YELLOWKNIFE (March 10, 2014) – The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has redesigned its Graduate Internship Program to provide recent NWT graduates with improved career development options by better aligning opportunities in the public service with the studies and aspirations of young Northerners.
“We know many northern students want to work for the GNWT and changing our internship requirements offers new graduates better and longer opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and experience to more easily transition into the GNWT,” said Minister of Human Resources Tom Beaulieu. “By linking Internship placements with GNWT occupational shortages, we are gaining the valuable technical and specialized skills the GNWT requires.”Read More
Mr. Speaker, jobs for Northerners are a priority of all Members of this Assembly. For the Government of the Northwest Territories, the NWT Public Service Strategic Plan and the Workforce Planning Strategy provide multi-pronged approaches to build capacity through recruitment, development and retention. I would like to provide Members an update on some of these initiatives being led by the Department of Human Resources.
Partnering with Aboriginal and community governments through secondment opportunities to build capacity is a win-win. Secondments provide employees with the opportunity to become familiar with other government structures and processes. They also allow employees to gain new knowledge and skills and help form valuable contacts and relationships. As of January 2014, five GNWT employees are on secondment to Aboriginal and community governments, and one is on secondment to an Aboriginal association.
We are also very encouraged by the recent initiative with the Gwich’in Tribal Council to work together on designing a pilot program for internships and secondments to build capacity in Gwich’in communities. The Department of Human Resources and the Gwich’in Tribal Council are currently working on Terms of Reference, and will start work on program details in 2014-2015. Other Aboriginal governments may want to consider similar models. During 2013-14, the GNWT hired 22 northern graduates as interns through the Graduate Internship Program. We currently have 12 apprentices.
Mr. Speaker, the GNWT, like many other employers, is facing both current and future occupational shortages and it is recognized that our northern students and graduates can meet some of the demand. I am pleased to announce that existing student and youth programs have changed to more strongly correlate the opportunities in the public service with the studies and aspirations of young Northerners.Read More
Mr. Speaker, we are making the final preparations for our new Med-Response clinical support line for community health workers. This innovative project is a priority in the Department of Health and Social Services strategic plan and advances the 17th Legislative Assembly’s goal of ensuring a fair and sustainable health care system. It uses technology to connect people with services and it will be an important part of our effective, efficient health system.
The new Med-Response service will provide community health care workers throughout all Northwest Territories regions with a single phone number to call for emergency clinical support.
We have not had a system-wide approach to dealing with emergencies. When there is an emergency situation in a community, the local health care professionals may currently call their regional facility, or they may contact the emergency room physicians at Stanton Territorial Hospital or the Inuvik Hospital.
Mr. Speaker, the new Med-Response service will guarantee, community health care staff access to immediate support.
Dedicated clinical staff will respond to calls 24-hours a day to help community health practitioners stabilize critical patients. They will assess patients and dispatch medevac flights quickly when needed.Read More
YELLOWKNIFE (March 10, 2014) – Yellowknife Catholic Schools (YCS) will see an expansion of their Dô Edàezhe Program through the Education Renewal and Innovation initiative (ERI). Dô Edàezhe was developed to address concerns for YCS students that were disengaged from their schools, at risk of or already dropping out, and facing other challenges in their lives.
“The Yellowknife Catholic Schools Dô Edàezhe program was designed to develop resiliency and leadership skills in at-risk youth and has succeeded in meeting many of its goals,” said Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Jackson Lafferty. “One of the core commitments of ERI is addressing student wellness, and we have seen much more engaged, attentive and confident students emerging from this Dô Edàezhe program over the past five years.”Read More
Mr. Speaker, the Mackenzie Valley Winter Road continues to serve our territory as a seasonal solution to community resupply and economic development. Today, this road is more important than ever as industry prepares to tap into the enormous resource potential in the Mackenzie Valley.
Increased traffic along the Mackenzie Valley winter road due to industry activities means increased maintenance requirements for the Department of Transportation. During this time, the safety of the travelling public is the Department’s first priority.
