This is page numbers 5713 - 5790 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 women. View the webstream of the day's session.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Mr. Beaulieu, Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Green, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, 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 1:30 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 5713

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, colleagues. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Deputy Premier.

Minister's Statement 197-18(3): Minister Absent from the House
Ministers' Statements

Page 5713

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Premier will be absent from the House today until Thursday, June 6, to attend the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in Juno Beach, Normandy, France. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 197-18(3): Minister Absent from the House
Ministers' Statements

Page 5713

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister Responsible for the Status of Women.

Minister's Statement 198-18(3): National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Ministers' Statements

Page 5713

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to honour the important work carried out by the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The inquiry was established by the Government of Canada along with all provincial and territorial governments in response to public outcry about the alarming number of Indigenous women and girls who are known to be missing or murdered.

The National Inquiry was tasked with exploring and reporting on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls. They were required to examine the underlying social, economic, cultural, institutional, and historical causes that contribute to the ongoing violence against, and the particular vulnerabilities of, Indigenous women and girls in Canada. As well, they were mandated to look into and report on existing institutional policies and practices to address violence, including those shown effective in reducing violence and increasing safety.

The National Inquiry began holding hearings across Canada in 2016. The hearings, called "Truth Gathering Processes," heard from family members, survivors, community members, experts, elders, and Knowledge Keepers. In the interim report tabled in October 2017, the National Inquiry noted that they were being urged to include Indigenous women who identified as 2SLGBTQQIA, that is, Two-Spirited, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, or asexual. The National Inquiry agreed to honour this request.

In March 2018, the National Inquiry held a public hearing in Yellowknife where family members and survivors shared their stories and experiences. The Government of the Northwest Territories was granted "party with standing" status and made presentations at separate expert hearings. The inquiry's work in the Northwest Territories was supported by the inquiry's National Family Advisory Circle, the GNWT, and the NWT Native Women's Association.

Mr. Speaker, Indigenous women and girls throughout Canada, along with their allies, have been waiting anxiously to see the final recommendations. On Monday, June 3rd, I had the honour of attending the historic event releasing the National Inquiry's final report in Gatineau, Quebec.

This was, in many ways, a solemn occasion. Identifying the root causes of the disproportionate rates of violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people requires us to look at hard truths. At the heart of the truth gathering process, and of the Inquiry itself, are the painful stories of families and survivors. Their stories shed light upon aspects of Canadian society that many are reluctant to accept. Doing so is a necessary step in finding our way forward.

Mr. Speaker, this occasion was also a celebration of the resilience of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. They have persevered in the face of violence that has clearly been happening for a long, long time. We must demonstrate our commitment to ending this violence by commemorating the lives and legacies of those that have been taken and ensure that they are not forgotten. We must also support healing, advance reconciliation, and raise public awareness. We must keep this issue at the forefront of people's minds and consistently convey another truth: that Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals are valued, loved, and worthy of justice.

The release of the key findings and recommendations of the National Inquiry marks the end of their work and the beginning of ours. We have been given a catalyst for change and a path to achieve it. Together, through the combined efforts of individuals, communities, and all levels of government, we can end this violence. I look forward to reviewing the recommendations and working with my counterparts across Canada to address this issue.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to conclude my statement by acknowledging the courage and resilience of the family members and survivors who took the time to share their experiences and their stories. I am sure that it was painful, but we are all sincerely grateful for their contributions to the healing journey before us. Masi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 198-18(3): National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Ministers' Statements

Page 5714

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Minister's Statement 199-18(3): Mental Wellness and Addictions Recovery Action Plan
Ministers' Statements

Page 5714

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Many Northerners continue to be held back by mental health and addictions, which is why the 18th Legislative Assembly made it a priority to focus on mental wellness and addictions recovery. Today I would like to update Members on a significant milestone that we have achieved towards making sure that NWT residents who need mental wellness and addictions services can get the help they need locally and through culturally appropriate methods.

