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 indigenous.

Topics

Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:
Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

1. Increasing the size of the Board of Governors to ten members;

2. Requiring that at least half of the board members are Indigenous NWT residents;

3. Allowing Cabinet to designate the chairperson of the board of governors, and requiring the board of governors to designate the vice-chair;

4. Requiring the board of governors to seek input from Indigenous governments on the makeup of the Indigenous Knowledge Holders Council; and,

5. Adding the term "diverse" to sections that refer to the uniqueness of the NWT.

Committee wishes to thank all those who participated. Mr. Speaker, I would now like to pass the reading of this report on to the Member for Great Slave.

Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:
Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Member for Great Slave.

Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:
Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, What we heard: Committee held a public engagement period from July 20 to August 20, 2021, and a virtual public hearing on September 9, 2021.

Committee received written submissions and public presentations from Aurora College, the City of Yellowknife, the Northwest Territories Metis Nation, and the Tlicho government.

The themes brought forward reflect the composition and appointment of the Board of Governors and the two councils, regional representation, implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), academic independence, and requests for direct co-drafting of legislation with Indigenous governments.

Board of Governors: Committee heard disappointment about Bill 30 proposing to reinstate the previously abolished Board of Governors without regional representation and two advisory councils instead. Witnesses requested to change the governance model to allow for regional representation in the composition of the Board of Governors by working together with the NWT's Indigenous governments. The Tlicho government stated that not guaranteeing continued regional representation in the governance of the college would be a mindset of colonialism and not align with UNDRIP Article 19.

Committee heard concerns that the proposed composition of the Board of Governors could result in an underrepresentation of Indigenous people. The NWT Metis Nation asked to be directly represented on the Board of Governors, to be involved in all decisions, and requested that each recognized Indigenous government have a seat on the board; otherwise, the model would not be consistent with UNDRIP Article 14.

The City of Yellowknife encouraged the development of criteria that would ensure the Board of Governors is representative of the ethnicities, genders, geographic regions and perspectives in the NWT. Aurora College welcomed the move away from a regional representation model to a competency-based board and the established minimum requirement for three Indigenous board members.

Residency requirement for board members: The concern was raised that the college may miss out on contributions from the broader Canadian and international academic world if a strict residency requirement exists. The potential negative impact on a future university could include reducing the marketability of the university and creating a possible barrier to appointing suited candidates.

Academic Council: Committee heard the concern that the academic council may hold no weight in the decision-making because no qualification requirements are determined in Bill 30. Any community member may fill roles on the council. The City of Yellowknife made the recommendation to require that council members have post-secondary organizational experience in addition to academic expertise.

Indigenous Knowledge Holders Council: Several witnesses indicated that the selection process of Indigenous Knowledge Holders Council members should have support from the Indigenous community. Committee heard concerns that a mechanism for representative Indigenous institutions to be involved in selecting members to the Indigenous Knowledge Holders Council is lacking. The Tlicho government notes that such mechanism is necessary to make the Act consistent with UNDRIP Article 19, and states further that "it is critical to Tlicho government that any persons designated as holding Indigenous knowledge be recognized as such by their communities, and who have support and recognition behind them from their communities as they take up such an important responsibility."

Chair and vice-chair: Witnesses voiced concerns that changing the power from the board to the Minister to designate a chair and a vice-chair would not reflect the intention to make the college more arm's length but possibly reverses it.

Mandate: Committee heard the concern that the Minister's power to approve the board's mandate might diminish the proposed rule that forbids the Minister to interfere with the Aurora College policies. It was recommended that the legal framework reinforce academic independence.

I would like to now turn this over to my colleague from Monfwi, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:
Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Member for Monfwi.

Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:
Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:

Jane Weyallon-Armstrong Monfwi

Timelines for consultation and comments: Committee heard the concern that timelines for consultation and comments may not always be respectful and sufficient for stakeholders to support meaningful consultation. As has been previously raised to GNWT departments, Minister and standing committees, the witness notes that the timelines for consultation and comments must be respectful and sufficient to support meaningful consultation. As a stakeholder, the witness identified that a longer timeline to prepare comments is appreciated on an important and complex such as Bill 30.

