This is page numbers 5453 - 5490 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 assembly. View the webstream of the day's session.

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Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Almost a Member's statement. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Yellowknife North.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, want to take this opportunity to recognize a man of many hats and titles, Yellowknife North constituent, Mr. Tony Whitford. Thank you for being here today.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. If we've missed anyone in the gallery, thanks for being here with us. It's always great to have an audience as part of our proceedings. Masi. Item 6, acknowledgments. Item 7, oral questions. Member for Hay River North.

Question 697-18(3): Northwest Territories and Nunavut Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission
Oral Questions

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have some questions for the Minister responsible for WSCC. In the NWT, in Nunavut, the total number of people employed is around 35,000. About a third of those people work for a territorial government or public entity, but those employers only pay one-sixth of all of the revenue WSCC collects from employers. The rest comes from industry, small business, and municipalities, which last year generated $55 million in revenue to WSCC. In turn, WSCC paid out $34.5 million in claims to employees from those organizations. That's a difference of $20 million. I'd just like to ask the Minister: what happens with that $20 million? Where does it go? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 697-18(3): Northwest Territories and Nunavut Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister responsible for Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission.

Question 697-18(3): Northwest Territories and Nunavut Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission
Oral Questions

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Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On any given year, you never know what kind of claims you're going to get in within workers' claims. We want to promote workplace health and safety, of course, both here in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Last fall, in 2018, we did develop a 2019 corporate plan, and that was through the governance council which approves the operations and capital budgets on an annual basis. As I said, we don't know what kind of claims we will be getting on a yearly basis. For more detail, I will have to go back to the WSCC and get that information for the Member. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 697-18(3): Northwest Territories and Nunavut Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission
Oral Questions

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

I appreciate that. I didn't give the Minister enough heads-up on this. I've got some technical questions here, so maybe I'll just jump to a different question. The Minister mentioned this last time when he discussed this issue, that, in 1993, the OH&S function of government was transferred to WSCC. At that time, not only did government save money by transferring this function to WSCC, the government also has what appears to be preferential rates from WSCC, and it has deep pockets. If it's not compliant, it can usually handle any monetary penalty by throwing some taxpayer money at it. It never has to worry about going out of business, generating revenue, or any of that kind of stuff. I don't like wasting people's time, and I don't like creating plans for the sake of plans, but I would really like to see WSCC put forward a plan to shift these OH&S costs off the backs of private industry and back onto government. This wouldn't necessarily mean GNWT employees would be performing these OH&S duties. It would probably be easier to just adjust the rates for government, but I'll leave those details to the experts. Can the Minister commit to working with WSCC to develop such a plan? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 697-18(3): Northwest Territories and Nunavut Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission
Oral Questions

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Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

As I had mentioned, the governance council does approve the budget on an annual basis. They develop a strategic and a corporate plan. Moving forward under this corporate plan, they are focusing on increasing the number of employers with an occupational health and safety program, as well as increasing occupational health and safety education in communities for vulnerable workers. As much as the Member wants to move forward with private industry, we also have to make sure that anybody who does business in the Northwest Territories is also held accountable for the health and safety of our residents and our people in our communities. I did table a document in oral questions earlier during this sitting, and I have committed to informing the governance council of the industry's concerns regarding the rate structure. I do believe that the governance council has recently met, and they have also agreed to review both the rates and the subclasses that were mentioned in questions that were asked earlier on in this sitting. I will stay by that commitment, and I will keep Members who were concerned regarding this apprised moving forward.

Question 697-18(3): Northwest Territories and Nunavut Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Hay River North.

Question 697-18(3): Northwest Territories and Nunavut Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission
Oral Questions

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm not suggesting that we reduce safety in the territory. Everyone is all for safety. The other question I had was: what portion of WSCC's budget is spent on occupational health and safety responsibilities? I understand the Minister doesn't have that information. I was just wondering for a final question: would the Minister be able to commit to answering the questions I've provided in some sort of written form that I can then share with my constituents who have been raising these concerns with me? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 697-18(3): Northwest Territories and Nunavut Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission
Oral Questions

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Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

As I had mentioned, we do have a corporate plan that's out there. It's done on an annual basis. There is a budget breakdown within this corporate plan, but, for the specifics on the OH&S, I will have to get back to the Member, and I will commit to providing that in a written document. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 697-18(3): Northwest Territories and Nunavut Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 698-18(3): Day Care Infrastructure Investments
Oral Questions

March 14th, 2019

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A couple of us Members today have spoken about the lack of daycare space and the need for capital investment in daycare infrastructure. My questions are for the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. Mr. Speaker, adequate space for childcare has been an ongoing concern for some time. We all know that. I would like to ask the Minister: does the department believe that the public or market is responsible for delivering the necessary space to house daycares and that entrepreneurs, NGOs, or parents should be solely responsible for the capital investment for these facilities? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 698-18(3): Day Care Infrastructure Investments
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Question 698-18(3): Day Care Infrastructure Investments
Oral Questions

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do know that, within the Government of the Northwest Territories, we do try not to disturb market communities where there is a viable opportunity to make money. Why would the government be doing that when private individuals could be making that? I adhere to that policy. I agree with it. However, when it comes to daycares, daycares are very expensive. It is difficult to operate them. My own experience operating a daycare for many years previously, we just scraped by. So I think that the government does have a responsibility at this point, and we are trying to help. When daycares start up, there is $25,000 for a start-up fee that they can get. They can get $10,000 for health and safety monies. If they are looking at expanding their daycares, they can get money for that. We subsidize a daily rate for every daycare; every licensed daycare provider gets daily rates ranging between per part-time/full-time $19.81 a day to up to $49.56 per day per child in communities. So we are subsidizing the daycares directly. We are subsidizing the licensed daycare staff. There is a subsidy that we give, a staff grant, on a quarterly basis to every employee that is in a licensed daycare. So, although it is not everything and we are not providing a hundred percent, we are trying our best to actually support daycares, as well, through our programs.