This is page numbers 6417 - 6500 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.

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The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Member for Yellowknife North.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for Thebacha, that Committee Report 55-19(2), Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of Bill 85: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Implementation Act, be received by the Assembly and referred to Committee of the Whole. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. 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. Bill 85 will be moved into Committee of the Whole.

---Carried

Reports of standing and special committees. Member for Kam Lake.

Committee Report 57-19(2): Report on Bill 65, Builders' Lien Act
Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

September 27th, 2023

Page 6435

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, your Standing Committee on Social Development is pleased to provide its report on the review of Bill 65, Builders' Lien Act.

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for Great Slave, that Committee Report 57-19(2) be deemed read and printed in Hansard in its entirety. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Committee Report 57-19(2): Report on Bill 65, Builders' Lien Act
Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

Page 6435

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Committee Report 57-19(2): Report on Bill 65, Builders' Lien Act
Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

Page 6435

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Report 57-19(2): Report on Bill 65, Builders' Lien Act
Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

Page 6435

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Committee Report 57-19(2): Report on Bill 65, Builders' Lien Act
Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

Page 6435

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Introduction

Bill 65: Builders' Lien Act (Bill 65) received second reading on November 3, 2022 and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Development (Committee) for review. The Department of Justice (Department) sponsored the Bill.

On January 18, 2023, Committee held a public hearing on Bill 65. Committee heard comments focused on why the Builders' Lien Act, as drafted, does not apply to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), but does apply to municipalities, and does not consider Indigenous governments at all. There were also questions on how provisions related to lands owned by those entities would work, particularly the provisions on seizure and sale. Committee had previously raised similar concerns, particularly concerning types of lands subject to the Bill and the extent to which GNWT engaged with Indigenous and municipal governments in developing the Bill.

During the public hearing, Committee expressed concerns regarding the lack of consultation done on behalf of the Department prior to Bill 65's introduction. In response, the Minister of Justice made a commitment to Committee to conduct further engagement with the public. Following the public hearing, the Government House Leader formally requested that Committee seek an extension of the review period under Rule 8.3(2). The Department needed further time to engage in discussions with Indigenous governments, municipalities, and industry about Committee's concerns. Committee agreed and successfully sought an extension.

Over the course of reviewing the Bill, Committee considered several potential amendments and engaged extensively with the Department on amending the Bill to better reflect concerns related to land interests and exemptions from seizure and sale. Six months were dedicated to Committee and Departmental staff working together and negotiating on potential amendments. However, while Committee acknowledges that significant progress was made, in the end, the Minister did not agree with Committee on a path forward on several key areas of the Bill. Committee therefore decided that the Bill as drafted is not ready to proceed. Committee decided it was better to urge the Department to work to improve the Bill and reintroduce it in the next Assembly with significant modifications to improve it, rather than to proceed with a fundamentally flawed Bill at this time.

Committee's Outlook on Builders' Lien Legislation

Committee strongly supports the need for new builders' lien legislation in the Northwest Territories. The existing Mechanics Lien Act has not changed substantially for decades. Since then, real property development, contractual arrangements and construction practices have changed considerably and continue to evolve. The central intent of such legislation is to ensure that contractors, subcontractors, and workers are paid for their work and materials. In recent years, other Canadian jurisdictions have updated their builders' lien legislation, such as Ontario (2019), British Columbia (2020), and Alberta (2022).

However, Committee has concluded that Bill 65, as it is currently written, is not ready for passage in the Legislative Assembly. Committee believes the Department needs to approach this legislation differently and author a new Builders' Lien Act within the first half of the 20th Assembly as a significant priority.

Committee Considered Public Input

Committee sought public feedback on Bill 65 with a public notice and targeted engagement letters. Committee received written submissions from:

    • Mr. Dale Johnson of Clark Builders; and
    • Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN)

All written submissions are included in an Appendix to this report.

Additionally, during the public hearing on Bill 65, Committee heard remarks from the Minister of Justice and asked questions to departmental officials. Committee thanks Mr. Johnson and YKDFN for their engagement. Their participation helped inform Committee discussions on key issues for future consideration.

Committee Concerns

There are three main areas that Committee had concerns with regarding Bill 65.

      • The primary issue was determining which land interests held by different levels of government and Indigenous governments would be subject to seizure and sale, as that is the the ultimate remedy for a lien that ensures a contractor or subcontractor is paid for their services.
      • Second, the core structure of the Bill being such that exemptions from seizure and sale are made on the basis of who owns a project, rather than what type of project it is.
      • Lastly, Bill 65 did not include a provision to introduce a prompt payment system that ensures a timeline for both issuing and paying invoices on building projects and provides a dispute resolution mechanism to resolve payment disputes.

