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.

Topics

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

Page 5457

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you to the Minister for her reply. There is no denying that everybody is very appreciative of the department's support through their programs and subsidies for daycare and childcare. That is very much appreciated. The Minister talked about market communities, but we also have non-market communities. In particular, as the honourable Member from Yellowknife Centre mentioned earlier, we have 11 communities that have no childcare whatsoever. So I would like to ask the Minister: how is the Minister attracting investment in childcare centres in the 11 communities without childcare services?

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

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Eleven communities not having any daycare services, it identifies a problem. It is a bigger problem than that. Many communities, not only do they not have daycares, they don't have any early childhood development support whatsoever. I have said over and over in the House how important it is to have supports for parents and for children. Not all parents have babies and know how to take care of them. I, myself, with my first child, didn't even know how to bathe my baby. We need supports for parents. The 11 communities, however, Mr. Speaker, the majority are smaller communities. The number of children who would be accessing those programs, a licensed daycare centre would not be financially viable for the community to do, so we are really trying to advocate for licensed family daycare homes. Small communities are very community-focused. I have said that many times. We know that there are qualified people who have the right attitude and stuff. We are going to try to support them with the skills. We are actively trying to get people within those communities to provide support. If it can't be a licensed childcare centre, then we are trying to get licensed day homes. Come to us if I can put anything out in the public. Come to us if you are even interested. We will walk you through it. We will help you with the applications. We need to support our children as best as possible.

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

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Again, thank you to the Minister. It sounds like there might be some hope as it relates to possibly starting up at least some daycare homes in some of the communities that have no childcare whatsoever at this time. I would like to mention that this government has been asked in the past to support universal childcare, and, essentially, it has rejected the idea due to the projected annual costs, However, investment in childcare facilities could arguably be a better long-term commitment to the challenges facing adequate childcare, so I would like to ask the Minister: will the Minister make a commitment to bring a department plan forward to her Cabinet colleagues or to FMB to support additional or new funding for critical daycare infrastructure?

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

Page 5458

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Absolutely. One of the mandate commitments actually within this 18th Legislative Assembly developed by all Members, I have to give credit to all everyone, was to develop a plan for accessible daycare, so I have the full intention to fulfill that commitment. It is a commitment not only that I, as the Minister, but also on a personal level, that I think is important, and, at that point, once we have a plan, I am hoping that all Members will support the plan as we move forward.

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

Page 5458

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

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

Page 5458

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the Minister's comments there. What I am talking about a little bit more specifically is about a commitment to funding dollars that will actually go towards building infrastructure like daycare facilities, and so I appreciate that that would have to probably be a new ask because, if you were to take that away currently from the department, then some other program or service might have to suffer. I would like to ask the Minister: the investment in new infrastructure of any kind of course is significant. We all know that. If the department or the government can't make the commitment to new money for childcare infrastructure, can the government find ways to support those groups or individuals who might consider it through the form of, say, grants, guaranteed loans, or even federal matching dollar programs that might be available for new daycare facilities? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Page 5458

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

I do appreciate the Member's acknowledgment that our capital budget is being passed. We are at the end of the Legislative Assembly. There will be no new capital budgets coming forward in the term of this Assembly. I mean we have a 20-year capital plan, so, even when I found out there were difficulties with a roof in a school, it was a stress. I had to go for supplementary funding for that. So there is no extra money at this point to actually provide capital for daycare centres. It is quite expensive. I think that, one, we need to put it in a transition report. I think we need to remember, whoever is in this House the next Assembly, to please put it on a mandate. I think we need to. It is critical. We need to have that, yes, any support we can give. Even with the centre in Yellowknife that was struggling, I met with them personally. I thought of all kinds of ways. Can we give advances towards their operational? Because, like I say, we give between $19 to $50 almost a day. Could we advance that kind of funding to support them? Federally, I am willing to look at. I don't know what they can offer, but I am willing to look at it. I am willing. I give the commitment, that my department will do whatever we can do to support any licensed daycare centre or family daycare centre that is willing to operate in the Northwest Territories, to the best of our ability. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Page 5458

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Sahtu.

Question 699-18(3): National Social Work Month
Oral Questions

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Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. March is National Social Work Month. Social workers play a vital role in our communities by supporting children and families. The inspiration this profession brings to our families is always and will always be recognized. Therefore, my first question to the Minister of Health is: what recognition to commemorate his staff is the department doing? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 699-18(3): National Social Work Month
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Question 699-18(3): National Social Work Month
Oral Questions

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Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The department is providing some funding support to celebrate Social Work Month to all the different health and social services authorities and regional offices here in the Northwest Territories. There are a number of different things that we are doing, and I will just list a couple of the activities rather than going through the comprehensive list. There is a public screening of the National Film Board's film, "We Can't Make the Same Mistakes Twice." It is a very thought-provoking and inspirational film that follows a story of one extraordinary social worker. A health and social services system is asking people to share their personal stories of positive impacts social workers are having on their lives and their communities. Going along with the national theme, and this year the national theme is "real people, real, real impact," a post on the GNWT Bear Net and the Department of Health and Social Services' website, the Northwest Territories' Health and Social Services Authority are highlighting the important work of social workers. There are a bunch of media things happening in that way through our existing websites, and those are to name just a few. There are a number of other things being done, and not just by the GNWT but by other bodies as well, like the social work association, and those types of things.

Question 699-18(3): National Social Work Month
Oral Questions

Page 5458

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thanks to the Minister for paying that respect to that profession and the staff, more importantly in the smaller communities. Would the Minister also commit to sharing at the regional level or the community level the days set aside within the remaining period of this month to recognize the social workers in the smaller communities?

Question 699-18(3): National Social Work Month
Oral Questions

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Glen Abernethy Great Slave

The recognition that we are providing is not just for Yellowknife or the larger centres, but we are recognizing and attempting to recognize the important work that all the social workers do here in the Northwest Territories. Just as a note, not all social workers work for the Government of the Northwest Territories. Some work for the Department of Health, some work for Education, some work for Housing. A lot of social workers are employed by NGOs. I really thank the Member for bringing this up, but it is really important for all of us in this Assembly to thank social workers, and I encourage everybody out there to thank a social worker today for all the important work that they do for residents of the Northwest Territories.

Question 699-18(3): National Social Work Month
Oral Questions

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Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thanks to the Minister for that statement. It is very comforting to know that the endless hours and the challenges this workforce and this staff are doing would be recognized. My next question, then, Mr. Speaker: what advertising for this profession is being done, at the high school level or at the workforce level, to attract that profession?

Question 699-18(3): National Social Work Month
Oral Questions

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Glen Abernethy Great Slave

I am a firm believer that we need to recruit and retain local people for local work. To that end, with respect to the promotion of social workers as a career or a profession, we do have a staffing initiative underway, focusing on the retention and recruitment of social workers in the North, activities to encourage youth to choose a career in a health and social services profession, and include things like promotion of health and social services careers during our community living fairs. It is a great opportunity to get into the communities and talk to people about health, wellness, social services, and careers, so we are using that opportunity. We are providing exposure to a number of school-aged children through Take Our Kids To Work, another opportunity to bring young people in to show them what these jobs are and how valuable they are and the type of difference these individuals can make in the lives of people throughout their communities and territories. We are also supporting our returning social work students with summer employment opportunities in their field of study, and this has been a way of encouraging recruitment and positive experiences in the profession. So we are doing a number of things to encourage people to pursue their profession, and, once they pursue the profession, we are doing things to help them come back and practice in the Northwest Territories.