This is page numbers 5649 - 5680 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 information.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Green, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Robert McLeod, Mr. McNeely, Hon. Alfred Moses, Mr. Nadli, Mr. Nakimayak, Mr. O'Reilly, Hon. Wally Schumann, Hon. Louis Sebert, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Testart, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Vanthuyne

The House met at 1:32 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 5649

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Ministers' statements. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Minister's Statement 189-18(3): Senior Citizens' Month
Ministers' Statements

Page 5649

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. June is Senior Citizens' Month. As the Minister responsible for Seniors, I want to encourage all Northerners to join me in recognizing and celebrating the valuable contributions that seniors and elders make within our families and our communities.

With a focus on aging in place, the Government of the Northwest Territories has made it a priority to help seniors and elders live in their own homes for as long as possible by ensuring that the right kinds of supports are available to them.

For its part, the Department of Health and Social Services continues to make progress to advance the Continuing Care Services Action Plan, with a strong commitment to supporting healthy aging and enhancing home and community care services for our territory's aging population. The department is currently working on the Home and Community Care Review, which will help build a roadmap for where and how to make investments in homecare to help support aging in place. This work includes reviewing gaps in services for each region and community in the Northwest Territories, analyzing demand, and jurisdictional reviews of models and protocols.

I have said it before in this House, Mr. Speaker: seniors and elders are the fastest-growing segment of our population, and one of the challenges that we face is limited access to suitable or affordable housing across the territory.

On this front, our government is making steady progress in the right direction. The NWT Housing Corporation recently completed and released a Seniors Planning Study that provides an overview of the current seniors' population and housing context in the Northwest Territories. Key findings of the study indicate that many seniors in the NWT face core housing issues. Armed with this information, the NWT Housing Corporation is looking at ways to improve the delivery of the Contributing Assistance for Repairs and Enhancements, also known as CARE Program, such as using local housing authorities to deliver repair and maintenance services in communities.

Improving how we deliver programs and supports to elders and seniors is important, but equally important is continuing to work closely with our Indigenous governments and community partners to improve supports for senior housing in our territory.

Mr. Speaker, there are two additional days of recognition within Senior Citizen's Month that I would like to highlight, as well. June 1st is Intergenerational Day, which is a day for all of us to reflect on the importance of embracing intergenerational relationships in our communities and our homes. We know that fostering healthy and respectful connections between people of all ages improves our ability to share traditional knowledge and culture, build resiliency, create safer communities, and address social isolation.

To support these efforts, the Departments of Health and Social Services and Municipal and Community Affairs are funding a three-year pilot project, Generations on the Move, led by the NWT Seniors' Society in partnership with the NWT Recreation and Parks Association. The project is designed to encourage healthy aging through intergenerational connections and to increase active living opportunities for older adults in our smaller NWT communities. Currently, the communities of Ulukhaktok, Fort Simpson, Whati, Hay River, and Fort Providence are delivering intergenerational projects with this funding.

June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Raising public awareness about the abuse and neglect of seniors and elders is the first of many steps in preventing elder abuse. Elder abuse comes in various forms, not just physical abuse. For elders struggling with some of these forms of abuse, the Department of Health and Social Services continues to offer a confidential, free, 24-hour NWT helpline offering counselling support for residents of all ages in need. We are also working to increase awareness through the department's What Will It Take campaign. This past winter we developed a video featuring a local Fort Good Hope elder that depicts the but damaging effects of financial elder abuse. This was played in the Yellowknife Theatre, is available online, and there are upcoming plans for promoting this campaign again throughout Senior Citizens' Month.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to recognize the commitment to elder abuse prevention by the NWT Seniors' Society. Leading various elder abuse prevention initiatives, such as providing the It's Not Right workshop on identifying abuse and how to help older adults at risk, the NWT Seniors' Society has advocated passionately to raise the profile of this important social issue that is present in our homes and our communities. They also have a toll-free Seniors' Information Line for questions specific to issues and topics of interest to seniors and to elders. We are pleased to be working with them on various initiatives and are truly grateful for their dedication towards eradicating the abuse of NWT's aging population.

