This is page numbers 2493 - 2524 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 care.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Diane Archie, Hon. Frederick Blake Jr., Mr. Bonnetrouge, Hon. Paulie Chinna, Ms. Cleveland, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Hon. Julie Green, Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Martselos, Ms. Nokleby, Mr. Norn, Mr. O'Reilly, Ms. Semmler, Hon. R.J. Simpson, Mr. Rocky Simpson, Hon. Shane Thompson, Hon. Caroline Wawzonek

The House met at 1:31 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 2493

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Members, the Government of Canada has designated today, March 11, 2021, as a National Day of Observance to commemorate the people who lost their lives and the significant impacts we have all felt because of COVID-19. The Northwest Territories has been spared much of the loss experienced across Canada, but we have not been spared from the negative effects of the virus. We have all made sacrifices to keep the Northwest Territories safe from COVID-19.

Today, we lower our flags in honour of those we have lost and the sacrifices we have all made in our common fight against COVID-19. I ask Members to join me in a moment of silence to mark those who have lost their lives to COVID-19. Thank you.

---Moment of silence

Thank you, Members. Members, it was on this day in 1975 that the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly became the first in Canada to have a majority of First Nations representatives selected. Mahsi.

Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Minister's Statement 138-19(2): COVID-19 Community Planning
Ministers' Statements

Page 2493

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Mr. Speaker, Northwest Territories residents are no strangers to emergency events. Every year, we are faced with threats such as forest fires and floods, to name a couple. Over the past 10 years alone, we have seen 21 emergency events that have resulted in the activation of community and territorial emergency plans, and in some cases, those events led to community evacuations. These events have included wildfires, floods, severe weather, prolonged power outages, and fuel shortages.

The approach to emergency management in the NWT relies on participation from everyone: individuals, families and to all levels of government. We are all in this together. Individuals and families have a responsibility to plan and prepare for the risks most relevant to them, to ensure their safety and the protection of their property. Communities are responsible for the development and implementation of emergency plans to reasonably protect the general public and minimize property damage and loss during emergencies. The Government of the Northwest Territories is responsible for planning and responding to territorial emergencies and supporting communities when their capacity is exceeded during emergencies.

Since March 2020, Northwest Territories residents have been faced with a new threat unlike any we have experienced before: the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic response is being led by Health and Social Services and is supported by the COVID secretariat as well as Municipal and Community Affairs. MACA's primary focus during this event has included supporting the GNWT's pandemic response; working with communities to ensure planning and preparedness at the community level; and monitoring for any other emergency events. MACA works with all departments through the emergency management organization and to provide needed support to communities.

Mr. Speaker, one of the key success factors in past emergencies has been the ability of our communities to plan and prepare and, when required, respond to protect and care for our residents. As we found ourselves in the COVID-19 pandemic, very few community plans included guidelines on how to respond to a threat. As a result, since early in the pandemic, MACA has been working with the communities to ensure that there is a good understanding of the potential threats and their requirements to sustain essential services. Communities have been working very hard to ensure that they have plans in place, that they have identified potential gaps in services, and that preparations were being made.

Mr. Speaker, the true value of planning and preparedness is not realized until an emergency happens. The community of Fort Liard is an excellent example and the first real test of a community emergency plan to the direct impacts of a pandemic. On January 16, 2021, when the first case of COVID was confirmed in Fort Liard, these emergency plans were implemented, which meant activating local officials. The Dehcho Regional Emergency Management Organization was also activated and deployed an on-site coordinator to Fort Liard daily to support the community government who advised as to their limitations in capacity in some areas. Staff also provided support for daily meetings with community leadership and ensured integration of EMO efforts with various people and groups. While community resources and capacity were impacted by the incident, the community was able, with support from the Emergency Management Organization, to respond and ensure all essential services continued. These efforts also meant that those required to self-isolate had to receive groceries and other essential items. We want to commend the community for pulling together to ensure that all residents had their basic needs supported during the response.

Mr. Speaker, planning for and responding to emergency events is an ongoing process, and the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. MACA will continue to work with communities to ensure plans are adapted and adjusted as more is learned about COVID-19, as the risk environment and assessment evolves, as vaccine programs take effect and as we learn from experiences like the response in Fort Liard.

Mr. Speaker, COVID-19 has been a long and difficult road for everyone. The rollout of the vaccine in the Northwest Territories is being well-received. It is important to note that the situation in the rest of Canada shows that we need to remain vigilant. I would like to remind everyone that it is critical that we all remain focused on protecting one another, and on behalf of Cabinet, I would like to thank all residents who continue to follow the advice and direction given by the Chief Public Health Officer and to ensure their own personal preparedness. Develop personal emergency plans, have emergency supplies on hand, and connect with friends, family, and neighbours to support each other. A simple phone call or offer to drop off groceries at the doorstep can make a huge difference for anyone who is feeling alone while they are self-isolating.

In conclusion Mr. Speaker, once again, I would just like to thank the people of the Northwest Territories and the response in working with the Government of the Northwest Territories. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 138-19(2): COVID-19 Community Planning
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Minister's Statement 139-19(2): Long-Term Care Bed Projections
Ministers' Statements

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Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Government of the Northwest Territories knows how important it is to enable seniors to age in place with dignity as loved and valued members of our communities. That is why the 19th Legislative Assembly has identified this as one of the 22 priorities in the Mandate of the Government of the Northwest Territories. We are taking a whole-of-government approach to create the conditions in which seniors will be able to stay at home as they age.

Mr. Speaker, one way that the Department of Health and Social Services is working to achieve this mandate priority is by implementing recommendations from the Home and Community Care Review. We want to support seniors to remain living independently, with services such as nursing care; personal care, like bathing and dressing; and home support for meals and laundry. While we focus on improving home and community care services, we know that not everyone's care needs can be met in the community, particularly those with complex conditions and those who need care throughout the day and night. For this reason, the department is also providing equitable access to high quality long-term care services to support seniors.

Mr. Speaker, back in 2015, the GNWT provided an estimate of how many long-term care beds we would need in future years. At that time, we had only five years of long-term care data, and we used a ratio-based model of people in need to population. Last summer, the department decided to update these numbers. Staff worked with the NWT Bureau of Statistics to redo the estimate of long-term care beds required over the next 14 years. Later today, I will be tabling the result, a report titled "Projected Demand for Long-Term Care Beds in the NWT" and another called the department's "Response to Long-Term Care Bed Projections." The summary of the report tells us we will not require as many new beds as we thought in 2015.

The NWT Bureau of Statistics used the most current and best practices to establish the demand for care. The bureau used 10 years of NWT long-term care data for its modelling and provided the department with projections for three scenarios based on age and care needs. The projections for all three indicate the same thing: the number of beds needed has decreased.

The Department of Health and Social Services has accepted one of these scenarios. We are confident that these projections are based on the best evidence available. These projections align with key findings about long-term care use in the NWT, such as our average age of admission into long-term care and the care levels individuals require upon admission. To make a long story short, we will need an additional 169 long-term care beds by 2034. This is a reduction from the 2015 bed projections that identify we would need 435 additional beds in that same time frame.

These updated projections are based on a model that is aligned with best practices used by other jurisdictions. The NWT Bureau of Statistics used 10 years of the department's long-term care data and regional and territorial population projections to provide the new long term care bed projections up to 2035. Our projections now tell us the NWT's long-term care bed use is 72 per 1,000 population age 70 and older as compared to the 115 per 1,000 population age 70 and older used for the earlier projections. This is one of the biggest contributors to the adjustment in the 2020 bed projections. We have also added long-term care beds in Norman Wells and Behchoko since the projections were done in 2015.

The revised bed projections will not result in a reduction of services for seniors. We will use our home and community care resources more effectively. This means that seniors will receive the support they need in their home communities for as long as possible without going into long-term care. Long-term care is meant for seniors who require high levels of care and who can no longer be supported in their homes. Examples include medically complex diagnoses, a person who requires 24/7 care, and a person who is at high risk of injury to self or others. Seniors will be supported by the whole of government, which includes targeted investment in other areas, including additional seniors housing.

Mr. Speaker, this is a dramatic change and these new long-term care bed projections will require a shift in the department's current plans for capital spending in several NWT communities. The department plans to discuss these changes with stakeholders. We want to determine the best approach to provide an evidence-based continuum of services to meet the care needs of seniors, including homecare, long-term care, and other innovative approaches like the paid family caregiver pilot. Through initial engagement with Indigenous governments and Health and Social Services system leaders, we have confirmed the desire to have elders and their caregivers supported to remain living in their homes. The department will continue to work collaboratively to respond.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health and Social Services is committed to enhancing home and community care services to more fully meet the care needs of seniors and elders so they can remain independent for as long as possible and to ensuring long-term care services are in place when their needs can no longer be met in their communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 139-19(2): Long-Term Care Bed Projections
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Minister's Statement 140-19(2): Minimum Wage Increase
Ministers' Statements

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On September 1, 2021, the minimum wage in the Northwest Territories will increase from $13.46 per hour to $15.20 per hour, making it the second highest minimum wage in Canada behind Nunavut. Since the last increase in 2018, the cost of living and the average hourly wage in the NWT have risen. This increase ensures that the minimum wage does not fall behind, brings our minimum- to average-wage ratio more in line with the rest of Canada, and makes us more competitive with our neighbouring jurisdictions.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories is very aware of the ongoing impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on employees and businesses. That is why this government has provided a number of supports since the onset of the pandemic, including the NWT Wage Top-Up program, which has been extended until August 31, 2021; the extension of the Business Development and Investment Corporation working capital loans and deferred loan payments; financial supports for the arts and agriculture sectors; and the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development program, which was adapted to the realities of the pandemic. We also understand the importance of providing employers with sufficient time to plan for and implement a new minimum wage, which is why we are making this announcement now and will continue to advertise this change until it comes into effect on September 1st.

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment also recently announced new Labour Market Recovery Program funding, which will provide critical support to businesses looking to re-hire workers, prevent further job losses, return to or transition operations, or develop training and capacity. This recovery funding is available to employers, organizations, and community partners by contacting regional education, culture and employment service centres.

The decision to increase the minimum wage to $15.20 per hour was informed by the recommendations of the Minimum Wage Committee. To ensure that the views of employees and employers are reflected in decisions about the minimum wage, a Minimum Wage Committee is struck every two years and includes representatives from industry, labour, and non-governmental organizations. Committee members work collaboratively to identify options for minimum wage rates that are considered fair for both employees and employers. In developing their recommendations, the committee undertook extensive research on the social and economic conditions of the Northwest Territories, minimum and average hourly wages in other provinces and territories, and the findings of national and international reports and studies. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the committee members for their time, energy, and thoughtful consideration and analysis they put into developing the report and recommendations. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 140-19(2): Minimum Wage Increase
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Members' Statements

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Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, I am glad that Minister Green brought this up, with elders aging in care in their home communities. Elders' facilities in Paulatuk and Ulukhaktok and keeping our elders home, Mr. Speaker: our elders have these facilities in Ulukhaktok and Paulatuk. These are small communities that would not take much to care for elders, but here in our six-bed long-term care facility, we would not have to send them to Inuvik to be away from the family, which is so tough on our elders right now. Our elders in our communities are very active. Our elders work to keep our culture and history alive. They are busy teaching our youth, working with traditional knowledge projects. Thanks to our elders for traditional activities in our communities to make them thrive.

Mr. Speaker, it seems that we are not so thankful after all sometimes. Our elders need help. We don't seem to have a place for them to go other than sending them out to Inuvik, and the cost of seeing our elders go to Inuvik, like I said before, it's over $1,000 a plane ticket from Sachs Harbour to Ulukhaktok or Paulatuk. It's unacceptable, Mr. Speaker. I want to work with our government to keep our elders home, to take care of them by ourselves as a community, as a family. We owe this to our elders. They deserve to stay home and to keep our knowledge for our home communities. They shared with us, with the territories, with Canada, and the world. These are our elders, Mr. Speaker. I wonder what prevents us from giving back. I'll ask the Minister for elders' facilities in Ulukhaktok and Paulatuk to work with the community corporation on a go-forward basis. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Thaidene Nene Spring Culture Camp
Members' Statements

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Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Today, I would like to discuss the Thaidene Nene culture camp and spring hunt taking place in Lutselk'e, beginning today until March 21st. This camp will be conducted in partnership with the Ni Hat'ni Dene guardians and the Ni Hadi Xa traditional knowledge monitors. The camp is being co-sponsored by several organizations, including the Lutselk'e Dene School, the LKDFN Wellness Department, the Department of Lands, ENR, ITI, Parks Canada, and others. If I missed anybody, forgive me; the full list of contributors can be found on the Land of the Ancestors website.

