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 598-19(2): Contracts with Northern Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 2166

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Can the Minister confirm if her department in cooperation with other departments has identified any projects that can be considered Aboriginal set-asides and negotiated?

Question 598-19(2): Contracts with Northern Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 2166

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Under the current system, having set-asides is not one of the current tools we necessarily have. We did, of course, not too long ago negotiate the MoU with the Tlicho Government, which does include some enhancement of the way in which procurement is done on Tlicho lands. I know that there has already been quite a lot of interest from other Indigenous governments who also had economic measures in their agreements, so those discussions are underway. At present, the tools still are what the tools still are. We are, however, again in the course of the procurement review asking that very question: should there be a different way of having procurement done for Indigenous governments in the territory? Again, I am happy to have the questions asked, and I hope that in this process we will be able to identify if there is a better way of doing business.

Question 598-19(2): Contracts with Northern Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 2166

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Can the Minister confirm if her department in cooperation with other departments looked at the structure of the work and how it can be tendered so smaller businesses can benefit? What I am asking is: can contracts be broken into smaller parts to benefit smaller businesses?

Question 598-19(2): Contracts with Northern Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 2166

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Yes, I can say certainly that Procurement Shared Services under the Department of Finance really assists other departments. The other departments are really the clients of Procurement Shared Services, but those conversations and those decisions around what is the best way to undergo a procurement, what is the best way to advance a project, including whether or not the contract can be broken up, that rests with the home department that is responsible for the project. They then work with Procurement Shared Services to do the procurement of it. However, that exact conversation of how to do it, how to best serve the businesses, that is a conversation that is happening. It is going to continue to happen, and Procurement Shared Services will very happily then enact whatever those decisions are. The short answer is yes, but that is the long answer of how.

Question 598-19(2): Contracts with Northern Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 2166

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Hay River South.

Question 598-19(2): Contracts with Northern Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 2166

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Minister for those answers since I only gave her the questions a few minutes ago. This question here, maybe she will not have the numbers at her fingertips, but can the Minister confirm: what is the estimated total budget for projects this construction season? Thank you.

Question 598-19(2): Contracts with Northern Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 2166

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Our 2021-2022 capital budget is over $500 million, including a budget for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation; in 2020-2021, our capital spend was already $293 million, so money is getting out the door. There were some challenges last year, no doubt, with COVID and some of the challenges that would have imposed in terms of supply, in terms of exemptions for people moving in and around the territory. The capital budget we have now is significant. All departments are very conscious of the fact that, number one, we need our infrastructure to grow and, number two, we want to support northern businesses. With a large budget on the way and this spring season certainly coming down the pipeline, I am confident that we will be seeing increases in spending in terms of our procurement and our capital over the next few months. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 598-19(2): Contracts with Northern Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 2166

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Deh Cho.

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

February 26th, 2021

Page 2166

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. I recently had a conversation with the chief of Deh Gah Got'ie First Nations at Fort Providence regarding cultural awareness of the health centre staff. The chief has stated that he has no faith in what they do, stating, "They do not understand us. They are going strictly by the book." This is alarming, especially when you are dealing with First Nations peoples. Can the Minister of Health and Social Services commit to providing cultural awareness training to all existing staff and new hires to health centres in the territory? Mahsi.

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

Page 2166

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Deh Cho. Minister of Health and Social Services.

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

Page 2166

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We have a Cultural Safety Action Plan in effect at this time, and there have been a number of pilot projects that have determined what the best method is of providing this information to Health and Social Services staff. Now that there have been 13 of these pilots that have taken place, there is a model that has been settled on. It will be compiled into a framework, and the framework will be available to us this summer, the summer of 2021. I just want to say that, before it is rolled out to us, this framework will go to the NWT Health and Social Services Authority leadership council, which is comprised of community membership from wellness councils across the NWT, so there will be an opportunity for on-the-ground input into the cultural competency framework when it is finished. Thank you.

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

Page 2166

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi to the Minister for that information. I'm not sure if I heard correctly if there was a timeline provided for providing the training on the ground.

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

Page 2166

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

I didn't provide a timeline because I don't have one.

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

Page 2166

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

I thank the Minister for that. We hope to see a timeline here soon because this is becoming an all-important issue for our communities in the Northwest Territories, especially dealing with First Nations peoples. I just wanted to relay some of my experiences. I had taken the cultural awareness training session for one day as an employee of the then Public Works and Services department. I found that this training was missing very valuable information, such as the history of the First Nations people in this country; the significance of the signing of the treaties; the residential school legacies and the continual generational traumas related to that; the 1969 Liberal Government White Paper; and a host of other facts that are significant in order to provide a cultural awareness training program. That is very important to our northern people and our cultures. Can the Minister commit to consulting with First Nations as to the content of the cultural awareness training and possible moderators?

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

Page 2166

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

The Department of Health and Social Services is certainly on board with the "nothing about us without us" approach to providing services and policy frameworks and so on. It's my understanding that the cultural competency training within Health and Social Services has been led by Indigenous people who are of the NWT and are very alive to the history of Indigenous people in the NWT and want to represent that in the training that they're giving. As well, this week, many of my colleagues on this side and I participated in a video launching the cultural competency training that is going to be offered through the HR function of the Department of Finance called "Living Well Together." This training is another iteration of ensuring that people are well-informed about where they are and who they are living with in terms of their history and their culture.