Through strong relationships with our partners, our government aims to provide high-quality programs and services that best support our seniors and elders. Together with our commitment to aging in place, we are creating a future where seniors and elders can remain safe, independent, and actively engaged in their home communities for as long as possible.

I would like to take a moment to thank all of those involved in enhancing the lives of our territory's aging population. From dedicated individuals to entire organizations, your efforts do not go unseen or unappreciated. During Senior Citizens' Month, and on Intergenerational Day and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I encourage all residents to celebrate the important role that our seniors and elders have in our communities and our lives. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 189-18(3): Senior Citizens' Month
Ministers' Statements

Page 5650

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister's statements. Minister for Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Minister's Statement 190-18(3): Summer Highway Construction Season
Ministers' Statements

Page 5650

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, our government is following through on its mandate commitment to strengthen connections with our public and private sector partners to secure funding for strategic infrastructure projects across the Northwest Territories. Investments in our public highway systems help to connect communities, improve public safety, ensure the efficient delivery of essential goods and services, support tourism, increase our resiliency to climate change, reduce the cost of living, and create training and employment opportunities. Investments also help attract interest from industry in the exploration and development of natural resources and pave the way for further economic opportunities.

Mr. Speaker, residents and visitors can expect another busy highway construction season this summer. In fact, a total of $75 million in improvements will be made to eight highways, two bridges, and five access roads.

In the South Slave region, a number of improvements are planned for Highway No.1. A section of the highway will be reconstructed, which includes crushing and stockpiling material, hauling gravel, widening the highway embankment, replacing culverts, and clearing bushes and trees from the right of way. This will be a multi-year project, with work expected to be completed by July 2020.

Between Hay River and Fort Smith, two sections of Highway No. 5 will be chipsealed, which will mean a much smoother drive for the motorists. On Highway No. 6, also known as the Fort Resolution Highway, chipsealing will be carried out in two sections.

Mr. Speaker, in the North Slave region, improvements will also be carried out on 12 kilometres of Highway No. 3. This project will include levelling and compacting the existing road surface, crushing and stockpiling material, hauling gravel, and replacing culverts. A section of the highway will also be chipsealed. Work is expected to be carried over the next year and be completed by August 2020.

Further north on Highway No. 4, also known as the Ingraham Trail, roughly 4 kilometres will be reconstructed. We will also be crushing and stockpiling material, hauling gravel, widening the highway embankment, and replacing culverts.

In the Dehcho region, reconstruction work will take place this summer and fall on Highway No. 7, also known as the Liard Highway. This project is currently in the permitting phase, but we expect a section of the highway will be reconstructed. Work is expected to include crushing and stockpiling material, gravel hauling, embankment widening, and culvert replacements.

In the Beaufort Delta region, some construction work will be taking place on Highway No. 8, better known as the Dempster Highway. Reconstruction will take place along 2 kilometres of the highway. Two culverts will also be replaced. On Highway No. 10, the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway, one culvert will be replaced.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to highway improvements, we will also be undertaking improvements to five access roads, which ensure we can connect communities to our main highway system. Overall, we will be improving approximately 26 kilometres of access roads.

In the Beaufort Delta, a section of the Inuvik Airport Access Road and Hospital Hill Drive will be reconstructed. In the South Slave, the Hay River Reserve Access Road will be repaired and chipsealed. In the North Slave, the Rae Access Road will be upgraded. In the Dehcho region, a section of the Jean Marie River access road will be resurfaced.

Mr. Speaker, we have two major bridge projects scheduled this year. The Hay River to Pine Point Bridge is currently undergoing rehabilitation. This project is expected to be concluded in October 2019 and will bring a number of benefits for commercial drivers, such as no overhead restrictions. On the Mackenzie Valley winter road, the approaches to Blackwater Bridge will be improved, improving the effectiveness of the winter road.

