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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Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for Frame Lake, that Committee report 63-19(2), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Review of Bill 78: Waste Reduction and Resource Recovery Act, be received and adopted by the Assembly. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Deh Cho. 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. Committee report has been received and adopted.

---Carried

Reports of standing and special committees. Member for Deh Cho.

Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mr. Speaker, your Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment is pleased to provide its Report on Review of Bill 84: An Act to Amend the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation Act.

And, Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for Frame Lake, that Committee report 64-19(2), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on the Review of Bill 84: An Act to Amend the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation Act, be deemed read and printed in Hansard in its entirety. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Deh Cho. 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. Committee report is deemed read.

---Carried

Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Introduction

Bill 84: An Act to Amend the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation Act (Bill 84) received second reading on March 30, 2023, and was referred to the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment (Committee) for review. Bill 84 amends the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation Act which has only had minor amendments since originally coming into force.

Bill 84 will amend the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC), which was established on April 1, 2005, and is a Crown Corporation of the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT). The BDIC's role is promoting and maintaining economic development and employment in the NWT. This role has both economic and social aspects. BDIC provides a range of loans, financial programs, and other services aimed at helping northern business succeed by promoting financial independence, economic development, and diversity in the northern economy. BDIC also undertakes economic development initiatives itself in the interest of job creation in small communities and diversification of the NWT economy. Committee supports these initiatives, especially as they coincide with the recommendations in our report on Supporting Northern Businesses. BDIC itself underwent through previous external reviews in 2013, 2014 and 2019. Committee noted that those reviews did not result in legislative change until this Bill was brought forward.

Bill 84 proposed the following:

• change the name of the Act to the Prosper Northwest Territories Act and will continue the BDIC as Prosper NWT (which was not part of the public engagement on the Bill or a recommendation from the two previous external reviews);

• clarify when a corporation will be considered a subsidiary of Prosper NWT for the purposes of the Act and will give the Minister the authority to modify Prosper NWT's non-financial support programs to better respond to emerging business needs;

• give Prosper NWT the power to provide NWT businesses with non-financial supports and assistance that are not part of established programs and continue to give Prosper NWT the authority to provide financial support to business enterprises and subsidiaries;

• remove the requirement in the Act for periodic reviews and streamline the requirements for audits/reviews set out in the Financial Administration Act

• clarify conflict of interest provisions under the Act as well as clarify when businesses are considered related; and

• make consequential amendments to the Financial Administration Act, the Ombud Act, and the Public Service Act

Committee Considered Public Input

Committee sought public feedback on Bill 84 with a public notice and targeted engagement letters. On May 10, 2023, Committee held a public hearing in Yellowknife to review Bill 84. At that meeting, Committee heard remarks from the Minister of Industry Tourism and Investment (ITI), and from Joyce Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of BDIC. Committee also listened to statements made by members of the public in support of both the BDIC and the proposed legislative changes.

Committee voiced concerns about the BDIC board's composition. These concerns included: vacant board positions, issues of quorum, the lack of a chairperson, extensions to board appointments, and no representation from small communities.

Committee, through correspondence with the Minister of ITI, received a copy of a competency matrix for selecting board members and then developed an amendment to Bill 84 that would help ensure the board's composition would reflect the regions and industries in the Northwest Territories.

However, after receiving a written submission expressing concerns about BDIC's proposed name change and a lack of accountability, Committee had further concerns about the board and the recent brand audit which had prompted BDIC to change their name.

Committee attempted several times to acquire the brand audit report from the Minister and BDIC itself without success. The report was finally provided to Committee following the preparation of a draft notice to compel the production of the information. When the document was provided, Committee could find very little information that actually supported the name change and requested additional information which was supplied.

Committee Cannot Endorse the Gnwt Approach at This Time

Committee is of the view that while there is considerable benefit to passing Bill 84 as drafted with the amendment concerning the BDIC board composition. These changes also reflect the recommendations brought forward in the two previous external reviews.

However, concerns remain that both the Committee and the public have not been provided with enough information about the name change and brand audit to show that BDIC's approach to rebranding at this time is reasonable. Committee notes that the rebranding and name change were not part of the public engagement process that was undertaken to develop Bill 84. Committee believes better collaboration and engagement to access and provide input into the BDIC's rebranding efforts would have allowed for a stronger Bill.

Recommendation 1: Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment recommends that the Business Development and Investment Corporation publicly release the rebranding audit and related information on a name change as part of a broader public engagement on rebranding and a possible name change.

