This is page numbers 2163 - 2198 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 services.

Topics

Question 599-19(2): Cultural Awareness Training
Oral Questions

Page 2166

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Deh Cho.

Question 599-19(2): Cultural Awareness Training
Oral Questions

Page 2166

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker, and I'd like to thank the Minister for her insight into the type of training. What I'm hearing is that it's just a generic document, generic training by some staff that we don't know who they are. Because each community has a unique history and situation with the people that they deal with, it's very important that we get the insight of the community leaders from every community. It's very important because we're dealing with a lot of things that this government pulls out and puts into our communities, such as Child and Family Services, where they are basically taking children away from our people. We have people within the community who are family members of those people who should have first rights of refusal to that child, when they are being taken away, so I really, really encourage the Minister to look into that aspect and to include every First Nation in this document. Mahsi.

Question 599-19(2): Cultural Awareness Training
Oral Questions

Page 2167

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

I'm not sure what more I can do for the Member. The training that I just mentioned offered through HR is rolling out right away. It's mandatory. It has been developed by people who are Indigenous and knowledgeable in this field. I realize that what he is pointing to is some kind of a disconnect between what the government is developing and what is being received in the community. What I want to say is that everything is set to go, so this disconnect, I hope, will disappear very rapidly. If it comes to our next session and that hasn't happened, I would certainly be interested to hear that from the Member. Thank you.

Question 599-19(2): Cultural Awareness Training
Oral Questions

Page 2167

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 600-19(2): Treatment Facilities
Oral Questions

February 26th, 2021

Page 2167

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister of Health and Social Services. She mentioned on Wednesday to my colleague that there are staff in place to connect people when exiting treatment with counselling and other support. How many staff are doing this important work, and where are they located? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 600-19(2): Treatment Facilities
Oral Questions

Page 2167

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 600-19(2): Treatment Facilities
Oral Questions

Page 2167

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the most part, this is the continuum that happens with treatment. The access to treatment is facilitated by somebody who is a counsellor, often in the community counselling program. They could be in a non-profit like the Tree of Peace here in Yellowknife or in the Ingamo Hall in Inuvik, and as soon as that person is referred and accepted into treatment, there is an expectation that planning for after-care begins immediately. The counsellor will begin that after-care planning, will be in discussion with the client while that person is in treatment, and connect with that client as soon as they arrive back in their home community to ensure that there is a continuum of services to help that person to remain sober.

The Member talked quite a bit about housing. We know that housing is absolutely crucial to maintaining sobriety. Unfortunately, we don't have enough housing, as the Member well knows. We are looking at the possibility of creating transitional housing units for people who are coming out of facility-based treatment and other forms of treatment, but that is a commitment that will take some time to accomplish. Thank you.

Question 600-19(2): Treatment Facilities
Oral Questions

Page 2167

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you to the Minister. Will the Minister commit to having staff being proactive? If they are government staff and this is the department that falls under her, they are the ones sending them out, or if we're paying for them to go out for treatment, proactive in connecting with all residents exiting treatment facilities to ensure that they have some sort of process and follow-up and support coming from treatment.

Question 600-19(2): Treatment Facilities
Oral Questions

Page 2167

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

In order to go to facility-based addictions treatment, it's necessary for a referral to happen from somebody who is a physician, a counsellor, whether that's in the non-profit sector, in the friendship centres, or within the community counselling program. There is a relationship that is established there that goes from the referral, includes check-ins during the treatment duration, and then follows up when the person exits. This is a program standard. This is not something that is optional for counsellors. We expect this to be done in each and every case. The thing that does happen, though, is that people come out of treatment and they don't take up that relationship again. They don't follow up with their appointments and other contacts that have been made on their behalf, and they are adults. They can make that choice. It's not a choice that we would want them to make. We want them to continue to be sober, having invested 28 or 48 days into their sobriety program. At the end of the day, they have to be committed to the follow-up, and we are there with the resources.

Question 600-19(2): Treatment Facilities
Oral Questions

Page 2167

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

I thank the Minister for her answer. I can honestly say that, in theory, I know the department has a lot of good solutions, but at the frontline, these don't necessarily follow through. There are gaps. The worker that is on the other end who has nowhere to turn falls short. What is the process used by staff to support individuals leaving treatment who are facing homelessness or inadequate housing? Are staff able to act as pathfinders to navigate how to access housing programs?

Question 600-19(2): Treatment Facilities
Oral Questions

Page 2167

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

The point of which they are looking for housing is really outside of the Department of Health and Social Services, but having said that, we do recognize the importance of housing to maintaining sobriety. The counsellor would connect people with the housing authority where, honestly, they're likely to see a huge waiting list, and also to connect them with Income Assistance, where they may be able to obtain market housing if it's available and have that paid for through the Income Assistance program, along with the other benefits that that program provides.

To me, this is a systemic wraparound that needs to happen with this person exiting treatment. We are certainly very central to this, but we also need supports from ECE and housing, for example, to provide the kind of support that we would like to see for people exiting facility-based treatment.

Question 600-19(2): Treatment Facilities
Oral Questions

Page 2167

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Question 600-19(2): Treatment Facilities
Oral Questions

Page 2167

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know that the health department has recently launched a survey for people who have engaged in addictions services, and I am hoping that we do get some good responses as to what I have been saying. People who have gone through the system are feeling that they have been dropped, kind of, at the end. Indigenous people, I have said it in this House before, have a hard time trusting health systems, have a hard time trusting the counselling system. It's not culturally appropriate to some. Some people, once they have sobered up, they don't want to go to the counsellor if it's somebody that they know. We have heard that time and time again. Mr. Speaker, will the Minister commit to ensuring there is some sort of wraparound support so that people are successful in their recovery? I hope that this survey will be able to help the Minister do this. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 600-19(2): Treatment Facilities
Oral Questions

Page 2167

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

As I said, this is a continuum of services that is required by people who are accessing treatment. We are, as a department, actively involved with integrated case management and the integrated service delivery initiatives so that we are, in fact, able to provide this seamless care approach to people coming out of treatment.

With respect to the survey, I am delighted to say that, in the first week it was offered, we had in excess of 300 responses. We certainly look forward to more by the end of March. This survey is available in hard copy at the health centres, and it is also available online. It is specifically for people who have been to treatment and who have some thoughts about what was successful for them and what wasn't, and how they can identify gaps in services and give us advice about how to close those gaps. I am confident that this one-of-a-kind survey will provide us with some very valuable information. That information will be collated and put into a report, and that report is due at the end of May. Thank you.

Question 600-19(2): Treatment Facilities
Oral Questions

Page 2167

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Great Slave.