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In the Legislative Assembly


Crucial Fact

Historical Information Bob McLeod is no longer a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2019, as MLA for Yellowknife South

Won his last election, in 2015, with 70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 822-18(3): Food Establishment Safety Regulations August 16th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will have to take that question as notice. Thank you.

Question 820-18(3): Extended Health Benefits Program Review August 16th, 2019

Recognizing the impacts that supplementary health benefits coverage has for many in the Northwest Territories, public engagement will be carried out before any proposed changes are made. Before going out for public engagement, a certain amount of scoping and cross-jurisdictional research must be completed. Public awareness efforts will occur as part of any public engagement campaign carried out in the future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 820-18(3): Extended Health Benefits Program Review August 16th, 2019

As you know, the cost of pharmaceuticals is an ever-growing cost for the Government of the Northwest Territories and has enormous implications for the sustainability of our supplementary health benefit programs. When the Government of Canada began discussions with the provinces and territories on national pharmacare, we postponed the review until there were clearer indications as to Canada's position because of the implications a national program would have on our benefit programs.

The Advisory Council on National Pharmacare established by the federal government released a report earlier this summer on options for a national pharmacare program. The report was very broad and did not provide the clarity that would have guided the Government of the Northwest Territories moving forward. It is also unclear what next steps may occur, given the upcoming federal government election. It will remain important to align our efforts on supplementary health benefit reform with those occurring at the national level. We will need to wait until the dust settles after the federal election to see whether national pharmacare will move forward and what changes are coming before we make our own. Regardless, the work on the supplementary health benefit reform will be revived and continue into the next government.

Question 820-18(3): Extended Health Benefits Program Review August 16th, 2019

There is a publicly available list of specified disease conditions, and this list is available on the Health and Social Services website. Over the years since 1988, the department received a number of requests that did not fall under the specified disease conditions schedule. Over time, exceptions were made to provide coverage for disease conditions that were not on the list, and, at one point, there were an additional 25 disease conditions being covered on an exceptions basis. In 2010, the department went forward to Cabinet to get approval for an additional 10 disease conditions to be included on the list. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 820-18(3): Extended Health Benefits Program Review August 16th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just for clarification, autism is covered currently by the Extended Health Benefits program. However, we recognize that the Extended Health Benefits Policy is outdated and that we face issues with how the current eligibility criteria for the program are structured. A comprehensive review of the supplementary health benefits programs is underway. Some preliminary work has been done to determine what other jurisdictions have done to identify disadvantaged groups for increased supports. Moving forward, the department will be examining all aspects of need, to ensure distribution of our limited resources is not discriminatory.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery August 16th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am very pleased to recognize a Page from Yellowknife south, Andrea Geraghty, and all the other Pages who are working here this week and next week. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 227-18(3): Food Establishment Safety Regulation August 16th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the demand for safe, affordable, and locally grown food choices continues to rise in the Northwest Territories and is a topic that our government is actively addressing as part of the Government of the Northwest Territories Agriculture Strategy. With emerging agricultural activities and this government's priority to support an increase in local food production, the Department of Health and Social Services recognized the need to update the Food Establishment Safety Regulations, under the Public Health Act, to support Northwest Territories residents in the agriculture and food establishment sectors.

Improving food security by encouraging local food production is one of the main goals of the Agriculture Strategy. An integral part of this work is ensuring that the proper regulatory frameworks are in place to guide and protect the Northwest Territories' agriculture industry, promote safe agriculture and food production, and integrate best practices.

Our first step is updating the Food Establishment Safety Regulations to ensure that the public is buying food that is safe to eat, while also making it easier for operators to produce and sell locally grown foods. This enhances food security overall and promotes economic development in our territory.

Mr. Speaker, the amended regulations came into effect yesterday and reflect current best practices for the primary agricultural activities currently found in the Northwest Territories. These amendments will apply not just to regular food establishments, like restaurants, but also to home food processors and farmers, as well as other operators wishing to grow and sell local, low-risk foods at venues such as farmers' and community markets, out of their home, or through farm gate.

Additional updates to the regulations have also been made to support food security. These include the ability for the Chief Public Health Officer to waive the payment of permit fees, extend durations for temporary permits, and exempt some permitting requirements for home food processors to make it easier to establish home-based food businesses.

Under these enhanced Public Health Act Regulations, current and prospective Northwest Territories food establishment operators will see a more streamlined permitting process. This will result in a clearer and more responsive application process for NWT vendors, which will better determine what type of permit is required. Resources and tools to help food operators navigate this new process are already available on the Department of Health and Social Services' website, and we hope this will make it easier for residents to sell locally grown, low-risk food at venues throughout the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health and Social Services will continue to work with partnering organizations and fellow departments to grow the Northwest Territories agriculture sector and lower the cost of living for Northwest Territories residents. Through the implementation of updated regulations and our environmental health units' routine food establishment inspections, we will continue to work towards increasing the availability of safe, locally grown food choices for our territory's residents. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 226-18(3): Minister Absent from the House August 16th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise the Members that the honourable Glen Abernethy will be absent from the House today due to illness. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 812-18(3): Country Food in Healthcare Facilities August 15th, 2019

Yes. The operational guidelines for serving traditional foods and NWT Health and Social facilities have been developed following the Indigenous foods program at the Whitehorse General Hospital. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 812-18(3): Country Food in Healthcare Facilities August 15th, 2019

Operational guidelines for serving traditional foods in Northwest Territories Health and Social Services facilities have been developed. Obviously, food safety has to be taken into consideration. These guidelines are being finalized and will be implemented this fall. Test sites, such as the Jimmy Erasmus Seniors' Home, have begun to tailor these guidelines in their facilities.