Land Interests of Different Levels of Government

Committee's main concern with Bill 65 is how the Act would operate in regard to liens on construction projects within the context of several types of lands owned by multiple levels of government across the NWT. For example, of the lands to consider includes municipalities, lands withdrawn from disposition for the purpose of pending treaties, private land, and properties located within land, resources, and self-government agreement areas, among others. Given that within the NWT much land is either owned, or managed and administered by different levels of government, Committee considered it vital that the Act clearly state which types of lands may be subject to seizure and sale as a remedy for a lien on a project.

Ultimately, Committee did not want one level of government to be exempt from seizure and sale, while other levels of government would be subject to seizure and sale. From the start, it was Committee's desire that all levels of government be treated the same under the Act. However, the Bill as drafted does not bind the GNWT, but it does bind municipalities, and it makes no reference to Indigenous governments. This latter point, of having no reference to Indigenous governments, was a major point of contention for Committee, as it provided the sense that the Bill had been drafted without the consideration of Indigenous governments.

Committee had many discussions on this subject, including with the Government House Leader. Committee struggled with the notion that if Indigenous governments would be subject to the Bill, and would have their lands exempted from seizure and sale just like the GNWT or a municipal government, then how would an Indigenous government be defined? Committee proposed several draft motions to amend this aspect of the Bill, and considered many draft motions proposed by the Department. As these discussions progressed though, Members quickly realized that this topic raised bigger questions about defining an Indigenous government that could not and should not be answered within the context of this Bill.

Committee determined that it is inappropriate for both the legislative branch, as well as the executive branch of government to prescribe a definition on what an Indigenous government is within the context of Builders' Lien legislation. Especially while there is another Bill before the Assembly concerning the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is an internationally recognized document that affirms the autonomy and self-determination of Indigenous peoples. Article 3 of the Declaration, which reads:

“Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

With this consideration, Committee determined that the GNWT should not be the arbiter in defining what an Indigenous government is, as that is a matter that should be decided by Indigenous peoples and Indigenous governments themselves. Thus, Members concluded that while this is an important topic that is part of a larger discussion that should be had, it is not Committee's place to legislate on this matter with this Bill.

Furthermore, Committee did consider several options as potential paths forward with this section of the Bill. Those included leaving the definition of Indigenous government undefined, identifying Indigenous governments through regulation, as well as utilizing the definition of Indigenous government from another Bill before the Assembly, which is Bill 85: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Implementation Act.

It was at this point where discussions broke down, as Committee did not consider this subject sufficiently addressed within the Bill as drafted. Thus, since a compromise could not be reached with the government on what specific language to use in the Act, Committee decided that Bill 65 is not ready to move forward.

Exempting Governments vs. Exempting Project Types

Committee recognized that if Bill 65 was amended to bind the GNWT, along with municipalities and Indigenous governments, to be subject to liens but not to seizure and sale of land, then very little infrastructure in the NWT would be left to be subject to seizure and sale. Recognizing this, Committee determined that the Bill as drafted, which provides an exemption for seizure and sale on the basis of who owns a project, was problematic.

Therefore, following much consideration on this point, Committee determined that exemption for seizure and sale of land should instead apply to the type of project, rather than the owner of the project. Approaching the Bill this way would avoid the issue of having to define Indigenous governments altogether.

This approach to the Bill would ensure a better balance between protecting critical public infrastructure such as health centres, highways, or emergency services, etc., against the need to protect contractors, workers, and suppliers, which is the primary intent of the Bill. However, because this is such a substantial shift in how the Bill is structured, and since there is not enough time within the 19th Assembly to make this fundamental change to the Bill's structure, Committee decided that the Bill should be re-drafted.

Prompt Payment System

One aspect that was absent from Bill 65 is a section on prompt payment, which would provide assurances within a set timeline for contractors and subcontractors to issue invoices for their work, and for owners to pay invoices for services rendered. A prompt payment system would also create a dispute resolution mechanism by providing a framework for resolving disputes between parties. Committee is aware of several jurisdictions that have codified prompt payment systems into legislation, with the most recent jurisdictions whose amendments and regulations came into force being Alberta (2022), Saskatchewan (2022), and Ontario (2019).

Committee did ask the Government House Leader if this system was considered, and the response was that the Department made a conscious choice not to include this provision at this time. However, the government indicated that it is open to adding this provision in the future. The government also considered adjudication provisions, but chose not include it in the Bill, as the government considers the issue of payment schedules as a matter for the Supreme Court, under debtor/creditor law.