Mr. Speaker, this camp will be providing youth from Lutselk'e Dene School with opportunities for hands-on learning with traditional hunting practices. This camp will be taking place at Hedacho Kue, also known as Artillery Lake, and it will include a spring hunt, among other things, as I mentioned earlier. I have been invited to this, and schedule permitting, I will be able to join in with these guys at some point during the event.

I'd like to thank the community and commend them and all the coordinators and elders who helped plan this event, and I note JC Catholique, who is the primary camp coordinator. I would like to thank all the co-sponsors, as well, for contributing to this event, and I know this camp will provide a great opportunity for our youth to interact with and learn from our traditional knowledge holders. I encourage as many youth to participate in this event as possible in the community, and I hope to see more events and camps like these in the future, in our riding of Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Thaidene Nene Spring Culture Camp
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

The Fourth Trimester
Members' Statements

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Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Mr. Speaker, it's time for a little real talk. Pregnancy and childbirth has been a thing for a long time. Pregnancy is painted as a beautiful time where people glow and blossom. Well, the glow is sweat, Mr. Speaker, and the blossom is your cankles trying to fit into your flip-flops because your boots don't fit. Fast-forward past the undeniable beauty of weight gain, 10 months of morning sickness, and half a year of cute toes playing xylophone on your ribcage, and you arrive at the big day. With the luxury of a nurse in the family, I laboured at home until the 11th hour, and then I hurried to Stanton. I waddled up to the desk, my husband rushing me, then 40 hours later, I got to push. I spent three-and-a-half hours trying to evict a child that held firmly to my insides and, on 6/6/06, at six minutes to the hour, I became a mother for the first time.

Whew, the hard part is done. Right, Mr. Speaker? Oh, no. The fun has just begun. You are passed a squishy, tiny human and told not to lift anything. You assume breastfeeding is natural and, therefore, easy. Within days, your nipples are cracked and bleeding; sleep is as elusive as Bigfoot; your body is doing things no one warned you about; and if you are lucky enough to have a supportive partner, they aren't really that useful because no one cares about their nipples. Then, there are the tears, and I'm not talking about the baby's tears. No. You cry because you're happy; you cry because you're sad; you cry because the sun is shining; and sometimes, you cry because your partner is snoring and their nipples are still useless. Beyond sorting out some form of feeding and healing your body, there is sleep deprivation, relationship changes, post-partum blues, and trying not to send yourself over the edge keeping up with the Super Mom social media posts from down the block.

Welcome, Mr. Speaker, to the fourth trimester. We spend months planning for a baby, but those plans rarely include the mother's health, safety, and recovery. The what-to-buy list includes an exhaustive amount of baby stuff, but nowhere does it say to put a friend in charge of daily check-ins, buy granny panties, and buy fibre pills. For the love of God, buy the fibre pills.

Don't get me wrong. I would do it again. We can finally laugh at the chaos and high-five that we survived, but it doesn't mean we can't evolve how we support and care for new mothers. This is real life, and real is compassionate, honest, and kind. To the new moms, it will get easier. You will be able to sit again, and you will bond, but as you tumble dry through the fourth trimester, be kind to yourself. Eat, sleep, feed the baby, and be kind to yourself. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Fourth Trimester
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Members' statements. Member for Thebacha.

Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Members' Statements

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Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The midwifery programs in Fort Smith and Hay River have been providing excellent care since their inception. Data from the University of British Columbia demonstrates that health outcomes for patients using midwifery services are equal to or better than the rest of the territory and even the country. NWT communities with midwifery services have lower pre-term birth rates than those without, and even clients who choose to leave their home communities for birth have lower C-section rates and long breastfeeding duration rates. These excellent health outcomes are directly tied to the culturally safe and relationship-based care of midwifery. Imagine the improvements our people and communities could see if we invested more in midwifery. We could bring down our high infant mortality rate. Half of the NWT's population is Indigenous, and as our own programs have demonstrated, midwifery clearly helps in addressing the large maternal and infant health disparities of Indigenous people.

Demand for midwifery services is high. Folks pay for their own travel to communities, especially throughout the Deh Cho. Even people from Yellowknife are seeking care from midwives in Hay River and Fort Smith. Midwifery investments will make access to these services, along with the better health outcomes they provide, more equitable for all people across the NWT. Our government has taken note of these facts and has committed to expand midwifery services. We spent a lot of time and money studying how to successfully expand midwifery services, both in 2012 and 2017. Based on these studies, along with strong public support, a plan was made and, in 2019, funds were provided for phase one of three for midwifery service expansion. After just one year of capacity-building, the funds to move to phase 2 were not delivered as planned. Our government is now stalling, saying we need to revisit the plan and business case.

Our midwifery program has demonstrated excellent outcomes despite being under-resourced, since they lack both adequate support from management and appropriate funding levels for staff. The midwifery services in Rankin Inlet recently closed because of these similar problems. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Members' Statements

Page 2495

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

In closing, Mr. Speaker, now is not the time to falter. Our midwifery services are fragile and require financial investment to continue. Lots of time, money, and energy has been invested in consulting the public and planning. If we fail to invest in our midwifery programs now, we risk losing the ground we've worked so hard to gain over the years. I will have questions for the Minister of health later today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Caribou Emergency
Members' Statements

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I want to say it's a pretty hard act to follow the last couple of statements there. In August 2019, Cabinet finally approved the long-awaited Bathurst Caribou Range Plan. That plan calls for a variety of actions, including a cumulative land disturbance framework, community guardianship, habitat conservation, mobile caribou conservation measures, road planning and management, offsetting compensatory mechanisms, wildfire and fuels management, and online map staking.

It appears much of GNWT's efforts at trying to assist with the recovery of the Bathurst caribou herd have been focused on harvest management and predator control. Harvest management has been in place for years. I want to acknowledge and appreciate the Minister's and Indigenous leaders' recent work on the illegal harvesting. I can't say much about wolf control as it is still before the Wek'eezhii Renewable Resources Board, but the ground and aerial shooting program did not yield the expected results. I continue to ask about our efforts at habitat protection and get vague answers on future actions. We should not plan or build roads into the range of the Bathurst caribou herd unless there are some clear signs of recovery and action on habitat protection.

The year 2020 was a wash for the Bathurst caribou herd as the calving ground surveys were not carried out, predator control appears to have failed, and very little seems to have been accomplished with regard to habitat protection. I'll have questions for the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources about whether this government is serious about recovery of the Bathurst caribou herd. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Caribou Emergency
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Members' Statements

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Mr. Speaker, to be quite honest, I have more faith in our community governments than our own. I believe the structure of community governments allows them to be more nimble. I believe the services they provide their people every day on the ground are more important than much of the work we do in this House. Yet, Mr. Speaker, the GNWT continues to have a paternalistic relationship with its communities. This is no more apparent than with the relationship with our capital city.

Inevitably, Mr. Speaker, in every Yellowknife election, some city councillor decides to talk about a land value tax, a tax that would allow land to be assessed differently in incentivized development, or a vacancy tax to tax some of the long vacant lots in Yellowknife. Then, this conversation is quickly stifled because someone has to remind them that they don't have that power. The GNWT has not given it to them and likely will never will because I cannot get MACA to bring forward any legislation, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the city of Yellowknife has half the population. It has the capacity to take on many of these issues, and I believe they should. I would like the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs to engage discussions on a city charter with them. I would like to have conversations about devolving powers. I can't foresee a Legislative Assembly where there will ever be agreement on liquor, Mr. Speaker, yet I believe there is a path forward where we give communities control over what they want their liquor regulations to look forward. I believe we can devolve powers to solve some of the debates in this House we likely will never solve.

Mr. Speaker, recently, the City of Yellowknife passed a motion in support of granting permanent residents the right to vote. They don't have the power to do that. This House does. Another debate which I don't see a path forward to us actually giving the community what they want.

Mr. Speaker, city charters exist for capital cities all across the country. They create a sustainable financial arrangement, and often, it forces large cities to take the good times with the bad. If the GNWT revenues go down, city revenues go down. If the GNWT revenues go up, city revenues go up. We need to have a conversation about where the GNWT's mandate ends and where our communities' start because we have continually off-loaded powers without funding them, and I believe there are significant gaps that were brought forward during this pandemic. I will have questions for the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs about whether we can figure out where our mandates ends and our communities' begins. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Members' statements. Member for Great Slave.

Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Members' Statements

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Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Over the course of this Assembly, we have heard a lot of conversation around the provision of healthcare services in our communities. There have been requests for community nurses to make house calls and for them to leave the health centres in emergency situations. The majority of Canadians have access to emergency medical services in their home, if needed. Why do our residents not deserve the same? Why is this critical component of safe emergency care missing in our communities?

We have heard several Ministers of Health and Social Services, time and time again, redirect questions of ambulance services to the Department of MACA. One department blaming the other, and the typical silo'd government approach continues on hampering progress. Meanwhile, years pass with no new services coming into existence, and people in communities die. Having a safety background and having been lucky and never injured in a community I was working in, I have a lot of questions about what happens during an emergency. Once a patient is at the health centre and needs to be medevaced out of the community, how does the patient travel from the health centre to the aircraft? How do critically ill patients get to a medevac flight? Is it in the back of a pick-up? On a four-wheeler? Or in a Ski-Doo? Isn't it our responsibility to get a patient safely from one centre to another for care?

All levels of paramedics are licensed in the rest of Canada, so why aren't paramedics professionally licensed in the NWT? It's my understanding that the Department of Health and Social Services has been working on legislation to regulate paramedic services in the NWT, going as far as the public consultation phase, but then cave to the pressure of a few local providers who didn't want to have to provide the same level of care as down south. This leads to inconsistent delivery of service across the territory as there are no standardized protocols or procedures for recordkeeping, drug administration, or risk management. This severely compromises patient safety and is not acceptable. How can we say we are protecting and serving people when we don't even have a definition of how we are going to do it or track any of the results? Why does the Department of HSS not go forward with a community-based paramedicine program we've seen in the Inuvik region, a model for a health-authority-based ambulance system that can actually make money rather than lose it? Why are we not looking to replicate this in other northern communities?

We have an obligation to keep our patients safe and that includes during transport for all of our residents, including those in our primarily Indigenous communities. Recently, Laney Beaulieu, a pre-med student from Fort Resolution took to social media to call out these lack of services for what they are, racism, and I agree. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Item 6, acknowledgments. Item 7, oral questions. Member for Hay River South.

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

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Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The questions are for the Minister responsible for ECE. Mr. Speaker, with all the recent attention of potential changes to the NWT school curriculum in the media and news articles suggesting the NWT is dropping the Alberta curriculum, can the Minister please clarify if a decision has been made to move away from Alberta? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Hay River South. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Member for asking me this and giving me a chance to clarify. There has been a lot of chatter about this lately. For those of you who pay attention to what is said in this House, it's been almost one year to the day that I've been talking about renewing the curriculum in the Northwest Territories. This discussion has been ongoing.

After our report from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada saying that we need to do something with our education system, we started looking at every single aspect of what we do, and renewing our curriculum was one of those things that we wanted to look at. However, we have not made a decision. We are nowhere near making a decision. We are in the very early stages of seeing what is out there. Alberta is renewing its curriculum now. B.C. has a modern curriculum. The Yukon uses that curriculum. There are other curriculum developments across Canada, and it's incumbent upon us to ensure that whatever curriculum we use is right for the people of the Northwest Territories. As I said, Alberta is renewing their curriculum, so one way or another, we're getting a new curriculum. We need to do our due diligence, but we are a ways away from making any sort of decision. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

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Rocky Simpson Hay River South

I hope that comment about paying attention wasn't directed at me.

---Laughter

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

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Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, I'll ask the Minister: why is ECE changing the NWT curriculum, and how are those changes made? Will there be opportunity for input from the public or the partners?

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

Page 2496

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

As I stated, we are always looking at our curriculum, always looking at what is new. There're people in the department who, this is their job. They focus on curriculum. As I said, given the Office of the Auditor General results as well as our own results as well as the fact that we know we need to do better, we wanted to look and see if, perhaps, adjusting our curriculum is a way to do that. There're a lot of options. Looking forward, we could stay with Alberta's new curriculum. We could create a partnership with another jurisdiction. We could, perhaps, use K to eight of one jurisdiction and then use nine to twelve with Alberta. There're a lot of opportunities here. We just want to make sure that we are doing what's right for the students of the Northwest Territories. Ideally, we would be able to develop our own curriculum, but the fact is, it's too costly. It would be well beyond the reach of this territory. In other jurisdictions, their curriculum development shops are huge, and we just don't have that.

