This is page numbers 5333 - 5364 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 services.

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Committee Motion 97-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Departmental Standing Committee Appearances, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5342

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I move that this Assembly recommends that the Department of Health and Social Services appear before the appropriate standing committee twice yearly to report on its compliance with Child and Family Services Act and its progress on its Quality Improvement Plan. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 97-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Departmental Standing Committee Appearances, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Testart. Mr. Testart, proceed. Thank you.

Committee Motion 97-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Departmental Standing Committee Appearances, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Again, we have tread this ground already in this Committee of the Whole time. Which is the appropriate standing committee is really up for the department to report on Child and Family Services. It is really up to a given Assembly. In the case of this audit, the responsibility is shared between two committees. However, the committee in this case wanted to create a recommendation that wasn't solely based on the audit findings and this particular report, which, although it is deeply significant and concerning, is a point in time. The committee feels very strongly that future governments need to be on top of Child and Family Services at all times, so this recommendation is hopefully binding for future governments, that they will come before whatever committee is charged with oversight and report on the general provisions of the Child and Family Services Act and how the system is supporting children in care and any quality improvement plans that are currently under way.

For clarity, although this arises from our audit review, it is not specific to the audit and speaks much more broadly to the ongoing work of the legislature in its review of the Department of Health and Social Services as it provides support to families and children in care. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 97-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Departmental Standing Committee Appearances, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Daniel McNeely

To the motion. Minister Abernethy.

Committee Motion 97-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Departmental Standing Committee Appearances, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Chair. For the remainder of this term, we will certainly provide reports twice yearly, as the report says. Given the desire of multiple committees to be involved, I am prepared to send a letter with joint receivers, so I will send it to both the chair of government office and the chair of the Standing Committee on Social Development, and together we can work to figure out how to present, given that both parties are clearly interested, so we can work out those details going forward.

I will certainly recommend by way of a transition document that that same commitment remain in future governments. Depending on the structure that is established, we don't know what the committees will be in future governments, but I will certainly make that recommendation in transition that the briefings in this area go to the two committees responsible for these areas, the area responsible for Auditor General reports and the area responsible for social services.

As we know, most quality reviews are completed on a quarterly basis, but they do require some time to put into reports. We do our system-wide audits every two years, but I am confident that we will be able to provide meaningful data to the committees twice a year, so we accept it, we agree, but it is a recommendation to Cabinet, so we will be abstaining. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 97-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Departmental Standing Committee Appearances, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5343

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Minister Abernethy. To the motion.

Committee Motion 97-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Departmental Standing Committee Appearances, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 97-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Departmental Standing Committee Appearances, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Daniel McNeely

Question has been called. All in favour? Against? Abstaining? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 98-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Performance Indicators and Reporting, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

March 11th, 2019

Page 5343

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Mr. Chair, I move that this Assembly recommends that the Department of Health and Social Services publicly identify performance indicators, including client-centered outcomes, that it will use to assess improvements in Child and Family Services over time, and further, that reporting on these measures be incorporated into the department's annual business plan and the annual report of the director of Child and Family Services. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 98-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Performance Indicators and Reporting, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5343

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Testart. To the motion. Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 98-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Performance Indicators and Reporting, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. This motion is self-explanatory in what it calls for, but we were particularly seized with identifying performance measures that were more than just output-based, such as, you know, amount of children care versus children who have moved outside the system, something along those lines. Those are useful figures, but we really need a better understanding of the quality of care, and committee members felt very strongly that identifying very clear performance indicators, especially those directed at clients in the system, are the best way to understand the quality of the provision of services and not just the quantity of those services, for lack of a better word.

As we know, governments report often. This government actually is quite proactive in many of its reporting requirements, or the information it chooses to report publicly, and those are good things, but often the issue is not the reporting itself but what is being reported. So it is crucial that any reporting that is done incorporates these measurements and that these measurements are included in basically everything the department does at a broader level, so that both the public and Members of this Assembly, future Members as well, can be able to look at a line or look at a report and clearly see how the system is functioning and whether or not it is functioning up to a standard that is acceptable as determined by legislation, regulation, and the public interest. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 98-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Performance Indicators and Reporting, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5343

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Mr. Testart. To the motion. Minister Abernethy.

Committee Motion 98-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Performance Indicators and Reporting, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5343

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thanks, Mr. Chair. We do agree with this recommendation in principle. As part of the Quality Improvement Plan, the department has already committed to developing a set of key indicators. That is action 1.5 in the Quality Improvement Plan that has been shared. The set of performance indicators are currently under development. Once completed, the department will include these in future business plans as well as the annual report of the director of Child and Family Services where they align with the scope of the plan, so they will be made public through those mechanisms.

The department will be seeking some legal advice to see to what extent the Child and Family Services Act allows for tracking client-centered outcomes with the consideration for privacy and confidentiality requirements. What I mean by that, for example, is tracking some outcomes would require linking Child and Family Services data to other related measures such as hospitalization data, immunization data, and those types of things. This would also require the identification of common variables to link these data sets; things like child name, date of birth, health care number, et cetera. So if a health care number is required, as is often the case for hospitalization data, the CFS system would need to track this information through the Matrix NWT. Currently, the healthcare card number is not collected through the system, which could add some complication, which is why we agree with this recommendation and principle as opposed to straight agreement, because we have some work to do to determine whether or not we can actually do it to the degree that I believe the Members want based on the recommendation.

For other indicators related to measuring the success of youths once they have left or aged out, for example, things like employment or employment training, educational attainment, whether they are actually eligible to enrol in college, whether they are eligible to enter trade programs, these types of things, the department would have to verify with legal counsel. If the Child and Family Services Act actually permits following children once their files are closed or locked for reporting purposes, once that is confirmed, we would need to go through what information is needed for data linkages.

So while we don't agree that there is value in this to help make evidence-based decisions, we are not 100 percent sure that we can collect the data in the way the Members would like us to, so our commitment is that we will do the work to figure out if we can, and if we can, we will. If we can't, we will certainly explain to committee what our challenges are and why we are unable, so that is why we agree with this in a principle as opposed to just a straight accept. We have more work to do. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 98-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Performance Indicators and Reporting, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5343

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Minister Abernethy. To the motion.

Committee Motion 98-18(3): Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories (Child and Family Services) - Performance Indicators and Reporting, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5343

Some Hon. Members

Question.