Committee heard prompt payment as a vital concern of the construction industry. Therefore, Committee considered the absence of a prompt payment system as a significant missing aspect within Bill 65 and Committee would like to see the inclusion of such a provision within future lien legislation introduced by the government.

Conclusion

On June 29, 2023, Committee held a clause-by-clause review. Committee passed a motion to report Bill 65 to the Legislative Assembly as not ready for consideration in Committee of the Whole.

Committee strongly recommends the Department to work on re-introducing Builders' Lien legislation that addresses the fundamental flaws with Bill 65 as a top priority for the next Assembly.

This concludes the Standing Committee on Social Development's review of Bill 65: Builders' Lien Act.

Committee Report 57-19(2): Report on Bill 65, Builders' Lien Act
Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

Page 6437

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Reports of standing and special committees. Member for Kam Lake.

Committee Report 57-19(2): Report on Bill 65, Builders' Lien Act
Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

Page 6437

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for Great Slave, that Committee Report 57-19(2), Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 65: Builders' Lien Act, be received and adopted by the Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Committee Report 57-19(2): Report on Bill 65, Builders' Lien Act
Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

Page 6437

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Committee Report 57-19(2): Report on Bill 65, Builders' Lien Act
Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

Page 6437

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Report 57-19(2): Report on Bill 65, Builders' Lien Act
Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

Page 6437

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

Reports of standing and special committees. Member for Great Slave.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Your Standing Committee on Social Development is pleased to provide its report on review of Bill 80, Dental Hygienists Profession Statutes Amendment Act.

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for Monfwi, that Committee report 60-19(2), Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 80: Dental Hygienists Profession Statutes Amendment Act, be deemed read and printed in Hansard in its entirety. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. 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. Bill 80 is deemed read.

---Carried.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Introduction

Bill 80: Dental Hygienists Profession Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 80) received second reading on March 30, 2023, and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Development (Committee) for review. Bill 80 is a private member's bill, sponsored by the Member for Kam Lake, to amend the Health and Social Services Professions Act and the Dental Auxiliaries Act. This Bill proposes to provide dental hygienists with the option to work independently of a dentist. Specifically, Bill 80:

      • Will require the Minister of Health and Social Services to recommend to the Commissioner regulations under the Health and Social Services Professions Act, on or before March 31, 2024;
      • Designate the profession of dental hygienists as a profession, effective April 1, 2024;
      • Transfer the regulation of dental hygienists from the Dental Auxiliaries Act to the Health and Social Services Professions Act, effective April 1, 2024; and
      • Replace gender specific language in the Dental Auxiliaries Act with gender neutral language.

This report outlines key events leading up to the introduction of Bill 80; describes Committee's engagement with the public; and summarizes stakeholders' positions and Committee's decisions on key issues.

Committee Welcomes Improvements to Oral Healthcare

The purpose of Bill 80 is to permit dental hygienists to work independently of a dentist. Currently, under the Dental Auxiliaries Act, all dental hygienists working in the NWT must be supervised by a dentist. Section 6 of the Dental Auxiliaries Act reads:

6. No dental hygienist shall practice dental hygiene except under the direction and control of a dentist who assumes direct professional responsibility for the patients in respect of whom the services are being provided.

On May 12, 2023, Committee held a public hearing on Bill 80. Committee heard comments focused on the important role of oral health in preventative healthcare, and its significance within the overall health of individuals. Members expressed concern with the current state of oral healthcare delivery across the NWT, especially in small communities and regional centres. Members also voiced concern about the lack of equitable access to preventative oral healthcare across the NWT. Committee agreed unanimously with the intent of Bill 80 and all Members agreed to support it.

While the Department of Health and Social Services (the Department) did not present at the public hearing, Committee did meet with the Minister to discuss the Department's concerns with the Bill. Committee also exchanged correspondence with the Minister to try reaching consensus on an agreeable timeline for when the proposed changes within Bill 80 will take effect.

The Minister stated that the estimated timeline for the Department to complete the work within Bill 80 would take up to four years to complete. The Department also sent draft motions to amend Bill 80 with the dates of July 31, 2027, and August 1, 2027, as the dates of enactment for professional designation of dental hygienists, as well as the date for the creation of dental hygienist regulations, respectively.

However, Committee did not agree with the proposed amendments from the Department and advanced motions with a more aggressive timeline to implement the regulatory work.

