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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Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Every Member of this House is supported in their work by hardworking and dedicated constituency assistants. These employees are the only ones who work in this building without access to health and dental benefits. The motion allows some flexibility to Members who may wish to tailor the work of their assistants to meet their unique circumstances. If adopted, this motion will provide direction to the board of management to negotiate a benefits plan with Northern Employee Benefits Services that both the Member and the constituency assistant will contribute to. Mr. Chair, I support this motion.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5466

The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Yes, I, too, will be in support. I think that a version of this motion comes forward almost every time the independent commission does their review. I am happy that the commission does recognize the efforts that our constituent assistants put in in support of us as Members. All of us, to some degree, would certainly be lost and very much challenged in the day-to-day work that we do on behalf of the residents of the Northwest Territories if we didn't have the incredible support provided by our constituent assistants, and so, while each constituent assistant's circumstances are different with regard to their hiring arrangements with their particular MLAs, it is still, I believe, incumbent upon this government, in particular the Assembly, to support all staff that supports the work of the day-to-day efforts of the Legislative Assembly. Other than our constituent assistants, virtually everybody has access to these kinds of benefits, and so I think this is long overdue, and I will be in support. Thank you.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. Vanthuyne. Next, we have Minister Cochrane.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I have said again, many times, all over the place, that a society is based by how we treat our most vulnerable in society. I came here to advocate for low-income people, and this, in my opinion, fits that model. Our constituency assistants are paid, on average, just above the living wage that was brought out. Thank you to Alternatives North for bringing that out. These people end up being, many of them, not all, but many of them suffer, and dental is a luxury that many people on low income cannot afford, myself included as a single parent. I've never seen a dentist for years and paid the consequence. I support anything that supports the most vulnerable, the lowest-income people in our society. Therefore, I support this motion wholeheartedly. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister Cochrane. To the motion. Mr. Nakimayak.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Chair. You know, along with what my colleague said across the way, I, too, support this. Mr. Chair, we have constituents living in Yellowknife and some who live in the northern part of the territory, where the cost of living is high, while we are sitting here and we are giving chairs of committees raises and we are not covering the simple benefits that any of our employees should have access to. I think we need to really look at that and take a look deeper into the next Assembly to refine it to adjust to the cost of living. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. Nakimayak. Next, we have Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. I just want to make it clear that the chairs of committees are not getting a raise as a result of the work that the commission did in this Assembly. There may be a small adjustment at the next Assembly, the Members that serve there, but there is no increases for Members' compensation or benefits that were recommended by the commission. Well, we will see how the rest of the debate plays out, but I do support this motion. I think we need to treat our constituency assistants as valued employees and make sure that they have access to healthcare and other sorts of benefits that are available through the Northern Employee Benefits Services. This is just about being a good employer, and I think we want to make sure that we treat our employees in a manner that they deserve to be treated, so I support this motion. Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly. Next, we have Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I think all of my honourable colleagues would agree that our constituency assistants, the people who occupy that role, are very hard-working, capable individuals who are essential to the good functioning of the representation of our constituents. You know, the North often struggles with finding the kind of talent that you need to do well in various professions, whether it is trades or medical or even political work, and being able to provide enhanced benefits and decent wages I think is going to greatly enhance the ability to attract the kind of staff that you need to ensure that, constituency assistants, you are getting the kind of quality you need to have for the best possible service for your constituents. I think this is a very important motion. It is going to help future Assemblies moving forward to attract that talent and to give those workers a greater benefit and greater opportunity as they perform a different kind of public service but no less important than the work of the public service itself. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. Testart. Next, we have Mr. Nadli.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I, too, support this motion. I think it is a long time coming. I just wanted to thank the constituency assistants that keep our office operations going. You know, they also serve as the link to our communities and our ridings, so I wanted to say thank you for the constituency assistants who man our offices when we are not there. I think this is just timely, and I support it. It goes a long way in terms of helping our people who work for this institution, and it should have been done years ago. It just helps the small communities, especially the economy where jobs are very hard to come by. For those reasons, I support this step towards bringing benefits to our constituency assistants. Mahsi.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. Nadli. Next, we have Mr. McNeely.