This is page numbers 1 - 28 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 --.

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Oral Question 771-19(2): Income Assistance Emergency Allowance
Oral Questions

Page 9

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So as I stated, they are the one-time emergency payments. So if there is a flood and the power goes out, someone loses all the food in their refrigerator. This is a one-time payment to help them buy food and things like that. So there is no plan to continue these one-time payments. And as for additional flood relief, that is a different department. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 771-19(2): Income Assistance Emergency Allowance
Oral Questions

Page 9

Speaker

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

Questions. Member for Thebacha.

Oral Question 772-19(2): Human Resources Issues
Oral Questions

Page 9

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, I wasn't going to ask any questions but just listening to some of the comments here today, I'm going to go back to my questions that I asked the Minister of Human Resources the other day.

Mr. Speaker, can the Minister tell us if she is aware of the unspoken practice and culture within the human resources wherein hiring staff will brown- and blacklist potential applicants and existing employees from advancing within the NWT. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 772-19(2): Human Resources Issues
Oral Questions

Page 9

Speaker

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. Minister responsible for Finance.

Oral Question 772-19(2): Human Resources Issues
Oral Questions

Page 10

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, no, this is not -- there is not a blanket practice as what is described by the Member. Mr. Speaker, I -- this is a human system of 5,000 people strong. It is populated by wonderful people who work across the public service, great people in human resources. Does that mean that every single process and every single time at every single hiring is -- produces the end result that every person wants it to? Well, the end result is that some people don't get jobs. What we want is to have a process that is clear, transparent, accessible, and that is the purpose of human resources. That's the goal. That's what we are working towards. And as I said earlier, always recognize that continually in human nature, there will be opportunities to do better and to improve the systems that we're in, and it is my intention to oversee that and to see that we achieve that goal. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 772-19(2): Human Resources Issues
Oral Questions

Page 10

Speaker

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

Oral Question 772-19(2): Human Resources Issues
Oral Questions

Page 10

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, you know, listening to the comments in the room, you know, it surprises me that -- I'm not saying that all human resource staff are negligent. I think we have to look at the superintendents of each region. I think we've got to see where the direction comes from and a direction to go through. So with that, Mr. Speaker, does the Minister recognize that the hiring staff have sometimes been retaliated against certain individuals based on the applicant's or employee's association with certain people whom hiring staff doesn't like or like, know, or like personally? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 772-19(2): Human Resources Issues
Oral Questions

Page 10

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, there's no place for retaliation in the human resources processes of the -- in the Government of the Northwest Territories. I believe that my office is very accessible, and I hope that it is. I've had many MLAs reach out to me and individuals who often felt that they wanted to raise a concern that they couldn't raise somewhere else. I hope that that continues. There is no place for retaliation. There's no place for that kind of favoritism. And if there's an opportunity to speak to someone to work through something to identify an issue to confirm if there's been something that's not according to that process and according to these practices, then we will do our best to find that out and to work it through so that it does not have a place in the Government of the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 772-19(2): Human Resources Issues
Oral Questions

Page 10

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, I hear the Ministers saying there's accessibility. Accessibility is extremely hard, okay. Sure, the MLAs have accessibility. But what about the poor person on the street? Do they have accessibility to actually say what they actually felt when they went for an interview and is refused again, over and over? Can the Minister tell whether staff incompetence or employee insubordination may be part of the problems relating to broader human issues in the Government of the Northwest Territories? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 772-19(2): Human Resources Issues
Oral Questions

Page 10

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I don't -- I'd like to try to be helpful and not repeat my answers but the simple fact is I'm back to the same response I gave at the beginning, that there are wonderful public servants and good people in human resources doing their very best to make sure that their processes are fair and that they are modern and that they are in keeping with the best practices of human resources processes anywhere else in Canada or the world.