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

Page 2496

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

My third question, I guess he answered part of it: why can't the NWT just develop our own curriculum, but it sounds like it's too expensive. Why do we have to partner with another province besides the fact that we're talking about money?

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

Page 2496

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

We have to partner with another jurisdiction just for that fact that it is too expensive. That is not to say that we do not have a lot of our own curriculum. We have a junior kindergarten curriculum that is really world class, and other jurisdictions in Canada have approached us about it. We have specific courses developed in the Northwest Territories, things like Northern Studies 10. We are working on Northern Studies 20. We have science courses developed in the territory, the Our Languages curriculum. We do do a lot. However, to develop an entire curriculum, the assessments that go along with the curriculum, for example, the diploma examinations that we have now, it's just well beyond our reach, and financially, it's just not doable.

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

Page 2496

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Final supplementary. Member for Hay River South.

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

Page 2496

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will ask the Minister: when will a final decision be made, and then, when can we expect the new curriculum to roll out to schools? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

Page 2496

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

We cannot do this alone. We are so early on in this, we have not reached out to the education bodies yet, to the Indigenous bodies, anything like that, so we are starting that process now. We have done a lot of the leg work, but there is still much more to do. The decision would come in the summer at the earliest, and if we were to adopt a new curriculum, it would not be rolling out until 2022. Thank you.

Question 660-19(2): Northwest Territories Curriculum Development
Oral Questions

Page 2496

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Frame Lake.

Question 661-19(2): Caribou Emergency
Oral Questions

Page 2496

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. Earlier today, I discussed how predator-control measures for the Bathurst caribou herd were ineffective and the lack of progress on habitat protection while the Slave Geological Province road continues to steamroll right along. Can the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources tell us what specific actions have been undertaken in the last year to protect key habitat for the Bathurst caribou herd? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 661-19(2): Caribou Emergency
Oral Questions

Page 2496

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

Question 661-19(2): Caribou Emergency
Oral Questions

Page 2496

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Member for giving me these questions ahead of time because it's going to be pretty detailed on this one here. The range plan made nine recommendations to manage total disturbance on the range of the Bathurst caribou herd and to reduce and manage impact on the caribou and the caribou habitat. We are working on all nine recommendations and have begun. Habitat conservation is recommended in the Bathurst range plan, specifically in areas of importance to the caribou to maintain migration routes, such as key water crossings and land quarters. ENR is supporting Indigenous governments and organizations to document these key habitat features and to provide them for consideration.

As I said previously in this House, Mr. Speaker, we will continue to work collaboratively to identify appropriate legislative tools to advance the establishment of conservation areas, and we have established a new fire crew in Wekweeti to allow faster response to fire on barren-ground caribou winter habitat. We have established a caribou guardians program as also recommended in the range plan. Significant work has continued to develop a network of community-based programs that will monitor and report on caribou habitat. Mr. Speaker, it's all part of the picture. It's our wildlife. It's the conservation of our management of legal hunting, respectful hunting, the wolf program, and our habitat. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 661-19(2): Caribou Emergency
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I want to thank the Minister for his Minister's statement there. No. Look, I do appreciate the work that he and his staff are doing on this. I just wish it was a little bit faster. I described some of the actions and tools that are supposed to be taking place as part of the implementation of the Bathurst caribou range plan, and the Minister himself mentioned the cumulative land disturbance framework. Can the Minister tell us whether this framework has been applied against the proposed Slave Geological Province road, and if so, can he share that analysis with MLAs and the public?

Question 661-19(2): Caribou Emergency
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

I will try to keep my Minister's statement short on this answer here, but we want to make sure we get that detail and that information out there. The framework was applied against the proposed Slave Geological Province road. A technical package was supported with the Bathurst caribou range plan, and yes, we will be able to provide is to SCEDE.

Question 661-19(2): Caribou Emergency
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I appreciate the Minister's short answer yes there. That was great. The Minister obviously knows exploration and development in the range of the Bathurst caribou herd is probably at an all-time low since the 1980s as a result of the pandemic. Now would seem to be a great time to finally develop and implement mobile caribou conservation measures that would provide temporary habitat protection, so can the Minister tell us about the status of the promised mobile caribou conservation measures and when we can expect to see them finally implemented?

Question 661-19(2): Caribou Emergency
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

ENR will finalize the framework by this summer. A draft framework has provided guidance to a pilot project that was done in collaboration with our industry partner, Aurora Geosciences. Because of COVID, we had to do a desktop exercise. The outcome of the project was the need for an operational guidance document, and we are working on developing that with Aurora Geosciences. We plan to test this operational document this summer.

Question 661-19(2): Caribou Emergency
Oral Questions

Page 2497

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 661-19(2): Caribou Emergency
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I want to thank the Minister for that. I look forward to seeing the results of that. Of course, what elders and biologists alike say is that we need to permanently protect key habitat for barren-ground and boreal caribou as part of a balanced program. With low levels of activity and interest, we have got things like land use planning, but we also need other forms of permanent land withdrawals or protection. Can the Minister tell us what our government is doing with regard to permanent protection of key habitat for the Bathurst caribou herd? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 661-19(2): Caribou Emergency
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Key habitat is identified through a collaborative process with our Indigenous governments and organizations, and it helps us identify key areas that could be considered for habitat protection under the wildlife act. ENR has a series of workshops with partners to identify and prioritize areas of protection, and we are completing input from our partners and will collaboratively work on the plan to clarify key areas to be considered for habitat protection. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 661-19(2): Caribou Emergency
Oral Questions

Page 2497

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 662-19(2): Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Can the Minister tell me how patients get from the health centre to the medevac flight in communities with no ambulance service? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 662-19(2): Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Question 662-19(2): Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I am sure the Member can appreciate, with 33 different communities, there are a number of different ways of getting there. One possibility is local emergency service providers, such as the fire department or the RCMP. In some places, there are ground transportation contracts that are available through a competitive bid. In some cases, community governments provide that service, and in some cases, in fact, people do it themselves with whatever equipment they have available. Thank you.

Question 662-19(2): Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

It would be great if the Minister could send me the breakdown of the different communities and their response plans for ground transportation. For question number two: when will paramedics be licensed in the Northwest Territories, and when will adjustments be made to the act in order to enable this service?

Question 662-19(2): Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

I welcome the opportunity to clarify the fact that paramedics are licensed in the NWT, and no changes are required to the act.

Question 662-19(2): Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

That is great to hear. Thank you. My next question may be redundant, but: community-based paramedics programs have clinical evidence of their success in Northern Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. Why was the community-based paramedicine program discontinued here in the Northwest Territories, considering that the Canadian Armed Forces was willing to partner with the Northwest Territories?

Question 662-19(2): Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

I appreciate the opportunity to clarify here, as well. In fact, what took place in Tsiigehtchic was a pilot program to train local community members as first responders beginning in 2019. The good news about this pilot program is that 16 community members did receive emergency response training. That work, however, has not progressed from that stage. It is in the health Department's work plan to engage with MACA to discuss next steps on how we can build on this pilot, and the next steps are due by September of this year.

Question 662-19(2): Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 662-19(2): Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess I have my facts wrong, but I will check back with my research and take a look at that. My last question is: would the Minister tell us her position on whether or not she finds the discrepancies in our healthcare system due to systemic racism? Thank you.

Question 662-19(2): Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

I am not going to offer an opinion. Thank you.

Question 662-19(2): Provision of Emergency Health Care Services in Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Nunakput.

Question 663-19(2): Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, I brought up my Member's statement in regard to elders staying home. You know as well as I do: we take care of our own, and we take care of our elders. I want to know: what care facilities are currently available in our communities of Paulatuk and Ulukhaktok right now? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 663-19(2): Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 663-19(2): Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If the Member is talking about long-term care facilities, there are none in his riding. If he is talking about homecare support so that people receive services while in their own homes, every community in the Beaufort-Delta and in his riding has homecare services available. They are usually provided by the healthcare centre, and they work with elders and their families to deliver the services that are identified as required under a nursing assessment. That could be a full range of things from help with bathing and mobility, light housekeeping, meal preparation, and so on. Tuktoyaktuk, as well, is one of the sites of the paid family caregiver program where this pilot project is providing up to four hours a week of additional supports to five elders in the community. We are very interested to see the outcome of this, whether it's a way forward to provide more community support. There is quite a bit of homecare, but long-term care is only available closest to him in Inuvik. Thank you.

Question 663-19(2): Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

The next steps are working with our housing Minister and Health Minister in regard to getting elders facilities in both Paulatuk and Ulukhaktok, which we need. Like I said before, flying to Inuvik is over $1,000 to go see one of your loved ones. The only time you'll get to go there is if you are going there for medical. It really hurts and impacts families deeply when they are sending an elder to Inuvik for long-term care. We need to fix this problem. We could find money for anything when it comes to bigger projects and stuff like that, but something like this, working with the Inuvialuit Development Corporation, the community corporation, and our government: are they willing to work together to take those next steps in regard to providing elders facilities in those two communities?

Question 663-19(2): Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2497

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

The issue here with long-term care is economies of scale. There are 12 elders in Sachs Harbour who are 60-plus, 43 in Ulukhaktok, 31 in Paulatuk, and 139 in Tuktoyaktuk. That's a very small population from which to build a long-term care centre that benefits from the economies of scales. I think the minimum size is 16 beds. I don't think that it's feasible to do long-term care in those facilities because of the size of them. However, we have heard from Mr. Colin Okheena from Ulukhaktok, and he has requested that we meet with him and his community corporation to talk about elders facilities in his communities. We have agreed to that. We wrote to him at the end of February and suggested that he call the office and set up a meeting.

Question 663-19(2): Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

I thank the Minister for that, for reaching out to Mr. Okheena. I really think the demographic size of a community or distance from Inuvik to Ulukhaktok or Ulukhaktok to Sachs Harbour or to Paulatuk or Tuktoyaktuk, it shouldn't matter. It shouldn't matter for the money that we are spending. These elders were here first, born and raised. We have to take care of our elders. Money shouldn't be the main issue. I know we are stretched like a rubber band, but the thing is: my elders deserve this. My elders need to stay home. Our families need to be kept together because you know it as well as I do: as soon as they go to Inuvik, they don't last long. I don't mean to say that, and I'm not trying to hurt anybody's feelings or nothing. At the end of the day, our elders were born and raised in the Northwest Territories, and we demand service.

Question 663-19(2): Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

I appreciate the Member's passion on this topic and the desire to keep people at home. It is our mandate to help seniors age in place with dignity, and of course, that's every senior in the NWT. The way that long-term care works is that people don't go in to long-term care unless they have 24/7 nursing needs or chronic conditions, complex conditions, that need full-time nursing care. Unfortunately, the reason that people don't last a long time after they go into long-term care is because they are already pretty ill. The average stay in long-term care is around two-and-a-half years. I appreciate that that is not an outcome that anyone wants. The outcome that people want is for elders to stay in their community.

As I have said previously, there is a combination here of homecare support, which is provided by the Department of Health and Social Services, and a facility in which the elders can live, which is within the NWT Housing Corporation. I have committed, and the Housing Corporation Minister has agreed, that we will work together to sort out how we can make this aging-in-place pledge a reality.

Question 663-19(2): Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2498

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Nunakput.

Question 663-19(2): Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just for the record, will the Minister and her colleague in housing commit to working with myself, the community of Paulatuk and Ulukhaktok in my Nunakput riding, to work together to try to see if we could get long-term facilities? Would she commit to that? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 663-19(2): Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

I have articulated my commitment, and that is my commitment. Thank you.

Question 663-19(2): Elders' Facilities in Nunakput Communities
Oral Questions

Page 2498

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 664-19(2): Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Mr. Speaker, the starting point in any conversation about our municipal powers is that they are presently a mess. Twenty-four of our communities either fall under the Cities, Towns and Villages Act, the Hamlets Act, the Charter Communities Act, or the Tlicho Government act. The remaining nine communities are designated authorities and fall under the Indian Act. I am surprised the NWTAC can find agreement on anything. As such, whenever a problem falls that only applies to one of those specific pieces of legislation, there is no support for the other communities. Six of our communities administer their own taxes; 18, MACA does it; and a remaining nine pay no tax at all. My main concern is getting the Department of MACA to bring forward some legislation that sorts out these various pieces and the powers. My first question is: will the department bring forward the Cities, Towns and Villages Act and some of the other corresponding legislation during the life of this Assembly?

