This is page numbers 739 - 766 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 health.

Topics

Motion 6-19(2): Extended Adjournment of the House to May 26, 2020
Motions

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I MOVE, seconded by the honourable Member for Hay River North, that, notwithstanding rule 4, when this House adjourns on Monday, March 16, 2020, it shall be adjourned until Tuesday, May 26, 2020;

AND FURTHER, that at any time prior to May 26, 2020, if the Speaker is satisfied, after consultation with the Executive Council and Members of the Legislative Assembly, that the public interest requires that the House should meet at an earlier time during the adjournment, or at a time later than the scheduled resumption of the House, the Speaker may give notice and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice and shall transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 6-19(2): Extended Adjournment of the House to May 26, 2020
Motions

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

Thank you. Motion is order. To the motion. Motion has been called. All those in favour. All those opposed. Any abstentions? The motion is carried.

--- Carried

Item 17, notices of motion for the first reading of bills. Item 18, first reading of bills. Minister of Finance.

Bill 4: Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 1, 2020-2021
First Reading Of Bills

March 16th, 2020

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Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Nahendeh, that Bill 4, Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 1, 2020-2021, be read for the first time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bill 4: Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 1, 2020-2021
First Reading Of Bills

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

The motion is in order. The motion is non-debatable. All those in favour. All those opposed. Any abstentions? Bill 4 has had its first reading. Item 19, second reading of bills. Minister of Finance.

Bill 4: Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 1, 2020-2021
Second Reading Of Bills

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Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Nahendeh, that Bill 4, Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 1, 2020-2021, be read for the second time. This bill makes supplementary appropriations for infrastructure expenditures of the Government of the Northwest Territories for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bill 4: Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 1, 2020-2021
Second Reading Of Bills

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

Thank you. The motion is in order. The motion is non-debatable. All those in favour. All those opposed. Any abstentions? The motion is carried. Bill 4 has had second reading. Item 20, consideration in Committee of the Whole of bills and other matters: Tabled Document 30-19(2), Main Estimates 2020-2021; Tabled Document 61-19(2), Interim Estimates (Operations Expenditures), April 1 to June 30, 2020, with Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes in the chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

I will call committee to order. What is the wish of committee? Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi, Madam Chair. Committee wishes to consider Tabled Document 61-19(2), Interim Estimates (Operations Expenditures), April 1 to June 30, 2020. Marsi cho.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Does committee agree? Thank you, committee. We'll take a short recess and resume.

---SHORT RECESS

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

I will call committee back to order. Committee, we have agreed to consider Tabled Document 61-19(2), Interim Estimates (Operations Expenditures), April 1 to June 30, 2020. Does the Minister of Finance have any opening remarks?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair, yes. Good morning, Madam Chair. Today, I am presenting Interim Estimates 2020-2021 for the Government of the Northwest Territories. The interim estimates provide the necessary appropriation authority to support the government's operations for the three-month period of April 1 to June 30, 2020.

The interim estimates will allow public services to continue to be provided until the main estimates for the fiscal year have been fully debated and approved by the Legislative Assembly. Interim estimates are not used regularly. They are a tool that can be used to allow the Assembly more time to finalize a budget, typically the first budget of a new Assembly. Interim estimates have been used by this Legislative Assembly most recently in 2016-2017.

During the May-June sitting of the Assembly, the review of the 2020-2021 Main Estimates is anticipated to resume, and, subject to approval at that time, these interim estimates will be superseded by the main estimates.

As Members know, these interim estimates had to be prepared quickly. This current sitting of the Assembly will conclude today, to allow Members of the Legislative Assembly and the territorial public service to focus its efforts on preparing for and responding to COVID-19. Departments worked together to bring these interim estimates before us today. These estimates include the following:

  • Amounts required for the first three months were used, as identified by all departments as part of the development of the Main Estimates 2020-2021 process. An exception to this approach was required to address contracts, grants, and contributions in a way that will ensure compliance with the Financial Administration Act, or the FAA;
  • Under the FAA, a department cannot enter into a contract or obligation without the appropriation to do so. Amounts for service contracts have therefore been fully allocated for the 2020-2021 fiscal year to ensure compliance with the FAA. The exception to this approach is the Territorial Police Service Agreement, for which 50 percent of the amount has been allocated in this interim appropriation, and
  • Similarly, in order to comply with the FAA, amounts for grants and contributions for organizations have been fully allocated. The only exceptions with respect to the full allocation of grants and contributions were for larger entities, such as education authorities, Health and Social Services authorities, and the NWT Housing Corporation. These entities have been funded based on their cash requirements for the interim period;
  • To address the anticipated high demand for health services, a 25 percent contingency has been added to the compensation and benefits for the Department of Health and Social Services, and to the portion of grants and contributions to health authorities allocated in this interim appropriation, representing $39 million;
  • To address any increase to the Income Assistance Program, a 25 percent contingency has been added to the Department of Education, Culture and Employment budget for this item, representing $1.8 million; and
  • To ensure sufficient appropriation for all departments to the end of the interim period, a 5 percent contingency has also been allocated, representing $41 million.

The proposed interim estimates total $872 million. These estimates also include $615,000 for a dialysis unit in Hay River within Health and Social Services Authority, and $600,000 for Indigenous language revitalization in Education Culture and Employment. This will allow for funding of these important matters during the interim period. That concludes my opening remarks.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Do you have witnesses?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Yes, I do.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Sergeant-at-Arms, can you escort the witnesses to the Chamber, please. Minister, would you introduce your witness for the record.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair. I have Mr. Sandy Kalgutkar beside me. He is the deputy minister of Finance.