This is page numbers 2951 - 2988 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 public.

Topics

Oral Question 789-19(2): Nursing Issues
Oral Questions

Page 2966

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Firstly, I just -- I checked Hansard, and I saw that a few Members and the Minister had raised the issue of exit surveys which we weren't previously doing in the spring, and I'm glad to hear we are now doing that.

I'm also happy to hear that we're doing this, there's a larger survey going on. I guess my concern, Mr. Speaker, is I think we can anticipate many of the things it'll say. It'll say they're burnt out. Staff tend to raise management concerns when they are surveyed. They're clearly going to raise some of the compensation concerns.

And I know that many of those areas we can't quite solve now. So I'm unsure if we get them in a survey, whether that changes. So I just want to hear what the Minister plans do with the results of the surveys and whether maybe this can be a tool to push us over the edge to take some of those actions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 789-19(2): Nursing Issues
Oral Questions

Page 2966

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in this situation, it is infinitely preferable to keep a nurse we have than to try and hire a new one. You know, they are already established here; they understand the operating environment; they understand our electronic medical records system, and so on and so forth. We would like them to stay.

We offer very good professional development benefits and professional training opportunities and other things that are beyond salaries and within our control to incentivize nurses to stay and to take any additional training which may enhance their careers and their sense of job satisfaction.

I have heard people say that the work environment is the problem. I'm not clear what that means, and I'm looking forward to hearing what that means so that we can address whatever that is. I don't know if it's not enough staff on shift or whether it's scratchy relationships between the union and management, or what it is. This is something that I need to learn so that we can address those issues and encourage nurses to stay with us. Thank you.

Oral Question 789-19(2): Nursing Issues
Oral Questions

Page 2966

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Minister for that answer. I've heard the Minister say that we have a new collective agreement with the UNW. We are unable to offer, you know, one specific profession a bonus. And I guess I don't quite understand where that resistance is coming from. I don't see how a union is going to refuse to allow its Members to get more compensation. I don't understand if that resistance is from the finance or the local or where that is coming from.

So I would welcome some enlightenment on that. But I guess the real question is can we give our current health care workers some sort of bonus or raise, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 789-19(2): Nursing Issues
Oral Questions

Page 2966

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Union of Northern Workers represents nurses and the civil service in the NWT. In the summer, they ratified an agreement for 1.5 percent increase for two years this fiscal year, next fiscal year.

If we are going to offer more money to people to work, then we need to make the situation equitable. And at this point, we don't have a way to do that. Health is understaffed. But not only health. Education is very understaffed. There is a lot of gaps in teacher assignments in the Northwest Territories. Corrections officers are understaffed.

So the problem that we have is how to single out one occupation and incentivize them without taking into consideration that there may be other occupations where there's a shortage of staff, a competitive environment for staff.

And so at this point, there's no easy way around that. I will just say that in many jurisdictions, nurses have their own union to deal with their own issues, workplace issues, compensation, and so on. But that, so far, has not been a direction that's gone in the Northwest Territories. Thank you.

Oral Question 789-19(2): Nursing Issues
Oral Questions

Page 2967

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary, Member for Yellowknife North.

Oral Question 789-19(2): Nursing Issues
Oral Questions

Page 2967

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I guess I want to head off the potential of, you know, there's some debate about whether the UNW Act and the Public Service Agreement allows the nurses to form their own union, whether that's legal. There's a tension, I imagine, in the UNW of taking Members out of their union. I think there is possible options of instead of an own union, a separate collective agreement for nurses. But I really do not want to be here in two years where the situation is where the local is in a fight with the UNW who's in a fight with the Finance Minister, and we're in a very tense situation. And I know there are talks of year after year of organizing their own unions.

So I guess I want to ask the Minister are there conversations happening between the respective parties about possibility of their own collective agreement or just making sure if that happens, that it does not get really messy, because I think this could be a conversation that needs to happen now, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 789-19(2): Nursing Issues
Oral Questions

Page 2967

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'm not well-informed in this area at all about any efforts that have been made or are being made to create a separate union for the nurses or a separate bargaining unit.

Really, the relationship with the union is managed by the Department of Finance which has responsibility for human resources. And so in terms of those questions, my colleague, the Minister of Finance, would be more informed than myself. Thank you.

Oral Question 789-19(2): Nursing Issues
Oral Questions

Page 2967

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Monfwi.

Oral Question 790-19(2): Land Issues in Tlicho Communities
Oral Questions

November 23rd, 2021

Page 2967

Jane Weyallon-Armstrong Monfwi

Masi. I have questions for the Department of Justice. So is the department aware of the difficulties in Tlicho region regarding the land administration systems and transferring ownership. What is the Minister and department doing to support the communities and address the problems. Masi.

Oral Question 790-19(2): Land Issues in Tlicho Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2967

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Mahsi. Minister of Justice.

Oral Question 790-19(2): Land Issues in Tlicho Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2967

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The issues that the Member has raised, they occur all across the Northwest Territories. We have the Office of the Public Trustee, which manages the estates for persons who are deceased. They can often provide some advice. We have the Legal Aid Outreach Clinic, and the constituents can call that to perhaps get some advice or get pointed in the right direction. But the unfortunate reality is that often these things require a lawyer.

And I wish that we had a team of lawyers to send out to communities to deal with some of these issues or/and proactively deal with some of these issues. But outside of those resources that I've just mentioned, we don't have those available. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 790-19(2): Land Issues in Tlicho Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2967

Jane Weyallon-Armstrong Monfwi

I wasn't aware he was going to say that public trustee. But public trustee, they do not have the capacity.

So I'm just asking the Minister, can he commit to send a legal team from MACA to help our community government in Behchoko, Whatì, Gameti, and Wekweeti to address the outstanding land issues. Thank you.

Oral Question 790-19(2): Land Issues in Tlicho Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2967

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. No, I can't commit on behalf of another Minister, the Minister of MACA.

And you know, frankly, when we had one initiative in this government that required, you know, intensive use of a legal team, we had to add more positions to the budget because we don't have bodies to commit to issues like these. So I know that's not the answer the Member is looking for, but that's the only answer I have right now.

But I will have conversations with the Minister of MACA so that we can dig a little deeper into this. I'm happy to have further conversations with the Member as well to perhaps get a better sense of some of the specifics of these issues and see if we can start chipping away. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 790-19(2): Land Issues in Tlicho Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2967

Jane Weyallon-Armstrong Monfwi

Well, in the long run, only changes to the legislation, the Tlicho Community Government Act will fully address the problems with the land administration systems.

Will the Minister commit to working with his colleague, Minister of MACA, to consider bringing forward changes to the legislation in consultation with the communities. Thank you.

Oral Question 790-19(2): Land Issues in Tlicho Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2967

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And that's out of my jurisdiction. Justice wouldn't really have a role in that, other than, you know, providing the legal services that would then be billed back to MACA. But I can -- obviously the Minister has just heard that. I can have a further conversation. And perhaps, you know -- I see the -- the Member looks like she has a legal team flanking her with lawyers on each side that might be able to assist with some of her issues as well. I know that Members do provide some legal services in the communities, and so maybe that's another option. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.