Legislative Assembly photo

Roles

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2019, as MLA for Great Slave

Won his last election, in 2015, with 79% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committee Motion 213-18(3): Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Amend Clause 1 to replace definition of "settlement Lands", Carried August 20th, 2019

I move that clause 1 of Bill 34 be amended by deleting the definition "settlement lands," and adding the following definition in alphabetical order:

"Settlement area" means:

(a) the area within the Northwest Territories as described in appendix A to the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement entered into between Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada and the Gwich'in, as represented by the Gwich'in Tribal Council, on April 22, 1992, as amended;

(b) the area within the Northwest Territories shown in annex A and described in annex A(1) of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement entered into between the Inuvialuit and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and the Government of Canada on June 5, 1984, as amended;

(c) the area within the Northwest Territories as described in appendix A to the Sahtu, Dene, and Metis Comprehensive Claim Agreement entered into between Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada and the Dene of Colville Lake, Deline, Fort Good Hope, and Fort Norman and the Metis of Fort Good Hope, Fort Norman, and Norman Wells, as represented by the Sahtu Tribal Council, on September 6, 1993, as amended;

(d) the area within the Northwest Territories described in parts 1 and 2 of the appendix of chapter 1 of the Land Claims and Self-government Agreement among the Tlicho and the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada signed on August 25, 2003, as amended; and

(e) other areas prescribed as settlement areas for the purposes of this act.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 212-18(3): Standing Committee on Economic Development and environment Report on the Review of Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - government Response to Recommendations, Carried August 20th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I have a number of motions to make on behalf of the Minister responsible. Shall I proceed with Motion 1? Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Tabled Document 507-18(3): Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 23-18(3): Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act August 20th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following document entitled "Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 23-18(3): Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act." Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 834-18(3): Yellowknife Adult Day Programming August 20th, 2019

I have been following this file closely. As I indicated, this survey will be completed by the end of this month. I have asked the department to have a summary ready for me to look at. That will probably be in September, at which point we can provide direction on how to move forward. I hope to do that in the life of this Assembly, but at the end of the day, the rollout will be in the next Assembly. Hopefully, there will be a program that meets their needs, meets the needs of this Assembly, meets the needs of the residents, early, very early, in the life of the next government. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 834-18(3): Yellowknife Adult Day Programming August 20th, 2019

Yes, there are dollars allocated for this program. We had, obviously, hoped that we would be able to deliver this program almost two years ago, but we have had difficulty getting interest in delivery, but yes, there is money in the budget for this service.

Question 834-18(3): Yellowknife Adult Day Programming August 20th, 2019

We have encouraged as many people as possible to fill out the survey. We are getting decent numbers at this point, but we need to see what we get by the end of the month. At this time, I would certainly like to take the opportunity to encourage everybody who hasn't to please get out and fill out that survey to help us design programs that will meet the needs of the residents of Yellowknife.

Question 834-18(3): Yellowknife Adult Day Programming August 20th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, the department is currently conducting a survey of potential stakeholders, potential clients, individuals who have an interest in this area, so that we can get a sense of what type of program the people and the seniors of Yellowknife really want with respect to an adult day program. That survey has gone out. We are shutting that survey down at the end of the month. I expect to have some results forwarded to me and shared with me by the department, at which point we will be able to give some direction on how to move forward.

Timing-wise, we will provide direction in this Assembly, but ultimately, it will be the next Assembly where this rolls out, but we will get that information by the end of the month. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 501-18(3): Northwest Territories Child and Family Services Quality Improvement Plan 2019-2021 August 19th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to table the following document entitled "The Northwest Territories Child and Family Services Quality Improvement Plan, 2019-2021." Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 232-18(3): Child and Family Services Quality Improvement Plan August 19th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I will be tabling the Child and Family Services Quality Improvement Plan. The Quality Improvement Plan sets out actions that we have been taking to address issues identified as part of our internal reviews, the 2018 Auditor General's Report, and from feedback from staff, standing committee, Indigenous governments, and other stakeholders throughout the system. Our number one priority is the safety and wellbeing of children and youth in our care, and this plan provides clear direction, priority areas, and actions for improving our child and family services system in order to achieve better outcomes for children, youth, and their families while ensuring our system operates in compliance with legislation.

The plan integrates four underlying strategic directions, enhancing a culture of quality, human resource planning, building staff capacity, and engagement, into 10 priority areas that the Department and Health and Social Services and health authorities have been focussing on to improve the child and family services system.

We have begun embedding quality improvements into the foundation of the child and family services system. Based on the new approach for quality improvement, planning, monitoring, and acting on the findings, we are establishing a culture of accountability and responsiveness.

Feedback from our stakeholders over the past several months, including a face-to-face meeting with Indigenous governments in May, helped reprioritize and refine the action items in this quality improvement plan. We have a total of 70 action items, of which 19 are completed and 51 are on track.

We have piloted enhanced investigation skills training in April to ensure staff have the skills needed to conduct critical interviews and investigations to better serve our children, youth, and families. We also developed an enhanced child and protection worker statutory core training program in May, which includes a partnership with the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation to enhance cultural safety. In June and July, the foundation delivered a full day of on-the-land learning experiences and facilitated in-person testimonial from a former youth in care.

Human resources planning is another strategic driver of the plan. To decrease the number of vacancies of Child and Family Services staff, we developed a comprehensive human resources recruitment and retention plan in May. We also acquired 21 new Child and Family Services positions in April that will help us address capacity and staffing challenges across the Northwest Territories. By reducing vacancies, staff will have smaller caseloads, which will allow them to provide better support to the children, youth, and families that they serve.

In February and April, refresher training on the four established Structured Decision Making® Tools was also provided to all supervisors and managers, and frontline staff in the Sahtu and the Beaufort-Delta, as well as the piloting of advanced interviewing training with 15 Child and Family Services staff.

An oversight mechanism for the practice of transferring guardianship was also established in April. This mechanism gives the statutory director increased oversight over the practice of transferring guardianship and ensures that files are reviewed and completed in a timely manner.

Quality improvement is a process, Mr. Speaker, and not an event. We have built flexibility into the plan to help make sure that we are on the right path, are adjusting our approach when needed, and are considering all options for success. The actions I have detailed are just some of the highlighted improvements that we have already made in the system since we began our work in developing the quality improvement plan. Many of the actions identified are ongoing to ensure that they are integrated and sustained into how we provide these important services, instead of simply becoming checkmarks on a list.

Mr. Speaker, transparency and partnership are the foundation of our quality improvement approach. To ensure that the public and key stakeholders are kept up-to-date on the progress on each of the action items identified in the plan, we have launched an online progress tracker that can be viewed on the Department of Health and Social Services' website. This tracker will be used to report regularly on how we are doing in meeting our improvement outcomes.

It is important to acknowledge that there is still a lot work to do on our quality improvement journey. The quality improvement plan is intended to be a living document that will allow us to continuously respond to, learn from, adjust, and improve our services to children and their families over the longer term.

To realize our goal of better outcomes for children, youth, and families, we will need the continued support and engagement of our partners to inform our quality improvements. Through ongoing engagement with frontline staff, Indigenous governments and organizations, the Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories, standing committees, key stakeholders and those in our care, we can ensure that we remain on the right path.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize and thank those who have contributed to the development and implementation of the quality improvement plan. This work is reflective of our staff as well as many stakeholders and partners who are deeply committed to improving outcomes for children, youth, and families, and is a commitment to working together to ensure the safety, well-being, and future successes of those in our care. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.