This is page numbers 1299 - 1316 of the Hansard for the 19th Assembly, 2nd 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 land.

Topics

Question 364-19(2): System Racism in Corrections Division
Oral Questions

Page 1307

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

I apologize. I'll talk slower for the interpreters. I know I've been racing through things. The workplace assessment is being undertaken by a third party across corrections. The goal of that is to tease out the issues that employees feel they are facing, to determine how the workplace relationships, roles, responsibilities, and the operations of the corrections services can be improved. From the data that is collected, I'm going to make sure that we look at that data with an eye to systemic racism and what could be symptoms of systemic racism.

I know there are a number of questions in that single question, so I'll try to answer all of them. The Member has brought constituent issues to me. I believe that some of those constituents might be participating in this assessment, and if they are, I hope they bring those cases forward. As I stated, I'm going to make sure that we look for systemic racism. Again, I don't have an intimate knowledge of this assessment and the questions being asked, but perhaps those might not exactly target systemic racism in the way that we would like them to. I'm going to make sure that we try and tease those out, if we can.

Question 364-19(2): System Racism in Corrections Division
Oral Questions

Page 1308

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

The Minister sent me some emails, which were puzzling, regarding the individual files and my concerns of systemic racism at the Fort Smith Correctional Complex. Bureaucratic answers given to me by the Minister when this is such a hot and pressing issue for my constituents who are Indigenous staff are not acceptable. Will the Minister be more thoughtful, considerate, and give more compassionate solutions to systemic racism within the corrections system?

Question 364-19(2): System Racism in Corrections Division
Oral Questions

Page 1308

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

The Member is correct. She received bureaucratic responses from me, which are not common. Those are usually the ones that are sent back, but when they are answers to HR issues, I'm going to send a bureaucratic response. I don't want to get into the specifics of HR issues. That's not a Minister's role. That being said, there are times when HR issues can indicate a larger pattern, and that's when we do have to pay attention. I have read every document that the Member has shared with me from her constituents, and I am using that to help inform my understanding of the justice system.

Question 364-19(2): System Racism in Corrections Division
Oral Questions

Page 1308

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Thebacha.

Question 364-19(2): System Racism in Corrections Division
Oral Questions

Page 1308

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, the Indigenous staff at the Fort Smith Correctional Complex deserve justice. Systemic racism at this facility is unacceptable and must be corrected. I am wondering if the Minister will take the high road, do the correct thing, and acknowledge systemic racism. My question is: will the Minister consider doing an external review of the Fort Smith Correctional Complex? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 364-19(2): System Racism in Corrections Division
Oral Questions

Page 1308

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Right now, we have a workplace assessment that is happening, and I've been looking forward to seeing the results of that. Frankly, if the results of that warrant some additional investigation, then I'm happy to pursue that, as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 364-19(2): System Racism in Corrections Division
Oral Questions

Page 1308

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Question 365-19(2): Access to Treatment Programs
Oral Questions

October 19th, 2020

Page 1308

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Health and Social Services related to her statement in the House on October 15th, where, I quote, "the reason it's in the South is because people can get in right away." How long does it take from the time one accesses help and wants treatment to arriving at a treatment facility? From what I've seen and from what I've heard, it's not such an easy process to navigate. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 365-19(2): Access to Treatment Programs
Oral Questions

Page 1308

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Question 365-19(2): Access to Treatment Programs
Oral Questions

Page 1308

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The answer to this question really depends on a number of variables. The person who wants to go into treatment starts by discussing that possibility with their doctor, nurse practitioner, counsellor, or a health professional of that kind. They then take a look at what needs to be in place to access the facilities. There is a new assessment now for COVID that has to be completed. There are questions whether medical detox will be required. There are some variables there that need to be worked out. Then, the person applies to the facility and gets an answer about how long the waiting time will be. The Poundmaker's Lodge waiting time now is 10 days to two weeks; Aventa, which is the facility specifically for women, is between four and six weeks; Edgewood in BC is between six and 12 weeks; and Fresh Start in Calgary, which is specifically for men, is between eight and 12 weeks. It is worth noting that, because we have contracts with these facilities, our clients are prioritized for admission. Thank you.

Question 365-19(2): Access to Treatment Programs
Oral Questions

Page 1308

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thanks to the Minister for that. My next question is based on her statements, the same day where she said, I just want to be very clear, that we're focusing the department on things like after-care and things like on-the-land healing and what supports we can put in place to help people hang onto their sobriety when they come back. Well, after-care, yes, we've all agreed here that that is extremely important, but how is the department looking at ways it engages with residents in need of culturally respectful community treatment, like our priority says, and other ways within the local GNWT mental health and addictions departments?

Question 365-19(2): Access to Treatment Programs
Oral Questions

Page 1308

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

What the department of health has done is really had the Indigenous organizations take the lead on on-the-land treatment by having a pot of money for them to apply for in order to provide programming where they want to and in what form they want to. This is a fund that is easy to apply for and which has few restrictions on the way that money is spent. In terms of other kinds of after-care, such as AA, that doesn't exist in every community. Some communities don't feel there is enough confidentiality to offer AA. There are apps for the phone. There are client surveys every two years, which look at how the treatment programs and after-care programs have assisted or not assisted the residents, so we are taking a multifaceted approach, knowing that it isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition.

Question 365-19(2): Access to Treatment Programs
Oral Questions

Page 1308

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

I'm looking for the Minister to commit to see if she can look at more of an outreach-type drug and addiction counsellor, for example setting up space in our shelters to aid with building the trust and relationship and better be able to assist them navigate the process of choosing help.

Question 365-19(2): Access to Treatment Programs
Oral Questions

Page 1309

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Certainly, I can commit to that approach. It's a common-sense approach, to meet people where they are at, where they congregate, and to talk to them there about what kinds of supports they need or referrals. I know that, often, in the shelters, medical practitioners do visit, counselors do visit, or people can have appointments at medical facilities. This is something we're very interested in doing, is meeting clients where they are at in order to provide them with the services they need.

Question 365-19(2): Access to Treatment Programs
Oral Questions

Page 1309

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.