As the construction season begins, I would like to thank the dedicated workers who put in long hours to maintain and improve our highway system. Your work is essential to the North. I would like also to remind drivers to watch for highway crews and slow down in construction zones, and obey the signs and flag persons along the highway.

Mr. Speaker, our government will continue to work closely with all of our public and private sector partners so we can continue to build a transportation network that meets the current needs of our citizens and the needs of generations to come. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 190-18(3): Summer Highway Construction Season
Ministers' Statements

Page 5651

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Justice.

Minister's Statement 191-18(3): Programs Available to Inmates in NWT Correctional Facilities
Ministers' Statements

Page 5651

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, our government committed in its mandate to pursue innovative ways to prevent and reduce crime. Today, I want to share with you progress on this work, as well as offer clarity about the way programming is provided to both sentenced and remanded inmates here in the Northwest Territories.

Following the release of the 2015 Auditor General's report on the Corrections Service, the Department of Justice underwent a full review of the programs and services provided to individuals in the care and custody of the Corrections Service. In this review, the department considered feedback from Members of the Legislative Assembly, past and present inmates, and the recommendations from the 2015 Auditor's report.

This review highlighted programs being delivered in our facilities needed more attention to address the reasons individuals found themselves in contact with the criminal justice system. We also found that substance abuse is the most prevalent issue requiring intervention. As well, violence, sexual offences, and relationship violence were issues also identified. Most importantly, we found that the lengthy programing being provided based on federal correctional designs did not meet the needs of our inmates and offenders due to the short time most of them are in our facilities. As a result of these findings, the Corrections Service made fundamental changes to create a new program model in 2016, including ensuring that both remanded and sentenced offenders were able to access programming. Programs were designed to target areas of substance abuse, violence, and relationship violence.

The new model addressing the likely causes to criminal behaviour was developed to be delivered not only in corrections facilities, but also throughout the territories in the community probation offices. Programs at our corrections facilities recognize the importance of Indigenous cultures and traditions. The Substance Abuse Management, Violence Prevention, Living without Violence, and the Respectful Relationships programs are all evidence-based programs aimed at supporting inmates to become aware of the triggers that lead them to engage in unhealthy and unsafe behaviours. All NWT corrections programs integrated Indigenous culture and traditions in the way they are delivered. This is accomplished through the input of elders, traditional liaison officers, and Indigenous staff.

Since 2016, over 500 participants have successfully completed programs using this new model. Community probation offices have delivered 47 programs in 12 different communities in the NWT, which has resulted in 133 community clients successfully completing programs to target their identified needs.

Since its launch in 2016, the Substance Abuse Management program has been delivered 64 times, including 30 times in probation offices in Yellowknife, Behchoko, Whati, Hay River, Fort Providence, Fort Liard, Fort Simpson, Fort Resolution, Fort Smith, Inuvik, Fort Good Hope, and Fort McPherson. The Corrections Service also delivers these programs specifically for women at the Fort Smith Correctional Complex Women's Unit and the Yellowknife probation office.

Since its launch in 2017, the Violence Prevention and Living Without Violence program has been delivered 38 times, including 12 times in probation offices in Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith, Inuvik, Fort Good Hope, and Fort McPherson.

Since its launch in 2017, the Respectful Relationships program has been delivered 21 times, including 10 times in probation offices in Yellowknife, Behchoko, Hay River, Fort Liard, and Inuvik.

As of March 2019, the department has implemented the Northern Addictions Sessions at the South Mackenzie Correctional Centre. Reports and feedback have been positive for this delivery model. Work is currently under way in the development of the Northern Violence Prevention and Northern Healthy Relationships sessions, which will be delivered with the Living Without Violence and Respectful Relationships program.

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the importance of providing a method of continuous learning, development, and practice of cognitive, behavioural, and social skills programming, which is why our dedicated staff have developed a maintenance program targeting those offenders who have completed one or more of the programs that address the causes of criminal behaviour.

