This is page numbers 1035 - 1054 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.

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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 cho, Madam Chair. The committee wishes to consider Tabled Document 30-19(2) and, specifically, the Departments of Education, Culture and Employment and Industry, Tourism and Investment. Marsi cho, Madam 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

Thank you, Mr. Norn. Does committee agree?

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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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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, committee. We will proceed with the first item. Committee, we have agreed to consider Tabled Document 30-19(2), Main Estimates 2020-2021, resuming with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment. Committee, we have previously deferred this matter at consideration of the departmental summary. Members, please turn to page 29 of the tabled document. Education, Culture and Employment, operations expenditures, total department, 2020-2021 Main Estimates, $340,268,000. Does committee agree?

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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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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, Members. Committee has indicated they would like to continue with the summary page for Industry, Tourism and Investment, on page 195. Industry, Tourism and Investment, operations expenditures, total department, 2020-2021, $59,585,000. Does committee agree?

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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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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, committee. Do you agree that we have concluded consideration of Tabled Document 30-19(2), Main Estimates 2020-2021?

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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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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

Minister Wawzonek.

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. A few comments. I meant what I said earlier, some time ago now, in my first budget speech. A budget is a collective effort and a collaborative approach will be the best way to build a financial plan for this fiscal year and beyond. Through this budget session, we have worked with Regular Members to evaluate our priorities with the result that we are committing $1.9 million in additional investments to round out the 2020-2021 Budget. These additional investments include the following:

  1. $600,000 to support the revitalization of Indigenous languages. We will contribute $150,000 within that to our regional Indigenous government partners to increase current efforts to encourage the use of Indigenous languages, and $450,000 for a pilot project to build community capacity by supporting career development for interpreters and translators.
  2. $500,000 to increase childcare spaces through subsidizing the cost of space acquisition, renovations, and repairs. This investment is in line with the supports we believe will be necessary to help the Northwest Territories economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. $150,000 for the sustainable livelihoods program that is currently underway to accelerate actions identified under the program's plan, including increasing country food harvesting and the underlying knowledge, skills, and capacity needed to better harvest, process, and prepare country food. Acceleration of actions under this program will also support our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. To support increasing local food production, $172,000 to increase funding in the Community Harvester Assistance Program to offset capital and operating costs of harvesting activities; $70,000 therein to draft meat inspector regulations that reduces the barriers to developing food production businesses, which in turn will allow for increased local food production without compromising on food safety; and $100,000 to extend the fish sector support position to March 31, 2022.
  5. $615,000 to expand the hours of service of the dialysis unit in Hay River, including increases to staffing, training, and equipment.

Madam Chair, the GNWT also concurs with Members for a phased approach to examining unauthorized and rights-based occupancy of territorial land and, as such, will reduce the number of legal counsel positions proposed for this work from three to one. This will result in a reduction of $339,000 to the Department of Justice's 2020-2021 operations expenditures budget. Despite all that has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global, national, and Northwest Territories economies, the 2020-2021 budget still represents a stable starting point for the future of the 19th Legislative Assembly. We are fortunate that, although we expect our own source revenues will be significantly lower this fiscal year and possibly in 2021-2022, as well, over time, territorial formula financing will respond to partially offset these losses. We intend to continue to maintain a focus on responsible fiscal management so that we can help the economy recover and make investments to make progress on this Assembly's other priorities. Budget 2020-2021 allows departments to move forward with their ongoing business, providing programs and services to residents, supporting the economy, and protecting the environment.

If ever we needed creative problem solving to achieve responsive and effective results it is now. We have demonstrated our ability to collaborate through this, our first budget process, and I am already looking forward to the next round of meaningful engagement through consultations for next year's budget 2021 starting over the next few months. As we emerge from the effects of COVID-19 restrictions, we know that our economy will not be the same. We need the perspectives of this Assembly and our residents to help frame the discussion about future government expenditures that will create a better future for the Northwest Territories economy. Madam Chair, I will follow through with these commitments by including these items in Supplementary Estimates (Operations Expenditures), No.1, 2020-2021, to be considered by the Assembly during this Session. Thank you.

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 Wawzonek. Does committee agree that this concludes consideration of Tabled Document 30-19(2)?

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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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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

Mr. Norn.

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

Madam Chair, I move that consideration of Tabled Document 30-19(2), Main Estimates 2020-2021, is now concluded and that Tabled Document 30-19(2), be reported and recommended as ready for further consideration in a formal session through the form of an appropriation bill. Marsi cho, Madam Chair.