This is page numbers 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 know.

Topics

Oral Question 799-19(2): Jean Marie River Flooding and Response
Oral Questions

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we've been working with the residents. Some people want their homes to be raised. We're able to do that. Some of them have actually looked at potentially moving to another location. And with the homes that we are replacing, we're making sure that we can lift them up and move them should they wish to move to another location in the town.

Very much the community wants to stay close to the river. We have some locations that we're working with them. But we've also made a commitment to work with them to come up with a plan, a community plan, based on their needs and what they want. So, again, it's very much about working with them on this. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 799-19(2): Jean Marie River Flooding and Response
Oral Questions

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake. Oh, that's fine.

Oral Question 800-19(2): Obstetrical Care Costs
Oral Questions

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Sorry about that, Mr. Speaker. I'm operating electronically today. Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Minister of Health and Social Services today, and I'd like to continue my conversation from yesterday.

My first question is will Health and Social Services waive the $400 copayment fee being charged to families for travelling to Edmonton to deliver between December 10th and February 21st. Thank you.

Oral Question 800-19(2): Obstetrical Care Costs
Oral Questions

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Minister responsible for Health and Social Services.

Oral Question 800-19(2): Obstetrical Care Costs
Oral Questions

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for the question. I'm unable to answer that specific question. What I understand is that the obstetrics team has started to reach out to the families who will be disrupted by the closure of the Stanton obstetrics unit and finding out what their needs are in order to understand whether we need to do some systemic changes to accommodate families who will be going to Alberta to give birth. So at this point, I can't say specifically what measures we are going to offer beyond those that are already in place for everyone who travels for medical travel. Thank you.

Oral Question 800-19(2): Obstetrical Care Costs
Oral Questions

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. And thank you to the Minister. I can confirm that the people who I serve when I stand in this House would like to not have to pay out of pocket for essential health care and that would be to deliver a child and would like to not have to pay the $400 copayment fee in order to access required health services.

My next question, Mr. Speaker, is will Health and Social Services increase the $50 hotel benefit to a hundred dollars regardless of escort presence to ensure all parents travelling to deliver in Edmonton have access to equitable hotel benefits regardless of marital status to better cover the costs of hotels. Thank you.

Oral Question 800-19(2): Obstetrical Care Costs
Oral Questions

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, medical travel benefits are available to these families who are being disrupted by the closure of the obstetrics unit at the same rates that are provided to everybody else who travels for medical travel. In the event that the family has access to employer benefits, noninsured health benefits, or extended health benefits, Metis health benefits, then they may be able to supplement those numbers. In the event that they are unable to supplement those numbers, they should certainly make the obstetrics team aware of that so that we can consider what else may be available to them. Thank you.

Oral Question 800-19(2): Obstetrical Care Costs
Oral Questions

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that this is the norm for medical travel, but most medical travel patients aren't travelling for three plus weeks and expected to foot the unexpected bill of thousands of dollars in hotel costs.

What I will also say is that I do have residents in the constituency that I serve who have been reached out by the OBS team and it doesn't seem that the OBS team is able to make decisions on the phone, which I appreciate that this is an evolving situation and is a new situation for everybody. And so I would like Health and Social Services to please consider the length of stay expected of families and the large financial burden that that brings with it.

My next question, Mr. Speaker, is will Child and Family Services help keep families together by paying for the flight costs of children that cannot be left behind. Thank you.

Oral Question 800-19(2): Obstetrical Care Costs
Oral Questions

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, thank you. All of these answers are about medical travel providing benefits to people who need to seek services in Alberta and in other jurisdictions. In fact, people who go for chemotherapy might also be away for weeks at a time.

The medical travel program is not a program that provides dollar for dollar costs replacement for going south. There is a financial cost to the individuals involved unless they are low income and in which case there are other possibilities. I cannot make a commitment that every family will have the costs of their children with them paid for.

I think that the Member needs to consider that with 540 births in the NWT a year, and with many of those occurring with people who do not live on the door step of Stanton Hospital, that we have to be very mindful of the precedent that we're creating here and the extra spending that we're committing ourselves to. We need to, as I said earlier, continue to gather information about what families need and then make a decision about what additional supports we can provide. Thank you.

Oral Question 800-19(2): Obstetrical Care Costs
Oral Questions

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Kam Lake.

Oral Question 800-19(2): Obstetrical Care Costs
Oral Questions

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I see this as an opportunity to create a more equitable birth path in the Northwest Territories. I see this as a voice being lent to the right for people to deliver children in a safe space close to home, close to the community that they reside in, and I think that we need to be able to take this and focus on things like doula programs, like our midwifery program, like bettering the medical travel policies that do exist.

And so I am wondering if the Minister will then please commit to finding out from staff what she is hearing or what they are hearing, rather, from constituents of the Northwest Territories as to what they need and to be able to share that information with Members so that we can compare that with the information that we are also receiving from constituents. Thank you.

Oral Question 800-19(2): Obstetrical Care Costs
Oral Questions

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'm not going to make that commitment. I'm going to assure the Member that I think we all have the best interests of these families in mind. It's very unfortunate that the staffing situation is such that Stanton is not going to be available for births between December the 10th and February the 21st, and I recognize the disruption that's going to cause. But I'm not going to task the obstetrics team with writing reports for us. That, I do not think is a goods use of their time.

The ultimate answer to this is to try and improve our staffing levels in the obstetrics unit. We staff now for three nurses, obstetric nurses 24/7. And as I think I said earlier, the birth rate in the NWT is actually going down and not up. Even with that, we are struggling with vacancies in the obstetrics unit. The ultimate answer is to improve services in the Northwest Territories rather than putting a lot of resources into this situation which I sincerely hope is one-off. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, Minister. Colleagues, our time for oral questions has expired. Written questions. Returns to written questions. Replies to Commissioner's address. Petitions. Reports of committees under review of bills. Reports of standing and special committees. Tabling of documents.

Tabling Of Documents
Tabling Of Documents

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Minister responsible for Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Report of the Procurement Review Panel - Review of the Government of Northwest Territories Procurement Policies; The Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission 67th Annual Report 2020-2021; The Northwest Territories Liquor Licensing Board 67th Annual Report 2020-2021; Inter-Activity Transfers Exceeding $250,000 (April 1st to June 30th, 2021); The Northern Employee Benefits Services (NEBS) Pension Plan Annual Report for the Year Ended December 31st, 2020.
Tabling Of Documents

November 24th, 2021

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to table the following five documents:

Report of the Procurement Review Panel - Review of the Government of Northwest Territories Procurement Policies;

The Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission 67th Annual Report 2020-2021;

The Northwest Territories Liquor Licensing Board 67th Annual Report 2020-2021;

Inter-Activity Transfers Exceeding $250,000 (April 1st to June 30th, 2021); and,

The Northern Employee Benefits Services (NEBS) Pension Plan Annual Report for the Year Ended December 31st, 2020.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Report of the Procurement Review Panel - Review of the Government of Northwest Territories Procurement Policies; The Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission 67th Annual Report 2020-2021; The Northwest Territories Liquor Licensing Board 67th Annual Report 2020-2021; Inter-Activity Transfers Exceeding $250,000 (April 1st to June 30th, 2021); The Northern Employee Benefits Services (NEBS) Pension Plan Annual Report for the Year Ended December 31st, 2020.
Tabling Of Documents

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Tabling of documents. Minister responsible for Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.