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 units.

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Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for the question. For the month of December, there will be 77 locum physicians providing services to the NWT. It sounds like a lot, but this is substantially lower than the average of 103 locums per month. In addition, as of October 31st the following casual locum staff working throughout the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority: 11 community health nurses, one midwife, one nurse practitioner, one respiratory therapist, and 26 registered nurses. And to give some context to these numbers, as of June the 30th there were 338 frontline nursing positions and a total of 1509 positions throughout the whole of the NTHSSA. Thank you.

Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Can the Minister tell this Assembly if these positions are concentrated in Yellowknife or throughout other communities as well; and, due to increased vacancy of health care professionals, is the department looking to locums to fill the gap going forward? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the NWT Health and Social Services system has always relied on locums, and that is still the case. The positions are located throughout the NWT, and we use them to cover short-term gaps and ensure that we're providing quality services to our patients. Thank you.

Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, can the Minister confirm if locum turnover is something the department considers real, something constituents say is happening and resulting in inadequate and untimely community health care. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, locums are self-employed basically. They come here on short-term contracts, and they may come once, they may come on a schedule; there's no way to know. And on the employer end, they are used to fill gaps as necessary. So in some cases, we do see locums returning on a regular basis and, wherever possible, we encourage them to continue coming to the NWT to ensure that patient continuity that the Member was seeking of.

In addition, we maintain a locum talent pool list which is a list that we consult and call people from on an ongoing basis.

What we've seen from locums in recent months is that there's a lower uptake across all health care areas, and that's not just in the NWT; it's across the country as well. And so we're monitoring this and determining whether we need to increase our recruitment efforts not only of full-time staff but of locums as well. Thank you.

Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary, Member for Hay River South.

Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, an issue that is discussed is of some health care staff is the inequity in the treatment between permanent staff and locums. It is assumed locums are treated better when it comes to compensation and time on the job. Can the Minister confirm if this is an issue and if so, how is it being addressed? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, thank you. The terms and conditions of the collective agreement set out the compensation and benefits provided to our indeterminate and casual employees, and this includes locum nursing contracts. Physician locum compensation is separate and in its own collective agreement with the NWT Medical Association. Thank you.

Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Oral Question 842-19(2): Small Community COVID-19 Concerns
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

December 1st, 2021

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today my Member's statement was on COVID-19 and what are our safety precautions going forward, and it was for the COVID Secretariat, the Premier. Mr. Speaker, my residents and my leadership in Nunakput are concerned that travellers are coming from outside the territory, are not been getting COVID tested before coming into our smaller communities out of Yellowknife into Ulukhaktok. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 842-19(2): Small Community COVID-19 Concerns
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Honourable Premier.

Oral Question 842-19(2): Small Community COVID-19 Concerns
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So I'll start with saying that there's a couple factors with that. The transportation of airlines is governed by Canada, regulated under by Transport Canada, and right now they have, I think it was October they started and at the end of November so we're there, all passengers who fly on their airline have to now be vaccinated, so that is one method of controlling COVID spread. However, I know that there was a request from Ulukhaktok to get testing when people get on the planes. So there's a couple things with that as well. There's that Ulukhaktok has one of the highest rates -- they're really doing well; they have 91 percent fully vaccinated. 95 percent are partially vaccinated. We don't have the testing capacity to do every community right now. And there's false negatives and false positives and so it's not a matter of getting a test and being safe. That leads people to the assumption that they can just go about business. No one's allowed to isolate in small communities. They have to isolate in the regional centres. Or the hub communities such as -- Ulukhaktok would be Inuvik or Yellowknife if they're coming through here. At this point we're telling people that the best precaution against COVID is get vaccinated, wear your mask, keep your bubble small, stay home if you're sick. And, yeah, so -- and keep six meters of space between you. So, again, we don't want to set up false expectations that someone gets tested and they're safe, because that's not the truth. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 842-19(2): Small Community COVID-19 Concerns
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thought it being Yellowknife, it would be an automatic yes to get a testing machine at the airport. We have a 20 million revolving fund, maybe we can use some of that to use it. The thing is, Mr. Speaker, our communities are small - where you going to go? Soon as you're going to get medivaced out of the community or why wasn't that same concern brought up in Tuk, why weren't they shipped out into Inuvik in the isolation centre? You're telling me one of my outside communities are able and the other one's not? So kind of where we're going with this, Mr. Speaker, thank you.

Oral Question 842-19(2): Small Community COVID-19 Concerns
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A couple questions there, I'll try to answer them. The reality is is when an outbreak does hit a community such as Tuk was hit, we don't move people outside once the community has already been infected with the COVID-19. What we do is we try to isolate that community, that's happened in all of our smaller communities, and we've been able to contain it.

One of the best defences, as I stated, was six feet, not six meters, correction on that one. But every -- when we first saw COVID first hit, we asked our departments to make sure that every local community government had a plan on how to deal with COVID. So what I would say is Ulukhaktok, if they don't have a plan on how to deal with a community outbreak, please contact me and we will make sure that we work with them to make sure that they have a plan so that if COVID hits, they will know what to do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 842-19(2): Small Community COVID-19 Concerns
Oral Questionsoral Question 841-19(2)use Of Locums In Northwest Territories Healthcare

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Every community has a community plan in regards to COVID right now. That's not the question. The question is will the Premier commit to getting people -- putting more responsibility on the airline to say, Okay, here's a piece of paper I got COVID test. If they have that COVID test they could fly out of Ulu or fly from Yellowknife to Ulu, for the safety -- and being resolved I guess to my leadership in the community because people are worried. So thank you, Mr. Speaker.