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.

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

Page 1665

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

I thank the Minister for that answer. Will the Minister of Finance confirm the model used by this government to recruit and interview potential Indigenous Aboriginal candidates for positions within the GNWT?

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

Page 1665

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

I'll start even before the interview process takes place. What people may not realize is that there is actually quite a lot of information available on the GNWT's HR website about how to participate in an interview, how to prepare, how to submit a resume. There is also the opportunity for people to contact someone at human resources to assist them with the preparation of their materials before they apply and also to help them prepare for an interview. I think that's probably an underutilized and perhaps not even well-known opportunity that is available.

As far as once someone is in the actual interview itself, the Department of Finance human resources does use what is called behavioural-based interviews. The idea being that people are encouraged to tell stories and to speak about personal experiences rather than being asked more of the sort of answering questions in a more formulaic way or a more formalized way. Part of the idea there is that it is supposed to be an opportunity to create a better type of communication and dialogue for people in an interview.

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

Page 1666

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Will the Minister of Finance confirm that Indigenous Aboriginal culture is incorporated into the recruitment and interview process?

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

Page 1666

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

I think I probably just answered that in my last description, but I may have misheard, I didn't have my earpiece in there. That's exactly the idea is to try to create opportunities for anyone that's applying and anyone that's within the application process and the interview process to be able to speak and communicate in a way other than just the traditional asking of a question and having to provide a correct or specific answer but instead be able to tell stories. Part of the reason there has been a change in the Indigenous cultural awareness training and sensitivity program is so that all members of the public service are themselves aware that there are different ways of communicating, aware that there are different backgrounds, aware that there are language differences, and that when they are engaging with someone and trying to recruit someone that they bring that awareness with them, that they become culturally aware, and that they are better placed to actually have engagements that are more meaningful and more respectful.

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

Page 1666

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Hay River South.

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

Page 1666

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Will the Minister of Finance confirm that all interviews conducted by the GNWT have Indigenous Aboriginal team members or at the minimum, are the team members provided training with respect to Indigenous Aboriginal culture to remove any bias and provide fairness? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

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

November 4th, 2020

Page 1666

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

I was just hoping to pull up the numbers for human resources in terms of number of Indigenous Aboriginal persons that are in human resources. I think their numbers actually are relatively good. Notwithstanding, I cannot say that every single hiring team has an Indigenous person on that team, but I am happy to say that, with the introduction of the cultural awareness and sensitivity training program that's coming out in the next few months, that that is going to be mandatory for all GNWT employees and that, once that is in place and once staff continue to go through it, it is certainly our hope that that is going to have a culture change and that it's going to change the way that people are interacting one with another in terms of our knowledge and our awareness and our sensitivity. I am happy to be able to at least confirm that that is on the horizon, and we are hopeful that it will be a program that will be really a leader in Canada. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

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

Page 1666

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 472-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1666

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate my colleagues' comments today and the Minister. I am confident that we will create targets in our departments and review the Affirmative Action Policy and make some progress on this. I think you have to recognize that this is a systemic problem that has multiple solutions and there are multiple tools. One of those which I believe we can use is the tool of secondments. In 2015, the Minister for human resources announced secondments to Indigenous governments and really brought this up as a win-win situation, and it allowed us to send GNWT employees into our communities to get them out of Yellowknife, to build capacity in those Indigenous governments, and hopefully, ultimately, devolve some of those powers. My question for the Minister of Finance is: how many GNWT employees are presently seconded to Indigenous governments?

Question 472-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1666

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Finance.

Question 472-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1666

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

[Micropnone turned off] ...right now with Indigenous governments. Thank you.

Question 472-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1666

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Minister of Finance, can you repeat that? You didn't have the microphone.

Question 472-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1666

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

I'm sorry. Eight, Madam Speaker.

Question 472-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1666

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

I do view this as a tool that ultimately allows many of our public servants, the majority of which are in Yellowknife, to get into our communities to work with Indigenous governments. I believe partnerships could work the other way, where we bring Indigenous governments, employees into the public service. I think we in this House agree that self-government is the future, but we also need to build that agreement and understanding within both bureaucracies. My question for the Minister of Finance is: is she willing to put together something and reach out to our Indigenous governments and make sure they are aware and are willing to partnership on this tool we have?

Question 472-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Affirmative Action Policy
Oral Questions

Page 1667

Caroline Wawazonek

That's an easy yes. I'm more than happy to continue that kind of engagement, and I say "continue" because there is already the building capacity in Indigenous governments program. It is an effort to do precisely what the Member is getting at, to support secondment arrangements with Indigenous governments across regions. There will be funding from the Department of Finance for up to 10 placements a year and then up to $40,000 placement. It is certainly my hope that that will be a successful program to encourage the exchange of knowledge, the exchange of experience, and the increasing of capacity across both governments.