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. View the webstream of the day's session.

Topics

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

Question has been called. All in favour? All against? Abstentions?

---Carried

Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 99-18(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) - Working Relationships with Indigenous and Community Governments, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5343

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Mr. Chair, I move that this Assembly recommends that the Department of Health and Social Services incorporate into its Quality Improvement Plan on Child and Family Services a commitment to strengthen working relationships with Indigenous and community governments; and further, that reporting on these measures be incorporated into the department's annual business plans and the annual report of the director of Child and Family Services. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 99-18(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) - Working Relationships with Indigenous and Community Governments, 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 99-18(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) - Working Relationships with Indigenous and Community Governments, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5343

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I think that my colleague, the honourable Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh, spoke about the complex nature of some of the root causes that cause the intervention of Child and Family Services. There is really not a single solution; I agree. It is not in the Auditor General's report, what is going to fix the problem. It is not expending millions of dollars without a plan. It is, really, working with communities and figuring out where the strengths of those communities are and applying those strengths holistically so that we can ensure that communities feel supported.

With an overwhelming number of Indigenous children in the system, it is really incumbent on this government to take action to engage communities to ensure that that statistic can come down and that communities are involved in the provision of these services for children. The only way that we are going to get there is if we start working together.

There is a lot of movement on this file, both nationally and here in the Northwest Territories, with the signing of self-government agreements that include Indigenous governments offering child and family services. Even though the capacity to deliver those services may not be there today, it is important to start working together now so that we can build a better system, both that the GNWT operates and eventually Indigenous governments are going to operate. We acknowledge that there are already some of those relationships in place, but they need to be stronger. They need to be stronger so that we can see better results and so that communities can feel engaged and involved in the system, so that it is not an adversarial process, and it is one that speaks to the needs of communities as well as the needs of children in care. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 99-18(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) - Working Relationships with Indigenous and Community Governments, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5344

The Chair Daniel McNeely

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

Committee Motion 99-18(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) - Working Relationships with Indigenous and Community Governments, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5344

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Chair. We accept this recommendation. The department has committed to this action in the Quality Improvement Plan. It is specifically in action item 3.5. Increased communication and engagement of staff has been, obviously, an important focus for improving change management in all CFS strategic initiatives. The aim, obviously, is to bring decision-making closer to the front line and ensure that any quality improvement initiatives make sense in the context of front-line approach in the communities across the territories at the front line, in the communities where the children live.

The department does recognize that it is important to engage with Indigenous government leaders and non-government organizations, as well as current and past clients. This will strengthen community capacity and help us move in the right direction to ultimately improve the outcomes for children, youth, and their families. To that end, Mr. Chair, I have directed the department to set up a teleconference with Indigenous governments for March 15th, as well as an in-person meeting for May 2019, to discuss how, together with our partners, we can strengthen working relationships with Indigenous and community governments. Mr. Chair, as part of the reporting on the Quality Improvement Plan, the department will track the meetings held with Indigenous and community governments, and we will be in a position to report back to committee on those.

In conclusion, Mr. Chair, there is a requirement in legislation to work with our Indigenous governments, and we are committed to that. We will do that. As this is a recommendation to government, although we accept it, we will be abstaining. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 99-18(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) - Working Relationships with Indigenous and Community Governments, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5344

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Minister Abernethy. To the motion.

Committee Motion 99-18(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) - Working Relationships with Indigenous and Community Governments, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5344

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 99-18(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) - Working Relationships with Indigenous and Community Governments, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5344

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Question has been called. All in favour to the motion? Against? Abstentions?

---Carried

Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 100-18(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) - Working Relationships with Community Stakeholders, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

March 11th, 2019

Page 5344

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Mr. Chair, I move that this Assembly recommends that the Department of Health and Social Services incorporate into its Quality Improvement Plan on Child and Family Services a commitment to strengthen working relationships with community stakeholders in Child and Family Services, including the Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories and the extended families of children in care; 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 100-18(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) - Working Relationships with Community Stakeholders, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5344

The Chair Daniel McNeely

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

Committee Motion 100-18(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) - Working Relationships with Community Stakeholders, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5344

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. This is one of several motions involving the front-line workers and actors who are engaged in the system who might not necessarily be government employees. The committee recognizes the enormous role that foster families and extended families play in support for children in care and that their experience is crucial to making the system work. We made a number of recommendations. This one is the first that calls for strengthening the working relationship with these community stakeholders.

Many of our committee members come from or have experience with traditional backgrounds, particularly in Indigenous communities, and we were very clear in asking for the committee to bring forward a recommendation that addressed extended families for children in care. Extended families can sometimes be a better option than other options that the government may identify, and working with those extended families can be a way to ensure that traditional knowledge is maintained and that common ties to language, culture, and tradition are maintained as the child continues to be in a system of care. Again, the committee feels very strongly that this holistic approach is going to ultimately achieve better results for children in care and result in better compliance for the government to manage its responsibilities under the act.

You will note as well, Mr. Chair, that this recommendation also includes reporting conditions. That is, again, so that the current committees, future committees, and members of the public will be able to clearly see evidence of whether this is being done. The government can be held to account as a result, and the committee can continue to monitor how successful these relationships are being in caring for children. Thank you.

Committee Motion 100-18(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) - Working Relationships with Community Stakeholders, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5344

The Chair Daniel McNeely

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

Committee Motion 100-18(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) - Working Relationships with Community Stakeholders, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Chair. One would think that the Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories would play a central role in the role of children in care, but it is my information that they don't, that information is not readily shared with them, and that they do not, in fact, take a central role in advocacy and training for other foster families. There is an opportunity here, with this resolution, to increase the collaboration between the department and the Foster Family Coalition, and I urge the department to take advantage of that opportunity. Thank you.

Committee Motion 100-18(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) - Working Relationships with Community Stakeholders, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5344

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Ms. Green. To the motion. Minister Abernethy.