Question 664-19(2): Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Oral Questions

Page 2498

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Question 664-19(2): Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, first of all, want to comment on the history of the Northwest Territories, and the way that we operate is in a very unique, dynamic way of administrating throughout the territory. We do have designated communities. We do have communities that are acquiring self-government. We do have settled land claim areas, as well, and we have such a strong, rich history here in the territory. Looking at the Cities, Towns and Villages Act and when it was established to create the municipalities of the Northwest Territories, we have kind of evolved with the legislation but also knowing that the Indigenous groups have come forward to create their own set of governing aspects.

With that, this is a very unique approach that does not exist in the northern part of the territory and the northern part of Canada. We don't have a charter that is currently established, but the City of Yellowknife has not designated this as a priority. We are looking at the taxation, and we are looking at the Fire Prevention Act right now. The conversation continues, but just to answer the Member's question: no, this will not be brought forward in the lifetime of this government. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 664-19(2): Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

I appreciate the complexity here. My concern is I want to find some work to progress the work on the Cities, Towns and Villages Act and surrounding it. I note the department started work on the Fire Prevention Act back in 2008, and hopefully, we see that in the life of this Assembly. I recognize that there were years of work to actually get this done, and it gets to the heart of the NWT: are we going to have public governments in the future, or are we going to have more private governments? Presently, we have legislated that there are public governments across the Northwest Territories, and I would like to see that debate happen. To do that, I need the department to begin some of the work on these various pieces of legislation. Is the department ready to begin that work, and maybe the next Assembly can see some legislation?

Question 664-19(2): Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

With the legislation brought forward and with the support of NWTAC and the City of Yellowknife, we are concentrating on the property taxation, as I've stated, and also the fire prevention. They have listed these as two priorities. With that, I am confident that my department will bring those two forward and we will see those changes. Also, looking at the involvement of the Northwest Territories, as well, and looking at the municipal governments, I honestly want to say that conversations do happen with the Indigenous governments, as well. Whether we're going to see self-government during the lifetime of this Assembly, whether we're going to see agreements going forward, it really changes the direction of Municipal and Community Affairs and how we are going to be working with the smaller communities.

Question 664-19(2): Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

One of the reasons the City of Yellowknife wants to see a city charter, and I want to see it, is it's a fiscal arrangement. The City of Yellowknife is the only jurisdiction where a percentage of their taxes have to fund the education system. It's the only city that has a property tax base that could actually fund municipal services. There's a reason we have tax-paying communities and non-tax-paying communities. Whenever the City of Yellowknife asks for a change to how they can administer taxes, they are told no because the conversation is only relevant to the City of Yellowknife. In part of the Property Assessment and Taxation Act conversation, which we will see, is it possible to have a separate fiscal arrangement and some different tax powers for the City of Yellowknife?

Question 664-19(2): Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

To have a submission brought forward that is going to separate, and looking at the Indigenous groups within the City of Yellowknife, as well, this is a really sensitive topic, and I would have to bring this back to my department in order to make sure that we are productively moving along. Also clarifying, is this a priority for the City of Yellowknife and the Indigenous groups within the city, as well? Then it would change the approach of MACA and our involvement, as well, to better support what are the priorities for the city.

Question 664-19(2): Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Oral Questions

Page 2498

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 664-19(2): Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A head's up: during the Property Assessment and Taxation Act, I am going to be requesting the ability for municipalities to implement vacancy taxes, to have land value taxes, to have different tax tools that the department won't let them. Can I get the Minister to commit that they can go away and educate themselves on what city charters and these fiscal arrangements look like in other jurisdictions, in preparation for further questions? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 664-19(2): Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I hear the Member's passion, as well. This is not the first time he has brought this up with the charter for the City of Yellowknife and reflecting and elaborating on the taxation, as well. I want to really emphasize that this is a very sensitive issue, and it involves more parties than just the City of Yellowknife. I will provide the Member with a current update and the current status of the ongoing conversation with the Department of MACA and the City of Yellowknife. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 664-19(2): Devolving Powers to Municipal Governments
Oral Questions

Page 2498

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Thebacha.

Question 665-19(2): Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The 2017 NWT Midwifery Stakeholder Engagement Report was 75 pages long. Can the Minister tell us if her department is ready to implement all 10 recommendations to ensure that all communities have access to births in their home communities within the life of the 19th Assembly? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 665-19(2): Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Oral Questions

Page 2498

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 665-19(2): Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for the question. As I said in February, we, the Department of Health and Social Services, have been successful in completing five out of 10 recommendations. The department continues towards moving to the completion of the remaining five recommendations, and we previously committed and continue to commit to coming up with a preliminary plan on how to implement these recommendations in June of 2021. The next phase of this plan is phase 2. If it has funding, it would provide four midwives in Yellowknife, one in Hay River, and one in Fort Smith. It would not provide a way for women who live in small communities with health cabins to have their children in their own communities. Birthing is really a centralized process. Thank you.

Question 665-19(2): Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Oral Questions

Page 2498

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Can the Minister tell us how her department will implement all 10 recommendations of the 2017 midwifery report?

Question 665-19(2): Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

The plan is now four years old. We have committed to reviewing it. We have committed to costing out the remainder of the five recommendations, and we have said that we will provide that information by June of 2021.

Question 665-19(2): Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Can the Minister provide a timeline for when her department expects more communities to have midwifery services in the NWT?

Question 665-19(2): Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Hay River and Fort Smith have midwifery services at this point, and the idea of hiring one additional midwife for each of these locations is to stabilize the program. The next community on the list for midwives is Yellowknife, and as I already said, that would require the hiring of four midwives. There are some conversations going on about how the program could be expanded beyond that. Today, this very day, there is consultation going on with Fort Resolution community members and healthcare workers to find out whether they are interested in having midwives, whether they would prefer to have a doula program or an Indigenous caregiver program. Those are the kinds of things that we would like to hear, not only in Fort Resolution, but in the Deh Cho and in Behchoko, as well.

Question 665-19(2): Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Oral Questions

Page 2499

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Thebacha.

Question 665-19(2): Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Can the Minister tell us when her department expects to enter into phase 2 of the midwifery service expansion? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 665-19(2): Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

As I've said previously in this House, phase 2 of the midwifery program does not have funding in the current budget. Thank you.

Question 665-19(2): Northwest Territories Midwifery Services
Oral Questions

Page 2499

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 666-19(2): The Fourth Trimester
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are also for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Mr. Speaker, over the last year, the fourth trimester has drastically changed for new mothers. We spent decades telling new moms to get out and stay active only to now tell them to stay home and stay alone. How have the supports for new moms changed or evolved over the last year in the Northwest Territories? Thank you.

Question 666-19(2): The Fourth Trimester
Oral Questions

Page 2499

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 666-19(2): The Fourth Trimester
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the Member for introducing a new term for me, the fourth trimester. For a moment there I thought that pregnancy might have been extended for an entire year, but I understand now that this is the first three months of baby's life. Of course, as the Member said in her statement, it's common for new parents, especially first-time parents, to be anxious about how to care for their baby, their family, and themselves, and certainly, it is not a time where we want people to feel alone and unsupported. We realize that COVID-19 has, in fact, had that kind of an effect. However, having said that, the health system continues to deliver health programs, so clients can access different kinds of programs and services for post-partum care.

There is post-natal care at six weeks with their primary care practitioner, where an additional post-partum and mental health screening is provided to catch any issues that are prevalent at that point. There is also comprehensive care available at that same six-week mark if the person is within the midwifery program. There are also virtual post-partum classes that are delivered by Yellowknife Public Health to those who need to stay at home. We are willing to provide the services. We are hoping that parents will articulate what they need, and we will be able to respond to that with the specific services they need. Thank you.

Question 666-19(2): The Fourth Trimester
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

I appreciate that there are existing services available. I can say I have used some of them myself as a new mom. All of my babies were born in Yellowknife. I am wondering if the Minister of Health and Social Services is willing to evaluate post-partum supports to new moms by engaging with recent and new moms to ensure they are meeting this generation of moms at the right time and with the right support. An example of this is: traditionally, like the Minister said, new moms are seen at six weeks in order to give the moms a chance, to say, "Okay, let's check on you now." In an environment where, now, we are spending a lot more time at home, there is a lot more uncertainty about the world, and people are using social media a lot more, maybe it's more relevant for that to be moved up to three weeks. I am wondering if the Department of Health and Social Services will commit to engaging with new moms to see what they are looking for.

Question 666-19(2): The Fourth Trimester
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

The department is always working with new parents to understand what they need and how we could better support them. That is a core part of our mandate. We do not need to be directed to find out how they are feeling. This is the ongoing work of the department. We, of course, could always offer more services and deliver them in different ways, and so we are interested in looking at our prenatal and post-natal education programming and delivery and making sure that it is as effective as can be, that not only is it effective but that it is grounded in traditional knowledge and presents a culturally safe option for Indigenous moms. The department has, as I mentioned, conducted extensive engagement with parents and families through the midwifery review that was referenced earlier this afternoon, and all of this information will be included in our continuous evaluation of what we are doing.

Question 666-19(2): The Fourth Trimester
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Since the department is always looking for new ways to serve new parents, I am wondering if the department is willing to look at new ways to communicate with parents. Asking for help can be very hard, and asking for help when you need it, it might actually be something like 2:00 in the morning. Our next generation of new moms is heavily invested in virtual communication through social media and text messaging, so I am wondering if the Minister will commit to establishing new communication protocols in the Northwest Territories that accommodate text messaging supports for new moms so that they have access to NWT support when they need it, in a communication style that suits them.

Question 666-19(2): The Fourth Trimester
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Midwives, in particular, have always engaged their clients using a variety of methods, and in the current communications environment, that includes phone, text, FaceTime, and video conferencing. This particular engagement is being considered in the expansion of midwifery services in the Yellowknife area, which I referenced earlier, and so how to meet current needs is certainly on our radar. We do not expect everybody to pack up the baby and come into the office.

Question 666-19(2): The Fourth Trimester
Oral Questions

Page 2499

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 666-19(2): The Fourth Trimester
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am definitely excited for the changes that the midwifery program will present to the Northwest Territories, but the fact of the matter is that not everybody has access to a midwife or uses one. I am wondering if this is a change that can be made at the public health level because every new mom is connected to public health. I am wondering if public health can take on the responsibility or the option of passing along a phone number to new moms so that they are able to text somebody when they need it. Many people who work for public health are already on call; they probably already carry a cellphone. I am wondering if this cellphone number can be provided to new moms to use within the first three months, if and when they need it, because being a new parent can be very scary. Thank you.

Question 666-19(2): The Fourth Trimester
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

I am not sure what is possible in terms of having public health on call to a greater extent than they are now, but that is certainly something I can enquire about and get back to the Member with. Thank you.

Question 666-19(2): The Fourth Trimester
Oral Questions

Page 2499

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Frame Lake.

Question 667-19(2): Minimum Wage Committee
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I want to assure the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment that I was not dozing off, and he did have my attention when he announced the minimum-wage increase today. However, I want to ask him: I raised this issue about the Minimum Wage Committee in a previous Member's statement. I think he received some kind of report. Is he willing to make that report public? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 667-19(2): Minimum Wage Committee
Oral Questions

Page 2499

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Question 667-19(2): Minimum Wage Committee
Oral Questions

Page 2499

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will have to give the same answer I gave last time with this question, that this report was prepared as advice for Cabinet, and it was prepared by people who were assured that it would be kept confidential. I am not prepared to go back on that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 667-19(2): Minimum Wage Committee
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I want to thank the Minister for that response, but all we have is the Minister's statement and news release about on what basis the Minister made this very important decision. Can the Minister not at least talk about what the recommendations were from the committee and share those recommendations with the public?

Question 667-19(2): Minimum Wage Committee
Oral Questions

Page 2499

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

The committee made three recommendations, as was asked for. One of the recommendations is always the status quo; one of the recommendations was also increasing it to $15.20.

Question 667-19(2): Minimum Wage Committee
Oral Questions

Page 2499

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I guess I have to guess what the third recommendation was, but I am not going to try to do any math on my feet here. Actually, I will. We have the Wage Top-Up program ending on August 31st, as I understand it, so $18 an hour. The very next day, people are going to see their hourly wages drop to $15.20. It just does not seem to make any sense, so can the Minister explain to the public, the people, the 9 percent of our workforce that is now accessing the Wage Top-Up program, why he chose $15.20, and can he explain why their wages are going to drop from $18 an hour one day to $15.20 the next?