In November 2016, the Department of Health and Social Services released Mind and Spirit: Promoting Mental Health and Addictions Recovery in the Northwest Territories Strategic Framework. This strategic framework has helped set the direction and focus all of our efforts in these areas since it was released. The first big deliverable to come out from the framework was the Child and Youth Mental Wellness Action Plan, which was tabled in September 2017. Later today, Mr. Speaker, I will be tabling the final deliverable under the strategic framework, the Mental Wellness and Addictions Recovery Action Plan.

The Mental Wellness and Addictions Recovery Action Plan outlines the immediate steps to be taken to ensure that individuals and families are offered services and supports that foster hope, promote self-determination, and build partnerships that support mental wellness and addictions recovery, and respect the uniqueness of each person's journey.

To achieve this goal, we have identified four main objectives with corresponding actions that we will work to achieve over the next two years. The four objectives are:

  • Reduce stigma and increase awareness and prevention;
  • Increase supports and transform the culture of practice within the mental wellness and addictions recovery system to more fully reflect a Seamless Care Pathway Model;
  • Improve quality, coordination, and integration of services; and
  • Strengthen peer support, aftercare, and community-based options for people living with addictions.

Mr. Speaker, this is a two-year action plan containing concrete and measurable activities that, taken together, aim to make a positive difference in the lives of residents who are facing mental health and addictions challenges. Our action plan will also set the foundation for expanded services to our residents going forward.

A few examples of the types of activities that our government and partners will do to support our objectives include:

  • developing and implementing new approaches for providing NWT residents with information about mental wellness and addictions recovery services and supports;
  • enhancing access and expanding service options for clients by implementing e-mental health options for individuals and families and by introducing flexible scheduling options like walk-in and same-day appointments;
  • improving support for individuals working to overcome addiction by implementing territory-wide peer support options, including online approaches; and
  • We will listen to the voices of Northerners with lived experience by developing a Mental Wellness and Addictions Recovery Advisory Council. The feedback the advisory council will give us will be used to help implement a Seamless Care Pathway model and other initiatives.

Mr. Speaker, the actions included in our action plan were identified through research, interdepartmental collaboration, and consultation with NGOs, experts, and individuals with lived and living experience with mental wellness and addictions throughout the Northwest Territories. These are forward-thinking and responsive actions, based on the reality of what it means to be facing these challenges here in the Northwest Territories.

As a government, we have listened to our residents and their calls for better ways to support mental wellness and addictions recovery. We have worked passionately with our partners and stakeholders to create targeted plans to bring real improvements to the way that we deliver services. Together, we are better positioned to help our residents get the culturally informed, person-and-family-centered support that we know is at the heart of a healthy, strong Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 199-18(3): Mental Wellness and Addictions Recovery Action Plan
Ministers' Statements

Page 5715

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Minister's Statement 200-18(3): Northwest Territories 911 Implementation Update
Ministers' Statements

Page 5715

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This government is committed to improving access to emergency services and enhancing community wellness and safety through the rollout of the 911 service in all 33 communities.

The three-digit telephone number "911" is known as the number to call in emergencies throughout North America. The 911 service gives the public fast and easy access to our communities' emergency services in situations when someone's health, safety, or property is in jeopardy or when a crime is in progress.

There have been several emergency situations over the years and across the territory where having a 911 service would have improved response times and, in some cases, even saved lives.

The days of residents and visitors to the Northwest Territories not knowing how to contact community emergency services will finally come to an end. I am pleased to announce that, as of November 2019, our residents and visitors will be able to call 911 from every community in the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs is working diligently to complete all the tasks needed to get the systems and processes in place to ensure 911 works for all of our residents on the first day of operation.

This month, 911 staff will work with each community government to make sure local emergency referral information is correct. They will be able to answer any questions that communities may have about the standard call transfer processes of the 911 service.

The Emergency Communications Centre will be ready, and the Med-Response program and 911 management staff will move in. As Members will recall, the Med-Response program provides dedicated clinical staff who respond to calls 24 hours a day to help community health practitioners stabilize critical patients. They will assess patients and dispatch medevac flights quickly when needed. It makes sense to co-locate this service with the 911 service.

Recruitment will begin this month, as well, for the 911 bilingual emergency medical dispatcher positions. These positions are critical for systems operations.

