This is page numbers 4163 - 4204 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 indigenous.

Topics

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Welcoming Bill 39

The PSE Act creates the structure for Post-Secondary education in the NWT and rules Post-Secondary education institutions to support the growth of the territorial Post-Secondary education system. This legislation will become operative once regulations are in place. Post-Secondary education includes universities, colleges and trade and vocational schools.

Aurora College welcomed Bill 39 as the critical piece in transitioning to a polytechnic university. The College is pleased that the changes proposed in Bill 39 do not impact the relationships as they develop according to the Aurora College Transformation Implementation Plan.

The City of Yellowknife expressed support for the updates to the PSE Act because the changes are considered to result in a more clearly written and well-functioning piece of legislation.

Removing Barriers to the Establishment of Indigenous Institutions

Submissions welcomed removing the additional step for the recognition of an Indigenous institution required in the existing legislation. Amendments to the definitions section and Part 3 of the PSE Act removed the condition that an organization must be recognized as a Post-Secondary institution before it can be recognized as an Indigenous Institution.

Aurora College welcomed the steps to expand the Post-Secondary education system in the NWT, including a new pathway for Indigenous institutions and expressed full support for the relevant changes in Bill 39.

We heard from Aurora College that the organization does not anticipate pursuing recognition as an Indigenous institution under the PSE Act.

The City of Yellowknife supported the removal of barriers to the establishment of Indigenous institutions but felt it could not provide comments because the process will be described in regulations.

Fees and Charges

Submissions welcomed the increase in clarity around fee collection. Aurora College recognized the importance of consistency and clarity around fees and welcomed changes in this area as proposed in Bill 39. The City of Yellowknife supported the amendment of the PSE Act to provide for the collection of fees and charges for quality assurance reviews.

Bill 39 proposes allowing the department to charge fees related to quality assurance processes for Indigenous institutions, universities, degree-granting institutions, colleges, and private training institutions.

The Standing Committee heard the concern that the amendments should be precise on the process for fees and charges. The City of Yellowknife requested an amendment to clarify in all applicable sections that a certain action will be undertaken upon receipt of an application and the prescribed fee.

Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committees

Section 7 amends the power of the Minister to establish Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committees, provides for Ministerial appointments to these Advisory Committees, and section 66(e) allows the Minister to set regulations regarding the members' qualifications and duties of the Advisory Committees.

The quality assurance process under the PSE Act divides the responsibilities for conducting quality assurance reviews between an internal body and an external body. The external quality assurance body will be external to the Government of the Northwest Territories, reviewing all degree programs, universities and any institution that wants to deliver a degree program.

Bill 39 proposes that an internal body conducts reviews of vocational and private training institutions and colleges. This review body would be the Advisory Committee which functions as the internal quality assurance body. The Advisory Committee would include departmental staff and other subject matter experts according to regulations on private vocational training, private training institutions, and the act that establishes the college.

In Canada, educational institutions, including colleges, are generally required to review their programs to assure compliance with standards and quality requirements. Provincial legislation or policy would set these requirements. Quality assurance bodies in the Post-Secondary education sector are often review boards, panels or committees set up by departments to assess the program quality of institutions.

The department informed that it is in negotiations with the Campus Alberta Quality Council to be the external review body for NWT's degree programs and university reviews. It is planned that the Alberta Quality Council conduct the quality assurance review for the NWT polytechnic university in fall 2022.

In their submission, Aurora College has no concerns with the revised approach to assigning a quality assurance body through the Alberta Quality Council for degree-granting programs. The college notes that quality assurance requirements for all institutions are essential to maintaining students' and employers' confidence in the quality of credentials obtained in the NWT.

The City of Yellowknife, in its submission, supports clarification of the role and authority of the Post-Secondary Advisory Committee.