Question 667-19(2): Minimum Wage Committee
Oral Questions

Page 2500

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Their wages will drop because currently there is a Wage Top-Up program in place, and that runs until August 31st. The next day, the Wage Top-Up program will no longer be operational, and people who are making minimum wage will start receiving $15.20 an hour from their employer without that additional top-up. I just want to point out that the minimum wage is just that. It's a minimum wage. I think less than a thousand people in the territory make minimum wage. Most of them are between 15 and 24. Most of them are living at home, and perhaps a higher wage will help them get out of that house sooner. The fact is: this is not a demographic of people who are counting on a minimum wage to raise a family for the most part. A lot of those positions, as well, come with gratuities, so a number of those people making minimum wage also make tips on top of it.

I appreciate what the Member is saying. I was very happy to see that the wage top-up was extended because I do want to make sure that we are providing for our residents. However, we can't expect our businesses to absorb such a great increase in cost over the course of one summer from the $13.46 to something like $18 an hour. It's just not feasible. It's not the way businesses are structured right now. However, that being said, we have the second highest minimum wage in Canada. We will on September 1st. I think that's something to be celebrated. I don't think we've ever been in that position before. The only one with the higher minimum wage is Nunavut where the cost of living is much higher, as well, so it's appropriate for what we have in the territory.

Question 667-19(2): Minimum Wage Committee
Oral Questions

Page 2500

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 667-19(2): Minimum Wage Committee
Oral Questions

Page 2500

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I want to thank the Minister for that. I'm looking actually at the Department of Finance website. The number of individuals that have accessed the Wage Top-Up program as of March 10th is 2,360, not the 1,000 that the Minister just kind of mentioned, 96 participating businesses. Look, this is a very significant portion of our workforce.

They're going to see their wages drop in one day. It's just not fair, Mr. Speaker. I've tried a number of different avenues here to try to get the Minister to recognize this is a real problem and issue. What other solutions does the Minister have? He doesn't seem to agree with the idea of a guaranteed basic income. What are the Minister's solutions to trying to help people make ends meet, the 2,360 people who are already accessing the Wage Top-Up program? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 667-19(2): Minimum Wage Committee
Oral Questions

Page 2500

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

There may be 2,360 people accessing the Wage Top-Up program. That doesn't mean there're 2,360 people making minimum wage once that program goes away.

Those are two different numbers. One is $18, and one is right now $13.46; there's a difference there. What do we have in place, Mr. Speaker? That's why I work so hard on education. That's why we're working hard on making investments in early childhood. That's why we're trying to expand the number of early childhood spaces there are for children so that they can get in there and get an enriched environment starting at the beginning of their life.

That's why we're reviewing the curriculum, Mr. Speaker, to make sure it's a curriculum the kids want so that they want to go to school and so that it helps them grow and it helps them learn. It could help them get to that next level and get those jobs. That's why we're looking at our SFA program. That's why we have the best SFA program in Canada, Mr. Speaker. We have the most generous Student Financial Assistance program in Canada to help students get that post-secondary education. That is the biggest contributor to improving your wages, getting a post-secondary education. That's where we need to focus our efforts, Mr. Speaker, not putting this on the backs of businesses. This is on us, and this is what we are doing. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 667-19(2): Minimum Wage Committee
Oral Questions

Page 2500

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Item 8, written questions. Item 9, returns to written questions. Item 10, replies to Commissioner's address. Item 11, petitions. Item 12, reports of committees on the review of bills. Item 13, reports of standing and special committees. Item 14, tabling of documents. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Tabled Document 353-19(2): Projected Demand for Long-Term Care Beds in the Northwest Territories, Northwest Territories Bureau of Statistics, August 2020 Tabled Document 354-19(2): Department of Health and Social Services Response to Long-Term Care Bed Projections
Tabling Of Documents

Page 2500

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to table the following two documents: "Projected Demand for Long-Term Care Beds in the NWT, NWT Bureau of Statistics, August 2020;" and "Department of Health and Social Services Response to Long-Term Care Bed Projections." Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 353-19(2): Projected Demand for Long-Term Care Beds in the Northwest Territories, Northwest Territories Bureau of Statistics, August 2020 Tabled Document 354-19(2): Department of Health and Social Services Response to Long-Term Care Bed Projections
Tabling Of Documents

Page 2500

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Tabling of documents. Item 15, notices of motion. Item 16, motions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Motion 31-19(2): Extended Adjournment of the House to March 29, 2021, Carried
Motions

March 11th, 2021

Page 2500

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

I MOVE, seconded by the honourable Member for Hay River North, that, notwithstanding Rule 4, when this House adjourns on Friday, March 12, 2021, it shall be adjourned until Monday, March 29, 2021;

AND FURTHER, that, any time prior to March 29, 2021, if the Speaker is satisfied, after consultation with the Executive Council and Members of the Legislative Assembly, that the public interest requires that the House should meet at an earlier time during the adjournment, or at a time later than the scheduled resumption of the House, the Speaker may give notice and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice and shall transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 31-19(2): Extended Adjournment of the House to March 29, 2021, Carried
Motions

Page 2500

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Motion is in order. To the motion?

Motion 31-19(2): Extended Adjournment of the House to March 29, 2021, Carried
Motions

Page 2500

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Motion 31-19(2): Extended Adjournment of the House to March 29, 2021, Carried
Motions

Page 2500

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? Any abstentions? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Motions. Item 17, notices of motion for the first reading of bills. Minister of Infrastructure.

Bill 24-19(2): An Act to Amend the Revolving Funds Act
Notices Of Motion For The First Reading Of Bills

Page 2500

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I give notice that on Monday, March 29, 2021, I will move that Bill 24, An Act to Amend the Revolving Fund Act be read for the first time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bill 24-19(2): An Act to Amend the Revolving Funds Act
Notices Of Motion For The First Reading Of Bills

Page 2500

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Notices of motion for the first reading of bills. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Bill 25-19(2): An Act to Amend the Education Act
Notices Of Motion For The First Reading Of Bills

Page 2500

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that on Monday, March 29, 2021, I will move that Bill 25, An Act to Amend the Education Act be read for the first time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bill 25-19(2): An Act to Amend the Education Act
Notices Of Motion For The First Reading Of Bills

Page 2500

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Notices of motion for the first reading of bills. Item 18, first reading of bills. Item 19, second reading of bills. Member for Nunakput.

Bill 23-19(2): An Act to Amend the Public Utilities Act
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 2500

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Thebacha, that Bill 23, An Act to Amend the Public Utilities Act, be read for the second time.

Mr. Speaker, this bill amends the Public Utilities Act to:

  • prohibit a public utility from disconnecting a residential customer's electricity service during the period of October 1 to April 30 or when the temperature is forecast to be below 0 degrees Celsius because an amount payable is overdue;
  • require a public utility to reconnect a residential customer's service, which was disconnected during the period of May 1 to September 30 because an amount payable was overdue, by October 1 or as soon as practicable;
  • prohibit a public utility from installing a device to limit the amount of power and electricity provided to a residential customer because an amount payable is overdue; and
  • allow a public utility to require a residential customer to enter into a payment plan before reconnecting the customer's electricity service during the period of May 1 to September 30.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bill 23-19(2): An Act to Amend the Public Utilities Act
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 2500

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. The motion is in order. To the motion?

Bill 23-19(2): An Act to Amend the Public Utilities Act
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 2500

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Bill 23-19(2): An Act to Amend the Public Utilities Act
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 2500

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called. Government House Leader.

Bill 23-19(2): An Act to Amend the Public Utilities Act
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 2501

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Cabinet has serious concerns about what is proposed by this bill. If Bill 23 were to become law, it would essentially create a right to receive power while removing the obligation to pay for it. This would have a number of negative impacts on our residents. We would undoubtedly see some customers become burdened with large and perpetually growing debts, and as a consequence, the power companies would see their uncollectible debts grow. This isn't just speculation. We saw it happen last year when NTPC paused collections, ceased disconnections, and removed load limiters during the first months of COVID-19. Ultimately, the lost revenue created as a result of this bill would have to be recouped through the ratepayers meaning higher power rates and higher bills for everyone.

Mr. Speaker, this Assembly made reducing the cost of power a priority, and this bill would almost certainly have the opposite effect. However, Cabinet is willing to let this bill go through the process, and we will be abstaining from this vote. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bill 23-19(2): An Act to Amend the Public Utilities Act
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 2501

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Government House Leader. Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? Any abstentions? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Bill 23 has received second reading and is referred to standing committee. Second reading of bills. Item 20, consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and other matters: Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act; Bill 12, An Act to Amend the Apprenticeship, Trades and Occupational Certification Act; Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act; Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Securities Act; Bill 16, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act; Bill 20, An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act; Committee Report 8-19(2), Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on Motion 5-19(2), Referral of Point of Privilege Raised by Member for Monfwi on March 10, 2020; Committee Report 9-19(2), Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on the Chief Electoral Officer's Report on the Administration of the 2019 Territorial General Election; Committee Report 10-19(2), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act; Minister's Statement 77-19(2), National Housing Co-Investment Fund; Tabled Document 165-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 1-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery, Recommendations to the GNWT; Tabled Document 166-19(2) Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 2-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery, Recommendations to the GNWT; Tabled Document 167-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 3-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery, Recommendations to the GNWT; Tabled Document 286-19(2) Main Estimates 2021-2022; Tabled Document 348-19(2), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 3, 2020-2021; and Tabled Document 349-19(2), Supplementary Estimates (Operations Expenditures), No. 3, 2020-2021. By the authority given to me as Speaker by Motion 1-19(2), I hereby authorize the House to sit beyond the daily hours of adjournment to consider the business before the House, with the Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes in the chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

I now call Committee of the Whole to order. What is the wish of committee? Member for Tu-Nedhe Wiilideh.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Madam Chair. Committee would like to consider the following items: Bill 16, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act; Committee Report 10-19(2), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act; Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act; Bill 12, An Act to Amend the Apprenticeship, Trades and Occupational Certification Act; Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act; Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Securities Act; Tabled Document 165-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 1-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery, Recommendations to the GNWT; Tabled Document 166-19(2) Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 2-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery, Recommendations to the GNWT; Tabled Document 167-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 3-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery, Recommendations to the GNWT; and Minister's Statement 77-19(2), National Housing Co-Investment Fund. Marsi cho, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Does committee agree?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. We will take a short recess and resume with the first item.

---SHORT RECESS

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

I now call Committee of the Whole back to order. Committee, we have agreed to first consider Bill 16, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act. I will ask the Minister of Finance to introduce the bill.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am here to present Bill 16, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act. The main purpose of Bill 16 is to reduce the tax burden on our small businesses by reducing the small business tax rate from 4 percent down to 2 percent. With this reduction, Northwest Territories small businesses will incur a tax rate of 2 percent on taxable income under $500,000. Any taxable income over $500,000 will continue to be subject to the general corporate tax rate of 11.5 percent. This proposed measure will become effective on January 1, 2021.

We are also taking this opportunity to propose two housekeeping measures to keep the legislation current and maintain value harmonization with federal income tax legislation. The first housekeeping measure proposes changes in the calculation of the territorial age credit to include taxable split income to ensure seniors are not able to claim a higher age credit than they would otherwise be entitled. The second housekeeping measure proposes changes in the calculation of the territorial pension credit. This measure will allow Canadian veterans with certain income benefits received under the federal Veterans Well-being Act to claim the territorial pension credit.