The Northwest Territories 911 Act was passed and received assent in March. The act was a significant milestone in the implementation of the 911 program. Municipal and Community Affairs staff are now working on the regulations necessary for the collection and remittance of the cost recovery fees by telecommunication companies. We anticipate having these regulations completed by the end of June.

Mr. Speaker, over the summer months and into September, the final 911 system will be installed. Rigorous territorial-wide telecommunications testing will begin with NorthwesTel to ensure systems work as they should from every community. On September 3, 2019, the 911 dispatchers will begin their intensive training and support of systems testing, which will continue until the "go live" date.

Once 911 is live, there will be an awareness campaign in the media and direct mail to resident's homes, as well as signage for every Government of the Northwest Territories and municipal building in the Northwest Territories. Until then, members of the public should call the existing emergency numbers in their communities.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy once again to confirm the NWT 911 service will be "going live" for every community in the Northwest Territories in November 2019. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 200-18(3): Northwest Territories 911 Implementation Update
Ministers' Statements

Page 5715

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Minister's Statement 201-18(3): Introduction of the NWT Manufacturing Strategy
Ministers' Statements

Page 5716

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories made a mandate commitment to develop a northern manufacturing strategy in collaboration with industry and the NWT's Manufacturers Association.

I am pleased today to table the Northwest Territories Manufacturing Strategy for diversifying our economy. The strategy was developed with extensive input from the public, Chambers of Commerce, businesses, and, most importantly, the NWT Manufacturers Association.

In a thorough engagement campaign, stakeholders from every region of the NWT contributed feedback which our staff considered and included throughout this strategy. We took a very collaborative approach that included MLAs, and I would like to thank the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment for sending two representatives, the Member for Yellowknife North and the Member for Hay River North, to participate in one of our key engagement sessions with the NWT Manufacturers Association this past November.

Mr. Speaker, the strategy defines a series of actions to enhance and grow this high potential sector of our economy.

These actions address four key objectives:

  • establishing a strong manufacturing association and sector;
  • improving manufacturer access to information, services, and capital;
  • renewing the Northern Manufactured Products Policy; and
  • growing the manufacturing sector.

Seventeen actions under these four objectives will be implemented over the next five years in partnership with the NWT Manufacturers Association.

The intent is to achieve some ambitious results as we put this strategy into action. We're aiming for an increase in manufacturing sales of 25 percent in the first three years. Within five years, we want to see a further 25 percent increase in sales and improve labour participation in the sector. Essential to the success of this strategy will be the continued partnership of our Manufacturers Association. To that end, we're bringing them into the implementation process on an ongoing basis. We've committed to reviewing this strategy annually with the stakeholders we aim to support, and adjusting our path as required to meet the evolving needs of this sector.

Mr. Speaker, this is just the latest follow-up to our Economic Opportunities Strategy, the document defining how we've approached economic diversification over the last five years. It joins our commercial fishing revitalization, agriculture, and film strategies in setting out sector-specific plans to address our economic priorities beyond the resource industries.

This strategy is just one way we've supported a stronger manufacturing sector throughout this Legislative Assembly. We're in the midst of building a fish processing plant to support a revitalized commercial fishing industry, and we finalized changes to our Diamond Policy Framework, opening the door for creative diamond manufacturing operations to grow our territory's economy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 201-18(3): Introduction of the NWT Manufacturing Strategy
Ministers' Statements

Page 5716

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Minister's Statement 201-18(3): Introduction of the NWT Manufacturing Strategy
Ministers' Statements

Page 5716

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I would like to seek unanimous consent to move item number 6, recognition of visitors in the gallery, as the next item of business. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

---Unanimous consent granted

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

Page 5716

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Colleagues, I'd like to draw your attention to visitors in the gallery today. [English translation not provided.] I'd just like to welcome the Chief Jimmy Bruneau School students who are here with us. It's always a pleasure to have a young generation with us, future leaders, and we look up to you; and also their teacher, Mr. Cochrane, is here with us. Again, masi for joining us. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Frame Lake.