This is page numbers 1153 - 1196 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 seniors.

Topics

Committee Motion 32-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Digital Communications Plan and Internet Access, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1193

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. To the motion. Member for Kam Lake.

Committee Motion 32-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Digital Communications Plan and Internet Access, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1193

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Chair. Just to reiterate, this one has such huge social and economic ramifications throughout the Northwest Territories. Anybody who tuned into any single one of our committee meetings got to see what it was like for us to communicate throughout this time. Anybody who was working from home had the same type of challenges clear across the Northwest Territories. Especially at a time like this where information really became survival for a lot of people, having access to information is vitally important. I fully support this recommendation. Thank you.

Committee Motion 32-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Digital Communications Plan and Internet Access, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1193

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Member for Yellowknife North.

Committee Motion 32-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Digital Communications Plan and Internet Access, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1193

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am fully supportive of this recommendation. I just wanted to speak to what I see are some very easy steps we could take. I don't understand why all of our housing units don't have free Wi-Fi in them. As far as I am concerned, we are providing people housing. Let's put Wi-Fi in them. That is something the NWT Housing Corporation, I think, can do tomorrow. Secondly, I know more and more jurisdictions are giving people cell phones. When you get income assistance, you get a cell phone through it. Victim Services has started to do some of that work, but it's the same kind of thing. It actually just ends up saving us money when we can get a hold of our clients because they own a phone and they have Internet.

Lastly, the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link, there is this debate about whether local service providers are ever going to connect that last mile. The reality is, in some communities, you are never going to find someone to do that. It's just not profitable in some of those communities to connect that last link. Therefore, government has to do it. I don't care whether it's the municipal government and Indigenous government, us building a non-profit or a co-op or some sort of thing, but we need to take the steps to create the organizations that will provide that community service so that the fibre optic line that we own is actually being used. Those are my comments. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Committee Motion 32-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Digital Communications Plan and Internet Access, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1194

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. To the motion.

Committee Motion 32-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Digital Communications Plan and Internet Access, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1194

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 32-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Digital Communications Plan and Internet Access, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1194

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? Any abstentions? The motion is carried

---Carried

Member for Thebacha.

Committee Motion 33-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Development of a "Working from Home" Policy, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

June 11th, 2020

Page 1194

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Madam Chair, I move that this committee recommends that the Government of the Northwest Territories prepare a lessons learned report based on employee input which can be used to inform the development of a working from home policy designed to identify the circumstances under which employees will be authorized or directed to work from home, what supports are available to employees, and what expectations the Government of the Northwest Territories has with respect to the accountability of staff members who are working from home; and further that this work be completed by August 31, 2020, and shared with the standing committee for input consistent with the 19th Legislative Assembly's process convention on the standing committee review of proposed policy initiatives and implementation plans. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Committee Motion 33-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Development of a "Working from Home" Policy, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1194

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. The motion is in order. To the motion. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Committee Motion 33-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Development of a "Working from Home" Policy, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1194

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Chair. This was an issue that I certainly heard a lot about during the lockdown. As Members are aware, some GNWT staff have worked right through the pandemic. They have worked very hard to implement the different measures that keep us safe. Other people went home and there has been some uncertainty about how productive that time has been for them. In order to provide some accountability and consistency, this policy is a key piece of the puzzle. It will then tell not only the employees but also the public what is expected from someone who's working at home. I think there is a misunderstanding that people who are working at home are only "working," in quotation marks. I know that there are people who are working at home who are working as hard as they would if they work sitting in an office downtown. They are doing the same kind of work. I think there needs to be some confidence building with the public that working at home means working. I think this policy would go a long way toward answering questions about under what circumstances people will work at home and what is expected of them and what supports are provided to them. I certainly will support this recommendation. I just want to note that the timeline here is expedited over the usual 120 days. It's more like two and a half months. the reason for that is so that this policy is in place in the event that there is a second wave, so that it's clear, as I say, what the expectations and supports are for this kind of a move. Thank you.

Committee Motion 33-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Development of a "Working from Home" Policy, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1194

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife Centre. Member for Yellowknife North.

Committee Motion 33-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Development of a "Working from Home" Policy, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1194

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chair. Yes, I have big expectations from what a work-from-home policy could accomplish. I think many people who work in government departments feel they don't need to be in the office the majority of the time, and I feel that a great way to get more childcare is allow people to be at home with their children, should they want. I know there are various ways across departments, and some departments have been highly productive working from home, and others have not.

I also think this is a big potential for the GNWT to be a leader. More and more corporations across the world are allowing people to remote work. If we want to be a leading employer and keep people, we need to be more flexible. That doesn't mean you have to work Monday to Friday, nine to five. It means you can work evenings and weekends, you can answer emails when you want, and I really think the GNWT needs to rethink work, because we have all sorts of different productivity coming out of different departments, and I think a lot of lessons can be learned from COVID-19 about creating flexible and individualized work systems for those people who prefer to work from home. So I look at what every other large company is doing in the modern age and how they are letting people do remote work and work from home, and that should be the kind of model we as the GNWT are aspiring to. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Committee Motion 33-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Development of a "Working from Home" Policy, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1194

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. To the motion.

Committee Motion 33-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Development of a "Working from Home" Policy, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1194

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 33-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Development of a "Working from Home" Policy, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1195

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? All those abstaining? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Member for Thebacha.