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

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you. I will ask the Minister responsible to introduce the bill. Minister Sebert.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Louis Sebert Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am here today to discuss Bill 45, Corrections Act. The purpose of Bill 45 is to repeal and replace the current NWT Corrections Act, which is over 40 years old.

The changes proposed are intended to update NWT corrections legislation to bring it into line with the evolution in corrections over the past several years and incorporate the reformed practices and approaches that have emerged at the national and international levels.

The bill makes a number of improvements to the current legislative framework of the corrections system in the areas of accountability, supporting the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community, reducing the risk of reoffending, and keeping our communities safe.

The bill recognizes the unique cultural background, historic legacy, and experience of offenders in the NWT and sets the framework for incorporating these elements into the rehabilitation process. The bill also includes operational improvements in the areas of risk management and security, quality assurance and monitoring, and staff training.

Significant changes being proposed in the new act include:

  • provide for the establishment of independent community advisory boards;
  • facilitate the involvement of Indigenous governments in the delivery of corrections programs and services;
  • clarify the link between case planning and programming for remanded persons, sentenced offenders in facilities, and offenders in community-based corrections;
  • establish oversight by an investigations and standards office and provide for independent decision-making in disciplinary matters and the use of separate confinement;
  • increase authorities related to the search and monitoring of those in a correctional centre or seeking to enter a correctional centre;
  • provide for the establishment of a notification program that respects the rights of victims and includes a victim-offender mediation program;
  • clarify the rules relating to the appropriate use of separate confinement, including fixing time limits, providing for independent oversight, and specifically defining the authorities for placement; and
  • provide for the development of a corrections employee code of conduct that employees and service providers are required to follow.

I would like to thank the Standing Committee on Social Development for their thorough review of this bill. I would also like to thank our respective officials for their collaboration and for going above and beyond to find mutually agreeable solutions that have enhanced and improved the bill. I would be pleased to answer any questions that Members may have regarding Bill 45. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Minister Sebert. I will now turn to the chair of the Standing Committee on Social Development, the committee that considered the bill, for opening comments. Mr. Thompson.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I will, again, be very quick. Again, I would like to thank the Minister, his staff, Legislative Assembly staff, and committee for all of the hard work that was done. Again, like the Minister has said, I think that the department staff and the Legislative Assembly staff went above and beyond. There were lots of long hours, but it was amazing to watch them work to achieve this great bill in front of us. I say it is a great bill because I think, as we have talked about it, it was something that I don't think that we would have been able to see in the 19th Assembly. I think it was a lot of good work.

Again, I would just like to thank everybody who was involved. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you. Ms. Green.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Is this a good time to do opening comments on the bill, or wait until the witnesses are here?

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6324

The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Ms. Green. We will have the floor open to comments later, after the Minister and witnesses have taken a chair. Thank you. Minister, would you like to bring witnesses into the Chamber? Sergeant-at-Arms, please escort the witnesses into the Chamber. Minister, please introduce your witnesses.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st, 2019

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Louis Sebert Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am pleased to have witnesses with me. To my right is Martin Goldney, deputy minister of Justice, and to my left is Mike Reddy, director of Legislation Division, Justice. Thank you.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Daniel McNeely

Thank you, Minister. I will now open the floor to general comments on Bill 45. Ms. Green.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to add to the Minister's opening comments about some of the substantive changes that were negotiated and agreed to in the clause-by-clause review. As one of my colleagues mentioned, there were 32 motions, and it is certainly not my intention to go over all of them.

Some of the significant changes to the bill included a statement of purpose for the bill and guiding principles, a statement of victims' rights, and the inclusion of the development and offering of both general and rehabilitative programs that would be offered to both sentenced and remanded inmates. This was really a key demand of all those letters that we received, as referenced earlier, from inmates in the fall of, I think, 2017.

The bill also established minimum living standards for inmates. It talks about the use of force and security assessments. It now makes a distinction between separate confinement and solitary confinement. The difference there is that solitary confinement has a disciplinary element. It provides for adjudicators for disciplinary matters and also a complaints process. We will be seeing, going forward, an annual report from Corrections on a number of different matters that are contained within this bill.

This is a better bill from having worked together, and with the witnesses here, especially the deputy Minister, I would like to express my thanks for their problem-solving approach to this bill. I think that we all ended up with a better piece of legislation as a result. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Ms. Green. Minister Sebert.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Louis Sebert Thebacha

I would like to thank committee Members for their comments today. An awful lot of work did go into this, and that is why we have the improved product that is before us today. I, too, would like to thank the staff who worked so hard on this and the committee Members who contributed significantly. As I say, the bill is much better, and it is something that we all can be proud of. Thank you.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 6324

The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister Sebert. Ms. Green.

Committee Motion 242-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 45: Corrections Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Nothing further. Thank you.