This is page numbers 5413 - 5452 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

Question 695-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 5419

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. My questions are for the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources. I will go a little easier on him today. It is not even about caribou. I know that he also has responsibilities to lead on Giant Mine remediation. The Giant Mine Oversight Board is concerned about the murky relationship between the working group and advisory body and socio-economic action plan. All of this is supposed to increase benefits from remediation work at Giant Mine. Can the Minister explain briefly the roles and relationships of the working group, advisory body, and the action plan? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 695-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 5419

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

Question 695-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 5419

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Kind of ironic, we are having that conversation today. I had my grandchildren here this weekend. I took them actually out for a ride to the site, but there was a fence there. We couldn't get too far in. I was explaining to them some of the history of Giant Mine and a lot of the stuff that they were working on. I was hoping to actually get them as close as I possibly could. My grandson was asking me questions. I actually had to go back to the apartment. I had to look it up and see, get some answers to his questions. I managed to do that.

The socio-economic advisory body is a committee made up of senior management representatives from Indigenous, municipal, federal, and territorial governments. An advisory body meeting was held March 11, 2019. There was agreement that all signatories to the environmental agreement would be members to the advisory committee, including the YKDFN, Alternatives North, and the North Slave Metis Alliance. The advisory board provides strategic advice to the working group. The working group was established to coordinate all aspects of the socio-economic strategy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 695-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 5419

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I want to thank the Minister for that. I actually got to go on a caribou road show with him one time, too, while we were driving around, driving-around stories. I want to thank the Minister for that answer. The working group is supposed to develop an action plan to flow benefits to the Northwest Territories. Can the Minister tell us whether this action plan is finished, and can he share it with Regular MLAs so we can see what kind of benefits may be coming for NWT residents from the remediation of Giant Mine?

Question 695-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 5419

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

The action work plan to carry out the objectives for the implementation of the socio-economic strategy draft plan has been prepared. The project team already reports on socio-economic performances to the Giant Mine Oversight Board annual report and remains committed to continue to do so. Feedback from stakeholders have informed the key performance indicators. Targets will be presented to the working group in April for discussion. I think the Member's short question was: would we be able to share a copy of this draft plan? I will follow up on that. If there are opportunities there to share it with interested or the public, then I will make sure that is followed up on.

Question 695-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 5419

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I want to thank the Minister for that commitment. I neglected to say that it was a good move to have all the signatories to the environmental agreement as members of the advisory body. If the Minister checks, one of those signatures on the agreement is actually mine. I don't want to be there, but I helped to negotiate the agreement.

There are $430 million in contracts that have been let so far for remediation. The final price is going to probably be closer to $1 billion. Can the Minister describe whether there is the ability to directly negotiate any of the remaining contracts or other mechanisms to ensure Indigenous and Northern businesses benefit?

Question 695-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 5419

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

It gives me great comfort to know that one of the signatures on there does belong to the Member, knowing the Member's commitment to detail. It is a very detailed report. It gives me a lot of comfort. The federal government remains responsible for the procurement on the Giant Mine remediation project. Indigenous involvement is considered through the use of the Aboriginal Opportunities Considerations, or AOCs. AOCs are measured and aimed at maximizing opportunities for Indigenous companies, businesses, individuals local to the comprehensive land-claim agreement area. Parsons, the MCM contractor, will develop remediation work packages to target the local workforce based on their own labour capacity studies. This will result in work packages structured to maximize local socio-economic benefits. Indigenous involvement is encouraged through the Aboriginal Opportunities Considerations and contained in each work package. Out of the 10 contracts let in 2018-2019, seven of them are Northern or Indigenous business. Out of those seven, five of them are local Indigenous business.

Question 695-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 5419

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Frame Lake.

Question 695-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 5419

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I want to thank the Minister for the detail in that response. I have frequently mentioned the economic potential for the development of a knowledge economy. Creation of a world-class centre on contaminated site remediation is a major opportunity from the Giant Mine project. Can the Minister describe what steps our government may be taking to ensure that we create such a centre and to help us take advantage of the remediation economy? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 695-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 5419

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

The Departments of Environment and Natural Resources and Education, Culture and Employment are preparing to undertake a feasibility study in 2019-2020 for a northern centre of excellence. The feasibility study has been reframed to focus on assessing institution models that best advance GNWT research priorities, grounded in those identified in the GNWT knowledge agenda, and building on the outcomes of the Aurora College Foundational Review process. The core team is finalizing an RFP for a feasibility study request for proposals, RFP. The RFP is anticipated to be completed and released at the end of March.

The Member makes a good point about the remediation economy. As we see in a lot places now, some of the demolition of a lot of houses are being held up because there needs to be hazmat remediation. I have encouraged a lot of local people to try to take advantage of the hazmat remediation training. We have a couple companies, I believe, in Inuvik that do that. There is an economy there. As regulations tighten up, I think there is going to be more of an economy for those that provide the hazmat remediation services, especially to a lot of the older buildings across the NWT. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 695-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 5420

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 696-18(3): Online Safety for Children
Oral Questions

Page 5420

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have risen on the floor of this House to address the concerns of parents around the safety for their children in online environments. I am wondering if the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment can tell me what efforts the department has undertaken to ensure parents are aware of the risks and have the appropriate tools to respond to any concerns. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 696-18(3): Online Safety for Children
Oral Questions

Page 5420

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Question 696-18(3): Online Safety for Children
Oral Questions

Page 5420

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes. We definitely work within our schools. We start with our Safe and Caring Schools. We provide work around informing students about bullying, supporting each other, et cetera. We re-enforce to students when they are bullied in any way on media and the Internet, et cetera, to notify the school, and we will address that. That is one piece of it.

We also do a lot more areas. We have a media smart, I believe it is called, that is available to all of the JK to 12 that people can use to inform on Internet safety. We have specialized programs for grade fours that they can actually get training on internet usage and then the high schools, as well. Part of that package also actually provides a package to parents to support their youth in Internet safety. It gives them tips around: keep your internet in a public area; don't let them have them in their room; watch what they are doing; limit times; et cetera. I expand on that because it is not only in schools that this is happening. This is happening in homes and communities. It is not only the school. Community-wide, we need to be diligent about what our children are watching on the Internet. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 696-18(3): Online Safety for Children
Oral Questions

Page 5420

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you to the Minister. I know from my own knowledge working with the school boards that they are very good to supporting to parents at most times. Is there any work being undertaken to strengthen the curriculum that is offered to students in these learning environments? I know that my son, for example, is learning how to use computers and the Internet. He has a Google account. These are things that I didn't expect a nine-year-old to have, but he has them. Is there a focus from the department on looking at those curriculums and making sure that they are providing appropriate tools to our children?