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.

Topics

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

Page 5859

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Member. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

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

Page 5859

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the proposed Forest Act, the powers that have been contemplated that the officers would have are the ability to stop people when they are burning, for example, putting out campfires or other burning taking place and ask them to put out the fire, or the officer would have the authority to put out the fire themselves. Officers would also have authority to charge people with an offence that might include a fine.

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

Page 5859

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you to the Minister for his reply. The Minister mentioned that it might also include the ability issue a fine. Can the Minister outline what the thinking is on fines and consequences for an improper fire when there is a fire ban on or even when there is not a fire ban on?

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

Page 5860

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

I agree with the Member that there need to be consequences for bad behaviour, and those who do things like that need to be held accountable for it. Having said that, in the proposed Forest Act, regardless of whether it's a fire ban or not, it outlines that individuals can be fined up to $100,000, corporations up to $1 million; fines could be doubled if there is a repeat offence that takes place. It also suggests in the act that, for each day the offence continues, it can count as a separate offence. Courts have the latitude to increase the fines if they feel it is necessary.

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

Page 5860

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you to the Minister for his reply. It certainly gives us some motivation to work extra hard on the Forest Act in the 19th Assembly for those who might return and for those who are new to the Assembly. Many of the forest fires we have are person-caused and, under the current acts, there are no provisions for a person who caused a forest fire to be held liable for their actions. Can the Minister tell this House whether such provisions are being considered in the new Forest Act in this regard?

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

Page 5860

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

I am glad the Member mentioned the 19th Assembly coming in. One of the pieces of advice that I passed on to the department is to try to have all of the work done before the 19th Assembly comes in, and then, once the 19th Assembly comes in, my advice to them would be to take something like this and deal with it right at the onset of the 19th Assembly. We spent a lot of time at the beginning of this Assembly on our 235-item mandate. Then we had the mid-term review. I do not think we really got much going until years three and four, so my advice to the incoming 19th would be to deal with a lot of these important issues right off the bat.

Having said that, again, it is important to note that the NWT does have one of the lowest rates of person-caused fire in the country. The proposed Forest Act ensures that, if anyone is found responsible for a forest fire, they could be held accountable with consequences that do include fines.

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

Page 5860

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Nahendeh.

Question 783-18(3): Standards for Children or Youth in Care Who Go Missing
Oral Questions

June 6th, 2019

Page 5860

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister of Health and Social Services. During my time back home, I have had a couple of concerns brought to my attention, and I have worked with the Minister. I thank him and his department for working with me on that. My first question is: is there a policy to guide social service workers when a parent, foster parent, or concerned citizens alert authorities of a missing child under the care of the director of Child and Family Services? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 783-18(3): Standards for Children or Youth in Care Who Go Missing
Oral Questions

Page 5860

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Question 783-18(3): Standards for Children or Youth in Care Who Go Missing
Oral Questions

Page 5860

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, yes, there are some standards in place to guide staff in the event of a child or youth who goes missing. One of the standards that we have is based on serious incidents. This standard provides direction to staff to ensure that they take required actions to address a serious incident, that they contact the RCMP where required, that they seek medical attention for a child or youth where required, and provide verbal and written notification to the director.

Serious incidents do have a range that are identified within the standards from 1 to 4, and, as a note, if a child under five were to go missing or be away from their placement without authorization for any more than three hours, they would actually be considered a priority 1, so we would engage the standards immediately.

We also have some standards in place, Mr. Speaker, for when an individual is out of territory in a placement. This standard provides direction to staff on how to initiate an alert both within the Northwest Territories and outside the Northwest Territories, in the jurisdiction where a person is placed. So, yes, Mr. Speaker, in short, we do have standards in place to address exactly these situations.

Question 783-18(3): Standards for Children or Youth in Care Who Go Missing
Oral Questions

Page 5860

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Can the Minister advise us: how is the child's safety addressed when they are reported missing? I think the Minister kind of elaborated a little bit in the first question, but maybe get a little bit more elaboration on this one.

Question 783-18(3): Standards for Children or Youth in Care Who Go Missing
Oral Questions

Page 5860

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

When a child is under the care and custody of the CFS system, the director is in a sense the parent of the child, the de facto parent, and the director does have the ability to provide some responsibilities in this area through child protection workers within the system.

The practice expectation when a child or a youth does go missing is that the child protection working is to take all measures required to locate the child. This includes, obviously, things like questioning last-known contacts of the child or youth; seeking out possible locations that the child or youth have visited or regularly visits; searching for a child or youth at those locations, both directly in person and in collaboration with other known acquaintances, foster parents, and the RCMP. So multiple individuals can be engaged in this.

Child protection services training actually includes training in these exact standards so that individuals know what their expectations are and know how to respond to this. We did just get audited. We have acknowledged that we need to do better in many of the areas, and we are enhancing training in many areas, including this area, to make sure that our staff know what they need to do when one of the children in care does go missing.

Question 783-18(3): Standards for Children or Youth in Care Who Go Missing
Oral Questions

Page 5861

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Can the Minister tell us what the department is doing to ensure social workers are aware of the standards and are using them to guide their practice in such situations?

Question 783-18(3): Standards for Children or Youth in Care Who Go Missing
Oral Questions

Page 5861

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

The training I mentioned in my last response is currently being enhanced, and we are in the process of developing a more stringent training framework. We are expanding the length of the training from two months to three months, and we are designing new training processes that include a combination of in-class study, structured self-study, and supervision, ensuring that our staff are appropriately trained and that they are competent in the knowledge and the skills that they need prior to employment as child protection workers, so we are trying to do a lot of this work up front, before we actually appoint them as child protection workers.

Social workers in our system are not all child protection workers. Only those who have received designation and have certain specific training are, so we are trying to do more of that up front so that they have the skills to respond accordingly when those unfortunate situations do occur.

Question 783-18(3): Standards for Children or Youth in Care Who Go Missing
Oral Questions

Page 5861

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Oral questions. Member for Nahendeh.