Probation Office.

Since its launch in 2017, the Violence Prevention and the Living without Violence programs have been delivered 20 times, including five times in probation offices in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Fort McPherson, Fort Good Hope and Hay River.

The Respectful Relationships program also launched last year and has been delivered 10 times, five of which were delivered in probation offices in Yellowknife, Behchokǫ̀, Inuvik, and Hay River.

The South Mackenzie Correctional Centre offers a range of in-house addictions programs unique to that facility. The addictions counsellor and traditional liaison officers deliver several programs including a two-week addictions program based on Indigenous cultures, values, and beliefs. They also offer a four-week pretreatment healing program where clients learn medicine wheel teachings and about how their behaviours can impact their family and their community. This program, along with the Red Road to Freedom program, teaches inmates that the four aspects of the Medicine Wheel, Emotional, Physical, Mental, and Spiritual, need to be kept in balance when dealing with issues in their lives, like substance abuse.

In addition to the programs that are being delivered to those individuals who are in the justice system, changes to the release planning process have made it possible for case managers to look for community programming options for inmates upon release. Where possible, clients are matched with similar programming so that they can continue to build the skills that are needed to prevent and reduce crime and harm in their lives.

Mr. Speaker, we also recognize the importance of offering programs and opportunities that support inmates in meeting their educational goals. Through our onsite instructors who work closely with local high schools and colleges, the Corrections Service is able to offer a range of educational programming. Inmates can access programs that include adult literacy, basic education, general education development, high school and exam preparation, trades exam preparation, life skills, and assistance with pursuing or registration into post-secondary courses.

I am pleased to report that, over the past year, approximately 130 inmates have taken part in education programming within our adult correctional facilities. Mr. Speaker, our goal is to prepare inmates for their eventual rehabilitation and reintegration back into their communities. The Department of Justice and the entire Corrections Service has been working hard to make sure that the programming and supports that we offer help to address the root causes of crime. This has meant committing to making sure that culturally appropriate programming is in place and to look at new ways to help inmates continue with similar programming in their communities upon their release. Through these efforts and the continued partnerships we have with other departments and stakeholders, we are making a difference in lives of Northerners and are helping to create safer, healthier communities in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 89-18(3): Programs Available to Inmates in NWT Correctional Facilities
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister's statements. Minister of Health And Social Services.

Minister's Statement 90-18(3): Senior Citizens' Month
Ministers' Statements

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Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, June is Senior Citizens' Month. I encourage all Northerners to join me in recognizing and celebrating the valuable contributions that seniors and elders make within our families and communities.

In the Northwest Territories, our seniors and elders are the fastest growing segment of our population. Through the Our Elders, Our Communities framework and the Continuing Care Services Action Plan, our government is working to support our seniors and elders to live in their own homes and communities for as long as possible and to ensure that adequate supports are available for them when they can no longer do so.

We have also recently published an updated edition of the Seniors' Information Handbook, which provides a comprehensive list of programs and services that seniors and their caregivers can access towards making informed decisions that can help them remain independent and active in their home communities.

Senior Citizens' Month is one way that our society recognizes and appreciates the valuable contributions that our seniors and elders make to the fabric of our communities. This recognition month also serves to highlight important issues facing our seniors and elders, and, to that end, I would like to highlight two special days within the Senior Citizens' Month.

Today, June 1st, is Intergenerational Day, and I encourage Northwest Territories residents to reflect on the importance that intergenerational relationships have had in their own lives. Elders represent the heart and soul of our communities; they are respected for their knowledge, their experience, and their wisdom. Supporting our seniors and elders to remain living in their communities has the potential to enhance intergenerational relationships between our elders and the younger generations. Making it possible for seniors and elders to remain with their families for longer creates more opportunities for storytelling, sharing of traditional knowledge, and enrichment of culture and heritage.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to highlight that June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Raising public awareness about the abuse and neglect of seniors and elders is the first of many steps in preventing elder abuse. Abuse of older adults is more than just physical abuse. Elder abuse includes verbal, emotional, and financial abuse, and this problem is present in our communities. As part of the Continuing Care Services Action Plan, our government has committed to finalizing elder abuse screening tools in partnership with the NWT Seniors Society. Together, our goal is to decrease the rate of elder abuse in the NWT by increasing the awareness of elder abuse and ensuring that elders can access the supports that they need.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to further recognize the valuable work the NWT Seniors' Society does in the prevention of abuse of older adults. The society plays an important role in leading the government and non-government partners in this work through the NWT Network to Prevent the Abuse of Older Adults. The NWT Seniors' Society is committed to educating and working with partners and other organizations to reduce, prevent, and ultimately eradicate the abuse of older adults, and we are pleased to be working with them on these efforts.

