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In the Legislative Assembly


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was hay.
Historical Information Jane Groenewegen is no longer a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2015, as MLA for Hay River South

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Medical Travel Policy October 1st, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I’d like to talk again about our Medical Travel Policy and I’d like to provide an example of where I think there may be a gap.

A patient has been assessed by a doctor and it’s deemed they have to travel from one community to come to Yellowknife to have a procedure done

– it

could be any kind of procedure, it could be surgery – and it’s deemed that they need a non-medical escort. So, a friend or a family member is called upon to accompany that patient. But when they get to Yellowknife, they find out that the procedure or the treatment that’s planned is not available at that time. So, the escort is then left in the situation where the patient must stay but the escort needs to get back to their home and to their family.

I want to get to the bottom of a policy which, to me, seems very unfair. Someone, out of the goodness of their heart, agrees to accompany a patient to Yellowknife, finds out that the stay is going to be too long and they can’t stay for the duration. But when they want to go home, they get told by medical travel, “I’m sorry. If you’re not travelling home with the patient, you’re not eligible to have your cost covered.” I don’t think that’s right. I think it would discourage people from helping a friend who needed a medical escort.

I will, later today, be asking the Minister of Health and Social Services if he could clarify for us what the policy is in a situation like this. I mean, it’s very possible that the treatment or procedure that that patient was schedule for could get changed for some reason. It could be any number of reasons. If the patient is not sent back to their home community, what happens to the person who escorted them here when they need to return?

I think it may be potentially a gap in the system that needs to be addressed, and I’d like to question the Minister about it in question period. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 900-17(5): Disclosure Of Private Health Care Information To Approved Contacts September 30th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Could that also include provision for a patient to designate someone other than themselves as a decision-maker to work with the health care providers to make sure that list is comprehensive? So if the patients themselves are not capable of

providing that information, if they could be asked to confirm a designated decision-maker who could provide that list for the patient?

Question 900-17(5): Disclosure Of Private Health Care Information To Approved Contacts September 30th, 2015

I would further just like to ask the Minister, then, if he would ensure that there is consistency across the health authorities going forward and some mechanism that would remind patients or families of the need that if they want the information to be made available that they have to grant that authority or that approval in some form, maybe attached to the admission form, or some way, so that we don’t end up in the situation where someone is wanting to find out about something, which they rightfully probably should know and their parent or their loved one may want them to know.

Can we make sure that there is a formal system-wide process attached to this so that people are fully aware of it?

Question 900-17(5): Disclosure Of Private Health Care Information To Approved Contacts September 30th, 2015

For the benefit of patients and patient’s families, then, is there a protocol or any requirement on the part of people in admitting or people who are in administration on the front desk of a health care facility to advise a patient or a patient’s family that this list needs to be articulated and held by the people who might be in a position to give out information on that patient’s condition?

Question 900-17(5): Disclosure Of Private Health Care Information To Approved Contacts September 30th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The question I have today is for the Minister of Health and Social Services, and it may seem like a small issue, but it’s a very important issue when a family is in crisis and a loved one is in the care of a health care facility.

So, I’d like to ask the Minister of Health and Social Services if he is aware of a policy that would guide a health







administration when answering an inquiry about the condition of a patient. Let me give you an example. I recently had a constituent who was in the hospital who was nearing end of life, and her son called from another jurisdiction to inquire about his mother’s condition. When the person speaking on the phone checked the list

– which I wasn’t aware there was

such a thing

– this individual’s name was not on the

list, so they were notified, I’m sorry, your name is not on the approved list of people we can discuss your mother’s condition with. I’m bringing this up today because I know it seems like a small thing that I could just as easily ask you personally, but I want other people to be aware of it, too, who may be listening. If people are required to have a list of approved contacts when they are a patient in the hospital, it is very important for them to know that, because, like I say, the family could be in great strife or stress.

I’d like to ask the Minister, is he aware of the policy of the health care facilities with respect to providing information to people calling to inquire about family members. Thank you.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery September 30th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize two Pages from Hay River South who have been working in the Chamber for us all week. They are two fine gentlemen, Ethan Schofield and Matthew Lafferty. Say hello to them if you get a chance to. Thank you.

Flexibility In The Delivery Of Government Of The Northwest Territories Programs September 30th, 2015

Implementing too much discretionary latitude can also be a slippery slope, as we know. But surely we, as a government, committed to our goals and stated priorities, could find a way to expeditiously deal with these situations that arise. I know it sounds like the job of an ombudsman, but for now it remains the domain of MLAs advocating for constituents and Ministers and their staff using their time to consider these things on a case-by-case basis sometimes with positive outcomes, but often with unnecessary stress to everyone concerned. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Flexibility In The Delivery Of Government Of The Northwest Territories Programs September 30th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We have stated goals and initiatives of this government. For example, educating people. To that end, we boast the best SFA, student financial assistance, system in the country.

We have a stated goal of increasing the population of the NWT by 2,000 people. These are well-known goals and strategies that we work and expend resources to advance. However, every day we hear of anomalies, contradictions and decisions based on policy that fly in the face of these goals. I believe in rules and transparencies, but sometimes our policies lack discretion and common sense in applying these policies in real life situations.

This week in the House, my colleague from Hay River North shared the story of a constituent, born, raised and educated in the NWT, moving south for a period of time and upon return to enroll in northern post-secondary program with support of SFA is required to re-establish residency for a whole year

with no regard for their lifelong residency in the North. The message is don’t come home, don’t pursue higher education.

It’s well known that young people often decide to work or travel between high school and post- secondary education. Could there not be some accommodation for that reality?

Then there’s the single parent in public housing who goes south to educational opportunities to improve their life. They come home for the summer no longer eligible for any housing support because technically doesn’t conform to the residency requirement. Why come home?

Then there’s the single parent in social housing who proudly sends their child off to university and when the student returns home to work for the summer to make money to go back to school, they land a job and mom’s rent goes up to reflect that temporary increase in household income and then mom has no choice but to get their son or daughter to take those needed earnings to contribute to pay for the increased rent. Welcome home, Mr. Speaker.

Then there’s the income support client with a disability who gets financial support and contributes to the expense of the family that cares for them. The disabled client gets a GIC cheque and fails to disclose it, interrupting the benefit that they received. Those same benefits that help their family support them in their private accommodation, probably avoiding a very expensive care and support that would otherwise be provided to government service and agencies.

Mr. Speaker, I know we need rules. I know the staff on the front-line positions managing these programs are only doing their jobs in compliance with those rules and implementing too much discretionary latitude can also be a slippery slope.

I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights September 29th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Of course, I recognize that we’re nearing the end of our terms here and this is not something that’s going to happen in this Assembly and the 17th Assembly, but if the Minister could commit to working with the Minister of Justice even in the remaining days here to at least begin the research and interjurisdictional research into what is happening in other jurisdictions in Canada, perhaps we could then get a fresh start in the 18th Assembly

in looking at implementing that so that our legislation is keeping up with other places in Canada with respect to grandparents.

Question 897-17(5): NWT Grandparents’ Rights September 29th, 2015





in Canada today in my Member’s






grandparents and clearly give them opportunities to pursue their rights.

Will the Department of Health and Social Services look at that new and emerging legislation in other jurisdictions and consider amendments to the Children’s Law Act to formally recognize grandparents in territorial family law?