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 884-19(2): Paid Sick Leave and the Employment Standards Act
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I do believe that there's a much larger conversation to happen; if we're going do this, you know, how many paid sick days. Are they funded like vacation pay? Is there some GNWT contribution? There's a lot of different ways this can look. But when we do a comparison of currently unpaid sick days in the Northwest Territories, it's clear our employment standards is below average of what other jurisdictions. Is this something the Minister is also willing to look at, is increasing the guaranteed number of unpaid leave days? Thank you.

oral question 884-19(2): Paid Sick Leave and the Employment Standards Act
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And again, when we look at this review it's something we can look at. There's other ways that unpaid sick leaves are implemented in other jurisdictions. So some provide -- some Employment Standards Act provide for extended medical leave. In some cases, in line with the EI sickness benefits. So there are some options more than just beyond just adding days. But I want to say that I think that this pandemic has shown us that when you're sick, you should stay home, even if it's a flu. Those kind of things really do -- they hinder the economy, they hinder the public health system, and we want to ensure that we are supporting people. So I'm more than willing to look at these reforms going forward. But, again, I can't promise anything. It's the Assembly that passes legislation, and it's the Assembly that passes the budget. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 884-19(2): Paid Sick Leave and the Employment Standards Act
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I've tried to find some information on this, and I think key to having this conversation is knowing how many people currently have no paid sick days. I expect the overwhelming majority do. We know that all GNWT workers do and those with collective bargaining units certainly have paid sick leave. It's really a small percentage of what I would deem working poor typically who do not get access to paid sick days. I'm wondering if we have that information of who presently in the NWT labour force has zero sick paid sick days. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 884-19(2): Paid Sick Leave and the Employment Standards Act
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I don't have that information. Most people in the -- most employees in this territory are governed by the Employment Standards Act. But that is not to say that none of those people have access to paid sick days because employers could offer that. So while the majority of employees in the territory are governed under this act, we don't have the number of how many don't have access to paid sick days. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 884-19(2): Paid Sick Leave and the Employment Standards Act
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Yellowknife North.

oral question 884-19(2): Paid Sick Leave and the Employment Standards Act
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, I guess my next question is as part of the review of the Employment Standards Act, is that information the department could try and find out; could we engage with some of the small businesses who are not offering paid sick days and see kind of where we are at in order to close this gap? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 884-19(2): Paid Sick Leave and the Employment Standards Act
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Any changes to the Employment Standards Act, especially potential changes that could cost small businesses money, will be the subject of extensive consultation and discussion with small businesses. I do not want to do anything that is going to put a heavier burden on small businesses than they're already carrying. So I can guarantee the Member that we will have extensive consultations on these points. Thank you.

oral question 884-19(2): Paid Sick Leave and the Employment Standards Act
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

oral question 885-19(2): Home Care Support in Communities
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I didn't have a chance to ask my questions yesterday so my questions are for the Minister of Health and Social Services.

Can the Minister state or commit to provide the estimated financial savings from decreasing the size of the long-term care facility from 48 to 16 beds? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 885-19(2): Home Care Support in Communities
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Minister responsible for Health and Social Services.

oral question 885-19(2): Home Care Support in Communities
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you to the Member for the question. We have some loose ends in this project which we need to tie up before we can provide a specific dollar estimate of the savings.

The analysis that's underway right now is whether it is feasible to attach an extension to the current long-term care at the Inuvik Regional Hospital or whether it would be more effective to build a standalone facility. So this is something that engineering and geotechnical work is looking at evaluating. We do, because we've gone from 48 beds to 16 beds, in any case expect some reduction in the cost, but the amount of that is hard to quantify right at the moment. Thank you.

oral question 885-19(2): Home Care Support in Communities
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In order to reduce the demand for the larger regional long-term care facilities, support for elders are going to be needed to be provided in their homes. So can the Minister commit to use the financial savings to provide the support or build that capacity within the communities, in the small communities for elders? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 885-19(2): Home Care Support in Communities
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is a bit of an apples and oranges situation because we don't usually take funds dedicated to capital projects and move them into operations and maintenance. So even if there was savings on the capital project, it would be spent on other capital projects, whether for health or some other kind of development.

It's important to know that we get a chunk of funding from the federal government from the First Nations and Inuit home and community care funding, and what happens here is that the regional health and social services authorities identify the resources they need to meet what we already see is growing home care needs and we evaluate those for additional resourcing. Thank you.

oral question 885-19(2): Home Care Support in Communities
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I know in the health centres the nurses that we hire, or CHNs, I've said it in the House, they have many roles that they play in the communities and home care is just one little part that is added to all of their emergency, everything else that they do.

So can the Minister provide how many positions have been created in each -- in Inuvik in each of the seven Beaufort Delta communities to support the establishment of home care and home support workers available seven days a week for elders to age in place? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

oral question 885-19(2): Home Care Support in Communities
Oral Question 883-19(2): Northwest Territories Power Corporation Vaccination Policy

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, following the home and community care review, which was completed and presented to the Members of the Standing Committee on Social Development in the summer of 2020, we've invested in oversight for home support workers to try and develop standards and scope of practice for these positions. So we've been looking at, for example, what kind of clinical supports people need who have complex needs, expanded hours of service as the Member mentioned, and how to meet the needs of the growing population of people who prefer to age in place.

In the Beaufort Delta region in particular, there is funding for two regional home care coordinator roles. But at this point, we have not added incremental positions to provide extra hours of service, but that is coming. Thank you.