AMENDING BILL 80's TIMELINES

Committee held a clause-by-clause review with the Member for Kam Lake on August 10, 2023. Committee engaged with the Member for Kam Lake on a compromised date of enactment on the Bill's proposed timelines. Committee then passed two motions to amend the Bill's timelines for when dental hygienists become a designated profession, and the date by which the Department shall establish dental hygienist regulations.

Originally, clauses 1 and 2 of Bill 80 read:

1. (1) The Health and Social Services Professions Act is amended by this section.

(2) Section 5 is repealed and the following is substituted:

5. (1) The Commissioner in Executive Council may, by order, designate professions to which this Act applies.

(2) The profession of dental hygienists is designated as a profession to which this Act applies, effective April 1, 2024.

Additionally, the original wording for Clause 3 read:

(3) The following is added after section 67: 67.1. (1) The Minister shall, on or before March 31, 2024, recommend to the Commissioner regulations under section 67 to regulate the practice of dental hygienists.

(2) Before recommending regulations under subsection (1), the Minister shall consult with

a) Indigenous governments;

b) the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association; and

c) dental hygienists actively practicing in the Northwest Territories.

Committee proposed two motions to amend the timelines (included in Appendix 1). These amendments will extend the timelines proposed in the Bill to December 1, 2025, and November 30, 2025, respectively giving the Department more time to enact the proposed legislative changes. Committee believes these amendments, which will come into force approximately halfway through the 20th Assembly, will be a sufficient timeline for the Department.

On August 10, 2023, at the clause-by-clause reading of Bill 80, the Member for Kam Lake, sponsoring Member of the Bill concurred with these amendments.

Committee Considered Public Input

Committee sought public feedback on Bill 80 with a public notice and targeted engagement letters. Committee received written submissions from:

- Ms. Nadja Lennie;

- Ms. Ashley Morine; and

- Hon. Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services.

All written submissions are included in Appendix 2 to this report.

Moreover, during the public hearing on Bill 80, Committee heard remarks from the Member for Kam Lake, along with Mr. Todd Orvitz, CAO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, and Ms. Nadja Lennie, owner of Fireside Denture Clinic. Committee thanks Mr. Orvitz and Ms. Lennie for their engagement. Their participation helped inform Committee discussions on key issues for future consideration.

Committee Recommends Urgency in Oral Preventive Care

Committee strongly agrees with the Member for Kam Lake's concerns about the lacking areas of oral healthcare delivery within the NWT. Committee supports the intent of Bill 80 and acknowledges that the Department has stated its support of the Bill's intent as well. Committee considers oral healthcare as an urgent matter that must be addressed by the Department sooner, rather than later. While the amended Bill sets fall 2025 as the deadline for a new designation and regulations for dental hygienists, the Department should aim to complete this work even sooner.

In addition, during the public hearing on Bill 80 the CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) stated that their organization had recently established a Memorandum of Understanding with the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) enabling IRC to employ their own practicing dental hygienist under the direction and control of the NTHSSA's contracted oversight dentist. Committee believes this type of arrangement is a great interim option to increase access to oral preventive care while the department works on designating dental hygienists a profession and creating accompanying regulations. Committee would like to see similar types of agreements as that between the IRC and the NTHSSA be established with other communities and organizations that deliver health services. Therefore, Committee recommends the following:

Recommendation 1: The Standing Committee on Social Development recommends that the Department of Health and Social Services increase efforts to improve oral preventative care in communities. This work should include:

      • Providing interim options for dental hygienists to work independently of a dentist prior to fall 2025; and
      • Ensuring Indigenous Governments and other organizations that deliver health services are aware of other options to provide oral preventive healthcare.

CONCLUSION

On August 10, 2023, Committee held a clause-by-clause review. Committee passed a motion to report Bill 80, as amended, to the Legislative Assembly as ready for consideration in Committee of the Whole.

This concludes the Standing Committee on Social Development's review of Bill 80: Dental Hygienists Profession Statutes Amendment Act. Typically, Committee includes a recommendation in each report requesting a response from government within 120 days. The recommendation is then moved as a motion in the House and Cabinet is required to respond. However, since the 19th Legislative Assembly will dissolve in less than 120 days, Committee has decided to leave out this recommendation and requests that the government provide a public response to this report, even of a preliminary nature, before the beginning of the 20th Assembly.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Reports of standing and special committees. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, your Standing Committee on Social Development is pleased to provide its Report on the Review of Bill 77: Nursing Profession Act.

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for Great Slave, that Committee report 59-19(2), Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 77: Nursing Profession Act, be deemed read and printed in Hansard in its entirety. 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