That concludes my opening remarks, Madam Chair. I would be happy to answer any questions that Members might have.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. I will now turn to the chair of the Standing Committee on Government Operations, the committee which considered the bill, for opening comments.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Madam Chair. Bill 16, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act, received second reading in the Legislative Assembly on November 2, 2020, and was referred to the Standing Committee on Government Operations for review. On February 25, 2021, the standing committee held a public hearing with the Minister of Finance and completed its clause-by-clause review of the bill. I thank the committee for their efforts in reviewing this legislation. Individual Members may have additional comments or questions.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister, would you like to bring witnesses into the Chamber?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Yes, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Sergeant-at-Arms, please escort the witness into the Chamber. Minister, please introduce your witnesses for the record.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair. Madam Chair, on my left is Kelly Bluck, director of fiscal policy from the Department of Finance, and on the right, Cherie Jarock, legislative counsel with the legislation division from the Department of Justice.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. I will now open the floor to general comments on Bill 16. Member for Kam Lake.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Chair. I just wanted to express my gratitude for this change. I think that this is a time when businesses can use the support and can also use their finances in better ways to grow and evolve their businesses. I appreciate the effort on behalf of the Minister in order to make this change, and I would like to just say thank you. Thank you.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Frame Lake.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. I don't have any difficulty with the administrative changes here for the most part. I am concerned about the reduction in the small business tax rate. Can the Minister tell me why we are doing this? Thanks, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair. We are a little bit behind some of the other jurisdictions in terms of our business tax rate for small businesses. This finally is an opportunity to bring us a little bit more in line and make us more competitive with some of our colleagues across the rest of Canada. Up to this point, we were at or near, in fact, the very top of the pile. This is an opportunity to, again, make us more competitive, and it's a good time. I think one of the MLAs has already mentioned that it's an opportunity to give a bit of release at an occasion and during a context where there has been quite a lot of challenges for small businesses, for all businesses, over the last year. Again, this is one where, really, we are getting ourselves to be more aligned with the rates that you see across the rest of Canada. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Frame Lake.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. I take it from what the Minister said that this is really about tax fairness, being competitive, and so on. That's all good. Can the Minister tell me how much revenue the GNWT is going to lose as a result of this reduction? Thanks, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2501

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair. I believe the reduction is approximately $1.4 million.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2502

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2502

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. Are there any plans, then, to make up this lost revenue somewhere else in the tax system? Thanks, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2502

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2502

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair. This is not an occasion where there will be a commensurate raising of taxes or introduction of a new tax to directly offset the $1.4 million revenue loss. What is hoped, however, is that, by helping the sector become more competitive and helping small businesses be more competitive, we will see economic growth, which then can ultimately help create more taxpayers in the form of more small businesses, which can hopefully offset the revenue lost from the tax rate change. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2502

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2502

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. I take it from what the Minister said that there are not going to be any efforts to look at replacing the revenues in some way. How is the Minister going to apply this concept of tax fairness across the other kinds of taxes that we have to pay? Look, I heard the Minister characterize taxes as "burdens" earlier on. Taxes are actually the price of civilization. Governments don't run without taxes or some source of revenue, so how is the Minister going to apply this concept of fairness across other parts of the tax system? Thanks, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister.

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Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair. At this point in the course of where we're at in our response to the pandemic and recovery from the pandemic, there was certainly a conscious decision that there would not be new taxes introduced in this particular budget, and there are no new taxes introduced in this particular budget. That's sort of a short-term response. I understand that the question really is looking at something much larger and much broader, and I have made inquiries with the department to look into what impacts there would be on individuals if we were to increase the tax burden for certain filers. At this point, the benefits are such that, unless we were to increase rates significantly, we would not be seeing an offset of this tax savings. We would simply be putting a pretty significant burden on a very small number of people, again, without necessarily making up for this particular change. At this moment in time, Madam Chair, again, there is not an increase intended or expected, whether it's to other income tax rates on the personal side or on the corporate side. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member.

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. I do appreciate that. Is the Minister willing to share some of that kind of analysis that she talked about? In the past, there have been revenue options papers generated by Finance Ministers. Is the Minister willing to make public perhaps an updated version of a tax options paper, or a revenue options paper, in preparation for the next budget? Thanks, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister.

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Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair. I was pleased to get that suggestion last year, probably around this time, and I am happy to receive it and be reminded again. The process of going through budget dialogues and putting some of the information out was very helpful to me in this role but, I think, also to the department. We will certainly make sure that we engage in this process. I think, having adapted to COVID-19, it will be earlier this year than last year. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member.

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. Yes. I appreciate it, and I did look at the materials that the Minister had used for her dialogue. I think the tax stuff in it was just a couple of slides, so a fuller version of an options paper would be much more helpful. Is that something the Minister could do? Thanks, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Minister.

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Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair. Yes, we will certainly make sure that there's a more fulsome discussion around what the tax impacts could be for introducing or otherwise modifying tax rates. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member.

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. I appreciate the responses from the Minister. I am about tax fairness, and I just want to give the Minister a couple of ways in which she could raise $1.4 million for the public record. She could actually keep the rental fees that are in the current exploration licence for Husky Energy and carry those over into the significant discovery licence and raise $1.4 million a year. That's one option; she doesn't really have to do very much on that one.

The other one is, and I've said this before, we're one of the few jurisdictions in Canada that only has three personal income tax brackets. Alberta has five, and they went to that in 2016. British Columbia has five; they went to that in 2014. New Brunswick has six; they went to that in 2015. Newfoundland and Labrador has five; they did that in 2015. Nova Scotia has five; they did that in 2010. Ontario has five; they did that in 2014. Yukon has five; they did that in 2015. The federal government went to five in 2016. I don't understand why we still only have three. That is something I want to encourage the Finance Minister to look at.

I am about tax fairness, and we do need to help the least advantaged people in our society. That means sometimes rich people have to pay more, and that includes me. I am happy to have that public debate and discussion. There are a couple of areas that I would like the Minister to seriously consider to replace the lost revenue from this lowering of the small business tax rate. Thanks, Madam Chair. I think that's all I've got for now. Thanks.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister.

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Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair. I agree, that is the kind of debate that should be happening in the House. Again, I will certainly commit to getting some of the details and financial numbers to the House so that that discussion can be brought to the floor.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Are there any further questions? Member for Great Slave.

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Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Chair. First of all, I just want to say that I'm in support of this reduction. I often heard last year about how we needed to support small businesses better. The majority of the businesses in the Northwest Territories would be considered to be small businesses, so injecting $1.4 million back into our private sector, I believe, it will actually be used much more efficiently with better return on our investment than perhaps done by the Government of the Northwest Territories, no detriment to the Minister's department. However, I think this is an excellent thing, and I actually would encourage and support a further reduction for small businesses in the North. I think this is wonderful. We weren't able at the beginning to necessarily provide relief to businesses, as we took care of health and safety first. We are now into an extended lockdown, compared to what we had first planned for, and as a result, we owe our small businesses this relief. I am fully in support of it. Kudos to the Minister and her team. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Did the Minister want to respond, or you're good with that?

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Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

I'll take the positives out of that, Madam Chair, and leave it there. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Hay River South.

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Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Chair. I, too, am in support of this reduction. It's time that we start to recognize the importance of small businesses. I know that there was an attempt in the last Assembly to try and get the tax rate down to zero, and the government at the time did not even give it time to hit the floor for debate. I am very pleased to see that we have a group here that understands the importance of small businesses and is willing to give them support in whatever way they can. This is one small way to do it. Just as taxes are required for civilization, so is small business required to keep people working and to move ahead and move the economy ahead and grow. Again, I just want to say that I'm in full support of this bill. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister, did you have any comments?

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Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Any further questions or comments to general comments? No? Okay. Since there are no further general comments, we can proceed to the clause-by-clause review of the bill. Committee, we will defer the bill number and title until after consideration of the clauses. Please turn to page 1 of the bill. Clause 1, does committee agree?

---Clauses 1 through 5 inclusive approved

Committee, to the bill as a whole. Does committee agree that Bill 16, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act is now ready for third reading?

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Some. Hon. Members

Agreed.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. Bill 16, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act is now ready for third reading. Does committee agree that this concludes our considerations of Bill 16, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act?

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Some. Hon. Members

Agreed.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister, and thank you to our witnesses. Sergeant-at-Arms, please escort the witnesses from the Chamber. Committee, we have agreed to consider Committee Report 10-19(2), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act. I will go to the chair of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment for any opening comments. Member for Nunakput.

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Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, again. Bill 3 had second reading in the House and was referred to the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment on June 23, 2020. On August 25, 2020, and on October 15, 2020, committee's review of the bill was extended. On August 19, 2020, the committee invited comments and proposed that amendments from the communities across the Northwest Territories, Indigenous governments, and businesses involved in the use of the construction of roads. The committee received a written submission from the City of Yellowknife. The committee held a public hearing on Bill 3 on October 14, 2020. It had concluded its review of the bill, with a public clause-by-clause review on February 10, 2021. The committee passed four motions to amend Bill 3, all of which received concurrence with the Minister. Thank you, Madam Chair. Individual Members may have additional comments or questions to it. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. I will now open the floor to general comments on Committee Report 10-19(2), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act. Do Members have any general comments? Member for Frame Lake.

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. I just would like to thank my colleagues that serve on the committee and the City of Yellowknife that made a written submission. This was an interesting issue that we had to deal with. GNWT was worried about incurring liability for winter roads that were being built off of our roads. We were told that this was an easy fix. We started to deal with this, actually, in the last Assembly. We didn't get to it, so it came back again into this Assembly. Although I thought it was supposed to be an easy fix, that's not the kind of bill we actually ended up with. We ended up with a bill that was going to absolve GNWT of any liability whatsoever for almost any highway, which was overkill, in my view.

It took a lot of effort on the part of the committee to work with the Minister to try to change the way that the bill read so that there was a more even balance of the rights of the government to try to protect themselves from liability but the rights of drivers to actually sue GNWT if highways are not maintained to certain standards. It took a long time to work with the Minister on this. That's why we had to get the extension, but I think we arrived at a good place. I also recognize that the Minister did commit to post a manual on the Infrastructure website that laid out and made more explicit and public standards for care and maintenance of our highways so that information is now public. All of this to say, Madam Chair, that committee had to work very hard on what I thought was an easy issue. We did fix a bill that needed a lot of work. I want to thank the Minister for working with us to get it right. Thanks, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Are there any other general comments? All right. Thank you, committee. Do you agree that you have concluded consideration of Committee Report 10-19(2), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act?

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Committee. We have concluded consideration of Committee Report 10-19(2), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act. Committee, we have agreed to consider Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act. I will ask the Minister of Infrastructure to introduce the bill.

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Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Madam Chair. I'm here to present Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act. The Public Highways Act is administered by the Department of Infrastructure and governs, amongst other things, the construction, maintenance, access to and use of highways within the Northwest Territories. This bill will amend the Public Highways Act to address the Government of the Northwest Territories' liability for loss or damage resulting from a failure to maintain primary highways in the Northwest Territories.

This bill requires the Minister to maintain primary highways and provides that the GNWT is liable, with exceptions, for loss or damage resulting from a failure to do so. This bill will make it clear that the Minister has no duty to maintain roads that are not designated as primary highway under the Public Highways Act.

During Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment review, recommendations were put forward and accepted, which:

  • improved clarity that the GNWT is liable for a failure to maintain and
  • address minor drafting issues.

I would be pleased to answer any questions Members may have. Quyanainni.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. I will now turn to the chair of Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment, the committee that considered the bill, for opening comments. Member for Nunakput.

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Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Chair. No. Having introduced Committee Report 10-19(2) earlier today, I have no additional comments to the bill at this time. I would just like to thank committee for all the hard work that they have done and my committee staff in their efforts in reviewing this piece of legislation. Individual Members may have additional comments, as well. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister, would you like to bring witnesses into the Chamber?

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Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Yes, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Sergeant-at-Arms, please escort the witnesses into the Chamber. Minister, will you please introduce your witnesses?

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Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am joined by witnesses Steve Loutitt, deputy minister for the Department of Infrastructure, as well as Jacques Roberge, senior legislative advisor with the Department of Infrastructure. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. I will now open the floor to general comments on Bill 3. Are there any general comments? Seeing that there are no general comments, can we proceed to a clause-by-clause review of the bill?

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Committee, we will defer the bill number and title until after consideration of the clauses. Please turn to page 1 of the bill. Clause 1, does committee agree?

---Clauses 1 and 2 inclusive approved

Committee, to the bill as a whole, does committee agree that Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act, is now ready for third reading?

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act, is now ready for third reading. Does committee agree that this concludes our consideration of Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act?

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister, and thank you to our witnesses. Sergeant-at-Arms, you may escort the witnesses from the Chamber. Committee, we have agreed to consider Bill 12, An Act to Amend the Apprenticeship, Trade and Occupational Certification Act. I will ask the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment to introduce the bill.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am here today to present Bill 12, An Act to Amend the Apprenticeship, Trade and Occupational Certification Act. I want to thank the Standing Committee on Social Development for its interest in and review of the bill. The Apprenticeship, Trade and Occupational Certification Act gives the Minister authority to issue various types of certifications for apprenticeships, trades, and occupations in the NWT.

This bill seeks to amend the act to allow for the issuance of other prescribed certificates, to give the Department of Education, Culture and Employment the ability to issue certificates of achievement in business competency to NWT journeypersons, commonly known as Blue Seal Certificates. Blue Seal Certificates, which are issued in a number of other jurisdictions, formally recognize achievement in business competency when a journeyperson has completed recognized business courses and training. There is currently no mechanism for granting Blue Seal Certificates under the act.