Our government is gathering data and collaborating with the NWT Seniors' Society to develop a report to provide information relating to programs and services used by seniors and elders in the NWT. By working together with our partners, our government is improving our programs and services to best support our seniors and elders. Together, we are creating a future where they can remain safely independent and actively engaged in their home communities for as long as possible.

As the Minister responsible for Seniors, I want to recognize all of the seniors and elders who help to create the healthy and vibrant families and communities that we all want to be part of in the Northwest Territories. During Senior Citizens' Month and on Intergenerational Day and on Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I encourage all residents to celebrate the important role that our seniors and our elders have in all of our lives. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 90-18(3): Senior Citizens' Month
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Minister's Statement 91-18(3): 2018 Mining and Exploration Awards and 2018 Mining Week
Ministers' Statements

June 1st, 2018

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Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, with our people-centered approach to managing natural resources, the Northwest Territories does mining differently. Last night, Premier McLeod on behalf of the government accepted the Diamonds Do Good Award from the Diamond Empowerment Fund and its global board of directors in recognition of our leadership and Indigenous participation and socio-economic management in our mining industry.

Mr. Speaker, our government is pleased to have our efforts to build and foster a socially conscious mining industry recognized. We call it the NWT difference. The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment continues to work hard to set our territory apart as a jurisdiction where mining companies will want to work and invest. We want to make our territory a place that our partners can proudly say that their investments are helping to build and strengthen communities and contributing to a more prosperous future of the North. Mr. Speaker, the framework from our unique approach has been built on partnership with Indigenous and community governments as well as our valued mining partners. Partnership and cooperation is a way of life in the North and ensures Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are able to decide on and implement shared priorities.

Indigenous governments work with us to bring the varied and valued perspectives of their respective communities to the table through co-management boards. They contribute to regulatory decision-making through the Intergovernmental Council and benefit from resource- and revenue-sharing agreements that we have put in place. Indigenous-owned businesses and development corporations have led the way in the growth and success of the northern service sector that now supports our mines and is providing jobs and training opportunities for NWT residents.

In turn, our diamond mines have supported millions of dollars of community investments and legacy projects over the years to ensure communities will continue to benefit from mining long after their projects are gone. They have spent billions of dollars with northern businesses, nearly half with Indigenous-owned companies, and employ thousands of NWT residents in well-paying jobs, helping many excel and advance their initial employment into transferable careers in mining and the trades.

Mr. Speaker, these contributions deserve celebrating and, beginning tomorrow, we will do just that. As we do every year, our territory and government will celebrate NWT Mining Week with free events in Yellowknife designed to get people of all ages engaged with geology, prospecting, and mining history.

This year's Mining Week will also mark the opening of our formal nomination process for the second annual Mining and Exploration, or MAX Awards, which we are pleased to sponsor and present in partnership with the Chamber of Mines.

Interested parties are encouraged to nominate individuals and organizations in areas such as environmental and social responsibility, Indigenous achievements, and economic leadership. More information, including nomination forms, can be found by visiting Engage-ITI.ca.

Mr. Speaker, we are proud to support and celebrate the NWT mining sector. It is the largest contributor to our economy, and our government is committed to continuing our support and investment in the future of responsible resource development so there continues to be jobs, business opportunities, and a strong economy to celebrate for years to come. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 91-18(3): 2018 Mining and Exploration Awards and 2018 Mining Week
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.