Thursday, April 20, 1989 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors?
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Ms. Kassi: I would like to ask all the Members to join me in welcoming to the House today the grade 11 students from FH Collins and their teacher, Mrs. Tomlinson. Mrs. Tomlinson used to be my teacher in FH Collins and is now teaching my son, Darius. Welcome.
Speaker: Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have a couple of returns in answer to questions asked by Members opposite.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have one Legislative Return for tabling on the subject of the elk bull hunt.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Introduction of Bills?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 70 - Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that Bill No. 70, entitled An Act to Amend the Insurance Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 70, entitled An Act to Amend the Insurance Act, be now read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading agreed to
Bill No. 79: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that Bill No. 79, entitled An Act To Amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 79, entitled An Act To Amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices for Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Substance-free High School Graduation Festivities
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am very pleased to rise today to announce this governments support for the FH Collins substance free graduation, or dry grad, which is being organized by the parents, students, and staff of FH Collins High School.
The idea of formally promoting and organizing substance-free graduation festivities has grown out of the experience of the past few years. In the past, graduation parties have been organized that tolerated the consumption of alcohol, but these events tended to draw in far more people than just graduating students, and they often resulted in injury to people and property.
In order to provide alternatives to the bush parties that usually take place, a group of concerned individuals including students, school staff, and parents have come together this year to plan a variety of different kinds of graduation functions.
The dry grad activities that have been planned include pre-grad barbeques, one for the girls and one for the boys, to replace the traditional hen and stag parties which often involved heavy substance abuse. There are also plans for an all-night movies night at the Twins Cinema.
For the formal graduation party on June 24, a dinner/dance is being organized that will be hosted by Terry David Mulligan, will feature a southern band, and will be broadcast on the Much Music television channel at a later date. The dinner/dance will be followed by a pancake breakfast hosted by the Whitehorse Knights of Columbus.
The various people involved in planning the dry grad have approached a wide variety of business, government and community sources to request funds and other support for the dry grad, and the response has been positive. The Department of Education has itself allocated a total of $7,000 toward the fund for the dry grad, and I know other government departments, especially Justice, are also involved in this undertaking.
It is hoped the funds generated this year for the dry grad will include an amount that will be carried over to support more dry grads in years to come.
It is time to make responsible change, and the dry grad functions will provide responsible and fun ways for students to celebrate their graduation without the presence of alcohol.
This government hopes for the success of this endeavour. Graduation, and a return to alcohol-free festivities to accompany graduation, are both worth celebrating. I salute all those people who are contributing towards this worthwhile goal.
Mr. Devries: I am very pleased to have the opportunity to respond to this ministerial statement. I myself belong the Alcohol and Drug Task Force Committee in Watson Lake so that subject area is of great interest to me.
Last year my daughter and her fellow students were involved in organizing an alcohol and drug free grad in Watson Lake. Our little community took a great deal of pride in the positive response and results of this graduation ceremony.
I have watched the newspaper articles and radio reports leading up to this memorable event. It has not been without controversy. But the drive by the students to better themselves has persevered. I am pleased to see the Department of Education and other departments encouraging alcohol-free activities.
At this time I wish to congratulate the students, student council, parents and all the others involved. Congratulations on this sober effort. May this be the beginning of even better things to come.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is also my pleasure to officially acknowledge the 25th anniversary of the implementation of the Apprentice Training Act. Since 1964 the Apprentice Training Program has been successfully serving Yukoners and Yukon industry as a vital means of skill development. It stands as excellent example of industry and government working together towards a common goal. It has benefited Yukoners throughout the territorys labour market.
The Apprenticeship Program in the Yukon has seen significant growth in recent years. Thirty-three trades now train apprentices in the territory.
The Yukon government has supported this growth through the Apprentice Incentive Marketing Program. This program injects $100,000 a year into the private sector to develop training positions and the In-house Apprenticeship Training Program, which maintains quality training within the Yukon public sector.
A working committee comprised of an apprentice advisory board and some trade advisory committee members has been struck to assist the department in promoting a greater awareness of apprenticeship programming in the Yukon. Because of the input of this committee, a number of excellent initiatives are now in the planning stage.
The success of the Apprentice Training Program would not have been possible without the commitment and participation of Yukon employers and employees. They both must be commended for their contributions to this program. It stands second to none in quality and acceptance across Canada.
Yukon apprentices have, in many of the trades designated, achieved among the best results in Canada in the inter-provincial red seal standard examinations. As part of our ongoing commitment to the Red Seal Program, the Yukon will be hosting the Inter-provincial Standard Co-ordinating Committee this May in Whitehorse. The slogan used to promote apprenticeship in the Yukon states Apprenticeship works right here. The excellent Yukon tradespeople trained through the Yukon Apprenticeship Program and working in the Yukon and throughout Canada are living testimony to that statement.
To help mark the 25th anniversary of the Apprentice Training Act, a package of promotional material has been produced. It is my pleasure to provide all the Members with a 25th anniversary lapel pin and button.
Speaker: This, then, brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Alaska Highway pipeline
Mr. Phelps: I have a question to the Minister of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business with respect to the ministerial statement on the export of natural gas from Canada, as set out in this House a couple of days ago. That statement said the governments view was that the Alaska Highway gas pipeline, together with the Dempster lateral gas pipeline, is the most appropriate option at this time for the transportation of natural gas reserves from the North Slope of Alaska and Canadas Mackenzie Delta and Beaufort Sea regions. It said support for the Dempster lateral would be contingent upon a favourable environmental impact assessment, which could ensure construction without detrimental effect on the winter range of the Porcupine caribou herd, for example.
Did the government or its officials consult with the Porcupine Caribou Herd Management Board before making this statement?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Because of the general nature of the proposition and the policy that was being set forward, I do not believe consultation took place. I may be wrong, but I can have that matter checked.
Mr. Phelps: On the face of it, there seems to be a contradiction between the governments position and the position of the people of Old Crow. Has the government held any public meetings or discussed the issue of the Dempster lateral with the Old Crow people?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The assumption that there is a contradiction is something that is worth pursuing. The issue of contradictions is more a matter of a difference in perspective than anything else. The Government of Yukon has taken as its first priority that there should be no development of transportation infrastructure for oil or gas on the North Slope of the Yukon. While we are quite aware of our position with respect to oil development in ANWR, we feel that with environment being a top priority, no development should take place on the North Slope.
We had given conditional very conditional support of a Dempster lateral only because we were concerned about the potential of a transportation corridor being created on the North Slope.
We have not had a chance to have community discussions with respect to this matter, because the time constraints did not permit it to happen. However, I am sure community consultation will take place with respect to any details of the position in the weeks to come.
Mr. Phelps: I certainly hope so. There will be thorough consultation. Aside from community consultation, has there been any consultation with the officials of the three Yukon bands that are vitally interested in the Porcupine caribou herd: the Old Crow Band, the Dawson Band and the Mayo Band?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No. Largely because of the general nature of the position, we believe it is not required. We made a general statement that the Porcupine caribou herd should be protected at all costs. Our support for the Dempster lateral was conditional on there being no danger to the migration of the herd.
The specifics of any transportation issue would come up for more thorough discussion during hearings that are presumably conducted by the National Energy Board. That would be dealing more exclusively with those transportation issues. We do have the opportunity, in the months and years ahead, to analyze the appropriate position for the Yukon and for the various regions within the Yukon in order to present a thorough case for the National Energy Board when it conducts hearings respecting the transportation of northern gas.
Question re: Alaska Highway pipeline
Mr. Phelps: I am a little surprised at the lack of consultation at this stage by this government with the people who are so vitally interested. The statement goes on on page 4 under clause 6, Further oil and gas development occurs only after a Yukon final land claims settlement is signed and in place. Is the government including pipeline construction under the umbrella of further oil and gas development?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Let me respond to that. I take it to be fundamental that unless and until the land claims of the affected people are settled, they would not even be considering the possibility of such developments.
Mr. Phelps: Has the government consulted with the land claims people representing the Indian bands and CYI in developing this position?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Let us be clear that at this point. We are asked to take a position on the question of an export license on the gas in the Beaufort Sea, something that everybody including the former Justice Berger indicates is something that is bound to happen sooner or later. In furtherance to that decision made by the NEB, we have speculated about the transportation routes and indicated our preferences in that regard. This is an initial response by this government to a major question for the NEB. It certainly is not the totality nor, I suspect, even the beginning of the kind of dialogue we want to have with people in all the communities about these questions in the next few years.
Mr. Phelps: Has the government a condition in its policy regarding the construction of gas pipelines that would tell us at what stage land claims would have to be to allow construction to begin?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is the view of this government that land claims settlements would have to be final. In that respect, we have a substantial agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories but a substantial disagreement with Mr. Gruben of the COPE.
Question re: Lot sales
Mr. Lang: I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. Last summer, a land lottery was held to dispose of lots at the Robinson subdivision. At that time, those who were fortunate enough to get a lot were told that mortgages would be made available when they wished to start building. Since that time, people who have applied for mortgages have been told that they are not eligible because of the conditions applied by the government with respect to the disposal of the land. Can the Minister explain to this House why, a year later, we find that these lots are not eligible for mortgage financing, especially when the purchasers were told initially that mortgage financing would be made available?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am somewhat familiar with the issue the Member raises. I have had communication with a number of residents on the issue. It is my understanding that discussions have taken place with the bank and that there is a tentative resolution to the matter. In fact, members of the lands branch have proposed a further meeting with the residents on May 1 to address the issue in detail and explain how mortgage financing can be secured.
Mr. Lang: At least 16 property owners signed a letter to the Minister; it was sent approximately one month ago. One of the requests was that the building requirement in the agreement be removed. Is the government going to do that?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The conditions relating to the acquisition of the lots in the Robinson subdivision are not any different than land sales in the past. The provisions that are applied to equity earnings and land costs are identical to provisions previously made by the government. Once the May meeting is held, many of these concerns will be discussed and resolved.
Mr. Lang: I think the Minister has to clarify his position on that, because it depends on what type of land is being disposed of. The only other property that has been disposed of in this manner, in my understanding, is the Mendenhall subdivision in which, in some cases, individuals have experienced the same problem of not getting mortgage financing. I would like to ask the Minister to clarify this. One of the caveats on getting this land is a building requirement. Why is a building requirement required for this type of land to be disposed of as opposed to, for example, the Granger subdivision where there are no building requirements?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is asking a specific question relating to a building requirement, and I am sure he is aware that that was used in quite a number of other land sales. It was used in Mary Lake; it was used in Riverdale, Block 275; it was used, as he points out, in Mendenhall and in the Robinson properties. The 10 year agreements that were struck required building provision in the first five years to speak to the issue of land lot shortages.
Question re: Lot sales
Mr. Lang: The initial question I asked was what one of the requests by the people in the area was: Would the government remove the building requirement?
He still has not answered the question. Is the government prepared to remove it in view of the difficulty that they have experienced unbeknownst to themselves when they first purchased the lots?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I think the Member is making an incorrect assumption that it is impossible to acquire financing under provisions that have been placed on those particular lot sales. I have indicated to him already that discussions have taken place with the banks. There is a meeting being lined up with the residents on May 1, and I think the assumption that mortgage financing cannot be secured will be proven to be false, and it will be explained in detail.