Now, when I say about accessibility, I certainly have heard from individual employees direct to me. I have certainly heard from my own constituents direct to me. And, you know -- and in each case, if it's a constituency or if it's an MLA matter, what I am able to then do is see that the background and the process that was followed, identify if in fact there's an area where maybe we could do better, be more clear, to offer better information, to offer more, you know, plain language information, if there's more we could do to offer supports with resumé writing, with interview preparation, understanding why, you know, an interview was graded mainly the way it was. All of those are tools, skills, things that we can continue to do on top of which we have and I -- you know, again, the Indigenous recruitment and retention framework is going to be a very different way of governing the process of human resources in the Government of the Northwest Territories. We have training programs that continually roll out. And in addition to all of that, it's been made plainly obvious to me that, in fact, you know, there's other pinch points that we need to be looking at. That's the job of human resources and headquarters here is to continue to do that and to look again and again at what it is that we have, what it is that we use, what is it that's on offer - can we modernize?

Mr. Speaker, that's been -- I believe been a consistent message I've tried to put forward as the Minister responsible. It's the message I'm going to continue to put forward as the Minister responsible. And in the interim, when there are times when someone feels that the process hasn't been properly applied, I encourage people to reach out to their MLA, to reach out to me, to reach out to their union. That's why we have all of these systems here. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 772-19(2): Human Resources Issues
Oral Questions

Page 10

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate my question from the other day because I think that we have to keep focused on what we want to make change on within this government. Between 2016 and 2020, there was a total of 303 appeals to human resource hiring decisions; however, only 17 of those appeals were upheld. And all appeals all together were denied in 2019-2020. Does the Minister believe these statistics are fair and not indicative of broader issues within the appeal process in human resources? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 772-19(2): Human Resources Issues
Oral Questions

Page 10

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I said earlier, I don't necessarily take the view that the appeals process, the number of appeals nor the success of appeals, necessarily gives us a lot of clear information that I can then apply to the staffing process itself. Mr. Speaker, I spent many years working in the criminal justice system where there were often appeals, and they were not always very successful. And it doesn't necessarily tie back to what's happening in the appeal court represents what should be happening at the front end. I don't know that it's much different here. What's happening at the appeals and staffing process doesn't necessarily tell me what I need to fix or change within the hiring processes of the human resources approach. There may well be a better way of running the appeals. There may well be a better opportunity to be more engaging but right now under the appeals process that we have, it's fairly strict. It's fairly narrow. It looks at process. It looks at where the rules follow, those of Collective Agreements, the Affirmative Action Policy applied, and in general, because those are procedural I'm not necessarily that surprised that, in fact, the answer is yes, that the procedures are being followed.

Now that said, on the other hand -- and, again -- and this is reflected in the Public Service Act as well, so. Mr. Speaker, again, what's -- we're doing what is in the Act. We're doing what we have the authority to do. You know, if there's a different philosophical approach to hiring, which is what people -- I think really the issue to be getting at is there a different approach to hiring. That's when we get into the recruitment and retention framework as one solution. We're only just at the point we're being ready to start to roll that out and to bring it to committee to consider. Will it be the panacea; will it be the end all and be all? Probably not. But it will be a significant new tool that we'll have in the toolbox for human resources.

And, you know, again -- I have ten more minutes left. Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to not have to continually stand up and talk about human resources. I'm happy to do it. The process is being improved continually, and there's good people there working on it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 772-19(2): Human Resources Issues
Oral Questions

Page 10

Speaker

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

Oral Question 773-19(2): Northwest Territories Arts Program
Oral Questions

June 4th, 2021

Page 10

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

I was just figuring a crust by the capacity of my colleague to keep talking.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Minister of ITI. I'd like to know how is the value of art sales generated through the NWT arts program tracked. For example, are website analogs tracked and reported, and does the NWT Arts Program currently plan to expand to an e-commerce based platform? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 773-19(2): Northwest Territories Arts Program
Oral Questions

Page 10

Speaker

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Minister responsible for Industry, Tourism and Investment.