Processed Used to Develop Bill 30
Process Used to Develop Bill 30: The Tlicho government brought forward the concern that the department's process missed the opportunity to involve Indigenous partners in bringing Bill 30. Referring to the experience of past collaborations in lands and resources-related legislative drafting processes, the Tlicho government stresses the need for such cooperation as the GNWT creates legislations that reflect the needs of all residents of the NWT and the Indigenous perspectives, world view, and with respect to the authorities of Indigenous government.

Committee considerations: Committee considered that the following motions would improve Bill 30.

The Board of Governors: Committee discussed the issue of representation on the Board of Governors and the request for reinstating regional representation. Committee finds that the purpose of Bill 30 is to restore public governance to Aurora College and, at the same time, ensure the college fulfills the requirements of the quality assurance process for Canadian post-secondary institutions. Regional representation of the Board may need to be considered for the polytechnic university and, in the future, replacement of the Aurora College Act with the Polytechnic University Act.

Committee was concerned that the governance model may not reflect that most students are Indigenous students from the NWT. Keeping the minimum number of Indigenous board members at three out of eight would not provide equal Indigenous representation. Accordingly, committee proposes a motion requiring a minimum of fifty percent Indigenous representation on the board-recommended membership to the Board of Governors.

When considering how to amend the Act best, committee sought information from the Minister. The response included a proposal from the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment to increase the number of board-recommended members from eight to ten, and require a minimum of five Indigenous members.

The increase would bring Aurora College board membership to 14; in comparison, the Yukon University Board of Governors has 17 members. Committee agrees with this approach. Motion 1 requires the Minister to appoint 10, members recommended by the Board, of which at least five must be Indigenous residents of the Northwest Territories.

Academic Council: Committee recognizes that membership of academic councils in Canada is almost entirely constituted by academic faculty and senior administrators employed by the institutions, with some student representation. The quality assurance review process requires institutions that offer degree programs to have their academic staff, students, and administrators participate in academic decision-making. By convention in nearly all Canadian institutions, this is done by establishing an academic council in colleges and a senate in universities.

Now, I now turn to MLA from Inuvik Twin Lake.

Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:
Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:
Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:

November 30th, 2021

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you. Indigenous Knowledge Holders Council: Committee welcomes the approach of balancing the Indigenous knowledge and the western academic knowledge system in the college and future university governance. Committee feels that to give equal weight to the Indigenous knowledge system, it needs to be identified who holds the power of determining a knowledge holder.

The current model does not speak to the composition of the council and leaves it to the decision by the Board of Governors. Committee holds the view that it does not make sense for a Board of Governors, without a mandate from Indigenous organizations, to be responsible for making rules on who would qualify as a knowledge holder. Committee shares the concern that the power to decide who is an Indigenous knowledge holder should lie with Indigenous organizations. The legislation should allow for Indigenous involvement in selecting Indigenous knowledge holders.

Committee agrees with the concern of risking non-compliance with UNDRIP and takes note of the recommendation to add a mechanism or criteria for Indigenous knowledge holders to be identified by their Indigenous organization or an Indigenous community.

Committee proposes two motions requiring Aurora College to follow a three-step process to establish membership to the Indigenous Knowledge Holders Council:

The amendments require the college to begin the process by seeking input from the Indigenous governments to develop criteria for identifying Indigenous knowledge holders.

The nomination process requires consideration of those criteria in selecting members to the Indigenous Knowledge Holders Council.

Both requirements are part of Motion 5.

Motion 7 requires the board to seek input from Indigenous governments on the potential members to the Indigenous Knowledge Holders Council before selecting members to the council and consider any input provided.

Further, the motion requires the board to ensure that the composition of the Indigenous Knowledge Holders Council reflects the unique and diverse values, histories and people of the Northwest Territories.