Mr. Lang: I find this very surprising because I have had some initial discussions with at least one bank on the subject and, to my knowledge, this has not been clarified. Perhaps the Minister is getting his information from elsewhere, but I have talked to at least one bank and I am led to believe that that is not the case.
The major problem, the way I understand it, is the question of the surcharge, and the complication is in the fact that title cannot be issued until the surcharge has either been paid or it has run its course. One of the requests, the major request by the residents of this area, is that the requirement of the surcharge...
Speaker: Would the Member please get to his supplementary question.
Mr. Lang: Yes, I am, Mr. Speaker. ... be removed in view of the fact that this is the major stumbling block for getting mortgage financing. Is the government going to remove the requirement of the surcharge?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The removal of the surcharge is not contemplated at this time because it is not necessary. The residents of the Robinson subdivision have written to me and essentially identified two issues. One of the issues relates to the building requirement within five years. In respect of that it is clear from our information that we, as government, will be waiving the building requirement should there be a requirement for foreclosure by the banks, meaning that financing can be secured.
The second issue relates to the unearned equity that the Member mentions in that it has to be paid before title will raised. Again, it is a simple matter of the rules that were applied in a number of other developments. The equity must be paid by the lender at any time that a foreclosure is put in place.
Mr. Lang: Perhaps we could ask the Minister what he is going to recommend in place of removing the surcharge, which is the major legal stumbling block to financing. If that is not going to be eliminated, is it the position of the government that it will offer another option, such as perhaps loan guarantees or, for example, go through all the very costly financial costs of arranging another type of mortgage with the banks? That is the other option, as I understand it.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I think the Member is confusing a couple of issues here. One relates to the business of securing mortgage financing under terms of the existing deal for the land. My information is that that can be provided and that, with respect to the issue of title, we are prepared to waive that requirement on foreclosure.
I have just sent everyone a letter inviting them to the May 1 meeting in which the details of the problems and issues they raised will be explained by my officials. Perhaps I will attend as well to ensure that there is a clear understanding of things. I do not believe that the problem exists as either the Member describes or the residents anticipated. From the discussions my branch has had with the banks, we seem to have a resolution.
Question re: Lot sales
Mr. Lang: I hope we have a resolution but I just want to say to the Minister that I am not just picking this issue up out of thin air. I just had a number of people in my office this morning raising very serious questions about pieces of property they feel they have purchased under false pretenses, and that they were told they could get mortgage financing and are finding that they cannot.
The reality of the situation is that we are going into a building season. May 1 is almost late spring. Also, I want to point out that another real problem these people are facing is a question of power. There is a sub-station there presently that can supply power to them if they wish it but if they continue to be stalled it could be used for something else, and another costly sub-station may have to be brought in, which will affect their costs as well.
I would like to ask the Minister if he is expecting at that first meeting that there will be a resolution so that these people will have direct access to bank financing or is there going to be another question of options, then a discussion, and then the people have to wait to see what they can do?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The earned equity provisions of the Robinson land sales, as well as the building requirements, are identical to a number of other developments that have been put on the market in the past. I have just sent a letter to all residents who have written to me outlining the detail of how those provisions in the Robinson sales are identical to previous land sales and how financing is applicable and how earned equity must be paid out. Certainly, as the Member understands, the earned equity is something that is at a reducing balance as years go by and is something that you cannot, just out of the thin air, eliminate. It is something that must be paid out or earned. I have called the residents to a meeting and will be addressing these issues in detail, and I foresee no major problem.
Mr. Lang: I hope the Minister is right. Could the Minister provide this House with a copy of the letter he just referred to, so we are fully apprised of what the position of the government is?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: That is no problem. I am sure I can provide it.
Question re: Interest on lot sales
Mr. Nordling: With respect to lot sales, one of my constituents called and told me he has an agreement for sale with the Yukon government for his lot in Porter Creek C and is paying 12 percent interest. He heard people buying the lots in the Granger subdivision were going to be charged nine and three-quarter percent interest. Could the Minister of Community and Transportation Services tell this House if that is happening?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not know if that is happening. I can give the undertaking to look into that.
Mr. Nordling: Is there a policy with respect to interest that is charged by the government on these lot sales?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would expect that certain rules relative to financing apply. I do not know chapter and verse. I would give the Member the undertaking to provide that as well.
Question re: Squatter Review Panel,land claims
Mr. Phillips: With respect to the squatter applications that were brought before the Squatter Review Panel referred to land claims, in particular applications in the Whitehorse area from the residents on the east side of the Yukon River. These squatters are on what is considered to be community lands and are in an area that is under dispute by the Kwanlin Dun and the new Taan Dun Band. On February 20, 1989, the two bands and Yukon government officials were to meet to resolve the issue. I understand the meeting did not take place, leaving my constituents uncertain about their status. Can the Minister responsible for land claims tell this House why they did not meet?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have not been briefed as to the reason why the meeting referred to by the Member opposite did not take place. It is my understanding that our officials were charged with the responsibility of trying to work out the situation and come to some agreement with respect to these lands that are under dispute. I will have to take the question as notice and report back to the Member as to the reason why the meeting he described did not happen.
Mr. Phillips: Is it the position of the government that these residents qualify under the Squatters Review Panel process and that, pending resolution by the two bands on whose area this is, they will get approved? When does the Minister feel this may happen?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If the land is under claim, the ability to pursue the application in the squatter review process is not there, which is why we are trying to resolve the matter in the manner described earlier.
Mr. Phillips: Does the land claims department have a written or verbal position from the two bands in question, laying out their position on the squatters referred to land claims by the Squatter Review Panel in the Whitehorse area? Could the Minister provide us with a copy of that written or verbal position?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will report back to the Member what I can. There are perhaps hundreds of cases where there are specific land questions about which there may be competing interests. It is not likely that the land claims department has a policy that is specific to each of those cases, but I will endeavour to come back to the House and describe for the Member the process by which we hope to help resolve some of those situations.
Question re: Squatters Review Panel, land claims
Mr. Brewster: My question is to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services.
On April 17 I raised a question regarding 60 squatters applications that had been reported to the land claim negotiation and the Minister promised to get back to me. Can the Minister advise the House if it is the Government of Yukons policy to afford protection to these applicants as a third-party interest in the land claim negotiations?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is my understanding that each application that goes to the land claims table is dealt with on its own merits. The squatters do not have priority rights over land claim rights.
Mr. Brewster: I have one constituent who has been trying to obtain title to his land for the last 12 years and he is paying taxes to the Yukon government. Would the Minister advise the House what criteria, if any, is being applied so that this individual may obtain his land?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As the Member knows, the squatter program policy indicates that not only do squatters not have third-party rights with respect to land claims, but that it would be the job of the land claims table to try to resolve each and every case. It has always been the case that squatters have been charged property tax, as they do hold property in the Yukon. It has not in the past, and certainly not now, afforded them the right to the land on which the property sits. Every effort has been made, not only within the policy but by lands negotiators, given the heavy schedule they have, to try to resolve every individual squatter claim that may be located on selected lands.
Mr. Brewster: As I stated, one of my constituents has been waiting for 12 years, and many others have been waiting longer. Can the Minister advise this House when this process will be completed so they will finally know where they stand?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have made considerable progress in trying to resolve the squatter situation in the last four years. I have many squatters in my constituency who have been waiting longer than the people referred to by the Member opposite. In fact I do not think anything substantial was done until the last couple of years. There are negotiations around the land claims process that are now going on, and we hope to resolve many, if not all, of these issues in the next few months and years, and I hope that the situation of the constituent of the Member opposite will be resolved soon too, and that he will not have to wait 12 more years.
Question re: Land applications
Mr. Phelps: I have a couple of questions for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services once again with regard to the thorny question of land applications and the way the government has been handling them.
A couple of years ago the Ministers predecessor read into the record a new policy on land that was called the code of fair practices, or charter of rights, or something, for those having outstanding land applications in the huge mill that grinds so slowly. The code, or whatever it was called, included provisions for appeals to the Minister from the decision-making tribunals by the individual who had submitted an application. Would the Minister be able to provide me with the number of appeals that have actually been taken from the bureaucracy to the Minister under that new policy, and how many appeals were successful? This would not have to be provided today.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The provision for land applicants to be able to review their files and be treated with more justice than was provided previously is called the Code of Fair Practice. I recall it quite vividly.
The Member raises the question of the number of appeals that have taken place. I am sure information is available and I will undertake to have that researched. I am sure the outcome is also available.
Mr. Phelps: That information will be welcomed by me and a number of my constituents. All of them are frustrated with the way their cases and applications have been handled by the department. In fact, I have 15 or 20 outstanding files at any given time. The workload never seems to diminish. It stays constant. Are any new steps being taken to speed up the process for getting agricultural land out to the people?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The issue has been raised in the House before. The advice that I gave was that we are currently in the process of reviewing and preparing a new agriculture policy. That is being done in conjunction with my colleague, the Minister for Renewable Resources. Within that policy, there are suggestions for a more streamlined process for land applications. There are some discussions taking place with the agricultural community and the YLA. The short answer is yes, we are contemplating steps to speed up the application process.
Mr. Phelps: To my constituency, the critical area is that which is included within the Hootalinqua North land claim area. Can the Minister assure me that the draft Hootalinqua North plan is not being used by his officials as an excuse for not processing outstanding applications?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I think I can give the Member that assurance. The Hootalinqua North plan is presently in a holding pattern. There is an outstanding commitment to complete some consultations, which I intend to do. I dread the prospect of making any commitments. The business of applying the plan to existing applications is not affecting current applications in process. There is a freeze on new applications in the area under review. The short answer to the Members question is to say that information that has come about as a result of the plan is taken into account.
Question re: Hootalinqua North plan
Mr. Phelps: Well, a lot of people live in the Hootalinqua North area who are starting to feel that the hidden agenda of some of the officials is simply not to process the outstanding applications because they want to see the plan come into effect and be applied. I wonder if the Minister would take steps to follow up on this and give instructions that the Hootalinqua North plans should not have any bearing on these outstanding agricultural applications.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I certainly will have a discussion with officials on the subject. I am sure the Member realizes that, in a planning exercise, a consultation takes place and a plan is just that. It sets a guideline for a development and activity. I trust the Member is not suggesting that we should just completely disregard a planning exercise and ignore some useful information that it may generate?
To answer his question specifically, certainly I will undertake to review with officials that no applications are being held up as a result of the plan. That was not my understanding when I raised it a month ago.
Mr. Phelps: Well, it is an issue of concern and there is a new problem with the distinction the Minister is making, because it is one thing when you have some soils information that you have had before and you have to use it in processing the application. It is quite another if the applications were in a long time ago in an area and all of a sudden the plan is going to designate it as small holdings or something. That is the issue; what the draft plan would designate the area ought to have no bearing. That is the message I would like the Minister to reinforce to his officials.
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary question?
Mr. Phelps: Will he do that?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I stand to be corrected, but it is my understanding that in the development of the plan, the outstanding applications on land, the conflicting uses, the potential use of an area as recognized by existing applications, was taken into account in the development of a plan so it would appear to me that if an area is designated small holdings, it ought not to have any outstanding applications on it, but I stand to be corrected on that point.
Yes, I will undertake to review the points the Member raises about applications with respect to the Hootalinqua North plan.
