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 public.

Topics

oral question 854-19(2): Tourism Industry
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, me and the Minister can debate whether science-based decision-making is happening at another time. My question here is how much did the tourism sector add to the GDP prior to COVID versus its current contribution; and, given this information, how realistic is it that we are moving away from a resource-based economy any time soon? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

oral question 854-19(2): Tourism Industry
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, prior to COVID, tourism was at around 2 percent GDP. So not a huge contributor to our gross domestic product, certainly. And I don't think I've ever made any statements to the contrary that we are likely to remain dependent on a mineral resource sector as our primary contributor in the private sector to GDP. That is likely to continue into the near future. That said, Madam Speaker, the tourism industry contributes over and above its weight in terms of job contributions. There's a high level of jobs across the territory, particularly outside of Yellowknife as well as in the North Slave region, that are brought in through the tourism sector and, Madam Speaker, it's an important cultural component. It's such an opportunity to get the story of who and what we are on the world stage. So -- so I do want to put those two little plugs in there just to make sure that we are remembering that tourism is about much more than just the GDP contribution. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

oral question 854-19(2): Tourism Industry
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

The Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Final supplementary, Member for Great Slave.

oral question 854-19(2): Tourism Industry
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Yeah, I never thought that the Minister didn't support the resource sector; I guess it just needed to be said to the public sometimes about how important it is.

Can the Minister commit to providing relief funding that does not require operators to financially contribute first? As two years without any business anymore means that they don't have any ability any further to provide money upfront to get their relief funding. So I would ask that the Minister considers 100 percent funding for relief for tourism operators. Thank you.

oral question 854-19(2): Tourism Industry
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, there is a long list of different funding programs, both through the GNWT and still with some federal government programs, I believe, still open. So, you know, I had to pull them out myself. It is a long list; I recognize that. Some do require equity contribution. And the most recent one, the one that was announced by the GNWT here back in August/September, the Tourism Restart Program, that does require a 10 percent equity contribution. But earlier programs did not. So PREP and STAR, STAR was for accommodations providers and the other PREP was tourism businesses. Those ones did not. So, you know, I can't emphasize enough if there are those in the industry who are still looking to stay open for domestic travel within the Northwest Territories, looking forward to hopefully some changes coming in the near future, that they connect with the regional superintendents, and we will make sure to work with them as best we can to find some programming so they're ready. Thank you, Madam Chair -- Madam Speaker.

oral question 854-19(2): Tourism Industry
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

The Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Hay River South.

oral question 855-19(2): Vaccination Requirements
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

December 2nd, 2021

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. These questions will be directed to the Minister responsible for Human Resources. And I apologize for not getting questions to her prior, but I know she has a good grasp on the subject. And I didn't want to go home without asking a few more questions on the issue of vaccinations and accommodation, then I won't get grilled tomorrow morning.

Madam Speaker, it is day two since proof of vaccination was require -- or was to be submitted if one wanted to keep their job with the GNWT and -- or without having to be accommodated. If - can the Minister, I guess -- I know that it's been a short time, but can the Minister maybe just give a quick little update on how the process is going and if there's been any kinks in what's happened so far. Thank you, Madam Chair -- or Madam Speaker.

oral question 855-19(2): Vaccination Requirements
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

The Speaker Lesa Semmler

Throwing everybody off today. Thank you, Member. Minister of Finance.

oral question 855-19(2): Vaccination Requirements
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the numbers are continuing to roll in, and I can say the first version I saw has changed in the 12 hours even since I first saw it a couple of times over. And in a good way. Madam Speaker, I want to say I've -- you know, there's some outlying areas that I do have some concerns that the numbers are coming in a little low. We are reaching out as a department and with respect to education authorities, I know E, C and E's reaching out as well, just to make sure that numbers are accurate, first of all, and then to figure out if there's some supports or information, education, that we can offer to employees who may have been hesitant to provide their proof of vaccination. But the majority, the vast majority of GNWT employees, GNWT departments are -- are doing above the numbers here for the public. The numbers are overall looking, I'd say, very positive.

I've had some direct conversations that suggest that there's, you know, a couple of spots where it's taken a bit of a lag to get an approval in. So -- and of course, then the numbers -- official numbers won't reflect that. So if those are the kinds of kinks that the Member's asking about, then, of course, a new system and a new process is always going to have a few things like that but, Madam Speaker, we're doing well. And I'm really pleased that such a high number of public servants have put their proof of vaccinations in. Thank you.

oral question 855-19(2): Vaccination Requirements
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Chair -- or Madam Speaker. The government, there -- within the government, we have -- you know, we have office workers and all the way over to industrial-type workers in our -- in the work environment. So I'd ask the Minister to confirm if the PPE used throughout departments is consistent and how is it determined that the PPE meets government approval, because those are some of the questions I've been getting the last day or two. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

oral question 855-19(2): Vaccination Requirements
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, it -- I recognize this is a point of frustration for some. I appreciate the patience that those who are going to have to follow the PPE element are showing, you know. As far as masks are concerned, in general the masks should be the three-layer masks and worn tightly to the face. But there is some adaptation for each work site because, exactly as the Member's noted, an office work site might not necessarily require any additional or alternative PPE as compared to someone working at a different type of situation such as an industrial one. So every department does have their own specific guidelines. They are under the MyHR website. They were all put out there within the last few days. They're available to the GNWT employees to -- to go and to check out. And in addition to that, of course every supervisor is a resource to the -- to their employees. If someone is going to have to rely on the PPE side of this policy, then, yes, the -- that information is now -- should hopefully be widely available to everyone. Thank you, Madam Chair -- Madam Speaker.

oral question 855-19(2): Vaccination Requirements
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Knowing that some departments require all employees to be vaccinated while others are allowed the accommodation, can the Minister confirm what happens if, for some reason, somebody who's -- who is accommodated has to attend a work site or an office building where all employees have to be -- be vaccinated; is there a process for that? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

oral question 855-19(2): Vaccination Requirements
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the vaccination policy has always been one of to get a proof of vaccination in and, you know, I hope people aren't doing that, again, because of this; they're doing it because the vaccinations are the best way for them to stay safe and for them to keep their families safe and for -- as public servants, to keep members of the public safe.

If they're choosing to not provide a proof of vaccination, there's always been the option within the policy that they could then rely on a combination of PPE and testing. There may well be situations that if an employee is running up against requirements to attend other locations. So, for example, I know one that's come up here in the House is around federal transportation rules which will require people now to be vaccinated. If there is a bona fide requirement in someone's job that requires them to do something, go somewhere, rely on federal -- or, you know, rely on transportation options where vaccinations are required, then they have to be able to perform their duties and perform their functions and -- and so in that sense, that would be a point of concern I imagine. But as far as GNWT work sites, the option has always been there of please proof of vaccination first but that alternative does exist and continues to exist. Thank you, Madam Chair -- Madam Speaker.

oral question 855-19(2): Vaccination Requirements
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

The Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

oral question 855-19(2): Vaccination Requirements
Oral Questionsoral Question 852-19(2):united Nations Declaration On The Right Of Indigenous People And Land Rights

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this -- this requirement for vaccinations, for PPE, for testing has got to come to an end at some point. The emergency order's going to be ended, and there's going to be, you know -- so I guess the question I have is -- for the Minister is how will that impact employees? Will -- how soon do you think we're going to see -- and she -- maybe she didn't have the answer, how long -- or, yeah, how long in the future you think we're going to see vaccinated and non-vaccinated people working side by side without the PPE, without the testing, and I guess without the bickering. Thank you, Madam Speaker.