This is page numbers 5567 - 5614 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 know.

Topics

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I thank the Member for this question and for highlighting the prevention piece which is to look at Canada's safe drinking guidelines that were recently revised and reissued in considering what level of risk you're comfortable with if you do consume alcohol. Drug poisonings are entirely another story, which really have to do with taking a different order of risk.

So there is urgency, and the urgency is both on the prevention and the treatment side. The magic is not in a building. The magic is in having a person make that appointment with community counselling and get him or herself into the treatment stream so that they can be treated appropriately for detox treatment and then hopefully, in the fullness of time, aftercare. Thank you.

Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, in light of the new federal health funding that was announced last month for the NWT, can the Minister tell us is there any of that new funding will be used specifically to address the gaps in aftercare and detox services within the NWT and if so, what will that look like? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the new funding pots, and what they call the tailored bilaterals, has one for mental health and substance use. The specific use this money will be put to has not been negotiated or agreed to. It's tied to federally-imposed outcomes. So there's a set of negotiations that need to take place between the Department of Health and Social Services and the federal government to figure out how the four tailored bilaterals, including the one on mental health and substance use, are going to roll out. Thank you.

Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, can the Minister explain exactly what it would take in terms of financial resources and manpower for the Government of the Northwest Territories to convert a vacant building like the old Trailcross Treatment Centre, for example, into a territorial aftercare and detox centre? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I don't have the exact cost; they don't exist. And so what I can say is that there has been a preliminary assessment of Trailcross, and it seems to have some viable life left in it. So what the department has committed to doing is considering what kind of programming we could offer in that facility and make it viable as a programming site again, whatever that program might be.

I want to mention that we have a transitional housing program that is in development in the Department of Health and Social Services. We put out request for proposals last year. Four communities responded, and each of them have developed a model for aftercare and we're now working with them to bring those models to life. And so we're looking forward to strengthening our continuum of service with this particular offering. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, since the contract between Poundmaker's Lodge and Health ended last year, the NWT has lacked an option to send NWT residents to an Indigenous-based addictions treatment centre in the south.

Can the Minister tell us if her department has decided on a new service provider for this and will it be on track to be ready for April 1st? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you for the question. There were two responses for the request for proposals for Indigenous-focused aftercare -- pardon me, a facility-based treatment. And they are being reviewed at this time. It is still our intention to have something in place by April 1st. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Oral questions. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. My questions are for the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

I was surprised to see a presentation on modeling of mining royalties at the November geoscience forum from a consultant hired by her department. I understand that this Vancouver consultant was hired through a sole sourced contract for $75,000.

Can the Minister confirm the hiring process and amount for this consultant and explain why this work was sole sourced? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, right now there's actually two contracts, and individually I believe they both come under the limits for what is permissible for sole sourcing; however, they are going to one individual -- or one entity. So I'm certainly live to the reasons for that and very live to the reasons why a department would want to use a sole source. One of them is where the party or entity that you're contracting to is really -- is the only or essentially the only entity or person who can do certain work. In this case, models are, as I understand it, maybe not quite proprietary but certainly close to it. So rather than having to go out and have to rebuild and reexamine the entirety of the process, they are seeking to have the same person build these models and work off of those models in order to ensure that there's some consistency with the work that's been done and avoid any unnecessary risk to get everything done in a timely fashion.

I would note that this individual does have a fairly high degree of expertise in this area, does exactly this type of modeling for the federal government, and so that was the basis of going with this party. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I want to thank the Minister for that. This consultant seems to have already concluded the NWT is doing just fine with regard to its competitiveness and royalty regime. Can the Minister explain what this consultant has been asked to do and when that consultant's work will be made public? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, so again, this is work that's being done to develop models. This has been something that I know I've spoken about in this House more than once in the last year with respect to the process for as part of developing the regulations and specifically with royalties, that there would be a process by which different models were run through -- prototype models were run through to actually best understand what we're looking at before we make final policy decisions for the kind of royalty regime we want. That is the process that they're in right now and to develop exactly those different models and then to apply those models to different types of mines, different types of mine prototypes.