Question re: Whitehorse General Hospital governance
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Human Resources regarding the governance of the Whitehorse General Hospital. A contract was awarded for $8,650 over four months to prepare a paper on governance of the Whitehorse General Hospital. I asked the Minister in the House on April 13 when a decision would be made with respect to the operations of the hospital and he replied that it would be at least three more months. I would like to ask the Minister just where this report is that was done?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not know. I did not say it would be at least three more months. I said it would be within three months. It may be sooner than the outer limit I suggested, in an effort to be conservative, about my estimate.
Mrs. Firth: Nevertheless, it is going to be about seven months in total just to get the paper together to make the decision.
Has the Minister seen the report?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I may have seen work based on the report. I have had recommendations, proposals and documents presented to me by officials in the department, which I have been studying and I am beginning to make recommendations about. We will not be in a position to announce any decisions about the governance of the hospital until such time as we have a Cabinet decision.
Mrs. Firth: Have the federal counterparts he is going to be negotiating with seen the report?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am not sure what the Member opposite means by federal counterparts. My federal counterpart, Mr. Beatty, has almost certainly not seen the report, but we are working very closely with federal officials based in Whitehorse. I would be somewhat surprised if there is anything of consequence we are doing in this area that they do not know about.
Question re: Whitehorse General Hospital governance
Mrs. Firth: Obviously, they have not seen the report. This is a very critical and important decision that has to be made regarding the governance of the hospital. It will determine how the staff are counselled when it comes to the transfer of the hospital services.
What is the holdup? Why has it not even gone to Cabinet yet, if it was done some four months ago?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sure the Member opposite knows a report on a subject like that does not constitute a Cabinet submission or a Cabinet decision. I have not been the Minister for four months. I did not say the report had to go to Cabinet. I said the decision about the hospital governance had to be made by Cabinet. Once it is made by Cabinet, it will be announced.
Mrs. Firth: Where is the report? Who is going to use the report we have paid for? What seems to be the holdup? The staff cannot be properly counselled until they know whether their boss is going to be a board or YTG. There is the potential they may have to start the negotiations all over again.
What is the report going to be used for? Why can Cabinet not just make a decision, if they have this information that has been done over the last four months?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sure the Member does not mean to, but the Member has an unfortunate tendency to suggest that Cabinet, in some cavalier way, can make quick and easy decisions about matters that are extraordinarily complex. There are a number of different models by which hospitals can be governed and are operated throughout this continent. There are advantages and disadvantages to many of the different models. There are labour relations implications for different models, and there are questions of successor rights for different bargaining agents that are involved in the consideration of the different models.
The decision is not one that can be made in a flash. The recommendations going to Cabinet will be made after proper consideration by the responsible Minister. A decision will be made by Cabinet and announced following that.
Mrs. Firth: I realize the Minister has a very complicated life and a very complex life but the concern here is for the staff who are being counseled. Their lives are very complicated too. I would like to ask the Minister if the counseling services that are being provided to the staff at the Whitehorse General Hospital are being provided on the basis that their boss is going to be a board, or will it be the YTG?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: For some of the reasons the Member opposite mentions, and for other reasons that she did not mention, we are going to make the decision as expeditiously as we can because we realize that it is an important decision. It will be communicated to them in order to help facilitate the information and the decisions that the employees will have to make. Once we have made our decision, we will communicate our offer to them in contemplation of a transfer.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed and we will proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will now have a recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee to order.
Bill No. 51 - First Appropriation Act, 1989-90 - continued
Department of Justice continued
Chair: We will continue debate on Bill No. 51. Is there any general debate on Department of Justice on page 238?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I am pleased to present the Operation and Maintenance Budget 1989-90 for the Department of Justice. In the upcoming year, the department will be undertaking a number of new projects as well as several enhancements to existing programs. The total budget is $20 million. I shall present a brief overview of each branch and their programs.
The administration branch is comprised of the deputy ministers office and the finance and administration branch. It is also responsible for providing awards to victims under the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, for the costs associated with recruitment of the judiciary, and for non-specific training costs within the department.
Within the training activity, funds have been allotted this year to allow for cross-cultural training for those persons who sit on many boards and committees affiliated with the department and who show an interest in taking it. Salaries for the program are $537,000. Other operation and maintenance costs are $215,000 and transfer payments are $141,000.
The Court Services Program has enhanced the victim/witness administration activity this year by providing funding for a victim/witness care unit. The cost of this enhancement is fully recoverable from the federal government. The native courtworkers will continue to be funded by this program and will be moving into offices in the Andrew A. Philipsen Law Centre at the end of April.
Salaries for court services are $1,419,000. Other operation and maintenance costs are $1,021,000 and present payments are $240,000.
During this fiscal year the program under Attorney General will continue to provide funding for an articling law student and will also provide, for the first time, training funds for the coroners in Whitehorse and around the territory. Additional funds have been allotted to the Legal Aid Program, the first increase in three years, to provide for general operational cost increases. Salaries for the program are $1,184,000. Other operation and maintenance costs are $203,000 and transfer payments are $794,000.
Consumer, corporate and labour affairs is comprised of consumer services, corporate affairs, labour services and occupational health and safety. The Mine Safety Program devolution has taken place and it is our intention to integrate the mine safety unit with the existing occupational health and safety unit to provide for an expanded service base to both industry and mining in the Yukon.
The Main Estimates do not yet include the salary and O&M costs to be transferred from the federal government. Salaries for the program are $1,088,000. Other O&M costs are $248,000. Under Solicitor General a number of new initiatives have been budgeted for within this program to commence in the new fiscal year.
Funding has been provided for the family violence protection unit to enable this branch to develop and deliver programs to support and assist offenders and victims of family violence in order to decrease the incidences and lessen the impact of such violence on the individual and community. Community outreach programs will continue to encourage public awareness about matters related to family violence. This unit plans on moving to a store-front operation as soon as a location can be found.
Funds have been allotted to provide for the contract with the Council for Yukon Indians to coordinate and assist band councils to develop a system of tribal justice within the Yukon. This project will encourage community participation in the justice system that recognizes advantages of the community in resolving disputes through traditional tribal customs and will be discussed during land claims negotiations.
Additional funds have been allotted to the crime prevention unit to assist organizations in developing and introducing crime prevention projects within their communities.
Within the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, funds have been budgeted to create an elder support program and an aboriginal substance abuse program. Salaries for the program are $3,524,000. Other O&M costs are $8,621,000 and transfer payments are $264,000. In policy and planning, funding has been provided for public legal education, all of which is fully recoverable from the federal government. Salaries for the program are $161,000. Other O&M costs are $91,000. Human Rights Commission programs provide block funding for the Human Rights Commission funds for the Human Rights Communication Board. Total funds for the Human Rights Commission are $239,000.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister provided me with an advance copy of her presentation so I would like to thank her for that and just say that I am prepared to move on to line by line. I have some specific questions but we will go through the Budget in order and I can ask the specific questions about the comments in her presentation when we get to the line item.
On Deputy Minister
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down into two figures; the salary for the deputy minister and secretary is $154,000. The additional $44,000 is for operational expenses including travel, professional membership fees and donations to various agencies, Uniform Law Committee, Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, and telephone costs and supplies.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister broke that down into the salary for the deputy minister, which was $154,000 and then the other was $44,000? Do I understand it correctly that the deputy ministers salary is $154,000 a year?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is for the salaries of the deputy minister and the secretary.
Mrs. Firth: It still seems high.
Deputy Minister in the amount of $198,000 agreed to
On Finance and Administration
Hon. Ms. Joe: That $480,000 is broken down into $383,000 for finance personnel and systems salary and administration staff. $97,000 is for the operational expenses, including $57,000 for photocopy lease, fees and supplies transferred from Government Services. Other expenses are travel, supplies and telephones, et cetera.
Finance and Administration in the amount of $480,000 agreed to
On Compensation for Victims of Crime
Hon. Ms. Joe: This is for the amount budgeted as a transfer payment to the Workers Compensation Board for the administration of the Victims of Crime program. Awards made in 1988-89 were less than anticipated.
Mrs. Firth: Is the 27 percent increase due to the anticipation of more awards or is it simply the transfer of the monies to the Workers Compensation Board?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We budgeted for the same amount last year and the awards are not anticipated to be as many as last year.
Mrs. Firth: This is indicating a 27 percent increase over last years amount. Last years came in at less, from what the Minister is saying, but if this is 27 percent more, perhaps she can just clarify what she means.
Hon. Ms. Joe: There are still some cases that are being anticipated right now, some that have not had judgments made on them. They may be higher than we budgeted for last year.
Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister saying then that some of this would cover last years settlements?
Hon. Ms. Joe: There are ongoing cases that still have to be dealt with.
Compensation for Victims of Crime in the amount of $141,000 agreed to
On Judicial Recruitment
Hon. Ms. Joe: This element provides vote authority to incur expenses involved in the recruitment of judges. In 1988-89, expenses were incurred for Judge Lilles. In 1987-88, the expenses were for recruiting Judge Lillies and for relocating him to the Yukon and this one dollar is anticipation for the recruitment that we have this year.
Mrs. Firth: When does the Minister anticipate having a decision from the chief land claims negotiator regarding that position, because we are still going to be looking at recruiting another judge? Could I ask the Minister when she would expect that we could have a full complement of judges? Realistically, are we looking at say six months or a year before we have our full complement of judges?
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is provision for three judges in the budget and we have always had a chief judge or a judge. The additional person year for a judge was included to take into consideration the number of juvenile justice cases that could be coming before the courts. That extra person has never been hired. In regard to the recruitment of the new judge, I understand that the advertising is going to be started immediately. There were discussions between my office and a member of the judicial council. I am hoping that we will have a judge within a six months period of time, although I am only guessing because we have to take into consideration that someone who will be the new candidate will have to leave another business, teaching post or something. I have not given a time line, but we have to take all of those things into consideration.
Mrs. Firth: When does the Minister expect to have an answer regarding the outstanding issue of speaking to the land claims negotiator regarding that position?
Hon. Ms. Joe: There are discussions going on between the Executive Council Office and the judge regarding that. Some things are being contemplated; I cannot speak about them. We are hoping that we will have some indication shortly about how long that period of time will be.
Mrs. Firth: Let us not let the ECO bully the Department of Justice and hold open a judges position. We need our judges within the judicial system. The Executive Council Office should take into account that that position has not been filled for some time. There has not been a full complement for some time. It would be my preference to see a decision made one way or another and not have that position left in limbo again for a period of years or even a year. The Minister, in her consultations with the Judicial Council, could then advertise the other position and we could get on with the business of the Department of Justice having its full complement of judges. If the Minister needs any help with the Executive Council Office, I will give her a hand.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I thank the Member for her assistance, if it is needed. As I mentioned, there are three positions for judges. It has never been the opinion of the department that the third judge was needed. We still have that one position. We will be able to hire another judge regardless of the decision of the judge presently on leave. I take the Members remarks very seriously.
Judicial Recruitment in the amount of one dollar agreed to
On Training and Development
Hon. Ms. Joe: This element provides for departmentally-specific training for the department. It includes an amount of cross-cultural training costs for boards and committees. It also includes costs for training of the correctional officers involved in the operation of the satellite work camp. Other examples of training are occupational health and safety training for the occupational health and safety officers, training for corrections officers and solicitors professional development training.
