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

Question 771-18(3): NWT Carbon Tax Implementation Plan
Oral Questions

Page 5746

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

The question has been taken as notice. Oral questions. Member for Deh Cho.

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans
Oral Questions

June 4th, 2019

Page 5746

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are to the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. Recently, we witnessed what transpired over the start of early spring in Alberta. We saw forest fires, and then recently we saw perhaps a weather anomaly, and that was a report of a tornado in Fort Smith. We have experienced some natural disasters up here in the Northwest Territories, including floods, so my questions are related to trying to understand just how this government works with communities in terms of preparing emergency plans. My questions are, of course, to the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. ENR goes through a process of determining valleys at risk and working with communities, so my question is to the Minister: how many communities have completed their emergency plans such as evacuations? Mahsi.

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans
Oral Questions

Page 5746

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans
Oral Questions

Page 5746

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all, I would just like to update Members and residents and/or other leaders across the NWT that the Emergency Management Act requires communities to prepare and approve emergency plans and programs. MACA does administer a number of activities and tools to help community governments. As well, regional offices maintain adequate emergency capacity, including emergency planning workshops and desktop emergency plan reviews. We will continue to do that. I would like to update the Member that, as of March 2019, we have had nine community governments that have emergency plans validated in the past two years and 21 community governments that have plans that are less than five years old. Since 2012, we have 31 community governments that have participated in emergency planning workshops and/or tabletop exercises to update and validate their emergency plans.

In 2019-2020, we are looking at conducting five workshops throughout the Northwest Territories, but this is a partnership-building exercise, and we do provide the services, but we do need communities to work with us and update and work on their community plans. I appreciate the Member's comments in terms of the dry season in the South Slave area.

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans
Oral Questions

Page 5746

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

This government has advanced some good initiatives, including what was recently beneficial for one of my communities in the Deh Cho riding. Enterprise has stepped up, has worked with both levels of government, including ENR and MACA, to try to advance the idea of their FireSmart project, and kudos to both the local government in Enterprise and ENR, as well. I just wanted to understand whether the program in terms of the FireSmart initiative has been successful. I think it's a well-intended initiative. I just wanted to understand the role of MACA. What role would MACA play in terms of rolling out this FireSmart program with ENR? Because what we have seen in the past is we had, during the forest fire season, bulldozers create fire guards, but can we undertake FireSmart initiatives and be involved with the local government to ensure the aesthetics in the communities that have really beautiful scenery are maintained?

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans
Oral Questions

Page 5746

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

As previously mentioned, our regional office engages with communities on emergency plan requirements and implementation of a process for systematic annual review of all community emergency plans. Also, as I mentioned earlier, we are looking at doing five workshops in the upcoming year. We do work with the Department of ENR, as well as Lands, and, more importantly, working with the community governments to help them update their plans and to make sure that we do a review of that. One of the programs that we have developed, and we have already had discussions in this House about, is the Small Community Employment Program that communities get funding for. I know that some communities have used that funding to do FireSmart programs. We will continue to promote this, especially when we do have a dry season.

With what is happening in Alberta and northern BC, as well as the Yukon, we have to make sure that our residents and our communities are safe.

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans
Oral Questions

Page 5746

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

With the last experience in the 2014 fire season, MACA recently restructured the civil and emergency organizations that address these kinds of situations. What other changes came about because of the 2014 fire season?

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans
Oral Questions

Page 5747

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

First of all, I think that we did develop a comprehensive set of guidelines to help facilitate community evacuations, should they happen, which covers anything from the roles and responsibilities of people in the community to what resources that we have. We will continue to work on that. I mentioned the statistics earlier about how many communities have emergency plans, within this year, within the last five years. We need to keep them updated, and we need to make sure that all of our communities practice their emergency plans and make sure that, in instances such as the South Slave communities, they don't get caught in a situation with evacuations.

Cross-departmentally, I think, with the government and the federal government, we would be able to make a quick response should something happen, and that is something that is always on our mind and discussed.

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans
Oral Questions

Page 5747

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Deh Cho.

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans
Oral Questions

Page 5747

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Minister did state that there are nine communities that have their emergency plans in place and that, within the year, his department is going to lead the running of five workshops to ensure that other communities complete their emergency measures planning. Could the Minister state to this House whether this is going to be given high priority? We are just seeing the onset of summer. Would that be a very high priority, working along with communities governments? Mahsi.

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans
Oral Questions

Page 5747

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

There are a lot of priorities within the Department of MACA, and this is one of them, especially when it comes to the health and safety of our residents, due to the dry season that we had. Thankfully, we have been getting this rain and even the snow that is helping us out. I want to say that this is something that we will look at. We are not sure what the summer is going to look like, but it is something where we will make sure that all communities, especially in the regions that have dry conditions, we will make sure that we reach out to them and make sure that we have a plan in place with the communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans
Oral Questions

Page 5747

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Question 773-18(3): Third-Party Sexual Assault Reporting
Oral Questions

Page 5747

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister of Justice. In the last couple of years, I have talked about third-party reporting of sexual assaults. In this situation, the victim reports the assault and provides the information to a trained support worker who likely works for a non-profit. She then has a period of time to consider making a formal complaint to the RCMP. In October, and then again in February, the Minister said that his officials and the RCMP are exploring this option. What is the result? Mahsi.

Question 773-18(3): Third-Party Sexual Assault Reporting
Oral Questions

Page 5747

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Justice.

Question 773-18(3): Third-Party Sexual Assault Reporting
Oral Questions

Page 5747

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Member opposite for the question. The Department of Justice, Community Justice and Policing, and RCMP have accepted a proposal to implement third-party reporting of sexual assaults, as well as advocate review of sexual assault files closed without change. We have made progress in this very important matter. We do recognize this as a very serious issue. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.