Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to revive a discussion started in the 14th Assembly about creating a child and youth advocate for the Northwest Territories.
Children and youth need our special attention and support, particularly when they are being cared for by people other than their immediate families. Since the NWT started discussing this issue in 2003, Yukon has created an advocate office and so has Nunavut. In fact, we are the only of two jurisdictions in Canada without an office dedicated to protecting the rights of children on both an individual and systemic basis as well as providing public awareness about those rights.
Mr. Speaker, Yukon has had a child and youth advocate office since 2010. The mission of the advocate in Yukon is to provide services for children and youth up to 18 years of age by protecting and asserting their rights and ensuring their voices are heard in a safe and supported way. The office advocates for children who are receiving, or who are eligible to receive, government services, including help with mental health and addictions, education, and justice. The advocate is also involved in all aspects of child and family services.
In Nunavut, the representative for children and youth was appointed in 2014. This office supports young Nunavummiut by giving voice to concerns and ensures the government protects and advances their rights and interests. And elders council helps guide the work.
Mr. Speaker, I have done my own research since this statement was written in 2019, and I have found that in the last 30 years, politicians have mentioned "child and youth advocate" over 880 times in this House. In addition, the child and youth advocate for the Yukon reported that roughly 20 percent of children and youth who access their services are NWT residents. But Mr. Speaker, I am reassured by the fact that the original author of this statement is now the Minister of Health and Social Services. From this side of the House, the Minister stated "it's time for the GNWT to provide better services to children and youth. Creating a child and youth advocate is a good place to start."
I agree. We do need to ensure that NWT children and youth need our attention and support at a time when child and family services, corrections, and education are transitioning, youth focused care and legislation, it is time for the NWT to define child advocacy in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
And while I did not wish a Merry Christmas, I hope everyone has a good opportunity to spend time over the holidays with a child of the Northwest Territories. If anybody needs an extra one, I have got some.