Mrs. Firth: Are the cross-cultural training sessions contracted out?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes they are.
Mrs. Firth: How much of the $74,000 is specifically for cross-cultural and how much is for the other programs she mentioned?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The amount for cross-cultural training is $4,000.
Mrs. Firth: Is the $70,000 for one more program or for all the other training programs?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It is for all of the other training that I mentioned, other than the cross-cultural training.
Chair: Any questions on Allotments or Person Year establishment?
Training and Development in the amount of $74,000 agreed to
Administration in the amount of $893,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on information pages 241 and 242?
On Court Services
Chair: Is there any general debate?
On Program Director
Hon. Ms. Joe: The amount is broken down into $112,000 for salary for director and a secretary; $18,000 for operational expenses, including travel, supplies and telephone; and $351,000 for the court reporting contract.
Program Director in the amount of $481,000 agreed to
On Supreme Court
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down into $224,000 for salary for registry staff; $47,000 for operational expenses, including funds for expert and lay witnesses, expenses, supplies and telephone; and $48,000 for the law library.
Supreme Court in the amount of $319,000 agreed to
On Territorial Court
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down into $486,000 for territorial court registry salaries; the salary for the judiciary is $277,000; $316,000 is for the operational expenses for court registry, including travel for court circuits, expert and lay witnesses, funds for psychiatric assessments, rental fees for court circuit sittings; $36,000 is for operational expenses for judiciary, including expenses of judges and deputy judges, travel, telephone expenses; and $51,000 is for the justice of the peace expenses, including honoraria and JP training funds.
Mrs. Firth: There has been a decrease in this particular area. It is showing an 11 percent decrease. The Minister said she was looking at a full complement of judges, as well as enhancement of the JP program. I would have anticipated there would have been an increase in this. Could the Minister explain this?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The maintenance enforcement, which is a line item that used to be included in this line item, is now a line item of its own for $56,000.
Mrs. Firth: Is there any new money here for potential increases in judges salaries? Is there any new money for the JP program?
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is nothing in this part of the budget for those two items.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister made the comment about the maintenance enforcement being included with territorial court. They were two separate line items in the last budget, so that does not account for the 11 percent decrease. In the last budget, I noticed it had a five percent decrease for territorial court, yet there was a substantial increase for the maintenance enforcement. Last year would have been the first year the maintenance enforcement had been included in that line. Could the Minister explain the difference?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Last year we had an expenditure to have forms printed for the offices for court services. This year we will not have to do that.
Territorial Court in the amount of $1,167,000 agreed to
Sheriff in the amount of $316,000 agreed to
On Native Courtworkers
Mrs. Firth: This program was being run by CYI was it not? In the Ministers budget speech she said the native courtworkers were going to move into the Andrew A. Philipsen Law Centre at the end of April. Where were they before this move?
Hon. Ms. Joe: They were at Skookum Jims. Although the facilities there were fine they were not as convenient, especially on the days when court was busy. They have been given space at the justice building.
Mrs. Firth: Are they still being run by CYI? This would be a contribution to CYI to deliver the program? Will they be paying rent on the space they are moving into, or will that be part of the contribution?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That will be part of the contribution.
Native Courtworkers in the amount of $240,000 agreed to
On Maintenance Enforcement
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down into the salary for the maintenance enforcement officer at $52,000 and $4,000 for operational costs.
Maintenance Enforcement in the amount of $56,000 agreed to
On Victim/Witness Administration
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down to $44,000 for the victim/witness coordinator and $50,000 for the victim/witness care unit, all fully recoverable from the federal government, and $7,000 for operational costs.
Mrs. Firth: The victim/witness care unit is a new program this year. Could the Minister tell us where that is going to be put?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That program will be contracted out such as the contract we have with the Salvation Army. It will be counselling for victims, and we do not know where it will be yet.
Mrs. Firth: Can I just ask the Minister how they knew how much money to identify for them?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is the maximum amount that we can have and that is what we have asked for and received.
Mrs. Firth: Has there been a proposal developed? Is there something on record as to how this is expected to operate? Some analysis as to exactly what it is going to provide? Can that be made available to us?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We could make that information available to the Member.
Mrs. Firth: When does the Minister expect that they will be tendering this out?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It will be within the month.
Victim/Witness Administration in the amount of $101,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on Allotments or Person Year establishment?
Court Services in the amount of $2,680,000 agreed to
Chair: Any question on information on page 245?
General debate on Attorney General?
On Attorney General
On Program Director
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down into the salary for director, secretary and articling student for $164,000 and $7,000 for operational costs.
Mrs. Firth: In last years budget for the Attorney General branch, there was a 47 percent increase for the program director, and there is another 47 percent increase this year. What is accounting for that almost 100 percent increase over the last two budgets?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Last year the secretary was included in the solicitors branch and now he or she is over in the program director branch.
Program Director in the amount of $171,000 agreed to
On Solicitors Branch
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down into salary costs for five solicitors and secretarial support staff for $439,000, and $44,000 is for operational costs.
Mrs. Firth: Do we have five full-time lawyers on staff in the Department of Justice at all times?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We do have five solicitors right now and one is a term position for land claims.
Mrs. Firth: Do these solicitors simply participate in legislative drafting? Perhaps the Minister could give me a rough idea of what jobs they do?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The solicitors who do the legislation are in another line item. These five solicitors are there to deal with any cases that the government may have in regard to territorial act violations or advice that the government might need.
Mrs. Firth: How many lawyers do we have on staff who do legislation, so I can get an idea of the number of barristers and solicitors we have working for the government and in the employ of the Justice department?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We have two other solicitors under legislative counsel, other than the five mentioned.
Mrs. Firth: Are any of those solicitors specialized in one area or another? I do not want to offend any lawyers when I use the term general practitioners, but I would like to know if their knowledge is more in a general sense, or do we have specialized legal counsel in the Department of Justice? If so, what are the specialized areas?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We do a lot of family law, but I would have to get back to the Member with that specific information.
Mrs. Firth: I would like that information. I ask because I have gone through the contract booklet the Minister of Community and Transportation Services and the Minister of Government Services provided for us. Just looking at legal services that this government contracts out of the Yukon, and I have not included inside the Yukon, there are a lot of legal services in areas like the French and Aboriginal Language Act and the Meech Lake application. The Law Society versus Kimmerly cost almost $30,000. There is the coat-of-arms, some of the land claims negotiations and general and professional services in reviewing of documents from a legal perspective. Between the abundant legal expertise we have in the community and the seven lawyers on staff with the Department of Justice, why do we have to go outside for so many legal services?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It is that there are certain things we have to deal with that are over and above what is included in these two branches. The Meech Lake is exceptional. The case against Kimmerly and the Yukon crests are also exceptional cases. The lawyers we have right now do not have time. They are given certain things to do, and each case does take a lot of time, especially in the family court area.
Mrs. Firth: Are the solicitors who are employees of the government on fixed salaries?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, they are.
Mrs. Firth: When the Minister brings back the information regarding the kinds of expertise and services that are provided by her complement of solicitors, I would also like a salary range. I do not want specific salaries for specific individuals, but just a range of salaries.
Hon. Ms. Joe: We could bring that back Monday or before.
Mrs. Firth: I want to make one more representation. There is over $200,000 worth of legal services that are solicited from outside of the Yukon. It would be our preference that the government look for legal expertise within the Yukon and try to cut down on the use of outside services and look more toward using our local lawyers.
Hon. Ms. Joe: If at all possible, that is exactly what we would like to do.
Solicitors Branch in the amount of $483,000 agreed to
On Public Administrator
Public Administrator in the amount of $359,000 agreed to
On Legislative Counsel
Legislative Counsel in the amount of $198,000 agreed to
On Land Titles
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down to $172,000 for land titles office staff and $4,000 for operational costs.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister give me the rationale for the nine percent increase over last year?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Two positions were reclassified and their salaries went up.
Land Titles in the amount of $176,000 agreed to
On Legal Aid
Hon. Ms. Joe: This is block funding for the Legal Services Society to administer the legal aid program.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister made reference to this being the first increase in three years. Could the Minister give us the rationale for the increase?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That increase was for the administrators salary and the increase in operational costs.
Mrs. Firth: Have there been circumstances, relative to the justice system, that have caused the increase in the operational costs?
Hon. Ms. Joe: No, there has not been an increase in the amount of work they are doing. It is just the administration and operational costs.
Legal Aid in the amount of $794,000 agreed to
On Litigation Costs
Litigation Costs in the amount of one dollar agreed to
On Legal Counsel Contracts
Legal Counsel Contracts in the amount of one dollar agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on Person Year Establishment?
Mrs. Firth: I want to raise one point. There was a page of corrections given to us when this budget was tabled. I notice that this particular line is different from the original budget that was tabled prior to the election, that line being line 247, the personnel line. In the other budget that was tabled, the 1988-89 forecast read $1,053,000, reflecting a percentage change of 12 percent. This budget is reading $1,008,000, reflecting a change of 17 percent.
Hon. Ms. Joe: We do not have the information for you right now and I hate to say that I would get back to her, but I do not have the answer right now.
Mrs. Firth: It may just have been something that was missed by the department or changed. The Minister understands which two budgets I am comparing: the one that we were in the lock up with prior to the election and then this one that was tabled in the House after the election. I would like to have some explanation as to the discrepancy in the figures if I could.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, I will bring back that information.
Attorney General stood over
Mrs. Firth: I am not going to hold up the whole budget, but I am sure when we have a break later this afternoon the officials will be able to let us know whether it was just an oversight or whether there is some significance to the change.
On Consumer, Corporate and Labour Affairs
On Program Director
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down again for the director and the secretary, $116,000, and operational costs including telephone, rental costs for the branch, supplies, travel and advertising in the amount of $40,000.
Program Director in the amount of $157,000 agreed to
On Consumer Services
Hon. Ms. Joe: The consumer services comprises the Yukon Utilities Board and the Council of Certified Nursing Assistants Committee, Lottery Licensing Board and consumer services branch. Consumer services salaries are $195,000. The operational expenses are $11,000. The Yukon Utilities Board salary expenses are $48,000, and the operational expenses include travel and honoraria costs for the board, funds for the committee members to attend this CAMPUT training program in Montreal, and contract funds for specialized financial consultant fees for the board. CAMPUT stands for Canadian Association of Members of Public Utilities Tribunals and that amounts to $54,000. The Yukon Medical Council operational expenses including honoraria and travel expenses is $40,000. The Certified Nursing Assistants Advisory Committee honouria and supplies amounts to $6,000. The Lottery Licensing Board, honoraria, travel and supplies is $11,000.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us what specifically the 23 percent increase is related to?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is $16,000 for training for the Yukon Utilities Board in Montreal and for attendance at the annual national Canadian Association of Members of Public Utilities Tribunal at an expected cost of $6,000. The meeting location is unknown at this time.
Mrs. Firth: Was the figure the Minister gave me $48,000 for the lotteries board?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That was the Yukon Utilities Board salary expenses.
Mrs. Firth: In approving lottery applications is the Minister using the same policy as the previous Minister in that the organizations and volunteer groups had to have their submissions in at a certain time or they were ineligible for licensing?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We have been reviewing that situation and are looking at the possibility of making it a little easier for those people to apply.