Access to Information and Privacy Protection

The Information and Privacy Commissioner raised questions concerning the Post- Secondary Education Advisory Committees and their relationship to the long-term vision of NWT's Post-Secondary educational institutions and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The Commissioner asked whether Post-Secondary institutions are listed as public bodies under ATIPPA, quality assurance bodies are identified as public bodies subject to the ATIPPA, the Advisory Committees' records are subject to ATIPPA, and the scope of duties of the Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committees is defined.

The Commissioner also asked that it be considered to determine in advance any limitation to rights of access to the records of the Advisory Committees.

THE STANDING COMMITTEE'S CONSIDERATIONS

Removing Barriers to the Establishment of Indigenous Institutions

The department explained that removing the condition to be recognized first as a post- secondary institution before being recognized as an Indigenous institution aligns the legislation with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly Articles 13 to 15. The Standing Committee supports the removal of this barrier and understands that this change improves the act, prepares for a Post-Secondary education to have two knowledge streams and supports the Government Mandate by supporting the implementation of the United Nations Declaration

Fees and Charges

The City of Yellowknife requested an amendment to clarify in all applicable sections that a certain action will be undertaken upon receipt of an application and the prescribed fee. The amendment would add the words "and the prescribed application fee" when receipts of applications are issued.

The Standing Committee discussed this technical amendment. While Members understood the intent to clarify that the Minister cannot consider an application until the prescribed application fee has been paid, it's not sure why the requirement would need to be reiterated.

The Standing Committee decided that the preceding subsection 9(1) is sufficient in requiring payment and agreed to not proceed with the proposed amendment.

I would now pass the reading off to my colleague from Hay River South. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Member for Hay River South.

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committees

The Standing Committee determined that the description of the creation and functioning of the quality assurance Advisory Committees and assurance bodies in the Post-Secondary Education Act is unclear.

When the PSE Act was created as Bill 48 in the 18th Assembly, our predecessor Standing Committee on Social Development made the following observations regarding Advisory Committees in its report on the Bill:,

  • That Bill 48 was unclear about the role of the Advisory Committees in the quality assurance process, as was the distinction between the work of an advisory committee and that of a quality assurance body.
  • That as appropriate, the Department will use “homegrown" Advisory Committees, including for applications for recognition as an Indigenous institution, and in other instances that may draw on the expertise of quality assurance bodies established elsewhere.

Section 7 allows the Minster to establish more than one advisory committee. Bill 39 ensures the Minister follows regulations when appointing committee members (subsection 7(2)). In the current PSE Act, the Post-Secondary Advisory Committee is intended to provide reviews of Post-Secondary institutions operating in the NWT. However, the Act does not explain the difference between the Post-Secondary Advisory Committee and other quality assurances bodies. For Bill 39, the intent for changes to the language around Advisory Committees was to clarify the role of the Advisory Committee as a quality assurance body for non-degree-granting institutions, with further clarification to be set out in regulations.

Committee posed several questions on the work of the Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committee in correspondence with the department and learned that the Post- Secondary Education Advisory Committees carry out reviews and then advise the Minister after the reviews are complete, as is common practice across Canada. The Advisory Committees will review applications, develop recommendations, advise on findings, seek input from subject matter experts specific to the application under review, compile the information, and provide advice and recommendations to the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, but have no decision-making authority.

The Department informed the Standing Committee that the Terms of Reference for the Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committees would be completed when the Quality Assurance Regulations are drafted.

The Standing Committee found subsection 7(1)(b) challenging as it was positioned under the topic of quality assurance and did not refer to quality assurance but to administration. This was seen as a disconnect between the intention and what is expressed in the bill. The resulting creation of a very broad decision-making power was a concern for the Standing Committee.

Consequently, the Standing Committee developed Motion 1 to clarify that the focus of the Advisory Committee is on matters of quality assurance. The motion, as set out in Appendix 2, replaces paragraphs 7(1)(b) and (c) and relates both to quality assurance. Motion 1 includes a new subsection 7(2.1) requiring the Minister when appointing members,

to "make a reasonable effort to include members who reflect the unique and diverse values, histories and people of the Northwest Territories".