Having a Blue Seal Certificate program in the NWT that formally recognizes the achievements of journeypersons in business competency would both support the growth of businesses and the continued professional development of journeypersons. The amendment would also keep the NWT aligned with other jurisdictions where Blue Seal Certificates or similar certificates are issued and encourage associated business education and training in the North.

I am pleased to bring forward these amendments that will have a positive impact on our residents and the NWT labour market. This concludes my opening remarks, and I would be pleased to answer any questions that the Members may have regarding Bill 12. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. I will now turn to the chair of the Standing Committee on Social Development, the committee that considered the bill, for opening comments. Member for Kam Lake.

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Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Madam Chair. Bill 12, An Act to Amend the Apprenticeship, Trade and Occupational Certification Act, received second reading in the Legislative Assembly on October 29, 2020, and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Development for review. On February 10, 2021, the standing committee held a public hearing with the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment and completed its clause-by-clause review of the bill. I thank the committee and committee staff for their efforts in reviewing this legislation. Individual Members may have additional comments or questions. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister, would you like to bring witnesses into the Chamber?

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Yes, please.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Sergeant-at-Arms, please escort the witnesses into the Chamber. Minister, please introduce your witnesses.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. We have Mr. Michael Saturnino, assistant deputy minister, labour and income security, and Mr. Mike Reddy, director of legislation, Department of Justice. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you and welcome. I will now open the floor to general comments on Bill 12. Are there any general comments? Member for Yellowknife North.

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am happy to see this. I know that a number of jurisdictions do that, and there are more and more Blue Seal kind of courses popping up at colleges across the country. I am just wondering the impetus for this. Do we plan on giving out any Blue Seals as there are presently people waiting to be able to get certified for one of these? Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. I think my dad is waiting. There is criteria that needs to be developed. There are a lot of different things that have to happen, but I can ask Mr. Saturnino for some clarification. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Mr. Saturnino.

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Saturnino

Thank you, Madam Chair. There has definitely been some interest expressed from different journeypersons across the Northwest Territories. We don't exactly have statistics on how many we intend to see in the first year or in the first few years, but there has been interest in it and a commitment from across a few different jurisdictions to try to harmonize and bring a Blue Seal to most provinces and territories. Our plan is to do so, and then we will, of course, promote it and communicate it. Hopefully, we will get a big uptake for the program. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Yellowknife North.

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chair. Yes. I am looking forward to seeing this, and hopefully, we can get a few of our Red Seals to also get Blue Seals. I am just wondering if there are any plans for Aurora College to provide the training required for a Blue Seal.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. If you look at other jurisdictions, what they do, there are a number of different courses that you can take. Then that is confirmed by the department, and then you get issued a Blue Seal. I am sure that Aurora College has those courses. I don't have a list with me, but as a polytechnic, they would definitely have those types of courses. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Hay River South.

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Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Chair. Yes, I am waiting to get my Blue Seal. I think it's a good thing because tradespeople, whether they know it or not, and I think most of them know it, they are businesspeople. I think having that extra certification and the ability to own and run their own business and maintain that I think is very important. It's a good change. The one question I would have is: if you have got people who are tradespeople but also have a degree in business, would they be allowed to challenge the exam or would they be grandfathered in? Thank you, Madam Chair

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. Perhaps I can ask Mr. Saturnino to discuss how exactly this would roll out and what types of courses and when those courses would have had to have been taken, if it's looking in the past or future-looking. That should give Members an idea of what this would look like rolling out. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Mr. Saturnino.

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Saturnino

Thank you, Madam Chair. The way Blue Seal programs are typically set up is that there is typically a set of courses that are deemed to be required, and they are usually, of course, business-related courses. With regard to the program, I don't know that there would necessarily be an exam similar to a Red Seal, more like meeting the requirements, so the required courses. The plan typically with most of the Blue Seal programs is that you can go back and look at courses you've already taken. The standard for most postsecondary institutions as well as the trades is typically looking back 10 years, but that's something that we need to establish as we develop the program further. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member.

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Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Chair. Yes, that clarifies it. I guess I've got to take the courses. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Great Slave.

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Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Chair. Yes. My colleague just made me think of a question there. Will there be the ability to take this program over a period of time? I'm assuming, of course, that you wouldn't have to do it all in one year or anything, but how long of a period of time would people get? Could they do this sort of as a part-time thing, take a course a year, and eventually, over time, work towards it? Or are they going to be restricted to doing it in a quicker time frame? Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. I don't think we're there yet in the development, given that the legislation is just before us now, but if you look at other jurisdictions, sometimes, it's a program, sometimes, it's a combination of courses. There doesn't appear, from what I've seen, to be a strict time frame. As Mr. Saturnino said, if you look back 10 years, then perhaps we could see what was taken in those 10 years. I think there is some flexibility, and as with everything that we do here, we can adapt it to the realities of the North, as well. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Member for Great Slave.

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Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you. I do appreciate hearing the Minister say that. I worry, sometimes, as we go toward certifications and regulatory-type things, which we do need, there is often a reason why they don't get developed in the North specifically, because we can't support, sometimes, creating more red tape. Just more of a comment, but I'm really glad to hear that. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, and I will take that as a comment. Are there any further general comments? Does committee agree that there are no further general comments?

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Can we proceed to the clause-by-clause review of the bill?

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Committee, we will defer the bill number and title until after consideration of the clauses. Please turn to page 1 of the bill. Clause 1. Does committee agree?

---Clauses 1 through 4 inclusive approved

Committee, to the bill as a whole, does committee agree that Bill 12, An Act to Amend the Apprenticeship, Trades and Occupational Certification Act, is now ready for third reading?

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. Bill 12, An Act to Amend the Apprenticeship, Trades and Occupational Certification Act, is now ready for third reading. Does committee agree that this concludes our consideration of Bill 12, An Act to Amend the Apprenticeship, Trades and Occupational Certification Act?

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister, and thank you to our witnesses. Sergeant-at-Arms, please escort the witnesses from the Chamber. Committee, we have agreed to consider Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act. I will ask the Minister of Justice to introduce the bill.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am here today to present Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act. I would like to thank the Standing Committee on Social Development for their thorough review of this bill. A motion was made in committee to ensure there is an opportunity for public engagement prior to this bill coming into force, and I believe the bill has improved as a result.

Bill 13 will amend the Interpretation Act to allow for the elimination of seasonal time changes in favour of a permanent, year-round time standard. Specifically, the bill establishes a permanent time standard and prescribes that the Commissioner and Executive Council set this out in regulations that will replace the current Daylight Saving Time Regulations.

The proposed amendment will be brought into force by order of the Commissioner at a future date. This means that, after the bill receives assent, biannual time changes will continue to be observed until an order is made to make the change to a permanent time standard. This change was prompted by previously voiced public support, research findings that permanent time is healthier and safer, as well as a growing trend in which Canadian and international jurisdictions are eliminating seasonal time changes in favour of a permanent time standard. This amendment will position the NWT to be able to move expeditiously to a permanent time standard as this issue continues to evolve across Canadian jurisdictions.

This concludes my opening remarks, and I would be pleased to answer any questions that Members may have regarding Bill 13.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. I will now turn to the chair of the Standing Committee on Social Development, the committee that considered the bill, for her opening comments. Member for Kam Lake.

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Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Madam Chair. Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act, received second reading in the Legislative Assembly on October 29, 2020, and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Development for review. On February 9, 2021, the standing committee held a public hearing with the Minister of Justice and completed its clause-by-clause review of the bill. Committee passed one motion with concurrence from the Minister of Justice. I thank the committee and committee staff for their efforts in reviewing this legislation. Individual Members may have additional comments or questions. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister, would you like to bring witnesses into the Chamber?

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Yes. If there's a witness in that room, I'd like to bring them into the Chamber.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Sergeant-at-Arms, please escort the witness into the Chamber, if he's there. Minister, would you please introduce your witness.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Chair. I'd like to welcome back Mr. Mike Reddy, director of legislation. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Welcome back. I will now open the floor to general comments on bill 13. Member for Frame Lake.

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. I just wanted to say that, in the last Assembly, there was a petition on changing the time, and there was some support for it. I don't think it was overwhelming, but the whole matter was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Development in the last Assembly, and they did some work on this issue. At the end of the day, their recommendation was that we keep ourselves on Daylight Saving Time so that we would be in sync with Alberta. The bill, though, that we got from Cabinet did not really do that. It gave Cabinet a blank cheque to change time zones, get rid of Daylight Saving Time, without bothering to talk to anybody, and quite frankly, I wasn't prepared to give Cabinet a blank cheque like that. I want to thank the committee for the amendment that was made to the bill. Look, I love my colleagues opposite me, but I don't give them a blank cheque for anything.

In any event, I want to thank the committee for bringing forward an amendment. I know I sat in on their discussion about it, and I suggested that there be an amendment to try to circumscribe that ability to change things. I can accept what's here and the work that the committee did on this issue, but I guess 5(2), the way this reads now, it says that there be "an opportunity for public engagement with residents regarding the elimination of the time change and the setting of standard time." What does that really mean? The importance of this kind of discussion and debate is that, if this ever goes for interpretation somewhere, the courts are going to look back at what we say in this House right now. I want to get on the record: what does the Minister mean when he says "public engagement" before a time change is going to be made? Thanks, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Chair. Just to be clear, I wouldn't change the time all willy-nilly with this "blank cheque," as the Member calls it. It's not like I want to leave work early, so I'm going to change the time so now it's time to go home. The only prudent thing to do, really, is to ensure that we are aligned with Alberta. That being said, there is a requirement in this bill for some sort of a public consultation. I envision that as an email address that the public can send their concerns to. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Member.

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. I am sure the Minister is being rather facetious, but seriously, I want to know what kind of public engagement Cabinet would intend to do before making such a change. Are you going to give people a reasonable amount of notice? Thirty, 60 days? Are you going to publish the proposed change in newspapers, on a website somewhere, allow for comments to be submitted? Will there be a summary of those comments, and then some reasons for why the change is going to be made or not? That's the kind of reasonable approach that I would expect.

Let's cut the humour here, and let's get serious. I would like to get a serious answer from the Minister about what's really meant here by public engagement. The courts will look back at this when residents in the future may want to know what was meant by public engagement. Thanks, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. This was something put forward by committee. In my mind, it's something quite limited, given that it would make very little sense for us to go off on our own and have a different time than Alberta. It wouldn't make sense, and I don't think the public would be appreciative if we did that. It would cause havoc for flights. It would cause havoc for all sorts of things.

I am serious that we would have some sort of website, an email address, a place where comments can be submitted. I don't plan to travel around the territory seeking engagement. Of course, there are going to be advertisements; that's something completely different from engagement. There is going to be notice given. There is going to be extensive notice given. Everyone is going to know that the time is changing. It's going to be the talk of the town, and I can promise that. There won't be the type of widespread engagement like there might be on large piece of legislation or something like that. This is just not where I think that our resources need to go. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member.

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks. I think that was a little more helpful. Look, I'm not suggesting that there has to be public hearings and all of that. For the actual time change, yes, there would obviously be notice, but I would expect that there would be notice or at least an opportunity for the public to express their views about whether we should change to Daylight Saving Time, be consistent with Alberta if they make that change, that kind of thing. I am not expecting a big road show, but to say that there's just going to be an email address, I don't think that quite cuts it in terms of public engagement. I'm not sure what else I have to say on this topic right now, Madam Chair, but I do hope that the Minister would take this kind of responsibility seriously. Thanks, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Member for Great Slave.

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Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Chair. I understand why we want to have this legislation in place, in order to be more flexible and quick to adapt should Alberta decide to make their change. Now, listening to the Minister, I'm a little bit confused when we do talk about engagement. I get that there are different levels of engagement and what that means, and not that I necessarily think that this scenario will occur, but what happens if the engagement shows the Minister that there is not a want to change how things are, and then Alberta does change, and all of a sudden, we are now sitting here out of sync with Alberta? My question is: is the intention that, as soon as Alberta changes, we will, too; we will be making our decision based on Alberta's decision? Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Chair. There is a significant amount of research about the effects of Daylight Saving Time. There's anecdotal evidence about Daylight Saving Time. I don't know if I've ever heard anyone here say they like it. Barring some evidence that I can't foresee coming forward, I expect that we would be in sync with Alberta. The reason the legislation is as it is is because we want to be very nimble and not make the change anticipating that Alberta will make a change, and then Alberta doesn't make a change. That scenario has happened in other jurisdictions before, and we don't want that to happen. If there's public consultation, and they say they want to change it before Alberta changes, then perhaps that's something that we can look at, as well, but I can't imagine that we would be too far off of our neighbours to the south. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Great Slave.

