This Hansard has not been finalized - this is the "Blues" in Parliamentary speak, or unedited transcript in regular speak.

In the Legislative Assembly on February 9th, 2024. See this topic in context.

Question 43-20(1): Northwest Territories Nominee Program
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the challenge of finding employees in the territory is not new just to Yellowknife; it affects all our communities. And, Mr. Speaker, one of the interest things about this is that jobs beget jobs. In other words, when we stimulate the economy, more things happen. People earn money. You know, money gets spent, and it has a positive ripple effect. So whether you're trying to keep the restaurant open in Inuvik or you're trying to help people serve contracts in Yellowknife, it's the same problem from the top to the bottom of the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of ECE. Perhaps she could enlighten us briefly, not in the most loquacious manner, what the nominee program is and how it serves Northerners? Thank you.

Question 43-20(1): Northwest Territories Nominee Program
Oral Questions

The Speaker

The Speaker Shane Thompson

Thank you, Member from Yellowknife Centre. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Question 43-20(1): Northwest Territories Nominee Program
Oral Questions

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories nominee program is a program that ECE works with the federal government by which people from around the world can move to the Northwest Territories. I'll stop there and wait for the next question. Thank you.

Question 43-20(1): Northwest Territories Nominee Program
Oral Questions

February 9th, 2024

Robert Hawkins

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate the brief answer from the Minister.

Mr. Speaker, my next question for the Minister specifically is how do they directly supports employers trying to bring employment opportunities to life in the Northwest Territories? Again, whether you live in Tsiigehtchic, you live in Inuvik or in Yellowknife, how does this office help? Thank you.

Question 43-20(1): Northwest Territories Nominee Program
Oral Questions

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, ECE has approximately three staff members who deal with immigration for the Northwest Territories Nominee Program. They do their best to work with employers in order to let them know what the process looks like but it is very much and largely a process that is directed by the federal government under IRCC. And so here in the territory, we definitely do our best and it's a program that I would like to see grow here in the territory so that we can continue as a government to support labour development and workforce development and especially supporting employers in order to grow their workforce. Thank you.

Question 43-20(1): Northwest Territories Nominee Program
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I couldn't have said -- or sorry, it was a perfect answer in the context of hearing that they want to grow the workforce. So I'd like to hear how that office directly works with employers to grow the workforce? Thank you.

Question 43-20(1): Northwest Territories Nominee Program
Oral Questions

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I can say personally I've never actually worked through the process. I can also say having worked with multiple residents who have gone through the process of hiring workers, what they have done is hired a consultant to help through the process because it is largely a process that takes place with the federal government, and there's -- it's a very extensive process that happens, Mr. Speaker. But these three staff members do their best to work through educating employers as to how that looks, how that works, what forms are required, and also what entry programs might work. For example, we have an express entry. We have a Francophone entry that people can also use so that you're actually able to target, first of all, skilled workers and then, second, able to target people from certain countries in order to increase the Francophone speakers in our communities as well. So it's used not only just for increasing our workforce but also enriching our communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 43-20(1): Northwest Territories Nominee Program
Oral Questions

The Speaker

The Speaker Shane Thompson

Thank you, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. Final supplementary. Member from Yellowknife Centre.

Question 43-20(1): Northwest Territories Nominee Program
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it's kind of like a one thing follows the next. Jobs means taxes. Taxes mean money to the government. Government means services. Etcetera, etcetera. The Minister just said it's an extensive process. She wants to grow the opportunities in the Northwest Territories. I have employers coming to me saying they can't fill out the paperwork because of time, energy, and inability to follow through properly.

What is the Minister willing to do to help support northern employers who are trying to create employment opportunities to serve Northerners and create opportunities that continue to create further opportunities in all our communities? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 43-20(1): Northwest Territories Nominee Program
Oral Questions

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I can commit to doing -- let me start over. I was distracted by my earpiece. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm for the Member that I am absolutely interested in seeing our immigration program grow. I believe that us, like the rest of the country, are very much reliant on immigration in order to empower our employers in the Northwest Territories to be able to put people and the dreams that they have to grow their businesses, and I can say that I am committed to extending our immigration strategy that is currently in place and has recently expired. That's something that I wanted to announce later on this month, and so I will come back with more information on that. But what I would encourage is for all of these employers that are having difficulty to feed into that strategy, to allow us to really work together, so that I can help employers with where they see gaps in this system so that I'm able to support them as Minister of ECE and ITI who also has a role to play in immigration and so that we can work together to make this a more robust program in order to see more people, more Canadian newcomers showing up in the Northwest Territories and making the North their home. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 43-20(1): Northwest Territories Nominee Program
Oral Questions

The Speaker

The Speaker Shane Thompson

Thank you, Minister for Education, Culture and Employment. Oral questions. Member from Yellowknife North.