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.

Topics

oral question 890-19(2): Public Accounts and Litigation against the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Weyallon-Armstrong

Thank you. I know I should have addressed Minister of Education as well, but I do have one more questions but it's more technical, and I will submit written questions for that. Thank you.

oral question 890-19(2): Public Accounts and Litigation against the Government of the Northwest Territories
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. Would the Minister like to respond or -- take it as a comment. Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Oral Question 892-19(2) Health Care Centre Staffing
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

December 9th, 2021

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Sorry, no, I'm trying to keep up with emails. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I'm going to start with a really quick question for the Minister of Health and Social Services. My really quick question is does the Minister of Health and Social Services expect any closures of health care centres in the Northwest Territories due to staff shortages? Thank you.

Oral Question 892-19(2) Health Care Centre Staffing
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Minister responsible for Health and Social Services.

Oral Question 892-19(2) Health Care Centre Staffing
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm going to give a really quick answer. No.

Oral Question 892-19(2) Health Care Centre Staffing
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. That's my only question I have on that one but I'd like to go back on your list for further questions.

Oral Question 892-19(2) Health Care Centre Staffing
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Oral question 893-19(2) immigration medical
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my next questions are also for the Minister of Health and Social Services in regards to immigration medicals.

The federal website indicates that only a panel physician can perform an immigration medical exam, and the NTHSSA website indicates that all of our physicians are panel physicians for the purposes of immigration medicals. Contradicting that, the federal website, if you punch in that you're trying to locate a panel physician in the Northwest Territories, it indicates that we have no panel physicians here in the Northwest Territories. And so I'm wondering if Health and Social Services will work with the federal government to have our NWT physicians added to the federal website? Thank you.

Oral question 893-19(2) immigration medical
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as the Member has referenced, the immigration medicals are driven by the federal government as they are the primary regulator of immigration. And as she said, NTHSSA can't assign physicians to immigration -- to IRCC panels. But we are working with the federal government to have physicians added to the list of paneled physicians who can do immigration medicals, which I just have to say are quite involved. They are maybe not your standard medical as you may have experienced it in your life.

It is in fact possible to have an IRCC medical performed in Yellowknife because while we don't have paneled physicians here, locations which are a certain distance from major centres are not required to have dedicated panel physicians. I think the key here is that when the person is making an appointment for the medical, it's really important to stress that it is an immigration medical so that all of the additional tests and paperwork are completed. Thank you.

Oral question 893-19(2) immigration medical
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate that from the Minister, and I really hope that we can get that fixed as far as coordinating with the federal government to have their website changed. It does add uncertainty for people travelling through that process here in the Northwest Territories.

I do find as well that I hear a lot from constituents who, they do contact NTHSSA to book an appointment and what they find out is that there is a lengthy period of time that they have to wait in order to complete that process, and sometimes that puts them too far up against the wall for their deadlines with Immigration Canada. And so for certainty, they end up travelling to Alberta in order to complete their immigration medicals. And so I'm wondering if the NTHSSA would be able to provide service standard commitments to people doing their immigration medicals in Yellowknife? Thank you.

Oral question 893-19(2) immigration medical
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I mentioned, we're in discussions with the federal government on this topic. I don't feel like I'm in a position at this time to make a commitment on service standards. But I do take the Member's point that the service turnaround time is putting undue stress on people who are counting on that turnaround time in order to secure their immigration status. Thank you.

Oral question 893-19(2) immigration medical
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, when we take a jurisdictional scan of Canada, we see that the average cost for a medical in Nova Scotia is $200; the average cost in Ontario, $300; and in Edmonton, $365. Here in Yellowknife, the cost has an average of about $675. And so I'm wondering why medicals are more expensive in the Northwest Territories. Thank you.

Oral question 893-19(2) immigration medical
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wonder if the Member can point to anything that is cheaper in the NWT than it is anywhere else in the country, and that certainly is true for health as well. So what happens here is that several factors come into play to determine the cost of services and fees. They're set on a cost recovery basis. We're not trying to profit from this. But, for example, if chest x-rays are required as part of the medical exam, they must be sent to Alberta for review, and we have to pay the cost of both sending them and having the review done.

So this is an additional cost that may not be relevant in the southern provinces. But we can certainly take another look at our fee structure. We don't want to overcharge people but nor do we want to subsidize them. Thank you.

Oral question 893-19(2) immigration medical
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary, Member for Kam Lake.

Oral question 893-19(2) immigration medical
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'd say hugs are cheaper in the North because everybody wants to give them. It's the last day. Well, COVID friendly hugs.

Mr. Speaker, is it possible for NTHSSA to work with the federal government, to even the playing field on immigration across Canada, and perhaps have the Immigration Canada support the NWT's drive for immigration by evening the playing field on the cost of immigration medicals in the Northwest Territories. Thank you.