With the lack of public information about the BDIC's rebranding efforts, Committee explored the possibility of drafting motions to move that all name-change clauses be removed from Bill 84. However, after consideration this was thought too onerous. Ultimately, the delays during the review process and the lack of transparency informed Committee's decision to report Bill 84 to the Legislative Assembly as not ready for consideration in Committee of the Whole.

Committee is mindful that there is little time left in the 19th Assembly to allow for public engagement on changing the name of the BDIC. Committee also recognizes that the development of planned strategic direction such as rebranding the corporation is likely the most important duty the BDIC board can undertake. Regarding the current need for further board appointments, Committee encourages the Minister to make new board appointees to fill gaps after the upcoming election.

Recommendation 2: Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment recommends that the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment work the Business Development and Investment Corporation to introduce a Bill early in the life of the next Assembly to respond to the recommendations from the previous external reviews and public engagement on rebranding and a name change.

Conclusion

On July 25, 2023, Committee held a clause-by-clause review.vi Based on Committee's concerns about changing the name of the BDIC, the need for public accountability, and transparency stated above, Committee passed a motion to report Bill 84 to the Legislative Assembly as not ready for consideration in Committee of the Whole.

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 requests that the government provide a public response to this report at the earliest opportunity.

This concludes Standing Committee's review of Bill 84: An Act to Amend the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation Act.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Reports of standing and special committees. Member for Deh Cho.

Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for Frame Lake, that Committee report 64-19(2), Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment Report on Review of Bill 84: An Act to Amend the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation Act, be received and adopted by the Assembly. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Deh Cho. 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 84 is received and adopted.

---Carried

Reports of standing and special committees. Tabling of documents. Minister responsible for Finance.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following eight documents: 2024-2025 Capital estimates; Supplementary estimates (Operations Expenditures), No. 3, 2023-2024; Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1333-19(2): Interoperability of Government of the Northwest Territories Systems; Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1340-19(2): Indigenous employment policy; Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1451-19(2): Northern Resident Travel
Deduction; Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1474-19(2): Audit Report and Unspent Funds on Internet Connectivity; Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1488-19(2): GNWT Indigenous Language System; and, Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1557-19(2): Land Leases. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following five documents: Final Report of the Mandate of this Government of the Northwest Territories 2019-2023; Letter to Prime minister regarding MLA Concerns Respecting COSMOS 954
Effects on Health and Safety; Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1321-19(2): Housing Crisis in the NWT;
Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1464-19(2): Federal Day School; and, Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1541-19(2): Government of the Northwest Territories Committed to United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Implementation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following two documents: Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1510-19(2): Searching for Frank Gruben; and, Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1515-19(2): Transparency of Corporate Registries. 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

I wish to table the following document: Follow-up Letter for Oral Question 1519-19(2): Resurfacing Fort Smith Airport Runway. 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 have five following documents to table: Letter from MLA Frame Lake to Intergovernmental council Secretariat regarding Bill 29 dated July 14th, 2023; second one, Mr. Speaker, Letter from MLA Frame Lake to Non-Intergovernmental Council Indigenous Governments regarding Bill 29 dated July 14th, 2023; Information and Privacy Commissioner Review Report and Order dated May 26th, 2023; ITI Decision Letter dated June 26th, 2023, Observations on ITI ATIPP Meeting Summaries (revised August 2023); and lastly, Mr. Speaker, revised GNWT Chamber of Mines Meeting Summaries with Additional Information. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Tabling of documents. Colleagues, I wish to table the report of the Integrity Commissioner of the Investigation into a Complaint made by the Honourable Shane Thompson, MLA, alleging that Ms. Katrina Nokleby, MLA, has breached the Members' Code of Conduct.

Members, in accordance with Section 266.1(1) of the Elections and Plebiscite Act, I wish to table the Elections NWT 2022-2023 Annual Report.

Pursuant to Section 43 of the Ombud Act, I hereby table Speaking Up for Fairness, the 2022-2023 Annual Report of the Northwest Territories ombud.

Pursuant to Section 43(3) of the Ombud Act, I hereby table the Northwest Territories ombud Special Report 1-2023 Providing Investigation Updates.

Tabling of documents. Notices of motion. Minister responsible for Finance.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that on Friday, September 29th, 2023, I will move the following motion:

Now therefore I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre, that the Government of the Northwest Territories should agree to receive revenues from an excise duty in respect of the Northwest Territories as imposed as part of the federally legislated Vaping Products Excise Tax. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.