Mrs. Firth: I believe it was the policy of the new lottery licensing board. A memo was sent out by the chairperson indicating that they had to have their applications in by a certain time or they would not be eligible for funding. It had to do with the board sitting only at certain times. We found it to be quite restrictive to the organizations for getting their applications in. Perhaps it has not been a problem in the last while as the groups have gotten used to the time lines. It does not require a legislative change. I just wanted to see if it had been a problem within the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have not heard of problems, but we have considered the problem in the past and are looking at doing something to soften those rules.
Consumer Services in the amount of $339,000 agreed to
On Corporate Affairs
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down to salaries for corporate affairs registry staff, $290,000; operational expenses including travel, telephones and professional membership fees, $11,000; and expenses for the newly upgraded, automated name-search system, $4,000.
Corporate Affairs in the amount of $234,000 agreed to
On Labour Services
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down to salaries for labour services staff, $253,000; the operational costs for the branch, including travel, supplies, advertising and clothes, $14,000; the employment standards board expenses including travel, honoraria and secretarial assistance, $11,000.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister can give us the reason for the percentage increases.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Three positions were reclassified.
Labour Services in the amount of $278,000 agreed to
On Occupational Health and Safety
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down into $158,000 for the occupational health and safety unit, the loss control unit and the WHMIS unit and salary for occupational health and safety officers and support staff.
The salary for loss control officers is $99,000. The operational costs for occupational health and safety including travel, St. John Ambulance funding for first-aid training, supplies and professional membership dues is $38,000. Operational costs for loss control including travel and supplies is $11,000. Occupation Health and Safety Board expenses, including travel and honoraria, is $8,000.
The WHMIS operational expenses including travel, advertising and telephone costs is $14,000.
Mrs. Firth: I notice in her presentation on her budget the Minister said it was the intention to integrate the mine safety unit with the existing occupational health and safety unit. When does the Minister expect to have that integration finished?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That occurred on the first of this month.
Mrs. Firth: So it has been completed, and there are not additional costs because of that amalgamation or integration.
Hon. Ms. Joe: There are no additional costs. There will be additional training added to that unit, and that will be included in our training funding that we have already.
Occupational Health and Safety in the amount of $328,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on Allotments or Person Year Establishment?
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could give us the reason for the 27 percent increase under Other in the allotment.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Is that on page 252? The increase under Other allotments? We do not have that information available. I would be willing to bring it back.
Mrs. Firth: I would like that information. Last year in the budget there was a one percent increase in the Other allotment. This year it has gone up 27 percent, which is a significant increase. I would like an explanation.
Mr. Nordling: I would just like to ask the Minister a question on the statistics on page 257 near the bottom. There is YTG Losses Controlled: $ Loss Due to: and the line second to the bottom reads Facility and Equip. Damage. The 1989-90 estimate is $8,000,000. The 1988-89 forecast is $1,200,000 and 1987-88 actual is $800,000. I just wonder why there is such a large increase and what does this statistic mean?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I would have to bring that information back, as well. I hope it is a typographical error.
Consumer, Corporate and Labour Affairs in the amount of $1,336,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on information pages 253 to 258?
On Solicitor General
On Program Director
Hon. Ms. Joe: This amount is broken down to $81,000 for the director; the remaining $270,000 includes contract funding for the tribal justice, Teslin and Old Crow, projects, family violence community worker, prison liaison program, and a tribal justice coordinator and chaplain for the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.
Mrs. Firth: There is quite a hefty increase in this line of 97 percent. I realize there are some new initiatives budgeted for in this whole program, but I would specifically like to know what the 97 percent increase is for the program director in this line.
Hon. Ms. Joe: New initiatives in this area that result in the increase are a family violence worker for $45,000; the special treatment costs for offenders outside the Yukon is $25,000; the tribal justice coordinator is $45,000; and the chaplain at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre is $25,000.
Mrs. Firth: Have any of the positions been filled yet for the family violence worker, the tribal justice coordinator and the chaplain?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The tribal justice coordinator is going to be a responsibility of CYI. With respect to the chaplain at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, we are still talking to members of the Ministerial Association. The family violence worker funding is going to be broken into small contracts in the different communities where it is needed.
Mrs. Firth: So, the $45,000 for the family violence worker could be split up into various small contracts. Are these contracts going to be tendered out through the Ministers department? How is it going to work?
Hon. Ms. Joe: They will be contracted out. We do not have the specifics about where it is going to be needed and to what degree.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps I am getting the wrong impression. I get the feeling we have just identified a block of money here for something, but we do not know how much of it we are going to spend. Could the Minister give me the documentation to show they need the $45,000 for family violence workers and justify where that money is going to be spent?
Hon. Ms. Joe: A number of initiatives were identified last year and they were not able to do without the additional money. This is one of the over-target items that we were able to accomplish. There has been some of that kind of work already done in Whitehorse and in some of the outlying communities.
Mrs. Firth: Is the $45,000 for the tribal justice coordinator going to be given as a contribution to the Council for Yukon Indians?
Hon. Ms. Joe: They will be running it. I have an answer now for the $8,000,000. It was a typographical error. It should have been $800,000.
Mrs. Firth: Has the Council for Yukon Indians come forward with a written proposal requesting $45,000 for this tribal justice coordinator?
Hon. Ms. Joe: There was a proposal submitted last year for this project.
Mrs. Firth: Can I get an accounting of exactly what the $45,000 was for and what they plan to do with it?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I cannot provide that information to the Member now. I can bring it back.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to raise a concern at this time rather than leaving it to the end. I feel I have three instances now. I know what the previous Minister was like, and how tough it was to get money from him for certain projects. We have $50,000 for the care unit. We have $45,000 for the family violence workers that is going to be broken down into contracts. We have $45,000 for the tribal justice coordinator. I am getting the impression that these have been given in block amounts and then the department is going to determine how to spend that money. I feel that when you request funding, you should have all the details of the request written down so you know exactly where the money is going to go, so you know how much money you are going to need. I do not feel that this type of exercise has been done in these three instances. Otherwise, I should be able to get a breakdown and a justification of where all that money is going to go. Could this be provided to me? I want to know that when the Minister went to Management Board requesting this money in the budget that it was not just a block funding that was requested and then the department could spend it where they felt they needed to spend it.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The amounts listed in this item are projects that are either the result of discussions with individuals or the result of planning between two departments. They are the result of proposals being given to us. I can provide the Member with the kind of information that she is asking for regarding the different items. I would like to reiterate that they were not just handed to individuals or brought up out of a hat. They were seriously considered within the department.
Mrs. Firth: I do not deny any of that. I know the consideration was done, but I need substantiation to give me the black and white evidence that it was done so I have some idea where the money is going to be spent. I would appreciate that information being provided to me.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I will provide that information. I have taken the comments seriously.
Program Director in the amount of $351,000 agreed to
On Community Corrections
Community Corrections in the amount of $588,000 agreed to
On Institutional Facilities
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down to $2,553,000 for salaries for the staff at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, and $195,000 for salaries for the mobile work camp, $540,000 for the operational costs for the centre including food, cleaning supplies, inmate clothing and footwear, utilities and medical and dental expenses for inmates, and $67,000 for the operational costs for the mobile work camp including travel, repairs and maintenance, food and utilities.
Mrs. Firth: To what specifically is the five percent increase attributed? Salaries again?
Hon. Ms. Joe: It is mainly for the increase in some of the salaries. There are a number of person years in this branch.
Institutional Facilities in the amount of $3,355,000 agreed to
On Community Residential Centre
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is funding for the Salvation Army to run the community residential centre in Whitehorse.
Community Residential Centre in the amount of $220,000 agreed to
On Crime Prevention
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down to salary for the crime prevention coordinator and the salary for the family violence staff for $153,000, $53,000 for the operational costs for the unit including contract funding to assist organizations in developing and producing crime prevention projects within their communities, travel, supplies and telephones, and $65,000 for the operational costs for the family violence unit including contract funding for individuals and agencies to assist in the delivery of treatment and support services to offenders and victims of family violence, and travel, advertising and phones.
Mrs. Firth: There has been a substantial increase in this line item of 124 percent. What is the reason for that increase?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The family violence unit is now included in this line, crime prevention. It was previously under community corrections.
Mrs. Firth: In the last budget, there was a large increase under the crime prevention line in the budget of 85 percent. This year, we have 124 percent. In the community corrections line, there was a decrease of seven percent last year. The Minister is justifying this increase because of the family violence unit or crime prevention unit. Could she repeat what she said?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The increase also includes the new initiatives in regard to family violence that we have outlined. There will be a number of new initiatives in the family violence area.
Mrs. Firth: Are they all under this particular line: the family violence protection unit, the community outreach programs, the crime prevention unit?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes.
Crime Prevention in the amount of $325,000 agreed to
On Police Services Agreement
Hon. Ms. Joe: That amount is to provide funding for the provision of policing services under the terms of the police servicing agreement for 1989-90. The Yukon portion for policing costs is 68 percent.
Mrs. Firth: What is the nine percent increase due to?
Hon. Ms. Joe: Our agreement requires us to pay 68 percent, and this increase was as a result of the total amount.
Mrs. Firth: I hope the attitude of the new Minister will be considerably more positive and favourable toward the RCMP than was the previous Ministers. It is no secret that the RCMP and the previous Minister of Justice did not get along very well. It had some effect on the morale of the individuals working, not only at the detachment, but those who were working every day assisting the public and maintaining law and order, and giving the public a general sense of security and well-being within the community.
It is only correct and right to say the RCMP in the Yukon do a fine job. They are respected citizens within the community. When they move to small communities, they try to become participating members of the community, as well as friends to the citizens in the communities. They have served the Yukon well consistently for the 100 or more years they have been here. People do not perceive them just as peace officers. They represent law and order, and they do give the public a sense of security. It is time that recognition was given to them.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I think that recognition will be given to the representation by the Member. I take her comments seriously.
Police Services Agreement in the amount of $7,295,000 agreed to
On Native Special Constable
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is to provide funding to the RCMP to enable them to recruit, train and station native Indian special constables in communities throughout the Yukon.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps I could just ask a question about the relationship between the plans the government has for the tribal justice system the Council for Yukon Indians is going to coordinate and assist band councils to develop. Is there going to be any relationship between what is happening there and the native special constables? For example, would the native special constables be called upon in any way to give presentations or speak in any way to the organizers of the tribal justice system? I think there is some merit to some communication and some potential for communication in that area in assisting the CYI and the particular bands in their efforts in the whole area of tribal justice.
Hon. Ms. Joe: There have been a number of initiatives tried in different areas of tribal justice. We have found that different bands see tribal justice in a different way. There has not been an established kind of tribal justice at this point in time that would take in the whole of the territory. But one of the things included in any of the talks that are going on now between the CYI and this government is policing. The comment she made in regard to special constables going and speaking to groups is an excellent idea. That is a part of tribal justice, but I cannot determine exactly how. I think it will be determined by them.
Mrs. Firth: I just see it as a positive opportunity for the special constables to give a different perspective in the attempt to administer justice and there is probably some potential there for some similar opportunities like the cross-cultural workshops and the objectives that they give as well.
