This is page numbers 5839 - 16 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 work. View the webstream of the day's session.

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Question 780-18(3): Elder Forced Out of Home into Facility
Oral Questions

Page 5857

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

As I mentioned in my statement, I am happy to have these elders' facilities in my riding, and we do have elders who are looking forward to moving into these facilities, but we also have elders that enjoy being independent. In one of my other communities, I have an elder who is in her 90's who lives by herself with a wood stove, and hauls her own wood into her home, and she enjoys that. Will the department work with my elder in Aklavik and not force her against her will to move to the elders' home? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 780-18(3): Elder Forced Out of Home into Facility
Oral Questions

Page 5858

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

In short, yes, we will. We will work with the Member as well as leaders. We just had a housing summit up in Inuvik, and we had a lot of really good discussions on all the housing issues throughout the Northwest Territories. As you know, we are developing these community housing plans, and the leaders and the stakeholders and community members can tell us what their priorities are. We'll work with them to address them, and we do know that our elders are very important. They're the holders of our cultures, our traditions, our languages, and we want to make sure that we support them so that they can support us and support our youth and the ongoing traditions and cultures of our people.

Question 780-18(3): Elder Forced Out of Home into Facility
Oral Questions

Page 5858

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Deh Cho.

Question 781-18(3): Health Services Issues in the Deh Cho
Oral Questions

June 6th, 2019

Page 5858

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Masi, Mr. Speaker. I recall about two decades ago, people from the Dehcho communities decided and wanted to establish health boards so that they could have more local control of their health services within the region. That was two decades ago.

When people go to the health centre, they're seeking help. Most of the time, they want help in terms of critical care that they might need in emergency situations, or simply, diagnosis of their conditions. My questions are to the Minister of Health and Social Services: how are patients' experiences with healthcare services being monitored for quality control, and what is being done to improve patient experiences? Mahsi.

Question 781-18(3): Health Services Issues in the Deh Cho
Oral Questions

Page 5858

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Question 781-18(3): Health Services Issues in the Deh Cho
Oral Questions

Page 5858

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I've been talking about quality assurance and quality control within the Territorial Health Authority for a number of years now. This is something that needs to be done. We need to have mechanisms whereby we can hear what the residents are telling us, both good experiences and bad experiences. When they have a bad experience, we need to be able to look into that experience and actually come up with recommendations, how to improve and change.

I did listen very closely to the Member's statement earlier today when he was talking about some of the frustration that his residents were having, and it is troubling to hear, but it is very real that some people don't trust the healthcare system. Trust is hard to earn, but it's easy to destroy. In the Northwest Territories, we have many Indigenous residents who don't trust the healthcare system for multiple reasons, whether it's residential school or other long-term situations. There is a trust issue. I would encourage the Member, and I would encourage all MLAs to work with the residents, to encourage them to engage with our quality assurance processes.

We know that we're still growing in this area. We're making some changes to try and strengthen and make it a little more accessible. We're currently working on establishing an office of patient relations that will give patients help actually navigating their way through the system, including helping guide them to quality assurance. Please, please, all Members, residents, please utilize our quality assurance process. It's an awesome way for us to learn, to listen, and to find ways to improve.

At a regional level, we still have regional wellness councils, which is a body that is able to bring us advice on what they're hearing from their communities and bring it back to their communities. There is a board member of the regional wellness council who now sits on the chair to our Health and Social Services Authority. Now the region has a voice at a territorial table that they've never had before, and that is as a result of moving to a single authority.

Question 781-18(3): Health Services Issues in the Deh Cho
Oral Questions

Page 5858

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

There are some instances where patients or constituents of mine had to have family members drive them out of the community and visit other hospitals or health centres just to get a proper diagnosis. My question to the Minister is: what support is available to residents of the NWT if they must seek a second opinion outside of their community?

Question 781-18(3): Health Services Issues in the Deh Cho
Oral Questions

Page 5858

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

This is a good question, an it's important to note that every resident in the Northwest Territories, in fact, every resident of Canada, has a right to a second opinion if they're not happy with the information or the prognosis or the diagnosis that has been provided to them by their healthcare practitioner.

Obviously, in a smaller community, sometimes it can be more complicated because there may only be one or two community health nurses or NP's available, so they will have to come out of community. We don't provide medical travel support and those types of services for somebody who is seeking a second opinion. If they do go out on their own and seek a second opinion, for instance, if an individual from Fort Providence were to go to Hay River, visit a doctor there, and get a different diagnosis than the one that they had, we would be willing to cover that person's travel to and from that community using our medical travel rates. If the diagnosis comes back the same, obviously, we wouldn't be in the same position. If a new diagnosis comes, we're happy to cover that individual's expenses using our medical travel program.

Question 781-18(3): Health Services Issues in the Deh Cho
Oral Questions

Page 5859

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

My other question is: what progress has been made towards the living healthcare services in Indigenous languages?

Question 781-18(3): Health Services Issues in the Deh Cho
Oral Questions

Page 5859

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

As a health system and as a government, we have introduced many ways to ensure that our clients and patients are able to receive care in the most appropriate way, which obviously includes in their own language. Our preferred approach would be to have staff interpreters who speak the language of the population that we serve, so different languages in different regions. However, unfortunately, this isn't always possible.

The NWT Health and Social Services Authority has an Indigenous wellness unit that focuses on or ability to deliver care in many languages throughout the Northwest Territories, and we have Indigenous patient liaisons who are integral in our efforts to actually meet the needs that the Member is describing. In regional centres, we have access to patient liaisons, and also have clerk interpreter positions that are available to ensure that the patient has access to quality patient care. We struggle in some regions. We are effective in other regions. We're always looking for ways to improve the services we're providing here, and finding ways to work with communities to make sure that there are people available who can provide those services when our residents come in and want their services provided in their traditional languages.

Question 781-18(3): Health Services Issues in the Deh Cho
Oral Questions

Page 5859

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Final oral question. Member for Deh Cho.

Question 781-18(3): Health Services Issues in the Deh Cho
Oral Questions

Page 5859

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Everyone is pretty well aware that there's a new health hospital here in Yellowknife, and it's been an interest of elders to continue the diets, and one of them is country foods. My question is: what arrangements are being made to ensure that patients have a choice of country food, especially elderly patients? Mahsi.

Question 781-18(3): Health Services Issues in the Deh Cho
Oral Questions

Page 5859

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

I did have an opportunity to speak about this exact issue earlier in this sitting. In the new Stanton, we do have the ability to prepare country foods. We've put in flash freezers and other tools that will actually help us prepare. Unfortunately, we're not going to be able to go live with this new program at Stanton until July. Right now, we're working to help train up our contractors who provide food services, to make sure that they are aware of how to do this. They will be visiting places like the Yukon hospital that actually already does a really good job in this area, and we are looking forward to seeing traditional foods available in Stanton Territorial Hospital in July. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 781-18(3): Health Services Issues in the Deh Cho
Oral Questions

Page 5859

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 782-18(3): Ability to Enforce Fire Bans
Oral Questions

Page 5859

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are for the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources. Mr. Speaker, I understand from the questions that I posed to the Minister on Tuesday that, under the current suite of forestry acts, ENR officers do not have any real powers to enforce fire bans in the hinterland, so unlike the powers that enforcement personnel have currently with regard to parks and let's say even within municipalities.

Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear. I understand the need that, when some folks are on the land, they may need fire for heat and they definitely may need fire to cook food. So, notwithstanding that, let's use the example of a large bonfire outside a park. Can the Minister tell me what sort of powers are contemplated for ENR and other law enforcement personnel in the Forest Act that is under development? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.