Residency Requirements for board members: Committee shares concerns that residency requirements for board members might limit the college in attracting highly educated individuals, particularly Indigenous individuals with ties to the NWT but residing in other jurisdictions. Committee sees this concern addressed with the proposed amendments that set criteria for identifying Indigenous knowledge holders.

Committee sees the suggestion to consider options for ex-officio members to enrich the board by allowing non-residents to inform the work of the board included in the current legislation, which allows the Minister to appoint additional members to the Board.

Board of Governors, chair and vice-chair: Committee agrees with the concern that moving the powers from the board to the Minister to select the Board of Governors, chair and vice-chair, does not contribute to making the institution more arms' length. Committee sought additional information from the Minister on why this change was made as it seems inconsistent with the principle of Bill 30.

The exchange recognized the significant importance of the role of both chairpersons under the arm's length and the renewed collaborative relationship. The department proposes to use the approach taken in Alberta where polytechnics, once created, are board-governed institutions where the Board of Governors acts as an intermediary between the institution and the public. With the evolving role of the chair, the department describes the relationship between the Minister and chair as the critical link to create stability during the transformation years and the vital relationship between government and the polytechnic university.

Committee takes the view that accountability during transition is just as important as independence. The need for public accountability can be achieved by having the Board of Governors select the chair. Committee took a strong position that the Board needs to select the chair, and the chair not be designated by the Minister. After further consideration, the committee accepted the Yukon university model as an acceptable compromise.

Accordingly, committee proposes the model used in the Yukon where the default is for Cabinet (rather than the Minister) to appoint a chair, and where the Board selects the vice-chair.

Adding 'diverse': Committee recommends adding the word 'diverse' to reflect the regional diversity in the NWT. According to Motions 2 and 7 add the term 'diverse' to language that speaks to the unique values of the NWT so that the sections in the Act refer to the unique and diverse values of the people of the NWT.

Role of the President: Currently, the administrator appointed by the Minister in the 18th Assembly replaces the Board and thereby holds the president of the college accountable. Bill 30 proposes that the Board of Governors select and direct the president thereby making the institution more independent and moving it into a more arm's length relationship from government.

Concerns were raised that the president is a public service employee and that this potentially conflicts with the intent to increase the academic independence of the institution. The City of Yellowknife suggested contracting the president as an independent individual instead.

When considering a possible amendment, the committee sought and received additional information from the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. Committee recognizes that the president is a non-voting member on the Board of Governors and reports only to the board. The board hires the president and determines the type and duration of the contract. Being exclusively accountable to the board solidifies a CEO-type position that allows the President to provide operational oversight independent of the GNWT. To enable the hiring and supervision of all Aurora College employees, the president must be granted the powers of a Deputy Head under the Public Service Act and Financial Administration Act.

Committee accepts the rationale of the president being a Member of the public service.

I would like to now pass it on to the Member for Hay River South. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:
Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Member for Hay River South.

Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:
Main Changesthe Main Changes Made In Committee Include:

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Mandate: In its deliberations, committee gave weight to the fact that the system of the board's mandate is modelled after other jurisdictions. The board determines the mandate and submits it to the Minister for approval. The Minister is not allowed to change the content or do anything else concerning the mandate, which is part of the arms-length nature of the relationship between the government and the institution. The mandate will be described in regulations which require Cabinet approval.

In developing the Aurora College Mandate, committee notes that the Department of Education, Culture and Employment and Aurora College considered elements from several jurisdictions. As a starting point, both are looking at the 'strategic mandate agreement' used in Ontario, where each university and college has its own strategic mandate agreement.

Committee recognizes that the requirement for the board's mandate comes from the Post-Secondary Education Act, and that Bill 30 aims to ensure that the mandate is appropriate for Aurora College, both with a focus on preparing the necessary elements for the institution to pass a quality assurance review.

Editorial Changes: Committee proposes two motions to correct spelling. Motions 4 and 6 propose editorial and non-substantive changes.