Native Special Constable in the amount of $275,000 agreed to
Solicitor General in the amount of $12,409,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on information contained on pages 261-267?
Is there general debate on policy and planning?
On Policy and Planning
Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down to salaries for policy and planning staff of $161,000 and $16,000 for operational expenses.
On Information and Education
Information and Education in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
Policy and Planning in the amount of $252,000 agreed to
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do have the information that the Member asked for, but I cannot read the writing so we will have to decipher it and bring it back. It is in regard to the increase in allotment.
Chair: Is that the item that was stood over? Do you want to deal with this after the recess?
Mrs. Firth: Maybe I can decipher the writing and then we can just pass it after the break.
Chair: We will now take a recess.
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order.
We will continue with the item that was stood over on page 246.
On Attorney General - continued
Hon. Ms. Joe: The information I have is that the difference in the salary was due to a realignment of the person year surplus salary funds approved by Management Board for two projects. One project was the revised statutes supplement for $25,000 and the coroners office review for $20,000.
Mrs. Firth: My apologies to the Committee for being late. I have reviewed the explanation with the Minister and there is a change from the first budget that was presented and this one. The change has been sufficiently explained and I am prepared to pass the budget now.
Attorney General in the amount of $2,181,000 agreed to
Justice in the total amount of $20,000,000 agreed to
Public Service Commission
Chair: Is there any general debate on the Public Service Commission?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Public Service Commission is responsible for human resource management for all employees of the Government of the Yukon including the following functions: recruitment, training, compensation, classification, labour relations, employee assistance and health promotion, employee records and pension and positive employment. PSC manages these programs under the authority of the Public Service Act, the Public Service Staff Relations Act and the labour relations section of the School Act.
The staff complement remains at 29 full-time permanent positions, two half-time permanent positions and 15 and one-half three year term positions, 12 of which are associated with the positive employment program.
A prime focus of PSCs activities over the coming year is the coordination of all human resource management aspects of program transfers. This is intended to ensure that all transferred employees are treated equally, fairly and equitably.
The coordinator of program transfers has been working on the devolution process full time since July, 1987. This is a term position with two years remaining.
The positive employment program has three staff and nine trainee positions, all term. Six training positions are presently allocated to various departments and staffed as community operations adviser with Community and Transportation Services, fire inspector with Community and Transportation Services, a social worker with Health and Human Resources, a classification analyst with the Public Service Commission, a mobile enforcement officer with Community and Transportation Services, and a conservation officer with Renewable Resources.
The remaining three training positions are now being recruited. To date, seven people have successfully completed training in the native training corps and all are currently employed in permanent positions in the Government of the Yukon.
Collective bargaining with the Public Service Alliance of Canada on behalf of this governments auxiliary employees has begun. The parties have met once and plan to meet again in May. Negotiations with the Yukon Teachers Association are scheduled to take place April 24, and these will consist of salary negotiations only in accordance with the wage reopener clause in the third year of the agreement.
Mr. Lang: I would like to begin by discussing the budget in general. Why are we experiencing such a significant increase from 1988-89 of $422,000 and now we are up to $7,277,000?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The leave accruals are listed on the bottom of page 280 and have been included in this budget rather than the supplementary.
Mr. Phelps: I have a few questions about the positions that are working on devolution. What kind of work will they be doing?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We have the one coordinator position, as I have mentioned. I was asked about the responsibility of that person before and it was provided to the Member for Porter Creek East, but I do have it. Would he would like me to read off the list of responsibilities?
Mr. Phelps: It was not a job description that I wanted so much; it was a kind of summary of the actual program to be done. Has there been much travel associated with that position?
Hon. Ms. Joe: No, there has not been any travel at all out of Whitehorse.
Mr. Phelps: The area that is of most concern to me in the department has to do with the Positive Employment Program. It seems that the government has not been doing very much. It does not seem even to have a policy yet with respect to training and incorporating the mentally disabled into the government work force. I am wondering just exactly where we are at with the mentally disabled. Is there a policy being developed? If so, when will it be completed?
Hon. Ms. Joe: A policy has been developed and is now in the final stages. We would hope that we would have it very shortly. It has taken a long time, but I hope we will have it very soon.
Mr. Phelps: Does the budget, as it presently stands, reflect implementing of that program during the course of this fiscal year?
Hon. Ms. Joe: When the policy has been approved we will be working with the disabled and other disabled groups, within the existing budget.
Mr. Phelps: I understand that some of the disabled were, for a time, able to work and get an idea of certain vocations at Yukon College and that the program for trainees there was pretty well ended because of red tape within the government. Does the Minister know anything about the problem and whether that whole issue is going to be resolved in favour of the mentally disabled?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We do not have the information being asked for available to us. The term that the disabled like to use now is persons with disabilities. That is the new term and that is the term that we use in PSC. There might be some information forthcoming from the Minister of Education in regard to that but I certainly do not have it.
Mr. Phelps: We will be looking with some interest at the progress in this area within the government itself and I hope that some progress will be made to incorporate some of these people into government job-training positions. With regard to JES, is the transition from the old to the new finally complete? Have the job evaluations all been completed?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That has all been completed, including the appeals.
Mr. Phelps: Has there been a total of the costs involved in that transition, the job evaluation itself? How much it has cost the taxpayer over the year?
Hon. Ms. Joe: There have been amounts identified in past budgets in regard to JES. We would certainly have to do a lot of research to bring the total amount back if that is what the Member wants.
Mr. Phelps: That is okay. It has come up from time to time. I was just wondering if you had a running total of the answers that have been provided by the previous Minister over the year. Those are the only general questions I have. I will allow, perhaps, one of my colleagues to ask one question.
Mr. Lang: I have a question about the dental plan that came into effect, I believe, about one and one-half or two years ago. What is the cost of that on an ongoing basis?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I apologize once more. I am not sure what the total cost of that is. I just do not have it and certainly I can make a note of it and let the Member know.
Mr. Lang: I would appreciate that information. It was a question of some debate, and nobody seemed to know what it was going to cost. In fairness to the Legislature, we should be given the information on the total cost.
Hon. Ms. Joe: We can bring that information, but I am not sure when.
On Systems and Administration
Hon. Ms. Joe: The 1989-90 budget is virtually the same as the previous year for the administration branch. The four percent increase is largely due to a base adjustment that will allow the PSC to buy its own photocopy supplies, rather than purchase them through Government Services. There are no new person years being requested for the branch.
Administration in the amount of $298,000 agreed to
Devolution in the amount of $132,000 agreed to
Systems and Administration in the amount of $430,000 agreed to
On Recruitment and Training
Hon. Ms. Joe: The four percent overall decrease from the previous year is due to two items. There was $45,000 spent on educational leave in the previous year, while none is budgeted to be spent in the upcoming year, and there are lower overall salary costs due to new staff coming on at a lower salary level than previous staff.
On Recruitment Administration
Hon. Ms. Joe: The breakdown of the $417,000 is for salary and benefit costs for eight permanent full-time staff plus on-call auxiliary assistants for workload peaks and vacation leave for the recruitment section of the branch; new staff at lower salaries than previous staff resulted in a decrease in this years budget figure; $2,000 for the director of recruitment and training to attend a national staffing directors conference to be held in Edmonton this year; $5,000 is for pre-employment medicals required as a condition of employment for Corrections officers, certified nursing assistants, and ambulance attendants. Since this is considered part of the recruitment process, PSC pays for all initial medical examinations in these occupations. There is $19,000 for operational costs incurred by the recruitment staff.
Recruitment Administration in the amount of $443,000 agreed to
On Recruitment Operations
Hon. Ms. Joe: This is broken down for employee travel in the amount of $30,000. Training needs and lack of local resources require that this government arrange attendance at symposia and special courses outside the Yukon. Travel and accommodation costs for public servants on training trips is provided. There is $15,000 for non-employee travel. Many courses identified can be useful to employees across the government. In these cases it is more cost-effective to have a course conducted locally rather than send several employees out to training institutions. When local workshop leaders or consultants cannot be found, we turn to BC, Alberta or elsewhere. For training expertise, we minimize the number of trips by scheduling courses by the same instructor back to back. It includes travel and accommodation for a visiting instructor. There is $85,000 for tuition assistance. An employee study cost consisting of tuition and registration for seminars, symposia and evening correspondence courses are provided or reimbursed upon successful completion. The increase reflects the establishment of an education assistance category for long-term work related educational endeavours. There is $45,000 for professional instructor fees that are paid to instructors, either local or outside the Yukon, who conduct training courses. Approximately $20,000 has been transferred to the cross-cultural training where it will be spent on consulting fees for training in that area.
Mr. Phelps: Why has there been a fluctuation? It was $176,000 in 1987-88. It bloomed up to $259,000, which was forecasted for this year. It has suddenly gone down by 15 percent from there. Is there a simple explanation for that?
Hon. Ms. Joe: This is a long explanation, and it is a bit confusing to me. There is a time when we have lapsing salary dollars that we put into training. Last year, we had the additional $45,000 for educational leave. This has been taken from the amount. It has gone down again as a result of that.
Recruitment Operations in the amount of $817,000 agreed to
On Training Administration
Training Administration in the amount of $108,000 agreed to
On Training Operations
Training Operations in the amount of $219,000 agreed to
On On-the-Job Training
On-the-Job Training in the amount of $67,000 agreed to
Recruitment and Training in the amount of $1,654,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there questions on information pages 284 and 285?
On Employee Records and Pensions
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is a 90 percent increase over the previous year. This is due to economic increases, a reclassification and anticipated periodic use of casuals.
Administration in the amount of $293,000 agreed to
Employee Records and Pensions in the amount of $293,000 agreed to
On Labour Relations
Hon. Ms. Joe: There is a four percent increase over the previous years Budget. This is a combination of several items. Salary costs are up as the branch expects to be fully staffed this year. Last year a position was vacant for five months. More funds are allocated for the employees assistance and health program. Less money is budgeted for the competition appeal process.
On Labour Relations Administration
Hon. Ms. Joe: One hundred and eighty-eight thousand dollars has been broken down into $181,000 for salary and benefits costs for two permanent full-time branch staff, a term position for a labour relations officer and dollars for an auxiliary secretary. The term position was not staffed until August of 1988, which resulted in the lower salary figure for 1988.
Two thousand dollars was funding for the director of labour relations to attend the national inter-jurisdictional conference on collective bargaining to be held in Quebec City in September. Two thousand dollars was for the purchase of medical supplies for the first-aid room of the territorial administration building and optometrist fees for pre-employment and annual eye examinations as stipulated in procedure directive 1/104 regarding video display terminals, and $3,000 is funding for telephone rental, long distance charges, dealing with the Public Service Relations board and Yukon Teachers Staff Relations Board.
Labour Relations Administration in the amount of $188,000 agreed to
On Yukon Government Employees Union/Public Service Alliance of Canada
Yukon Government Employees Union/Public Service Alliance of Canada in the amount of $92,000 agreed to
On Yukon Teachers Association
Yukon Teachers Association in the amount of $6,000 agreed to
On Managerial/Confidential Exclusion
Managerial/Confidential Exclusion in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
On Employee Assistance and Health Promotion
Mr. Phelps: I would like an explanation of this item.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The services required under this program are greater that we had anticipated. There are many more people seeking this kind of assistance so we have asked for an increase this year.
