This is page numbers 1689 - 1724 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 work.

Topics

Question 481-19(2): Elders Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1706

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Member for Hay River South.

Question 482-19(2): Hiring Local
Oral Questions

Page 1706

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. There are many small businesses throughout the NWT that are still struggling to survive these difficult economic times. Some are finding work and for various reasons others are not. The NWT Housing Corporation is in a position to provide that support to those without work. I'm referring to those businesses that are located in our regional and small communities. Madam Speaker, I'd like to ask the Minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation if she will commit to identifying those projects slated for the regional and smaller communities and work with those businesses without work to ensure they are providing some work, even if it means sole-sourcing or negotiating the work. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 482-19(2): Hiring Local
Oral Questions

Page 1706

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister.

Question 482-19(2): Hiring Local
Oral Questions

Page 1706

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate that question because, for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, hiring local is a priority. Hiring local businesses, Indigenous businesses, and what I had provided, I want to say last week, is that 95 percent of our contractors are local. Looking at what we actually can offer I would like to follow up with the Member, as well, and look at his riding because we do have a rollout now of RCMP units that are being constructed. We do have some public housing units, as well, that are going through repairs and there is opportunity. My priority as a housing Minister is to hire local and keep the local people employed, offer training and opportunity. I'm open to hearing the Member's comments because I would like to become very strategic in how we deliver programs at the local level. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 482-19(2): Hiring Local
Oral Questions

Page 1706

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

We do not provide enough support to our small community contractors. They are the ones that provide the much-needed employment in those communities and deserve our support and sometimes direction in order to build capacity. I would ask the Minister to commit to either doing away with suspension lists for contractors in these small communities or, at a minimum, work and support the contractors to ensure that they are successful and avoid failure.

Question 482-19(2): Hiring Local
Oral Questions

Page 1706

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

For the contracts and tenders that are put out, and we do end up with some carry-overs because due to contract failures, I don't want to see businesses not being able to access to bid again our public tender. We also have to take into consideration the reason and the process that it has taken for us at that time. If we see contractor failure or else a carry-over of a project, we do take an assessment of that. Looking at the contractor suspension, I would look at this very clearly because I would not want to have a contractor suspended. I've seen it already in my time while I've held the housing portfolio. I've been able to work with a client and been able to bring them back and having them work for us again. Again, it's the quality of work that's being displayed that we've got to be very careful of. It ends up costing the Housing Corporation a significant amount if the buildings are not constructed adequately.

Question 482-19(2): Hiring Local
Oral Questions

Page 1706

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

As I previously stated, the NWT Housing Corporation projects are essential and the bread and butter to small community contractors and a source of employment for the residents. I ask the Minister: how many projects are slated for those regional small communities this winter, and is the department in the position to add additional projects, if required, if we find contractors without work?

Question 482-19(2): Hiring Local
Oral Questions

Page 1707

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

This year, we had a few negotiated contracts that we have entered into with Indigenous groups that have not been finalized, but we have been approached with that interest. Looking at that, I don't have the numbers right on the top of my head, but I'd have to get back to the Member with the number of projects that we do have listed that are slated for the next couple of years. I know the Member is quite concerned about the contractors and also creating employment at the local community level. I want to really just emphasize that that's a priority of the Housing Corporation. We do try and do our best to make sure that our contracts stay local and they stay within the community, and we do emphasize on education and training.

Question 482-19(2): Hiring Local
Oral Questions

Page 1707

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Question 482-19(2): Hiring Local
Oral Questions

Page 1707

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. One area that the NWT Housing Corporation can support our northern businesses is with the transportation of the material going into the communities on the winter road. We have contractors with tractors and trailers down the valley that will be looking for work this winter. Maybe with COVID-19 in front of us it makes sense to use our northern contractors to provide those services. Can the Minister commit to her department to review on how they can ensure our northern contractors who supply trucking services are provided every opportunity to haul the material going down the winter road for their projects this winter? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 482-19(2): Hiring Local
Oral Questions

Page 1707

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I think the Member was reading my mind. I just actually just had this conversation with my department. We are in COVID-19 and the Housing Corporation did find it a challenge getting material into our smaller remote communities. I was actually speaking about looking at our supply for this year and slating for the next couple of years for our projects, and how are we going to be getting them into the smaller communities, and the trucking service, as well, and what is available in the territory. I will be looking at that, and I will follow up with the Member. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 482-19(2): Hiring Local
Oral Questions

Page 1707

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Question 483-19(2): Alcohol Strategy
Oral Questions

November 5th, 2020

Page 1707

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. My questions today are for the Minister of Health and Social Services. The Minister of Health and Social Services has spoken about the harm of alcohol to all of our communities multiple times within the House here. We've also heard multiple times about the upcoming alcohol strategy that is expected in the Northwest Territories. I'm wondering if the Minister can just talk to us about what she intends the alcohol strategy to accomplish. Thank you.

Question 483-19(2): Alcohol Strategy
Oral Questions

Page 1707

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Question 483-19(2): Alcohol Strategy
Oral Questions

Page 1707

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I want the alcohol strategy to produce better health. We have some very troubling indicators for heavy alcohol use in this territory. For example, the rate of heavy drinking, which is defined as having four or five or more alcoholic beverages in a single sitting, is 43 percent in the NWT. That compares to 19 percent across Canada. Better health means that people are not falling into the poor health outcomes of excessive alcohol use and also not falling into the personal despair of excessive alcohol use. To that end, the department has hired a federally funded senior advisor on the alcohol strategy who started work in August 2020. She is completing the following tasks: setting up a representative working group to guide the development of an alcohol strategy; reviewing feedback from an alcohol evidenced action workshop held in March on this issue; preparing a full workplan and engagement plan on this issue; and this work will be moving along with public consultation that will begin early next year. Thank you.