Mr. Speaker, education, awareness, and outreach are important to fostering a safe environment. The Department of Transportation seeks to ensure that commercial vehicles are prepared for the unique conditions of winter road travel. A document entitled The Mackenzie Valley Winter Road System 2013-14: Safety and Reliability for the Public and for Industry has been distributed for this very purpose and is available on the DOT website. This document provides commercial carriers with speed limits, vehicle regulations, contact numbers for emergencies and road reports, and detailed maps for their travels.Read More
Mr. Speaker, cancer rates have increased slightly over the last few years. Even one case affects dozens of people. Cancer Sharing Circles have been held in Fort Good Hope, Fort Resolution and Fort Liard to share information, facilitate dialogue and inform the development of local action plans to address this important issue. The Cancer Sharing Circles showed us that we need to do more work on the services available for cancer patients and their families. Our smoking and drinking rates remain too high, and further improvements are needed with regard to healthy eating.
We have a number of initiatives that prevent cancer, including nutrition programs and anti-tobacco campaigns targeting schools across the NWT. We have made a lot of progress in our fight against cancer. We are able to better treat it and through early screening and detection, more and more people are surviving this disease.Read More
Mr. Speaker, our legal aid program is one of the best in the country. We are pleased that the Department of Justice and the Legal Services Board have expanded their scope of coverage to provide legal support for civil law matters through the services of a Legal Aid Outreach Lawyer. We realize people in need require additional support to deal with family or other civil law matters to reach their full potential.
Mr. Speaker, the Legal Services Board started the Legal Aid Outreach Program as a pilot project in 2010, and it has run continually since that time. Outreach services address legal issues that can affect someone’s livelihood, physical or mental health It’s a streamlined, simplified service that provides direct support and appropriate referrals.
These services may be accessed by anyone in several ways. In Yellowknife, clinics are run every Tuesday for anyone who needs to receive some free basic legal advice. Additionally, the Legal Aid Outreach lawyer travels to NWT communities in order to allow people to have access to justice through clinics or information sessions.
The Legal Aid Outreach lawyer helps residents with issues relating to employment and disabilities, preparation of wills, housing and landlord-tenant disputes, mental health and guardianship applications as well as child protection and elder abuse.Read More
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Auditor General of Canada’s report on Child and Family Services was tabled in this House. The Auditor General’s findings indicate that the health and social services system is not adequately meeting its key responsibilities for the protection and well-being of children, youth and families. This is a serious concern for all of us.
The conclusions in the report confirm the findings of the 16th Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Social Programs’ review of the Child and Family Services Act. As a participant in that review, I care deeply about ensuring that we take aggressive action to improve our supports to children and families. The Department has accepted all of the Auditor General’s recommendations, and in many cases work has already begun. Although the Auditor General’s findings tell us that we have not made enough progress, nor moved fast enough, there has in fact been substantial foundational work already done to respond to the 16th Assembly’s report.Read More
YELLOWKNIFE (March 4 2014) –Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy has accepted all recommendations from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) Report on Child and Family Services. “The wellbeing of children and families is a priority for the Government of the Northwest Territories,” said Minister Abernethy.
The OAG undertook a review of Child and Family Services in the Northwest Territories. The OAG Audit was to determine whether the Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) and HSS Authorities adequately met their key responsibilities for the protection and wellbeing of children, youth and their families.
Eleven recommendations were made by the Auditor General which pointed to a number of deficiencies in the management of child protection. “Since assuming the Health and Social Services portfolio, I have directed the department to take aggressive action on issues identified by the Standing Committee on Social Programs during the 16thLegislative Assembly,” said Minister Abernethy. “The recommendations of the OAG confirm that we are moving in the right direction to reform the system in the best interests of our children.”Read More
YELLOWNIFE (March 4, 2014) – Environment and Natural Resources Minister J. Michael Miltenberger has listed the polar bear as a species of special concern and the boreal caribou, Peary caribou and the hairy braya as threatened species in the Northwest Territories (NWT).
The four are the first species to be placed on the NWT List of Species at Risk, established under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act.
“Listing a species means a management plan or recovery strategy must be completed to ensure it persists in the Northwest Territories,” said Minister Miltenberger. “Designations of these species are informed by independent assessments done by the NWT Species at Risk Committee (SARC) and follow consensus agreements from the Conference of Management Authorities.”Read More