Recommendations: Committee heard from witnesses concerns about the development of legislation and the engagement process in review of Bill 30. While these issues do not fall within the scope of the review of Bill 30, committee feels strongly that they deserve recommending action.

Mr. Speaker: Thank You, Member For Hay River South. Member For Kam Lake.
Mr. Speaker: Thank You, Member For Hay River South. Member For Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Timeline for Consultation and Comments: Committee takes note of the request to allow for sufficient time for meaningful consultation and engagement. Committee will review its public engagement processes to ensure timelines are respectful and sufficient for stakeholders to support meaningful consultation.

Further, Committee makes the following recommendation.

Recommendation 2: The Standing Committee on Social Development recommends that the Department of Education, Culture and Employment and Aurora College take note of this request that engagement timelines are respectful and sufficient for stakeholders to support meaningful consultation, and ensure that the timeframes for engagement and consultation concerning the polytechnic university are adequate.

Terminology: During Committee's careful considerations to improve Bill 30, definitions and use of the term Indigenous were discussed.

Committee felt strongly about not excluding Indigenous academic experts or knowledge holders with ties to the NWT but residing outside of the jurisdiction from eligibility for board or council membership. Committee noted that the wording used establishes a requirement for NWT residency rather than recognizing a connection to the NWT, such as birth in the NWT, beneficiary under a land rights or self-government agreement, an Indigenous person who has resided a significant portion of their life in the NWT, or an Indigenous person who has notable achievements in the NWT but may no longer be an NWT resident.

Committee recognizes that the discussion of definition is not meant to be understood as standardization which would have a limiting effect. From a statutory interpretation perspective, one would not wish to straightjacket the definition of Indigenous. Rather, committee perceives that the GNWT needs to provide a definition of the term of Indigenous as used in the Affirmative Action Policy to avoid confusion with the different uses of the term internationally, nationally, and in respect to the approach of realizing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and implementation of UNDRIP articles.

Recommendation 3: The Standing Committee on Social Development recommends that the Government of the Northwest Territories provide a response to the recommendations contained in this report within 120 days.

Clause by clause review: The clause-by-clause review of Bill 30 was held on September 27, 2021. At this review, Committee moved seven motions. The Minister concurred with all seven motions.

Conclusion: The Standing Committee on Social Development's review of Bill 30 results from a collaborative process. Committee wishes to thank the Minister for his concurrence with the motions made by the committee to amend Bill 30. The committee thanks the public for their participation in the review process, and everyone involved in the review of this bill for their assistance and input.

Following the clause-by-clause review, a motion was carried to report Bill 30: An Act to Amend the Aurora College Act, as amended and reprinted, as ready for consideration in Committee of the Whole. This concludes the Standing Committee's review. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Thank You, Member For Hay River South. Member For Kam Lake.
Mr. Speaker: Thank You, Member For Hay River South. Member For Kam Lake.

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Member for Kam Lake.

Mr. Speaker: Thank You, Member For Hay River South. Member For Kam Lake.
Mr. Speaker: Thank You, Member For Hay River South. Member For Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Honourable Member for Great Slave, that Committee Report 20-19(2): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on Bill 30: An Act to Amend the Aurora College Act, be received by the Assembly and moved into the Committee of the Whole for further consideration. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion to receive committee report 20-19(2) and moVe into committee of the whole, carried
Mr. Speaker: Thank You, Member For Hay River South. Member For Kam Lake.

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Motion is in order. To the motion?

Motion to receive committee report 20-19(2) and moVe into committee of the whole, carried
Mr. Speaker: Thank You, Member For Hay River South. Member For Kam Lake.

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Motion to receive committee report 20-19(2) and moVe into committee of the whole, carried
Mr. Speaker: Thank You, Member For Hay River South. Member For Kam Lake.

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? Any abstentions? The motion is carried. The report will be moved into the Committee of the Whole.

--- Carried.