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.

Topics

Committee Motion 102-18(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) - Information-sharing Agreement with Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

The Chair Daniel McNeely

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

Committee Motion 102-18(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) - Information-sharing Agreement with Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Again, this is one in our series in motions in support of foster parents in the Child and Family Services system. In this case, it is to ensure that information is being shared appropriately and effectively so that foster parents are not left asking questions or do not know who to go to for help. I take my colleague's point from Yellowknife Centre that it is a two-way relationship. Certainly the standing committee is very sympathetic to that concern and wanted to create this package of recommendations that find new ways and more efficient and effective ways to support foster parents in the Northwest Territories.

We feel that establishing an information-sharing agreement with the coalition will allow for better results and clearly define the boundaries of privacy that the honourable Minister of Health and Social Services earlier spoke of. There are privacy concerns that arise from the often complex nature of these arrangements and of the children themselves in care. It is important that everyone understands what their obligations are and what is appropriate within the broad terms of an information-sharing agreement.

I look forward to hearing the Minister's response to this recommendation, but committee feels that it is crucially important that the coalition be brought closer into the system, again, so that we can ensure that the system is as holistic and collaborative as it possibly can be. Thank you.

Committee Motion 102-18(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) - Information-sharing Agreement with Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

The Chair Daniel McNeely

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

Committee Motion 102-18(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) - Information-sharing Agreement with Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Chair. The department does accept this recommendation. As a note, this isn't something that was contemplated in the existing Quality Improvement Plan in the way that it is articulated here. However, having read the recommendation and having read the report, the department will be adding this recommendation to the Quality Improvement Plan. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 102-18(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) - Information-sharing Agreement with Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Minister Abernethy. To the motion.

Committee Motion 102-18(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) - Information-sharing Agreement with Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 102-18(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) - Information-sharing Agreement with Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

The Chair Daniel McNeely

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

---Carried

Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 103-18(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) - Mechanisms for Anonymous Staff Feedback, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

March 11th, 2019

Page 5345

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Mr. Chair, I move that this Assembly recommends that the Department of Health and Social Services develop and implement mechanisms to enable staff to provide free and honest feedback anonymously. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 103-18(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) - Mechanisms for Anonymous Staff Feedback, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

The Chair Daniel McNeely

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

Committee Motion 103-18(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) - Mechanisms for Anonymous Staff Feedback, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Of course, I wouldn't call this so much whistle-blowing as more of a way to support staff who are in very trying circumstances. We have heard the concerns around the burden of reporting, the limited resources, and the limited number of staff to work with. I recognize that there is some new money going into creating some new positions that should help, but for those people who do have issues with either the policy environment or other issues that may arise, they need to have a conduit for that information to flow to the relevant authorities and to ensure that they feel safe in disclosing that information.

This recommendation calls on the government to establish a means to do that, and rather than rely on a larger government approach, like the process that is laid out in the collective agreement, this calls on something specific to Child and Family Services and to the social workers and other staff who are engaged in the system. It is a specific protocol, a specific mechanism, for Child and Family Services that doesn't rely on broader measures that might be in a collective agreement or in legislation. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 103-18(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) - Mechanisms for Anonymous Staff Feedback, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

The Chair Daniel McNeely

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

Committee Motion 103-18(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) - Mechanisms for Anonymous Staff Feedback, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Chair. The department has reviewed the recommendation, and we accept it. Just as a note before I go into comments specifically about the recommendation, the GNWT does have a safe disclosure policy. I understand the Member's suggestion that there needs to be something other than that, but I do strongly encourage staff, if they feel that there is something going wrong or something not working the way that it should, they always have the opportunity to use the safe disclosure policy.

With respect to this recommendation, the department does agree with the recommendation and has already actually implemented an anonymous feedback process for staff, including an anonymous Child and Family Services suggestion box, and that was done in September 2018. It is action item 1.17 in the Quality Improvement Plan.

The web link to the suggestion box is included on the monthly all-CFS staff meeting invite, so everybody who is getting invited to that meeting gets to see the suggestions that have been made so that they can have discussions around those suggestions and/or comments in order to effect change in how we are doing our services. The monthly all-CFS staff teleconference is actually being used as a reporting mechanism for the anonymous suggestion box. To date, I can say that suggestions received have actually informed the development of the quality improvement plan. It is feedback from staff that is making a difference.

The department and the authority also provide anonymous surveys for the participants of all of our training events, for example, the CPW core training. We have supervisor and manager annual training. We have assistant director training. Those trainings are identified in action item 1.18. This information that we get, which is anonymous, is used to improve subsequent training events and develop comprehensive training frameworks, which is articulated in action item 1.11.

We do recognize that staff need to feel comfortable in sharing meaningful feedback. We are working to build an organization culture that supports exactly what I feel the Members are asking us to do. Although we agree it is a recommendation, the government Cabinet will be abstaining.

Committee Motion 103-18(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) - Mechanisms for Anonymous Staff Feedback, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

The Chair Tom Beaulieu

Thank you, Minister Abernethy. To the motion.

Committee Motion 103-18(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) - Mechanisms for Anonymous Staff Feedback, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 103-18(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) - Mechanisms for Anonymous Staff Feedback, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5345

The Chair Tom Beaulieu

Question has been called. All in favour? Against? Abstentions? Motion passed.

---Carried

Mr. Testart.