This is page numbers 1653 - 1688 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 indigenous.

Topics

Question 468-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1663

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Madam Speaker, there can be no more gaps, no excuses, no nepotism, no conflicts of interest, no hiring our friends, no tailoring job descriptions to match certain people's resumes, only strictly professional, neutral decisions based on qualifications. Will the Minister commit to changing the way senior management and human resource superintendents apply the Affirmative Action Policy to accomplish its original intent? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 468-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1663

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

What I want to commit to doing is ensuring that every department, in the chain of hiring that goes through that department in cooperation and in conjunction with staff from human resources, is indeed taking responsibility to ensure a representative public service and indeed is taking responsibility to follow the Affirmative Action Policy but also to be conscious of their own biases and act in such a way that we are not relying on them. The point of human resources is to try to create a system and a process that is fair, that is open, and that acknowledges that human beings will naturally at times have to look outside of themselves and have to have structures and processes to help them act without bias, to help them act in a neutral way to accomplish exactly what it is that the Member is asking me. I am certainly going to commit to ensuring that, again, we have those processes, that clear target, and something that works and is applicable to each and every department throughout that chain. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 468-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1663

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 1663

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. My questions today are for the Premier. I am wondering if the Premier can tell me what specific direction she has given to the deputy ministers of each GNWT department to support building a representative workforce. Thank you.

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 1663

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Madam Premier.

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

November 4th, 2020

Page 1663

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This government is committed to ensuring that we adhere to the Affirmative Action Policy. We have heard it for many, many years, and it's time to make sure that we do work on that. Deputy ministers are accountable for all of the hiring within their departments. They might not do it directly, but they are accountable for it.

Right now, as stated in the opening statement from the Minister's statement, the Department of Finance is currently developing a GNWT Indigenous recruitment and retention framework. Once that is done, this will be complemented by department-specific plans, as stated by the Minister, that set Indigenous representation targets and recruitment plans for each individual department. Then, these representation targets will be set for deputy ministers on an annual basis. Madam Speaker, every year, there is an annual evaluation of deputy ministers. Once this work is done, this accountability for our Affirmative Action Policy will be part of the evaluation framework that I conduct with the deputy ministers going forward. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 1663

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

I am very excited to hear about the Indigenous framework that the GNWT is currently working on, but does this mean that there is currently no direction given to deputy ministers currently sitting at the heads of departments, waiting for this framework to be established?

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 1663

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Absolutely not. The Affirmative Action Policy, deputy ministers are aware that this is a priority of this government, and they are aware that they will be evaluated when it comes up. They are aware that this is coming.

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 1663

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

I am wondering if the current Cabinet will commit to reviewing the Affirmative Action Policy over the course of this term.

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 1663

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Absolutely. We will make a commitment to reviewing the Affirmative Action Policy within the term of this government.

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 1663

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Madam Premier. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 1663

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. This past spring, the GNWT committed to a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls calls for justice action plan. I am wondering if the GNWT's plan will include an internal focus to shift the internal culture of the GNWT. Thank you.

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 1664

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

I would like to defer that to the Minister responsible for the Status of Women or the Minister of Finance. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 1664

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister of Finance.

Question 469-19(2): Indigenous Representation within the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 1664

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. That does involve both of those two hats coming together. The action plan that is going to be developed in response to the national inquiry is one that needs to, by the nature of what it is, involve a lot of engagement with Indigenous governments, with outside stakeholders, with members of the public, as well as members of the GNWT internally. As far as what will necessary be in that plan, that remains to be seen, subject to all that process.

That said, Madam Speaker, with respect to the corporate culture, the culture of the GNWT, absolutely. One of the goals of doing so is that it should and will change the culture of the GNWT as we go through that process. As well, similarly, the Indigenous framework that I have been speaking about today I hope will also be something that provides a shift and a change in mindset and a change in the way people look creatively at. For example, if somebody does not quite meet a cut-off target on an interview question, are there ways that they can look at that and question why somebody may not have done that?

In addition to that, one last comment, is that one of the other things that is coming out from the Department of Finance quite imminently is a new Indigenous cultural awareness and sensitivity training. This is an update, the first update in quite a few, many, years around the kind of training that all GNWT employees are going to be required to attend. Again, the goal of that is to culture-change and to change all of our mindsets and to increase everyone's awareness. I think there are quite a number of ways in which we do indeed want to change, change in culture, and evolve our culture and bring it forward to really be a leader in Canada. Thank you, Madam Speaker.