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 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. Oral questions. Member for Great Slave.

Question 470-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Pay Gap for Indigenous Employees
Oral Questions

Page 1664

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The Minister and I both received an email recently in which the sender indicated that, in 2010, the pay gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous GNWT employees was reported as $20,000 annually. Can the Minister tell me if the public service annual report still contains information regarding the distribution of salaries between P1s, P2s, and P3s, and if not, why not? Thank you.

Question 470-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Pay Gap for Indigenous Employees
Oral Questions

Page 1664

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Finance.

Question 470-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Pay Gap for Indigenous Employees
Oral Questions

Page 1664

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The report that will be tabled later today does not include that same documentation or data that was back in 2010. As for the evolution in the last 10 years of the report, I will have to find out what that evolution is. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 470-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Pay Gap for Indigenous Employees
Oral Questions

Page 1664

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

It's my understanding that the GNWT considers "Indigenous non-Aboriginal" as a distinct category in its HR policies. Can the Minister please explain to us what this means and how this designation is incorporated into GNWT statistics around meeting affirmative action goals?

Question 470-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Pay Gap for Indigenous Employees
Oral Questions

Page 1664

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

With respect to management positions or non-traditional positions, there are different designations depending on a person's status. Priority 1A is for Indigenous Aboriginal persons, so persons who are both born in the Northwest Territories and who have an Indigenous background, and female. Then priority 1B is the same categorizing of being Indigenous and Aboriginal but male. Number two is resident women. Number three is Indigenous non-Aboriginal persons or resident disabled persons. Last, there is no priority. With respect to all other competitions, again, that's the non-management competitions and things that are in the non-traditional category, this is where you get your P1 or priority one, which is Indigenous Aboriginal persons; P2 which is Indigenous non-Aboriginal, in other words, someone born in the Northwest Territories but not of Indigenous descent; and then there is no priority. All of those different categories are considered in the data that gets gathered up by human resources to evaluate the nature of our public service.

Question 470-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Pay Gap for Indigenous Employees
Oral Questions

Page 1664

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

I've had numerous friends and constituents discuss with me their stories of qualified, educated, Indigenous Aboriginal candidates, or P1s, who are unable to advance within their departments, including in the Minister's own. Can the Minister please commit to performing a review of her own department's hiring and looking for the circles of friends in senior management that are often a barrier to the advancement of Indigenous candidates or for advancing complaints under her HR policies?

Question 470-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Pay Gap for Indigenous Employees
Oral Questions

Page 1665

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Since taking on the portfolio of the Department of Finance, one of the most frequent things that comes to my office from MLAs and from members of the public comes in around staffing and concerns around staffing processes and a desire to ensure fairness in staffing process, and ensuring that the Affirmative Action Policy is properly being followed. Madam Speaker, in the vast majority of the cases that come forward when they are investigated, in fact, the policies have been applied and have been followed, and yet, the stories and the concerns keep coming. There is some sort of disconnect where people are applying and going through these processes and feeling that they're not being heard, and yet, the application of the process itself is being followed.

That is exactly the conversation that I have had directly with human resources. Human resources works hard and cares deeply about being a representative public service. To have these kinds of stories continue to come forward is not what anybody wants. It's not what the staff that work there want; it's not what they are working towards. Yes, I absolutely am committing to the fact there is, again, the framework approach that we're trying to utilize is meant to be one that's going to give each department looking at what are the barriers, what are the problems in the department. Is it a front end of recruitment? Is it at the advancement? Is it in succession planning? Is it in the structure of the interview? Is it in the job description? The answers might be different department by department. I want to ensure that the Member won't have to hear all those stories all over again. That is exactly the point of what we are doing with framework.

Question 470-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Pay Gap for Indigenous Employees
Oral Questions

Page 1665

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Great Slave.

Question 470-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Pay Gap for Indigenous Employees
Oral Questions

Page 1665

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm glad to hear the Minister acknowledge the disconnect. I'm always hesitant when I hear about investigations or analysis done by a department on its own department. Maybe more of a comment, but it would be nice to having the Minister commit to having independent third parties look at the GNWT's policies. I don't believe that they are being followed and would like to see these change. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 470-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Pay Gap for Indigenous Employees
Oral Questions

November 4th, 2020

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

I'm not really sure what else to say. When those matters come to my desk, we take them back, we follow it carefully, and I don't just accept the responses that come back from the department. We make enquiries, and those responses are that, when they are being told that something is being followed, I do believe that people are not lying to me from the public service and that they are, in fact, saying the truth when they say that they followed a policy. That doesn't mean that we don't have things to fix. Madam Speaker, again, there are a lot of things being done right now. Staffing appeals, as I said earlier, are themselves done independently. The framework process that's being developed is department by department, and there are going to be targets for those in positions of authority and power within and throughout the department, so they are meeting those targets along the way.

Question 470-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Pay Gap for Indigenous Employees
Oral Questions

Page 1665

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Hay River South.

Question 471-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1665

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Prior to creation of the Affirmative Action Policy, the deficit of Indigenous Aboriginal hires within the public sector has been and continues to be a problem for this government. Madam Speaker, will the Minister of Finance confirm the percentage of Indigenous Aboriginal men and women currently employed within the GNWT public sector and are we moving in a forward direction? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 471-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1665

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Finance.

Question 471-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1665

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have the numbers for 2020 as of March 31, 2020, in front of me, Affirmative Action statistics. That is, Indigenous Aboriginal females make up just under 21 percent of the workforce. Indigenous Aboriginal males, just shy of nine percent of the workforce. As far as change over time, Madam Speaker, I will look at those numbers and provide them. I do have them here, just not right in front of me right now. I don't think there has been significant change over time from my recollection of the numbers, Madam Speaker.