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 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1191

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Chair. This is arguably the most important recommendation in all of these reports. It's certainly the area that I've heard the most about. Members here have talked about encountering people who are visitors to the NWT who didn't seem to be self-isolated. We've heard from people who filed self-isolation plans and there was no follow-up. We've heard about communities putting up check stops in order to strengthen their own response to who is coming into their communities. This has been such a huge area of confusion and, to some extent, frustration. If we had a second wave right at this moment it would be a very frightening thing from an enforcement point of view. I do not see that the enforcement is now in place that will effectively follow up on complaints and concerns and the people who file the self-isolation plans and so on. This is an area that needs a significant amount of strengthening. I'm happy to hear today that the first ticket has been issued. That's a confidence building move for sure. I think there is so much more that needs to be done in this area. Once again, with a pause in cases here we really have an opportunity to get on top of how enforcement is going to work so that in the event of a second wave that we all feel confident that we are being adequately protected with the measures that are not only in place but are also enforced. Thank you.

Committee Motion 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1192

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife Centre. To the motion. Member for Frame Lake.

Committee Motion 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1192

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. I want a second to sum up the concerns raised by my colleague by Yellowknife Centre. On March 21st, the public health order was issued closing the border. I started asking questions three days later of my Cabinet colleagues to try to find out what was actually happening, whether information was being collected, what information was being given out. I guess for the first few days the people at the border stop didn't even have pamphlets, brochures, nothing to give out. Then they started to collect photos of drivers' IDs, they were collecting names of passengers, but it wasn't until March 27th that they had a standardized collection process. Forms were actually not standardized until April 9th to, I guess, presumably ensure that there was a better follow up of self-isolation plans.

It's still not clear to me what happens with the information that is collected, how it goes from the task force to the Chief Public Health Officer's office and who does the follow up? I've asked questions since March about that and just never really got the answers I was looking for. I still have questions about this. I was going to make a Member's statement about it and that's where I'm taking some of these dates out of here because couldn't get to the bottom of it. I support this. The task force itself was only set up on April 8th, 18 days after the border controls were put into place. There was gaps there, I know that we are all learning from this experience. We've got to put that learning into practice and that's what this recommendation is about. It's making sure that we're ready next time. I do support it. Thanks, Madam Chair.

Committee Motion 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1192

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Member for Hay River South.

Committee Motion 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1192

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Chair. What can I say? Being from Hay River I continually get emails. I know that the Minister had said that Protect NWT gets 10,000, or they had over 10,000. Well, I've had probably half of those as well. I think it is important that they take a look at communication all the way from the top right down like to the border and vice versa. There seems to be a real gap in communication. The other thing that I think the issue, like in community of Hay River anyways, was the monitoring. Who is in charge of monitoring? That was a big thing. Then we were told that it's up to residents to do their monitoring and if there is a problem just call Protect NWT and something might happen.

I think the whole thing has to be kind of reviewed, looked at, and streamlined so that there is a good line of communication and that's what was missing. I realize, and I think the people understand, as well, this came up so fast. We did what we could. I think we did a fairly good job. As things kind of calmed down a bit and people were getting antsy and wanting to move around a bit more and I think that's where we ended up getting a lot more comments. The other thing I think that has to be looked at as well, the communication between the Chief Public Health Officer and some of the other departments, as well. I saw that as a big problem. I think that there has to be better communication there, especially if we're looking at trying to move economic development and business alongside opening up the borders and things like that. Yeah, I support it. There is lots of work to do in this area. That is all I have to say. Thank you.

Committee Motion 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1192

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Hay River South. Member for Kam Lake.

Committee Motion 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1192

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Chair. Yes. I just wanted to along the same lines as to where my colleague from Hay River South was heading. I believe that Protect NWT is a piece of our enforcement within the GNWT. If that is where we are driving people when stuff goes wrong or when they have a question or when they have a concern, then Protect NWT is definitely a part of enforcement. I think that right now, while we don't have any active cases of COVID, we don't have community spread, is the time to be streamlining that and the time to be figuring out how to triage Protect NWT better so that we can reduce the amount of calls that they are getting, whether that is putting more information on the website, making it more readily accessible, making sure that we are putting consistent messaging out there so people aren't calling just to get clarification. I think that we need to figure out how to triage that today. Sorry. You need to figure out how to triage that today. Then if part of that is increasing the capacity of Protect NWT, then now is the time to do that. I 100 percent support this recommendation, but I do believe that Protect NWT needs to be considered part of an enforcement. Thank you.

Committee Motion 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1192

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Committee Motion 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

June 11th, 2020

Page 1193

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi, Madam Chair. Just looking at this one and some of the motions we passed already, any time you do something with speed, you are going to lose a little bit in translation. It's always hard, but I think this captures a lot of what we are trying to do here. The biggest thing I have heard complaints to about the enforcement is one of the big issues. I get calls from my constituents, "Why aren't we finding these people more often?" People are never going to learn their lesson if they keep doing the way things we were doing. We need to start having more of those discussions and more. There has got to be some recourse if you stray from our rules because if we just say, "You are going to get a warning. You shouldn't be doing that," people are going to continually find those grey areas in the law and move around it. Because of it, somebody might get sick. I think if we start actually having some rules that have a little bit of teeth in them, then people will start paying attention. I think that is a big message we need to get across. Mahsi cho. I will be supporting this motion, as well.

Committee Motion 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1193

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. To the motion.

Committee Motion 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1193

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 31-19(2): Committee Report 2-19(2) - Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on Long-Term Recovery: Recommendations to the GNWT - Enforcement of Orders Issued During a Public Health or Territorial Emergency, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1193

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.

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

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Madam Chair, I move that this committee recommends that the Government of the Northwest Territories develop a digital communications plan for the Northwest Territories that: assesses the state of the telecommunications infrastructure serving each Northwest Territories community; identifies the costs and timelines associated with ensuring that all NWT communities have access to high speed digital telecommunications; and identifies who will be responsible for the work and how it will be achieved; and further, that the Government of the Northwest Territories Long-term Pandemic Response must also include provisions ensuring the vulnerable populations have access to the Internet during a pandemic lockdown by developing plans on a community by community bases for ensuring Internet access for individuals when libraries and community centres are ordered closed during a lockdown. 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 1193

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. The motion is in order. To the motion. Member for Frame 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

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. This recommendation dovetails very nicely with the fourth recommendation in the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment report where we wanted a costed plan for upgrading Internet access across the NWT to Canadian standards by September 1st. I hope that when Cabinet responds positively to that recommendation, we can work together and deal with the two at the same time. Thanks, Madam Chair.