This is page numbers 6289 - 6352 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 assembly.

Topics

Question 840-18(3): Single-Use Plastics Ban
Oral Questions

Page 6299

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my Member's statement, I talked about how one of the issues raised around sustainable was the single use plastic ban that the federal government intends to bring forward across the country. I'm just wondering if the Minister responsible for, I believe, Environment and Natural Resources in this case has had any discussions with his federal counterparts on how the single-use plastic ban will impact the Northwest Territories? Thank you.

Question 840-18(3): Single-Use Plastics Ban
Oral Questions

Page 6299

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

Question 840-18(3): Single-Use Plastics Ban
Oral Questions

Page 6299

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I can understand the Member's concern with the use of single-use plastic bags across the Northwest Territories. As Minister of MACA, I went to a lot of waste sites across the Northwest Territories. I've seen all the white plastic bags that were there, and I can assure the Member that we have had some discussions with our federal counterparts and our colleagues from across the country. I believe we have come out with a strategy on single-use plastic bags. I'm not quite familiar with the details right now, but I'd be more than happy to get those and share them with the Member.

Question 840-18(3): Single-Use Plastics Ban
Oral Questions

Page 6299

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

I know this is somewhat forecasting, but we have a federal intention. I guess my concern is for the many businesses who are currently using plastic knives and forks, food services, for example, that they're going to be hit with a lot of costs when this happens. Has the government considered that problem? Are they working with industry to help transition them into this new reality, whether it will be a single-use plastic ban?

Question 840-18(3): Single-Use Plastics Ban
Oral Questions

Page 6300

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Of course, we need to have our conversations with industry. I don't know if the conversations have actually happened yet, at the official level. Again, I would have to confirm that information. I do recognize concern that folks from across the Northwest Territories have about single-use plastic, and I believe it's incumbent on us to try and do what we can to eliminate those across the Northwest Territories

Question 840-18(3): Single-Use Plastics Ban
Oral Questions

Page 6300

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

I reflected on the Minister's recent statement on the new strategy, the waste strategy that is coming out, and I think there are a lot of good details in that. How is the department adapting to the lack of recycling facilities? My honourable friend from Nahendeh raised this, as well. Could the department's regional offices, through ENR regional offices, be used as collection points for recycling? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 840-18(3): Single-Use Plastics Ban
Oral Questions

Page 6300

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

As you have heard the last week or so with some of the questions I have been getting from a couple of the Members on our concern with the wildlife running around in the community, we will do what we can. I don't think I will direct my department to have our officers and local offices collecting recyclables. They have other tasks that they need to do which we feel are a priority, especially the safety of the public. What we can do is to try to work with those who may be able to provide that service for us. I'm not sure what the details are yet, and I'm going to be honest about that. I know we are looking at trying to reduce our single-use plastic, as well.

Question 840-18(3): Single-Use Plastics Ban
Oral Questions

Page 6300

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 840-18(3): Single-Use Plastics Ban
Oral Questions

Page 6300

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My final question is: is the department prepared to provide a leadership and kind of a central support role for municipalities as they seek to solve their waste management issues and the coming single-use plastic ban? Is that something the department can do? Thank you.

Question 840-18(3): Single-Use Plastics Ban
Oral Questions

Page 6300

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

This department does provide a lot of leadership, and this is another one of those cases where we need to work with our partners. In the environment we operate in the Northwest Territories with all our municipal and Indigenous governments and our partners, we need to do what we can to work with our partners to ensure that unilateral decisions are not being made by this Assembly and implemented. I think it's good counsel to work with our partners to try to come up with strategies and plans that are a benefit to all. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 840-18(3): Single-Use Plastics Ban
Oral Questions

Page 6300

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Question 841-18(3): Child and Family Services Quality Improvement Plan
Oral Questions

August 21st, 2019

Page 6300

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister of Health and Social Services. In my statement today I spoke about the quality improvement plan for Child and Family Services that was tabled earlier this week. As I mentioned, the plan has many strengths, but I do have some concerns. The Minister has often said that too many priorities result in no priorities at all. Can the Minister say why he then endorsed 70 priorities in this plan? Thank you.

Question 841-18(3): Child and Family Services Quality Improvement Plan
Oral Questions

Page 6300

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Question 841-18(3): Child and Family Services Quality Improvement Plan
Oral Questions

Page 6300

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In coming up with the quality improvement plan, we did actually have more actions that we would like to have pursued, but we did reach out to our staff. We did reach out to stakeholders who indicated that some of them would be very difficult, given that it is a two-year plan. As a result, we did reduce the number of actions. We modified some timelines. We stretched this out over two years. Many of these actions are policy-based. We are modifying our policies to be consistent and current, and we feel at this time that the plan we have is doable within the two-year time limit.

I want to point out that we do see this as a living document, and as we move forward with those actions in that action plan, we recognize that we may find that we may have overreached, or we may not have the capacity to do that within the timeline. We have left the ability to be flexible, to modify our timelines. We also recognize that, at the end of this plan in two years, we will have to reassess where we are and set a new plan forward to bring in the rest of the changes that are needed to make our Child and Family Services system a truly prevention-based system as opposed to the traditional apprehension-based system. There are a lot of things happening. I agree with the Member. I do recognize there is pressure on the staff, but we have also increased the number of positions, 21 new positions as a result of this quality improvement plan, and a third of those positions are focused on design and training to make sure that our frontline staff have the resources they need and have the supports they need to transition their practice from apprehension to prevention. So there are a lot of things happening. We get it. We have got great people. We have listened to them. We removed some actions, and we stretched out timelines on others. It is a living document. We are optimistic we can get this done.

Question 841-18(3): Child and Family Services Quality Improvement Plan
Oral Questions

Page 6301

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thanks to the Minister for his response. A second concern I have is about the staff time, the time that is that staff will be spending on compliance processes versus time they will spend with their eyes on their clients. I can understand that this approach is somewhat a reaction to the report from the Office of the Auditor General and to step up compliance, but can the Minister assure us that, despite the focus on process, time with clients will actually improve?