So once that's done, there will be an independent third party review done as a sort of verification process or an auditing process and that will go out through RFP to ensure that, again, that there's enough appropriate level of expertise and eyes on the different models and approaches before the final decisions are made. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment hired an independent expert with global experience, you know, helping governments manage resources. And that consultant found, quote, "NWT sells its nonrenewable resources more cheaply than most other jurisdictions in the world", end of quote.

ITI also commissioned the Natural Resources Governance Institute that found, quote, "NWT has one of the world's most charitable fiscal regimes for the mining sector", end of quote.

Can the Minister tell us whether her department considered hiring these other experts and what role, if any, these other studies will play in the modeling of mining royalties? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is an area that has been covered many times here with respect to whether or not, in fact, there's been a conclusion around competitiveness or non-competitiveness. And, Mr. Speaker, certainly one has to consider the fact that if there are no mines or less mines then there's no worry about there being any benefits because there won't be any benefits. There will be less benefits or no benefits. So, yes, the fact that there's going to be some disagreement on this one, I think, between the Member and I. That said, again, the feedback and response that we've had from standing committee, from other experts, has been considered; it is part of the "what we heard" report; it's part of the total package that goes to the technical working group of IGCS, or the Intergovernmental Council, and who then are able to direct what kinds of models should be done so that ultimately decisions can be made going forward as to what the final results should look like. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I want to thank the Minister for that. It's not clear who is really directing the modeling or how it's going to be done. Is it ITI alone, the Intergovernmental Council, the mining industry? Will there be any attempt to analyze past performance of the royalty regime or model what could have happened with government revenues or internal rates of return? We've got eight years now, Mr. Speaker, of real live data we could be working with. So can the Minister tell us who is directing the modeling, whether the public will get a say, and whether any modeling will be done of past performance? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm surprised it's unclear, Mr. Speaker. ITI is the government lead on the Mineral Resources Act and has been now for -- well many, many years, long before my time. And it's, I think, quite well known we're quite proud of the fact that this is being codeveloped with the ICGS, or Intergovernmental Council. There's a working group there, as I know I've spoken to many times before. And while ITI is the lead, certainly this has, of course, gone back to the partners and the co-development partners at ICGS. They've helped to develop the policy options that are being modeled and that -- and also we'll be basing that on historical production as well as looking to the future of what types of models are required such as, for example, base metals. So that is where it's at. That's who is directing it and looking forward certainly to seeing that work move forward, reminding of course that along the way certainly, Mr. Speaker, I remain available and open to having opportunities to speak to the Member or others about what is happening. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 1420-19(2): Small Business in Public Housing
Oral Questions

March 2nd, 2023

Page 5573

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my questions today are for the Minister responsible for Housing NWT. Mr. Speaker, the Housing NWT prohibits home-based business from being in public housing. This works against four separate mandate items of the Government of the Northwest Territories, including one for increasing employment in small communities, which specifically says "amend the NWT Housing Corporation policies to allow appropriate home-based business opportunities within their units." It also goes against at least five Calls for Justice from the MMIWG.

So I'm wondering will the Minister commit to a framework that allows home-based business in public housing? Thank you.

The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Minister responsible for Housing NWT.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I'm quite excited for the Member's questions as well too because we've just completed our strategic renewal here for Housing NWT. We just went through a name change as well. And currently I am working with my colleague, Minister of education, and we are looking at establishing a criteria and a way forward of how we would be offering and looking at day homes. And that was one of the priorities set within this government as well. But I would like to work towards a framework as well too on how we would further establish businesses in public housing units and look at what criteria would come along with that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the mandate called for policies to allow for home-based businesses as of summer of 2022. It also called for the enabling of public housing to have licensed child care programs in it in the fall of 2022 -- or sorry, 2020 as well. So given that these timelines have very clearly changed now that we're two and a half years later, when can this side of the House expect to see this kind of a framework and policy change? Thank you.