This is page numbers 5051 - 5086 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 housing.

Topics

Question 1297-19(2): Housing
Oral Questions

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Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I know it is inappropriate to be speaking about individual client files on the floor of this House, but I do want to remind the Member as well that housing does react and does provide adequate services when we are looking at residents that have extreme conditions that have suffered extraordinary circumstances - fires, evacuations, floods. We have been there to provide assistance to the people of the Northwest Territories in trying to accommodate them as quickly as possible. Some of these residents did not have to wait on the waitlist. Some of them did not even have an application, and we were there to provide fair and adequate client service to each of these individuals. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

Question 1297-19(2): Housing
Oral Questions

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The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Question 1297-19(2): Housing
Oral Questions

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Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Madam Speaker, will the Minister admit that her department made a mistake and also commit to compensate my constituent for lost funds that he should have never spent on market rental housing because he should have been moved to public housing? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question 1297-19(2): Housing
Oral Questions

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Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Housing NWT is currently in the role right now of looking at our policy changes. We are speaking with the Indigenous groups, stakeholders at the ground level. When we're providing adequate services, we're looking at the threshold that is provided. Unfortunately, at this time, the individual was only able to access market housing. But we were able to efficiently provide housing in such an unusual circumstance and in such an emergency. Housing and the local housing authority as well did provide that adequate assistance. And right now, Madam Speaker, we are looking at putting more houses on the ground in each of these communities. And I want to just confirm right now that Housing is going to be constructing two units under our co-investment fund and also through our CIRNAC allocation of federal funding, we're putting in additional four units in the Member's riding, Madam Speaker. I feel that Housing has done a fair and adequate client service throughout the Northwest Territories, and I continue to support my department. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

Question 1297-19(2): Housing
Oral Questions

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The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Question 1298-19(2): Disabled Tenants Support
Oral Questions

November 3rd, 2022

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Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, before I ask my questions, it's been a very long session and I appear to have mixed up two very strong men in my Member's statement, Chief Vital Abel and Vital Manuel. So I would like to apologize to Mr. Manuel's parents. I did mix that up, and it has been a really long session. So my apologies there.

My questions are for the Minister of Housing. As I mentioned yesterday, there were issues with accessibility for some of the residents in the Lanky Court Apartments. Can the Minister speak to whether or not the snow clearing of the boardwalk has been done? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Housing NWT.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thank you to the Member too. This is such an important question as well too when we're working with people with disabilities and trying to provide adequate services. The snow removal, according to the last update that I was given, has been completed. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. And I do appreciate the Minister's office responding quite quickly and having that done so that the student can return to school this week.

Can the Minister speak to -- we are going to have a greater snowfall this year. That has been predicted and such. And it just does seem to happen that we're getting these greater and greater sort of weather events. Can the Minister speak to how this is going to go moving forward? I do understand that it is the owner of the property's responsibility to clear and keep the accesses and entrances clear of snow and ice; however, there is an obligation from the Housing NWT to do this as well. So can the Minister speak to how she's going to ensure that the snow removal continues through this winter? Thank you.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker, as well. And just putting on my workers' safety and compensation hat as well too, that this is a priority within our government in Housing facilities. I will follow up with the department to making sure that we have adequate safe entrances in our buildings that we either lease or that we either own. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm going to segue a little bit on the housing minister. And could she provide us with an update on what's happening with the Inuvik shelter and whether or not a contractor has been found there? Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Presently through the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, we require every single municipality to have an asset management plan. This essentially lists every single asset and piece of infrastructure they own, its operation and maintenance, and then a life cycle replacement cost. And obviously we would require this to be public because we don't let municipalities do things in-camera. But the GNWT, as far as I know, doesn't have any asset management plan. The closest thing we have is a 20-year capital needs assessment which lists the assets we own and what we could relatively expect to replace over 20 years. This is not -- I must admit I haven't seen a recent version of this, and it's not a public document. So my question for the Minister of Finance is whether that is something she would be willing to publish? Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Finance.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I think this question actually came up, or a version of it, during Committee of the Whole. And the Members were assured there is an asset management plan, and there is a very thorough process by which we are keeping track of all of the assets of the government and the capital needs and any, you know, needs for maintenance, etcetera, through all the departments, particularly the Department of Infrastructure.