Employee Assistance and Health Promotion in the amount of $96,000 agreed to
On Long Service Awards
Long Service Awards in the amount of $39,000 agreed to
Indemnification in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
Labour Relations in the amount of $436,000 agreed to
On Workers Compensation Fund
On Workers Compensation Payments
Hon. Ms. Joe: This fund shows a 51 percent decrease from the previous year. Each year this fund is budgeted at $307,000, with any excess funds not being available for use by other PSC branches. Any over expenditures are to be covered by supplementaries. This fund was over spent in 1988-89 due to the death of a YTG employee that necessitated a large payment in April, 1988.
Workers Compensation Payments in the amount of $307,000 agreed to
Workers Compensation Fund in the amount of $307,000 agreed to
Hon. Ms. Joe: This is broken down as follows: $382,000 is for the salary and benefit costs for seven permanent full-time branch staff and one part-time auxiliary employee; the small decrease is due to the recruitment of junior staff for the replacement of more senior staff who have terminated; $4,000 is for a Yukon tour by classifications staff to conduct classification audits, to interview incumbents, to answer questions and address concerns regarding pay and classifications; $8,000 is for telephone rental and long distance charges incurred by branch staff for information exchange with other jurisdictions regarding hiring, interviewing and directing consultants, conducting pay and benefits survey across Canada; $5,000 is for program material made up of membership fees, examination fees and course materials for the staff members for the Canadian Compensation Association this increase is due to the fact that the branch now has more staff and roles; and $3,000 is for one classification and one compensation officer to attend the intergovernmental classification, compensation and labour relations workshop in Quebec City. This workshop is held every 18 months.
Operations in the total amount of $402,000 agreed to
On Classification Appeals
Hon. Ms. Joe: It is estimated that each appeal costs an average of $1,000. This years budget is based on the projection that five percent of the reclassification requests will proceed to the hearing stage and funding is for the appeal board chairpersons fees, travel, accommodation and hearing room rentals.
Classification Appeals in the amount of $44,000 agreed to
Compensation in the amount of $446,000 agreed to
On Positive Employment Program
Hon. Ms. Joe: The 23 percent increase shown over the previous year is based on the expectation that the native training corp expects to be fully staffed this year. Last year several positions were vacant at various times causing salary dollars to lapse.
Mr. Nordling: I see in the program objectives that it is to develop and manage programs that assist target group members to access government employment. Can the Minister list the target groups for us? She has mentioned natives and I wondered if there were any other target groups we are after.
Hon. Ms. Joe: That includes persons with disabilities and women.
I also have the information on the dental plan for the Member for Porter Creek East. The cost of YTG employees is $160,000, and Yukon Teachers Association is $56,000, for a total of $216,000.
Positive Employment Program in the amount of $611,000 agreed to
Chair: Just before we carry the total for the department I refer Members to page 280.
On Leave Accruals
Leave Accruals in the amount of $3,100,000 agreed to
Public Service Commission in the total amount of $7,277,000 agreed to.
Chair: Please turn to page 198.
Department of Renewable Resources
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to outline the operation and maintenance estimates for the Department of Renewable Resources. The estimates call for the department to spend $9.5 million on its operations in the forthcoming year, an increase of eight percent from the forecasted spending for last year. With this modest increase, the department will be undertaking several significant initiatives.
As hon. Members are aware, the responsibility for the management of the freshwater fishery in the Yukon is being transferred to this government. A total of $481,300 has been allocated in the estimates for fisheries management: $27,500 to the Department of Government Services for office space rental and pool vehicle operating costs, and the balance of $453,800 to my department.
Most of this money will go directly to the new fisheries unit within the fish and wildlife branch to provide for personnel: a unit head, biologist, technician and secretary and support costs. There has been $54,800 allocated to field services to cover the cost of an additional conservation officer and other support. There is $17,600 proposed for the administration branch for support costs such as supplies and personnel, accounting and library services.
Offsetting these expenditures, hon. Members will note a substantial increase in revenues estimated for the department in 1989-90. This is mainly due to an expected increase in revenues from fishing licences, the cost of which will be tripling this year from $5 to $15. Most Yukoners see the fisheries transfer as a first step toward improving the management of the Yukon fishery. In taking over this responsibility, we have to face the fact that some lakes in the more accessible parts of the territory have been over fished. We need to take steps to turn this around.
In an effort to enhance our ailing fisheries, the government plans to establish a fund for Fisheries Initiatives for Sustainable Harvest program, or FISH programs. This $50,000 fund will support a variety of enhancement projects, such as stocking new lakes or restocking others and improving fish habitat. These funds will be available to assist community and conservation groups, such as the Yukon Fish and Game Association, to continue to make positive contributions to the conservation of our fisheries resources.
One of the purposes of these FISH projects will be to demonstrate that environmental and resource management can go hand in hand with economic development. This is at the heart of this governments desire to achieve sustainable development in the Yukon, the desire that is articulated in the Yukon Economic Strategy and is the central theme of the conservation strategy now being developed.
To support the Yukon Conservation Strategy, this government is proposing, through this operation and maintenance budget, to establish a fund that will assist a broader range of demonstration projects suggested by Yukoners.
An expenditure of $100,000 has been proposed for projects that demonstrate the economic development base on the wise use of our resources and the protection of our natural environment. These projects could cover a wide range of initiatives from recycling to soil conservation practices. In contrast to the proposals funded under the Canada-Yukon Economic Development Agreement, which is for private-sector projects, this money will be available to non-profit organizations to undertake and sponsor projects or for projects jointly sponsored by government and agencies outside government. This fund will be a critical element in translating the words of the conservation strategy into action.
These two funds account for the bulk of the spending increases proposed for the administration branch of my department. Similarly, the fisheries transfer accounts for most of the increase in the fish and wildlife branch. The other branch where spending has increased significantly from the current year is policy and planning. Again, this is due to two specific projects.
I have talked about the governments desire to achieve stable development, in other words, development that meets the needs of this generation without compromising the ability of the generations that follow us to meet their own needs. To achieve stable development, many of us will have to learn, or at least appreciate more fully, the need to conserve our resources, to use them, manage them and protect them, and ensure that they are there for our children.
Our children also need to understand the need and purpose of what is for many of us a new ethic. To help provide school age children in the Yukon with a hands-on appreciation of nature and the natural world, the department is proposing to spend $45,000 toward the development of a conservation camp.
A proposal to develop a conservation camp ties in well with the introduction of Project Wild, an environmental conservation education program which would be offered as a supplemental course in Yukon schools.
In the Speech from the Throne the government has clearly underlined its intent to take significant steps to preserve and protect the natural advantages the Yukon has to offer.
To assist with the development of an environmental protection program in the territory, the department will be hiring a coordinator. This individual will be involved in the development of pesticides legislation and the preparation of an environmental protection act, regulations, policies and an implementation program for the act.
Work will also be undertaken on the design of the monitoring, enforcement and educational programs, as well as resources needed to support this new legislation. Ninety thousand dollars has been allocated in these estimates for the first year of this program. This completes my introductory remarks on the new spending initiatives for the Department of Renewable Resources for the coming year.
Before closing I would like to briefly outline for hon. Members the changes in the departments person year establishment. The total establishment for 1989-90 is 103.5 person years including eight and one-half employees holding what are known as indeterminate positions and 23 in term positions. This is an increase in five and one-half person years in the current year. This increase is made up of four new positions in the fisheries unit, an additional conservation officer, and a new environmental protection coordinator. The termination of a term position for a moose biologist half way through the past fiscal year gives us a total increase of five and one-half person years.
For the information of hon. Members, I should also point out that the position of illustrative cartographer previously assigned to the administration branch is now included in the policy and planning branch. This change is made to more closely tie this position with the information/educational function of the department.
I also want to correct information presented on contributions provided from the O&M Estimates. On page 321, Contributions for Big Game Management should read nil for the 1989-90 estimates, and $28,000 for the 1988-89 forecast. This correction changed the totals to $221,000 for the 1989-90 fiscal year and $148,000 for last year.
Mr. Lang: I was a little surprised that, in his introduction, the Minister did not speak at all about the question of forestry and the transfer of forestry to the government. I would assume that forestry would be part of Renewable Resources, if a transfer was ever to take place. The importance that this side puts on this issue is prompted largely by the obvious increase in the use of that particular resource that will result with the proposed new mill in Watson Lake. I understand the production will be five fold of what it was previously. There has been some question from this side as to what sustainable yield is going to be, not only for 10 years, but 30, 40 or 50 years. How far from the community are we talking when we talk about being able to bring in the necessary logs for the mill? Could the Minister update us as to where we are at? Who is negotiating the forestry transfer on behalf of the government?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The individual acting on behalf of the Government of Yukon is the Director of Policy and Planning, Tim McTiernan. We have money set aside for contract work and preparation of information for those negotiations. We are aiming for an understanding of the transfer for late this year and for devolution of the resource from the federal government by next September or October. We are looking at about one and one-half years from now.
Mr. Lang: I believe my information is correct. Has the Northwest Territories taken over the responsibility for forestry? If so, when did they take over that responsibility?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is partially correct. The Northwest Territories only had responsibility for fire protection. That was started about two years ago. They are still in negotiations with the federal government for the whole management of the forestry resource.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister update us regarding the auxiliary conservation officers program? I had the opportunity to go to that open meeting with the Game Management Board. There was obvious concern being expressed with respect to the ability of the department to do its good job. This concern was from a two-fold point of view. Firstly, the conservation officer is becoming more and more involved with paperwork and less time is being spent out in the field. Also, the government does not have an endless supply of money. You would not know it by sitting in these Chambers. There will be a time when the government is not going to be able to finance many of these things. Private citizens do have a responsibility. I do not think the general public wants to see an enforcement officer behind every tree either. There was an auxiliary conservation officer program started about six years ago. It seems to have died a natural death and nothing has happened with it. Could the Minister update us with respect to that?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is quite right in making the statement that it is getting more and more difficult for the present number of people we have in the public service to do the work. I share that concern, and that is one of the reasons why we need an auxiliary conservation officer program. It is also one of the reasons why one of the new person years we are bringing on stream this year is a conservation officer.
I think it is appropriate at this time that we do start a program similar to the one that was initiated six years ago. I think that we are seeing increased incidences of poaching. Now that we have the transfer of the freshwater fisheries resource, that gives us reason to increase surveillance and have an active profile throughout the Yukon. Unfortunately, as the Member has alluded to, there is no endless supply of money.
That was the case with this program for this year. No money has been budgeted. I can assure the Member opposite that it is a priority of mine as new Minister in this portfolio. That is a point that was strongly raised by Yukoners to the Select Committee on Renewable Resources a couple of years ago, and I want to assure the Member that the program will be re-born in a revised form, one which will give the people who are interested in being auxiliary conservation officers more authority and more training.
I would like to see the job done properly. They will have real training and real responsibilities, because I think that is why the program died out in the first place. Unfortunately, the department did not have the money or human resources to adequately train people to enable to give them that kind of responsibility. Now that we have the experience, I think you will see a much improved program planned for next year.
