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 work.

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Motion 45-19(2): Move Committee Report 22-19(2) into Committee of the Whole
Motions

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

WHEREAS on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021, Committee Report 22-19(2): Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Telecommunications was read into the record.

NOW THEREFORE I MOVE, seconded by the honourable Member from Frame Lake, that the Committee Report 22-19(2): Standing committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Telecommunications be received and referred to the Committee of the Whole for their consideration.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 45-19(2): Move Committee Report 22-19(2) into Committee of the Whole
Motions

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Motion 45-19(2): Move Committee Report 22-19(2) into Committee of the Whole
Motions

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Motion 45-19(2): Move Committee Report 22-19(2) into Committee of the Whole
Motions

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? Any abstentions? The motion is carried.

---Carried

The Report 22-19(2) will be moved into Committee of the Whole.

Motions. Notices of motion for the first reading of bills. First reading of bills. Second reading of bills. Minister responsible for Justice.

Bill 41: Justice Administration Statute Amendment Act
Second Reading Of Bills

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, that Bill 41, justice Administration Statutes Amendment Act, be read for the second time.

This act amends three statutes administered by the Department of Justice. It amends the Jury Act and the Summary Conviction Procedures Act to reflect changes made to the Criminal Code of Canada. It further amends the Summary Conviction Procedures Act to clarify the role of the Attorney General for the Northwest Territories under that act. It also amends the Partnership and Business Names Act to recognize the authority of an Indian Band to be a limited partner in a limited partnership.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bill 41: Justice Administration Statute Amendment Act
Second Reading Of Bills

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Motion is in order and is non-debatable. To the principle of the bill?

Bill 41: Justice Administration Statute Amendment Act
Second Reading Of Bills

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

December 7th, 2021

The Chair Lesa Semmler

I call Committee of the Whole to order. What is the wish of committee? Member for Frame Lake.

Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. Committee would like to consider Tabled Document 437-19(2), Capital Estimates 2022-2023; Committee Report 22-19(2), Report on Telecommunications; Committee Report 20-19(2), Report on Bill 30, an Act to Amend the Aurora College Act; and Bill 30, an Act to Amend the Aurora College Act. Thanks, Madam Chair.

Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Does committee agree?

Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. We will take a short recess and start with the first item.

---SHORT RECESS

Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

The Chair Lesa Semmler

I will now call Committee of the Whole back to order. Committee, we've agreed to resume consideration of Tabled Document 437-19(2), Capital Estimates 2022-2023. We have previously considered and concluded all the departments. To begin our consideration, I will go to the Minister of Finance for some comments. Minister of Finance.

Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair. Madam Chair, I do have some closing remarks I'd like to make. I wanted to begin, Madam Chair, by thanking the Members for their consideration of the capital estimates and for the productive discussions we had in advance of seeing these estimates I hope move forward later today.

Capital estimates certainly are an important part of the budget for our territory's economy, and I do appreciate Members' challenging questions and their testing of this budget.

Madam Chair, I also very much appreciated the whole-of-territory approach that was clearly applied to the capital estimates. I believe that Members of the Legislative Assembly recognize that when one community or one region are strong, that we are all stronger together. As a result, our discussions of these estimates was not about advancing one region's projects ahead of another but of ensuring strategic infrastructure investments continue to be made across the Northwest Territories.

Madam Chair, earlier today, MLA Martselos mentioned cohesion, unity, and trust and, in my view, the discussions that we had with respect to this budget reflect those values.

There was a focus on getting the strategic work done and, in doing so, maximizing benefits to Northerners. Members were strong advocates on several points, and I have made a commitment before coming today that my ministerial colleagues and I will work to ensure that small capital projects are prioritized for attention, knowing that these projects are likely to provide employment and income to Northerners and northern businesses. This will also include messaging to all departments and regions to ensure annual small capital allocations are effectively utilized and maximized to achieve not only the goal of strategic infrastructure but of economic support across communities.

I am also committed to ensure MLAs, including our regional and community governments, are aware of upcoming projects anticipated for their region.

Members have also remained consistent in their advocacy to continue to improve the availability of housing across the Northwest Territories. This is a priority clearly shared by all Members of this Legislative Assembly. I have heard committee's concerns regarding the presentation of the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation's capital estimates, and I am committed to work with the Minister responsible for the Housing Corporation to ensure that these concerns are addressed in future capital budgets. I've also committed to provide information to MLAs about the long-term cash flow on strategic housing projects, including the RCMP housing.

I acknowledge committee's concerns about the length of time required for the proposed procurement changes to be implemented. I have committed to provide more details for MLAs about the procurement review critical path, and have done so. The next steps for us are to follow through on work that is happening right now with Indigenous governments to ensure that our future policy incorporates specific provisions for Indigenous procurement. These consultations and ongoing analysis of the recommendations will continue through the early part of 2022 with a view to seeing at least some fruits of these labours implemented during the 2022 calendar year. I am committed to remain focused on these improvements to the GNWT's procurement policies, and I assure committee that we have dedicated resources allocated to this work that will allow us to continue to expedite these efforts.

For example, Madam Chair, I am pleased to inform and confirm with committee that vendor performance management is included in the Department of Finance's annual business plan, and that work has already started to implement this program.

In June of 2021, phase 1 began on construction contracts greater than $250,000 and a system change to allow for the entry of actual and planned Business Incentive Policy, or BIP, obligations on contracts. This change allows the GNWT to track contract information within its financial system instead of being done on paper. The goal of this change is to ensure that contractors are aware of their obligations under BIP and can be held accountable to those obligations with better reporting.

The next phase of vendor performance management is to develop and implement a policy with penalties for contractors for non-compliance with their BIP obligations. Once the policy has been developed, the department can extend the project and the program to more contracts.

And, again, committee has made it clear that ensuring adherence to contract requirements for northern hiring is a priority. I commit to continuing to monitor these efforts closely and will commit to provide Members updates as progress is made.

Another area of the consistent advocacy of Members has been in regards to ensuring support for community governments, especially as a result of ongoing expenditures by these governments in response to COVID-19.

In September 2021, communities received a letter from the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs that provided information on funding provided to communities with respect to COVID-related expenditures. The Minister of MACA had previously committed to reviewing the financial impact of community governments' COVID-19 pandemic response as part of the 2021-22 year-end financial process. So although we recognize this is not an issue for the current capital estimates, I commit to continuing to work with the MACA Minister to ensure an informed funding request can be considered.

Further, and last, the GNWT's response to the burden currently imposed on health care workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a focus of strong and consistent advocacy by MLAs. There are a number of things happening right now to respond to the situation, including two items being worked on by the GNWT; the first of which is a market adjustment policy, to provide parameters within which a department, including Health and Social Services, may determine whether additional pay should be temporarily used to recruit and retain staff whose work is essential to preserving the health or safety of the people of the Northwest Territories.

And the second is an additional childcare support for frontline healthcare professionals who may have had to report to their work sites during periods when schools or day homes were closed due to outbreaks.

Madam Chair, this concludes my remarks. Again, I do want to thank Members for their review of the 2022-23 capital estimates. Thank you.

Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration Of Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Members, are there any comments? Member for Frame Lake.