Changes have been made to the release planning process that make it possible for case managers to look for community programming options for inmates upon release. Where possible, clients are matched with similar programming so that they can continue to build the skills that are needed to prevent and reduce crime and harm in their lives.

We recognize the importance of offering programs and opportunities that support inmates in meeting their educational goals. Inmates have access to programming that includes adult literacy, basic education and upgrading, high school and exam preparation, trades exam preparation, life and employment ready skills, and assistance with pursuing or registration into post-secondary studies.

I am pleased to report that, over the past year, approximately 130 inmates have accessed the educational programming available within our adult correctional facilities.

Mr. Speaker, our goal is to prepare inmates for their rehabilitation and reintegration back into their communities. The Department of Justice continues to ensure that the programming and supports that we offer help to address the individual needs of offenders. Through the efforts of our dedicated Corrections Service staff and the continued partnerships that we have with other departments and stakeholders, we are making a difference in lives of Northerners and are helping to create safer, healthier communities in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 191-18(3): Programs Available to Inmates in NWT Correctional Facilities
Ministers' Statements

Page 5652

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Minister's Statement 192-18(3): Northern Pathways to Housing in Behchoko
Ministers' Statements

Page 5652

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has worked hard to meet the commitments made by this government to advance affordable housing and address homelessness during the 18th Legislative Assembly.

In addressing this priority, we resolved to use northern solutions for northern housing. One example is the Northern Pathways to Housing Program, an innovative approach to addressing homelessness in small communities.

We all know that there is homelessness in our communities. We know there are overcrowded houses where people couch-surf because they do not have a home of their own. Research tells us that the chances of addressing the issues that lead to homelessness, mental health, addictions, and other social issues, are better when you have stable housing.

The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation is working with community groups to develop, design, and implement supportive housing for our residents through the Northern Pathways to Housing Program. The program involves providing four apartment-style single room units to community partners, along with funding support to pay for the additional costs associated with the operation of a supportive housing program.

The community partner works with the program participants to maintain their housing stability and respond to their particular needs. This support includes connecting them with available services and resources from community agencies. The community partner chooses the program participants through a committee. The program allows the community to prioritize the needs that they see as the most urgent.

Our experience with the Liidlii Kue First Nation and the Aklavik Indian Band is proving that this model makes a difference in peoples' lives. I want to thank those two groups for their dedication and vision.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that a third Northern Pathways to Housing Program is starting in Behchoko. Through engagement with the Tlicho Government and the Community Government of Behchoko, the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has selected the Behchoko Friendship Centre as the community partner that will deliver the program in Behchoko. I anticipate being in Behchoko in June to celebrate the project with community residents and government leaders.

The Northern Pathways to Housing Program is one of a kind. It takes the philosophy of Housing First, an approach utilized across North America, but tailors it for the Northwest Territories. This truly is a northern solution for northern housing. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 192-18(3): Northern Pathways to Housing in Behchoko
Ministers' Statements

Page 5653

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Minister's Statement 192-18(3): Northern Pathways to Housing in Behchoko
Ministers' Statements

Page 5653

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to move item 5 as the next order of business today. Thank you.

---Unanimous consent granted

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

Page 5653

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, colleagues, for agreeing to that change. Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure today to welcome to the House a number of women who participated in a series of workshops called Women on the Ballot through the winter, which were presented here in Yellowknife. They are Caitlin Cleveland, Megan Holsapple, Kate Reid, Jan Vallilee, Katrina Nockleby, and Michelle Ramsay. I hope that they will, in fact, be women on the ballot this fall, and I thank them for coming and seeing what happens in this Chamber today. Thank you.

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

Page 5653

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Great Slave.

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

Page 5653

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to welcome the following people from the NWT Seniors Society who are with us in the Chamber today: John Soderberg, who is the treasurer of the NWT Seniors' Society, and Suzette Montreuil, who is the executive director of the NWT Seniors' Society. I would also like to recognize Katrina Nockleby, who is a resident of the Great Slave riding. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.