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Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Chair. I do appreciate that. I am just trying to raise a scenario that needs to be considered. However, I am in favour of getting rid of it, but I understand why we need to be in line with Alberta, as someone who has always worked in small satellite offices where, generally, I am linked to the Edmonton office. I couldn't imagine being an hour out, which would then, basically, just mean I end up working an extra hour every day because I would have to make myself available earlier for them or later.

I do want to urge the Minister, and I'm sure they are, but I just would be remiss if I didn't bring it up: there is a school of thought about which way to go with the time change, as far as what's healthier for us as Canadians with our lack of sunlight. I just wanted to make sure that got on the record somewhere that that be considered because I believe there was one jurisdiction that actually was looking at doing it the opposite way from what healthcare professionals were recommending. I do want to make that statement. I do support that, just wanting to make sure that the Minister is looking at all the angles. Thanks.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister, did you have any comments?

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

I think that, for those of us who reside in the southern part of the territory, this is a more live debate than maybe some of or northern colleagues, where it's either always dark or it's always sunny. I take the Member's comments, and I take all the comments here seriously. I do appreciate the feedback that we are getting. That's why we have these debates. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Member for Thebacha.

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Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am just wondering why we are dealing with this issue when we don't even know if Alberta is going to be aligning with us. Until they align with us, why are we doing this? Why are we even putting this on the books? I don't understand the priorities, but it certainly isn't my priority. The engagement part is really important, and engagement is face-to-face because a lot of people probably would not be in favour of something like this if Alberta is not on the same page as we are. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. If Alberta is not on the same page, I wouldn't be in favour of it, either. The reason that we are doing this now is because we don't want to be in a scenario where we are told in the middle of summer that Alberta is getting rid of their Daylight Saving Time and we don't have the ability to be responsive and now we are out of sync for however long it takes to get a legislative proposal together, send it to the committee, get it back from the committee, draft legislation, bring it to the House, give the committee 120 days to look at it, bring it back to a sitting, and then go from there. We could be six months behind, and it just seems needless. It's a relatively low-effort bill to draft. I'm not demeaning what Mr. Reddy has done, he's a miracle worker, but I think that it didn't take a lot of resources, and it'll save us a lot in the long run. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Yellowknife North.

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chair. Does the Minister happen to know what the number one sick day in the GNWT is?

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. The number one sick day is "spring ahead," so daylight savings. I'm not sure if I have the estimates of how much that costs the government on an annual basis, but we do see a significant cost to the GNWT. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Member for Yellowknife North.

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chair. I think that reason alone is to get rid of the time change. It's also one of the most common sick days in the private sector, costing private businesses millions of dollars every year. When Alberta went out, 93 percent of Albertans wanted to get rid of it; BC, 90 percent. In almost every jurisdiction, it's been well over 75 percent to 90 percent of Canadians want to get rid of time change. Yukon went and did it. They went to permanent Daylight Saving Time. The Alberta government is ready to go. They're going to get rid of it. Can we just do this already? Is the Minister willing to get rid of time change and adopt a permanent Daylight Saving Time? Thank you, Madam Chair.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. If this bill passes, then there needs to be a period of public engagement, and then we can move on with doing that work. Thank you. I'm anxious. I'm looking forward for Alberta to do it so that we can do it. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Member for Yellowknife North.

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chair. Yes. I recognize the debate here is whether to do it if Alberta does it. I am of the view that we can do what the Yukon did and just do it anyways. I think permanent Daylight Saving Time is the way to go, not permanent standard time. Can I just get confirmation: the wording of this bill is slightly confusing to me, and I believe this is the case. We're scrapping the daylight savings regulations to create one standard time, but that standard time still could be Daylight Saving Time year round if we want it. Is that correct?

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Yes.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Member for Yellowknife North.

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chair. Does the Minister have any insight where Alberta is with that? I know they went out for consultation actually. I believe they actually had a bill ready at one point, and then COVID came. Do we have any update on where Alberta is with that, with this change? Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. Unfortunately, no, I don't, but I can let the Member know that we'll be ready. Thank you.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Member.

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Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chair. Regardless, if Alberta does this, we have to follow suit. Is the Minister willing to go out and get some public engagement before about support for this? I suspect, if we do poll the people in the NWT, there will be overwhelming support as has been the case in every other Canadian jurisdiction who has done this work? Thank you, Madam Chair.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. I've already talked to the department about getting a website and an email address going so that members of the public can provide their comments. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Are there any further general comments? Member for Hay River South.

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Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Madam Chair. I'm pleased to see this bill. We're not Alberta, and maybe they're waiting for us to make the first move. I am pleased to see that there's engagement out there. If it looks like we have to pull the trigger on it, then we do it. Then they'll probably follow right behind us. I'm looking forward to it. Thank you.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Minister.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. I made some gambles today, but I don't know if I'm willing to make that kind of a gamble. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Are there any further general comments to Bill 13? Seeing none, we can proceed to the clause-by-clause review of the bill. Committee, we will defer the bill number and title until after consideration of the clauses. Please turn to page 1 of the bill. Clause 1 does committee agree?

---Clauses 1 through 5 inclusive approved

Committee, to the bill as a whole. Does committee agree that Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act is now ready for third reading?

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act is now ready for third reading. Does committee agree that this concludes our consideration of Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act?

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister, and thank you to our witnesses. Committee, we've agreed to consider Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Securities Act. I will ask the Minister of Justice to introduce the bill.

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am here today to present Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Securities Act. I would like to thank the Standing Committee on Social Development for their thorough review of this bill.

The purpose of securities legislation is to facilitate the raising of capital in the private sector while providing appropriate protections and remedies for investors. As cross-border trading has evolved over time, the regulation of securities in Canada has become a coordinated activity among all provinces and territories and, increasingly, worldwide. When the Northwest Territories enacted securities legislation in 2008, it was in line with the coordinated system of regulation across Canada. Since that time, however, the provinces and territories have agreed that regulatory improvements are required due to proposed changes to European Union regulations, which come into force on January 1, 2022.

This bill addresses those issues so Canadian benchmark administrators, who provide information necessary for the functioning of global capital markets, can be formally designated in Canada and, thus, continue to operate in the European Union. The proposed amendments ensure securities legislation remains harmonized across jurisdictions, directs compliance to the rules established, and protects members of the public who are investors by ensuring the integrity of the system.

This concludes my opening remarks, and I would be pleased to answer any questions that Members may have regarding Bill 14.

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. I will now turn to the chair of the Standing Committee on Social Development, the committee that considered the bill for opening remarks. Member for Kam Lake.

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Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Chair. Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Securities Act receives second reading in the Legislative Assembly on October 29, 2020, and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Development for review. On February 11, 2021, the standing committee held a public hearing with the Minister of Justice and completed its clause-by-clause review of the bill. I want to thank committee and committee staff for their efforts in reviewing this legislation. Individual members may have additional comments or questions. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister, would you like to bring witnesses into the Chamber?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Yes, I would.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Sergeant-at-Arms, please escort the witnesses into the Chamber. Minister, would you please introduce your witnesses?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2507

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you. I'd like to introduce Matthew Yap, superintendent of securities, and Cherie Jarock, legislative counsel, and they would be happy to answer any questions Members may have about this topic. Thank you.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. I will now open the floor to general comments on Bill 14. Does the committee agree that there are no further general comments, and we can proceed to clause-by-clause review of the bill?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Committee, we will defer the bill number and title under after consideration of the clauses. Please turn to page 1 of the bill. Clause 1, does committee agree?

---Clauses 1 through 8 inclusive approved

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Committee, to the bill as a whole. Does committee agree that Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Securities Act is now ready for third reading?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2507

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Securities Act is now ready for third reading. Does committee agree that this concludes consideration of Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Securities Act?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister, and thank you to our witnesses. Sergeant-at-Arms, you may escort the witnesses from the Chamber. Committee, we've agreed to consider Tabled Document 165-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 1-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery - Recommendations to the GNWT. I will now open the floor to general comments on Tabled Document 165-19(2). Are there any general comments? Seeing no comments, thank you, committee. Do you agree that you have concluded consideration of Tabled Document 165-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 1-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery - Recommendations to the GNWT?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. We have concluded consideration of Tabled Document 165-19(2). Committee, we have agreed to consider Tabled Document 166-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 2-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery - Recommendations to the GNWT. I will now open the floor to general comments on Tabled Document 166-19(2). Seeing that there are no comments, thank you, committee. Do you agree that you have concluded consideration of Tabled Document 166-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 2-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery - Recommendations to the GNWT?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2507

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. We have concluded consideration of Tabled Document 166-19(2). Committee, we have agreed to consider Tabled Document 167-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 3-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery - Recommendations to the GNWT. I will now open the floor to general comments on Tabled Document 167-19(2). Seeing that there are no comments, thank you, committee. Do you agree that you have concluded consideration of Tabled Document 167-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 3-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery - Recommendations to the GNWT?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. We have concluded consideration of Tabled Document 167-19(2). Committee, we have agreed to consider Minister's Statement 77-19(2), National Housing Co-Investment Fund. I will now open the floor to general comments on Minister's Statement 77-19(2). Seeing that there are no comments, thank you to committee. Do you agree that you have concluded consideration of Minister's Statement 77-19(2), National Housing Co-Investment Fund?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2507

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2507

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. We have concluded consideration of Minister's Statement 77-19(2). What is the wish of committee? Mr. Norn.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Madam Chair. I move that the chair rise and report progress.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. The motion is in order and non-debatable. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

I will now rise and report progress.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 2507

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

May I please have the report of Committee of the Whole? Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Report Of Committee Of The Whole
Report Of Committee Of The Whole

Page 2507

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Mr. Speaker, your committee has been considering Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act; Bill 12, An Act to Amend the Apprenticeship, Trades and Occupational Certification Act; Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act; Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Securities Act; Bill 16, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act; Tabled Document 165-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 1-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery, Recommendations to the GNWT; Tabled Document 166-19(2) Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 2-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery, Recommendations to the GNWT; Tabled Document 167-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 3-19(2), Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery, Recommendations to the GNWT; and Minister's Statement 77-19(2), National Housing Co-Investment Fund, and would like to report progress, and, Mr. Speaker, I move that the report of Committee of the Whole be concurred with. Thank you.

Report Of Committee Of The Whole
Report Of Committee Of The Whole

Page 2507

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Do we have a seconder? Member for Great Slave. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Item 21, third reading of bills. Mr. Clerk, orders of the day.

Orders Of The Day
Orders Of The Day

Page 2507

Deputy Clerk Of The House Mr. Glen Rutland

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Orders of the day for Friday, March 12, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.:

  1. Prayer
  2. Ministers' Statements
  3. Members' Statements
  4. Returns to Oral Questions

- Question 638-19(2), Medevac Services

- Question 654-19(2), Medevac Services and Medical Escorts

  1. Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Oral Questions
  4. Written Questions
  5. Returns to Written Questions
  6. Replies to Commissioner's Address
  7. Petitions
  8. Reports of Committees on the Review of Bills
  9. Reports of Standing and Special Committees
  10. Tabling of Documents
  11. Notices of Motion
  12. Motions
  13. Notices of Motion for First Reading of Bills
  14. First Reading of Bills
  15. Second Reading of Bills
  16. Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

- Bill 20, An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act

- Committee Report 8-19(2), Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on Motion 5-19(2): Referral of Point of Privilege Raised by Member for Monfwi on March 10, 2020

- Committee Report 9-19(2), Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures Report on the Chief Electoral Officer's Report on the Administration of the 2019 Territorial General Election

- Committee Report 12-19(2), Standing Committee on Social Development Report on Bill 20: An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act

- Tabled Document 286-19(2), Main Estimates 2021-2022

- Tabled Document 348-19(2), Supplementary Estimates (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 3, 2020-2021

- Tabled Document 349-19(2), Supplementary Estimates (Operations Expenditures), No. 3, 2020-2021

  1. Report of Committee of the Whole
  2. Third Reading of Bills

- Bill 3, An Act to Amend the Public Highways Act

- Bill 12, An Act to Amend the Apprenticeship, Trades and Occupational Certification Act

- Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act

- Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Securities Act

- Bill 16, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act

  1. Orders of the Day

Orders Of The Day
Orders Of The Day

Page 2508

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. Clerk. This House stands adjourned until Friday, March 12, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. sharp.

---ADJOURNED

The House adjourned at 4:51 p.m.