Mr. Lang: Sure, here we go for another year. I do not accept that premise at all. We are in this year and I want to make direct representation to the government that if we are serious about this, there is no reason why we cannot do it this year. I will give you an example. If you are looking for money you are not looking for a lot; possibly for per diems or expenses you may be looking at $20,000 or $30,000. That is an awful lot of money, to begin with, because these people are volunteers. I pointed out one area in the Capital Budget where you would save money and those are the two bridges at Wolf Creek. The Minister should not smile when I point this out. I made a few calls to see what we are looking at to just tear out those bridges and replace them. The most you are looking at is $30,000 to $40,000. There is $38,000 right there.
In view of the obvious identification of money, would the Minister reconsider his comments now and maybe look at implementing it this year as opposed to waiting for another year because we are getting into some really tough situations, such as in game zone 7 and in game zone 9. There is no question that game is being depleted. It is going to take all of us to take care of it. I do not know why we are waiting another year. Perhaps the Minister could respond to that.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I think I attempted to show that I was not quite happy with the situation either. We will be making every effort to improve the situation this year. I tried to make clear to the Member opposite that I realize that we do need more people in the field working in this capacity. We do not even have the human resources; it is not just financial resources. We cannot just bring a few people in, train them a few days and give them per diems, et cetera.
Mr. Phillips: Several years ago, when the auxiliary conservation officer program was started, most of the program was very simple. It was not a major cost to the government, and it did not involve major training. They did not have to put these people through all kinds of training. A lot of it was learning how to drive a 4X4 or a skidoo. Some of it was learning how to operate a radio, which you can probably do in 15 minutes, with the conservation officer in the truck giving a few basic instructions. Those are the types of things conservation officers talked about. They liked to have the companionship along on the trips, they liked to have the security of another person there if they got stuck on a back road. If they apprehended or approached several hunters in an area where it was thought that they could possibly be poaching, the officers felt a little more secure with a second person who would sit in the truck. Those were the basics.
The other basics were to be able to be a good witness. That is not an extensive program. You can make it extensive. It could be like this shed we built for $11,000. We could train these people for months before we turn them loose, but it does not take a lot of training to look at a licence number or identify people. The program should not cost a fortune.
I can see the Minister having better training in the future. I can see the Minister trying to involve some young people from the communities with the hope they may take the actual course one day and become a conservation officer in the Yukon. It would be valuable that way. Initiating the program now in the stage it was in before would be quite possible with the funds we have. The Minister could do that without any problem at all.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will refer back to the point I made in my introductory remarks on the subject. I do not believe that was the kind of responsibility the auxiliary conservation officers were looking for. They wanted a bit more than basic training, how to operate a radio, sitting in a truck being a witness. They were prepared to make a commitment. We know there are a lot of people out there, and they want good training. They want to be able to do something so that, one day, it may turn into a career. They do not want to just tote the bag of the CO. They want some real responsibilities and work to do.
Mr. Lang: We are discussing timing. I do not disagree that you can build on the program as you go. That is obviously where the previous program erred and why it went no further than it did. At least, start the program this year and build on it. Then you have a bank of people you can work with over the course of the winter for doing the necessary training, and that sort of thing.
We are encouraging the Minister to take a look at the fact there may be two people in Watson Lake and two in Dawson who would be prepared, under some guidance of the CO in the area, to accompany him or her and start to learn some of these things, with the idea of doing the actual training in the winter. I do not see why we should go through another season without it. We both agree with the principle. We have pointed out where the money is. All we need is the bureaucratic and political will. You have the political will from this side. You should be prepared to reexamine it and find out if you can start it eight months ahead of time. I think it would be in everybodys best interest.
The major complaint I received about the previous program was that, in many cases, perhaps due to not enough direction within the department, it was a hassle for the officer in the field to phone people. One person would be working, another individual was not available, but that is going to be the case with volunteers. That has to be expected, and that has to be the direction to the COs, because they are simply volunteers doing something for the community.
They are not going to be available all the time because they obviously have lives to lead. I have asked the Minister to reassess this with the top civil servants to encourage them to put this in place. I cannot see any reason why we should not be.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I tried to stress earlier in my remarks that I think it is a critical time, too, especially with the transfer of freshwater fisheries and the increased incidence of poaching. One of the responsibilities of that new conservation officer will be to prepare a curriculum for these auxiliary conservation officers. I recognize that it is a real need. We have a new person year in place to work on this. I am hopeful that by this time next year everything will be in place for this program to go fully ahead.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister should understand that the program was only discontinued three and one-half years ago. Right now, in almost every community in the territory there are trained auxiliary conservation officers who have had the basic training that we gave them before. They know how to operate the radios and know some of the basics. I think we could initiate it now using some of those people. The Ministers department must have a list of the names and phone numbers for these people because that is what we used before. They could contact them. In another couple of weeks, the rivers will be open and there will be a lot of spring bear hunters out there. The department is going to send two conservation officers in a river boat from Minto to Dawson, and on the Pelly River, and I am sure there are auxiliary conservation officers who could take one of those places. We could actually save money. The other conservation officer could go in another area where they are badly needed. We are short of conservation officers right now in the territory. These people could be utilized in those areas each year. There is no need to wait because they will go on a volunteer basis. Food will have to be sent for two people in the first place. I do not know what kind of savings are being talked about or why the program cannot be started right now. The people are there and they are ready to go to work. I talked to some of the people as recently as a couple of weeks ago, and they are still wondering what has happened to the program and if it will be brought up again. They are ready to do it and they just have to be phoned.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for his comments and suggestions. They will be given every consideration by the department.
Mr. Lang: I have a question on the elk. I raised a question with respect to the two elk herds and did get a prompt answer. I appreciate that.
Some people in the hunting fraternity are under the impression that results have shown that there was going to have to be some culling of the herd. In view of the answer, there is obviously a difference of opinion within the department.
The legislative return showed that seven calves did not make it through the winter. It was obviously quite well monitored, and I am pleased to see that. Does the Minister know why the fatality rate was so high? Can any steps be taken to rectify this? Otherwise we are just putting air in a flat tire; eventually there will not be a herd at all if this continues.
Hon. Mr. Webster: We have no information to be able to determine why those calves did not make it through this winter.
Mr. Lang: We turned 12 new animals out in the herd. In the meantime, the calves that were born did not make it through the winter. They were radioed to the point that we knew their location. Was it wolves or predators, or was it something else? You must have some idea. We spent thousands of dollars studying these animals. We should have an idea what took place.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not have those details with me right now. I will find the answers to those questions and provide them to the Member.
Mr. Lang: The first question that would come to mind in reading the legislative return would be, why was the result so bad?
We have had some discussion on predator control. Is the Finlayson herd going to continue with the predator control that has been there in the past? Has the government accepted recommendations from the Wildlife Management Board that predator controls should be put in place, especially in areas 7 and 9?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The wolf predator control for the Finlayson herd has just concluded this past year. We have not had a recommendation from the Wildlife Management Board regarding a predator control program in game zones 7 and 9.
Mr. Lang: Is there to be no predator control from now on with respect to the Finlayson herd?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, that is not the case. Predator control involves a number of aspects. It is a continuing process. Some years it is activated, and some years it is inactive. We have gone through a period of about five years where we have been active with wolf as the main predator. Now, the herd has rebounded to a good population, so it is not deemed necessary to continue that active predator control period for a number of years. A few years from now, the situation will be reassessed by taking a look at the health of the herd.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister telling the House that the department officials have recommended that the predator control program not continue; that it has met its objective and therefore does not have to continue?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is true for that particular area and dealing with the Findlayson caribou herd.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister informing this House that there were no recommendations from the Management Board to put into effect the predator control program, for example, in areas such as zone 7 and zone 9?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, that is correct. There has not been a recommendation coming forth from the Wildlife Management Board on that matter.
Mr. Lang: Will they be considering that issue in the next little while? I find it hard to believe that that issue was not discussed when it was openly discussed at the public meeting I attended. I quite frankly am very disturbed that the board did not deal with the matter, because I have to say as an individual who attended that meeting there were obvious concerns in some of our areas, especially for the moose population, and the figures bear that out, especially in areas such as 7 and 9. The Member for Watson Lake referred to area 11 as well, where our big game animals are really becoming depleted.
I would ask the Minister, if the issue has not been dealt with, are there some plans for the management board to deal with the issue so that some options can be presented to the government with respect to this?
Hon. Mr. Webster: At this time, the department, working with the Champagne-Aisihik band, is preparing the big game management plan for the area in question. Their recommendation will then be going to the Wildlife Management Board for consideration. Naturally, one component of that plan will be the introduction of predator control measures.
Mr. Lang: When can we expect that plan to be developed so that the very depressing wildlife issue can be addressed?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I anticipate that the review will be completed by September of this year.
Mr. Devries: I have a concern regarding the fish. Does the Department of Renewable Resources plan to utilize the commercial fishermen, who could become an endangered species shortly, in helping to analyze the stocks in the lakes and getting rid of some of the undesirable species?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, we will be consulting with some of the commercial fishermen, as well as using them in field studies in a number of projects to determine the amount of scavenger stock, and also in determining the health of the resource in various lakes throughout the territory.
Mr. Lang: The Pounds Act and the Animal Protection Act were tabled in the House some weeks ago. I have a concern about the policy between the conservation officers and the RCMP. If an animal is found starving, we automatically contact the RCMP. I am concerned about the period of time here, and that the same incidence that happened in the past will take place again. This is where one level of government is dealing with another level, and the animal in question is out there and no one is taking any active steps to see it is fed.
If the owner refuses or fails to, how much time does that take? Is it two weeks or more before somebody actually gets out there from the department and determines there has to be feed moved out to the animal and that the individual is to be charged? The RCMP is the enforcement, but the Department of Renewable Resources should take the responsibility of going in there, when an animal is in that state, and taking the appropriate steps to rectify the situation.
If you read this policy in the way it is written, we look at it to determine the situation and, if it is not good, we call the RCMP. We leave it to the RCMP and make recommendations on what they should do. The RCMPs business is not really to feed horses.
The Minister is in charge of the agriculture department and the conservation officers. I would assume that should be their responsibility. The RCMP is there for law enforcement.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I will agree with the Member opposite that it is not the responsibility of the RCMP to feed horses. I hope it would be the responsibility of the owners to feed their own horses; however, on the odd occasion where that does not happen, you will see in the legislative return that, during some more recent incidences, a practice was established to go out to take a look at the horses, to feed them until the owner is contacted, at which time the owner is then forced to feed the horses.
Mr. Lang: I assume then this policy will be revised to reflect that, because I think that is important and I agree with that step.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, that is the case. In conjunction with changing that policy, the department will be looking at ways of recovering some of the costs from people who are negligent in taking care of their animals.
Chair: We will proceed with line by line.
On General Management
General Management in the amount of $454,000 agreed to
On Finance and Administration
Finance and Administration in the amount of $683,000 agreed to
Administration in the amount of $1,137,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move you report progress on Bill No. 51.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 51, First Appropriation Act, 1989-90, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
May I have your further pleasure?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday next.
The House adjourned at 5:29 p.m.
The following Legislative Returns were tabled April 20, 1989:
Leased space in Watson Lake - increase for Health and Human Resources (Byblow)
Oral, Hansard, p. 393
Office space at Economic [Shoppers] Plaza - intended renovations (Byblow)
Oral, Hansard, p. 393
Hunt of Hutshi Lake elk herd (Webster)
Oral, Hansard, p. 357