The Standing Committee had included this exact requirement for the Board of Governors when selecting members of the Indigenous Knowledge-Holders Council. This change was made via motion changing subsection 21(3) in review of Bill 30: An Act to Amend the Aurora College Act. We understand this change as contributing to ensuring consistency in legislation related to the Aurora College transformation toward a polytechnic university.

Affirmative Action

Members of the Standing Committee feel strongly about affirmative action and want to be ensured that Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committees have appropriate Indigenous representation. In communication, the Department had maintained that it prefers flexibility in the composition of quality assurance Advisory Committees. We learned that depending on the type of institution applying, the composition of the Advisory Committees could change.

For example, with a review of an aviation school, such Advisory Committee would likely include membership from within and the outside of the GNWT, and likely aviation experts. In addition, the quality assurance process for Indigenous institutions will require an Advisory Committee under section 7 of the PSE Act. It is anticipated that such a committee would have significant Indigenous membership.

To this effect, Standing Committee developed Motion 2 requiring a minimum of Indigenous members to the Advisory Committee. This motion is captured in Appendix 2 and adds 7(2), stating that "at least one-half of the members appointed by the Minister to an Advisory Committee under subsection (2) must be Indigenous residents of the Northwest Territories".

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will now pass it over to the Member for Monfwi.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Hay River South. Member for Monfwi.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Thank you.

Access to Information and Privacy Protection

The Information and Privacy Commissioner asked the Standing Committee to clarify whether Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committees and their documents would be subject to the Access to Information and Privacy Protection Act (ATIPPA). The Commissioner asked to clarify

• If Post-Secondary institutions are listed as 'public bodies' under ATIPPA

• If quality assurance bodies are identified as 'public bodies' subject to the ATIPPA

• If Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committees' records are subject to ATIPPA

• And determine in advance limitations to rights of access

• The scope of duties of Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committees.

From the Department, the Standing Committee heard that the quality assurance bodies would not be considered a 'public body' under ATIPPA. Currently, Aurora College is listed as a public body in Column 1, Schedule A to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Regulations, as are the various Education Authorities and Councils created under the Education Act. Private education institutions are not subject to the ATIPPA.

The Standing Committee had identified that in other jurisdictions, quality assurance bodies are subject to their provincial privacy protection legislation. For example, as a public body, the Campus Alberta Quality Council is subject to the Post-Secondary Learning Act, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Programs of Study Regulation in the province of Alberta.

The Ontario Post-Secondary Education Quality Assessment Board requires Board Members to adhere to the intent and requirements of Ontario's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1990, which applies to all information, material, and records relating to, or obtained, created, maintained, submitted, or collected during a review.

The Standing Committee determined that since no 'public bodies' that would be subject to ATIPPA had been created yet, this question would lie outside this bill's scope.

Consistency

Bill 39 proposed to change wording in section 17, dealing with NWT Developed Degree Programs, and section 28, dealing with Private Training Institutions, to make the language around authorizations consistent. The Standing Committee suggested with Motion 3, set out in Appendix 2, to make the same change to section 21, dealing with the Letter of Authorization, to make the legislation internally consistent.

Now I pass this on to Kam Lake MLA. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Clause-by-Clause Review

The clause-by-clause review of Bill 39 was held on March 25, 2022. At this review, the Standing Committee moved three motions. The Minister concurred with two motions. The Minister did not agree with the motion on the composition of the Post-Secondary Education Advisory Board.

Motion 1 - proposes changing section 7 by focusing the Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committees and their work on quality assurance matters and adding a requirement for the Minister to ensure membership on the Advisory Committees reflects the uniqueness and diversity of the NWT.

The Minister concurred, and clause 3 has been amended.

Motion 2 - The Standing Committee moved that after subclause 7(2.1), a new subsection requires that at least one-half of the Minister's appointed members to a Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committee under subsection (2) must be Indigenous residents of the Northwest Territories.

The Minister did not concur. The amendment will not take effect.