Now with respect to where the question actually got to, which is whether or not we'll be publishing a 20-year capital -- or the 20-year capital needs assessment, Madam Speaker, again as I think I said earlier in COW this session, that's a snapshot in time. It's not a detailed document. Actually, we did do a bit of a scan -- because this conversation does come up every session, did do a bit of a jurisdictional scan and we were sitting quite nicely in the middle of the pack. Most of the other jurisdictions we looked at provide similarly high-level documents. Member gave me a heads up on Alberta, for example. Not a single dollar figure is in that, Madam Speaker. It's really just meant to be a snapshot. And in appendix B of the capital plan, you can actually look there and see exactly how we developed that capital plan and the priorities therein. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

I think I'll have to ask Infrastructure whether they have an asset management plan and will make it public. I'll put them on notice there.

Okay, so my understanding is then we have a five-year needs assessment as well which is a bit less of a snapshot in time and that it -- perhaps some financial thinking has actually gone into it, and if you've made it into the five-year needs assessment, probably much more likely to actually be funded. Is this document something the Minister is willing to publish?

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, Members of the House do receive the five-year plan. Again, consensus government's a little bit different. This isn't necessarily how it would happen in a lot of governments elsewhere in Canada. But we do have that opportunity here to do things a bit differently. So Members do receive that. The public doesn't get a copy of the five-year plan, and the real and simple reason for that is the concern around ensuring fairness in the procurement process. If a total budget is put forward on a project, then there is a live concern amongst procurement that, in fact, every bid's going to bid to the project price rather than ensuring a competitive process in tendering. So that's the reason the plan doesn't get published, Madam Speaker. We have tried to put some more information out this year. There was a graphic included, for example, in the capital plan that was provided. So, you know, again trying to get a bit more information out and make it more user friendly. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yeah, thank you, Madam Speaker. The other document which I would like to see, which I'm actually not sure exists -- I know we have a five-year needs assessment showing what we need. But whether we have a multiyear capital plan? I note I can go to the infrastructure acquisition plan and it shows we are currently planning to spend $1.4 billion in the future years. But there's certainly nothing that shows what we've already spent, the listing projects, whether things are on time, whether things are completed, if something gets completed -- well, we don't ever actually know that and we certainly never see a final cost of any project publicly listed anywhere. So I think some sort of planning document would be very helpful. Is the Minister willing to create a multiyear capital plan? Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I'm going to take a bit from my colleague down the way here and the Minister of Infrastructure. The Department of Infrastructure really does have the lead for a large portion of the capital projects that go through, and that department, in response to concerns like this, is actually developing a dashboard. It will be a public dashboard and will be providing exactly the kind of synopsis that the Member's describing. And I can certainly commit to keep him updated as to the progress on that dashboard, or I'm sure my colleague will. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

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

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yeah, thank you, Madam Speaker. Yeah, and I'd be very interested to know whether Infrastructure is going to include the projects that don't fall under it. You know, I know we're building quite a number of long-term care facilities under Health and Social Services that -- not under Infrastructure, as an example.

And lastly, in our capital plan, we get one sentence description of projects, and then what happens is Members kind of ask, you know, what's going on with this playground fencing? Or we just ask these tedious questions that takes us hours and hours of review to get any information out there publicly. But I know that the departments have some sort of brief description more than one sentence. And I'm just wondering if those descriptions would be something the Minister would be willing to publish with future capital plans. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. So, again, Madam Speaker, that unusual consensus government process is that Members who would be on these sort of, quote unquote, "other side of the House" do get what are called substantiation sheets. That does give a fair bit of detail about upcoming projects. And it does include the budgetary detail that, again, right now most governments would consider to be not part of good procurement practice to be sharing publicly. So that's why those don't go out. But the point of the dashboard -- a part of the dashboard, the purpose of the dashboard I was just describing, is exactly that, to give that snapshot of where projects are at and what has been spent on them. So, again, looking forward to having that out in public so that hopefully there will come a year where we don't have to have this conversation during the capital session. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, my questions today are for the Minister responsible for integrated service delivery, the Minister of Justice. The GNWT committed to integrated service delivery as a whole-of-government approach at the onset of the government. Is shifting the entire system of the GNWT, the whole-of-government integrated service delivery, still within the short or long-term focus of the government? Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of Justice.