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.

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Oral Question 796-19(2): Decision-making Authority in Small Communities
Oral Questions

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in the mandate of the Government of the Northwest Territories document, there's a section with regional decision-making authority where the government states it will empower regional and community staff with training to increase their awareness of the decision-making authority.

Can the Premier tell us if this training has been developed yet and if the Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs will be on track with its goals on this initiative. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Decision-making Authority in Small Communities
Oral Questions

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. Honourable Premier.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Decision-making Authority in Small Communities
Oral Questions

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Training, we realize, is an ongoing process but, yes, we've started some of initial training within this regional decision-making and there will be more as we go on because we've still got more work to do.

But the areas of training that we've developed, and based on our findings so far, we'll be doing delivery of training on the human resource manual and human resource delegations of authority. That began in October, already, with all the regions. We're going to be doing training on the Cabinet process, and that's been developed, and the delivery will begin in December of this year, 2021. And then training modules on the Financial Management Board handbook and financial delegations of authority are currently being finalized and the delivery is expected to begin early in 2022.

So, Mr. Speaker, EIA, Executive and Indigenous Affairs department is on track with its goal on this commitment. However, in stating that, we have more work to do which I'll get into further. And as we identify training needs, then we constantly, as a government, should be trying to address those training needs, so. But we're beginning the process. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Decision-making Authority in Small Communities
Oral Questions

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, can the Premier provide us with some details as to the extent of the departmental review into regional decision-making authority, including any Executive Council amendments that were proposed or enacted. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Decision-making Authority in Small Communities
Oral Questions

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So that is some of the areas that we want to talk about.

Throughout our review, we started with doing an internal review of the current processes in regards to human resource and financial authorities. We looked at job descriptions, etcetera, and we realized that there weren't any discrepancies within them. There is an issue. And when we did a -- we've done surveys with the senior managements in the rural -- smaller communities, etcetera, and they identify that there's an issue, the feeling of empower. So that led us to say even though our job description say it's all good, you know, we're equal, there's a perception of not. So that's why I wanted to say that, you know, we're doing training on right now what your authority is, but there's other issues that we need to look at and make sure that those are addressed.

So with that, like I said, at this point we're not doing any changes to the Executive Council because we haven't seen that there's a need. The need isn't on changing the Executive Council at this point, and delegations; it's about making sure that employees, both in headquarters and regional staff, understand the delegations of authority. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Decision-making Authority in Small Communities
Oral Questions

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, can the Premier tell us of any legislation based on her departmental review will need to be amended or enacted to better provide and improve regional decision-making authority. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Decision-making Authority in Small Communities
Oral Questions

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So, again, like I had said earlier, in regards to making legislative changes or changes to the Executive Council, that wasn't seen to be an issue. The job descriptions are on par. The initial service that we did identify, that there are problems. When we asked what the problems were, people just identified headquarters, not enough power in the regions. So in fact, that didn't give us enough information in all honesty to be able to do a final assessment. So we're now in the process of hiring a contractor -- last question -- and we'll be doing one on one interviews.

The other thing that's really important to know is because it's easy to hire a contractor and go into the communities and say what do you need, but I take a real firm stance that if you're going to be doing things for the people, by the people, about the people, the people need to be involved.

So we have hired a contractor, but we've also got a working group that we started, and the working group has staff from both the regional and the headquarters. And that working group has delegated the task of developing the questions that will be used in the small communities so that we can hopefully gain more insight.

Like I said, it's not enough just to say, headquarters has all the control and yet your job description said it doesn't. So we need to find out what exactly that means and that's the process we're working on now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Decision-making Authority in Small Communities
Oral Questions

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Honourable Premier. Final supplementary, Member for Thebacha.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Decision-making Authority in Small Communities
Oral Questions

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, can the Premier provide us with any other notable facts or examples not yet mentioned where her government has improved regional decision-making authorities since the start of the 19th Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Decision-making Authority in Small Communities
Oral Questions

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I think for me the most notable change I made on the mandate, we did talk about doing this work, we talked about developing training and delivering it to people, but in the mandate we never talk to who was going to do that. So the mandate could have been that headquarters because traditionally headquarters does do those things and would have defined it. What's different now, Mr. Speaker, is that it's not only headquarters defining this work. It is the regional managers that are helping define it because it's the regions that are experiencing this problem. So, again, I feel it would be totally inappropriate if headquarters alone did this. Headquarters is one party at the table but the regional managers are the ones that need to be guiding this work. And so that is a change that we've done, is that it's a -- we're working together on this. It's not top down. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Decision-making Authority in Small Communities
Oral Questions

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Honourable Premier. Oral questions. Member for Great Slave.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Infrastructure in Small Communities
Oral Questions

November 24th, 2021

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, getting back to my original roots here, I'm going to ask the Minister of Infrastructure some questions about the Great Bear River bridge.

Could the Minister speak to whether or not the regulatory review and permitting process is on track to maintain the timelines previously stated on the project website. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Minister responsible for Infrastructure.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Infrastructure in Small Communities
Oral Questions

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, given some of the challenges to get in the communities in during this pandemic, the regulatory permitting process timeline has been revised so that applications will be submitted in early 2022. Staff are working with the community of Tulita and the Department of Lands to obtain required land reserves. This will not, however, cause any impact to project delivery within the expected bridge completion date being 2026. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Infrastructure in Small Communities
Oral Questions

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given that we have a lot of conversation around small communities and retention of money there, can the Minister briefly describe the community engagement process that's been undertaken until now and tell us what she's been doing differently to ensure that the benefits of the project are retained within that small community and are not being lost to businesses from the south or in regional centres. Thank you.

Oral Question 796-19(2): Infrastructure in Small Communities
Oral Questions

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Great Bear River Project has potential to bring significant socio-economic benefits to the Sahtu. My department has been working very hard to optimize how we can retain benefits in the region and community, as well as how to involve is many local businesses and contractors as possible. Engagement meetings have been taking place since August 2018. The project team has also held public meetings in each of the five Sahtu communities. Also have met with Sahtu Secretariat, community councils, land corporation, resource councils, all throughout the Sahtu.

Topics addressed during meetings have included discussions on how business and people of the Sahtu can be prepared to provide services to the project. So the next round of meetings are being scheduled for December and January.

The NWT business incentive is in place to favour bids with local and northern content. We will work with Department of Finance with regards to procurement options and also utilize the Northwest Territories Business Incentive Policy which is in place to favour bids with local and northern content. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.