Motion 3 - The Standing Committee moved that Clause 15 of Bill 39 be amended by making the language consistent with other sections in the act.

The Minister concurred with the motion. Clause 15 has been amended.

Conclusion

The Standing Committee on Social Development's review of Bill 39 resulted in three motions. The Standing Committee thanks the public for their participation in the review process and everyone involved in the review of this bill for their assistance and input.

Following the clause-by-clause review, a motion was carried to report Bill 39: An Act to Amend the Post-Secondary Education Act, as amended and reprinted, as ready for consideration in Committee of the Whole. This concludes the Standing Committee's review.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for Great Slave, that Committee Report 28-19(2): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 39: An Act to Amend the Post-Secondary Education Act be received and adopted by the Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Some Hon. Members

Question.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

---Carried

Committee Report 28-19(2) has been received and adopted by the Assembly.

Reports of Standing and Special Committees. Tabling of Documents. Minister responsible for Health and Social Services.

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Oh, man, I've been waiting for this moment, and -- yes, Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following five documents: 2020-2021 Annual Report of the NWT Health and Social Services Authority; 2020-2021 Annual Report of the NWT Health and Social Services System;
Hay River Health and Social Services Authority Annual Report 2020-2021; Tlicho Community Services Agency Health and Social Services Annual Report 2020-2021; and, Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 902-19(2): Health care Staff Recruitment. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Tabling of documents. Minister responsible for Justice.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following document: Plain Language Summary for Bill 48: Arbitration Act. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Tabling of documents. Minister responsible for Infrastructure.

Diane Archie

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to table the following document: Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 17-19(2): A Report on Bill 23: An Act to Amend the Public Utilities Act. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Tabling of documents. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I wish to table the following three documents: Northwest Territories 2022 Living Wage Report; Northwest Territories Living Wage 2022 Plain Language Report; and a news release -- a Media Release and Infographics from Alternatives North dated today. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Tabling of documents. Notices of motion. Motions. Notices of motion for the first reading of bills. First reading of bills. Second reading of bills. Minister responsible for Justice.

Bill 48: Arbitration Act, Carried
Second Reading Of Bills

March 30th, 2022

Page 4177

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Honourable Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, that Bill 48: Arbitration Act, be read for the second time.

The bill repeals and replaces the existing Arbitration Act. The bill is based substantially on the Uniformed Arbitration Act adopted in 2016 by the Uniformed Law Conference Of Canada. The bill provides extensive and necessary updates to the law governing arbitration in the Northwest Territories, including provisions respecting:

  • The commencement and consolidation of arbitral proceedings;
  • The composition of arbitral tribunals and the appointment and removal of arbitrators;
  • The jurisdiction of arbitral tribunals;
  • The matters of evidence and procedure including the issuance of subpoenas and the giving of evidence by experts and other witnesses;
  • The granting of enforcement and interim measures and preliminary orders;
  • The making of arbitral awards and the awarding of costs;
  • The termination of arbitral proceedings;
  • The enforcement of arbitral awards including awards made in other jurisdictions in Canada;
  • Recourse against arbitral awards including appeals; and
  • The confidentiality of arbitral proceedings.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bill 48: Arbitration Act, Carried
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 4177

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. The motion is in order. To the principle of the bill.

Bill 48: Arbitration Act, Carried
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 4177

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Bill 48: Arbitration Act, Carried
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 4177

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called.

Members, pursuant to Rule 10.3(1), a recorded vote is required. The clerk shall call on each Member by riding name to cast their vote, starting with the mover; those participating remotely and those participating in the Chamber in the order of their seats. When the clerk calls on you, please state whether you are for, against, or abstaining from second reading.

Recorded Vote
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 4177

Deputy Clerk Of The House Mr. Glen Rutland

The Member for Hay River South -- sorry, the Member for Hay River North.

Recorded Vote
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 4177

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

In favour.

Recorded Vote
Second Reading Of Bills

Page 4177

Deputy Clerk Of The House Mr. Glen Rutland

The Member for Yellowknife South.