Tuesday, November 20, 1990 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
Mr. Phillips: I am rising today to make mention of something rather special and bring it to the notice of all other Members in the House and that is, Mr. Speaker, to wish you, the Speaker of the Legislature, a very happy birthday and ask all other Members to join with me to wish the Speaker a happy birthday. I would have thought that it would have been some kind of a holiday and we would not have been here but I suppose that may come in the future. Happy birthday, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: On the same question of spurious privilege, I would like to extend congratulations to you as well, and I apologize for all Members of the House for the Member opposite who has broken the understanding that you and I had, sir, that gentlemen of a certain age should no longer discuss their birthdays.
Speaker: Thank you very much everybody.
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING OF RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Speaker: Under tabling returns and documents I have a legislative return regarding MLA travel.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have for tabling a legislative return.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have for tabling the family violence policy, the family violence initiatives, and the directory for family violence programs.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills?
Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion.
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Family violence policy
Hon. Ms. Joe: I rise today to inform the Members of a new policy to direct government services and initiatives in the area of family violence.
Family violence is a serious problem throughout the world. Every day, we hear of increasing incidences of domestic violence, perpetrated primarily against women and children. We are becoming increasingly aware of the long-lasting effects of child abuse. The cycle of violence affects generation after generation.
The Yukon is one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to adopt a comprehensive family violence policy. It was developed through consultation with community groups and professionals with expertise and experience in this area.
This policy statement is the foundation of the governments plan of action on family violence. It is being released with a listing of government initiatives for 1990/91, which are part of a multi-year plan to address family violence.
Another important document I present today is the directory of services and resources on family violence. This directory is designed to help the helpers who are called upon in times of family violence.
In our government-wide plan of action for women, we described the need for programs, services and initiatives in the area of family violence. Over the past year, this government has introduced a safe places program to fund emergency shelter services for abused women and their children, initiated counselling groups for abused children and has launched a public awareness campaign stressing the prevention of family violence.
The policy I am introducing today deals with all forms of family violence: spousal abuse, child abuse, sexual assault and elder abuse. Abuse is defined in terms of physical, emotional and sexual assault, intimidation, neglect and financial exploitation.
Every individual has the right to security, protection under the law, and self-determination. Abusive attitudes and behaviour must not be tolerated. While a range of factors are recognized as contributing to the incidence of family violence, offenders must be accountable for their behaviour.
This policy is a clear government commitment to a philosophy and a plan of action to address family violence in all its forms. It is based on the underlying principles of this governments social policies: partnership, prevention, client-based services, integrated delivery, and cultural sensitivity. We emphasize the importance of working with community groups, agencies, and other governments.
As a government, we have taken a coordinated approach to addressing family violence. An interdepartmental committee is comprised of representatives of Health and Human Resources, Justice, the Womens Directorate and Education. This policy will guide these departments in planning and program development.
Our work did not begin today, nor is it finished today. This new policy is only one step toward achieving the ultimate goal of a safe and healthy community for all Yukoners, but it is a significant step.
Mr. Phelps: On behalf of Members on this side of the House, I would like to say that we are pleased to see action being taken by this government. There is more to be done, as the Minister has said, but we have at least had a good start and I congratulate the Minister on this and will be expecting more in the weeks and months to come.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: North Yukon land-use planning
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions for the Minister responsible for land-use planning and Renewable Resources. The question has to do with the north Yukon land-use planning process, which has been delayed for the area north of the Porcupine River. I am wondering if the Minister could tell us why the north Yukon planning exercise has been put on ice?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The reason that north Yukon planning is on hold is that a request has come from the Old Crow Band. They want to see a postponement until their land claims are settled.
Mr. Phelps: I guess what is of concern to me is simply the issue to do with the rights of the Inuvialuit, under the COPE agreement. Can the Minister advise us whether or not the COPE beneficiaries are satisfied with the intentions of this government to proceed once land claims are finalized for Old Crow?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, they are not. The Inuvialuit Regional Council is not satisfied with the way our government tends to proceed on this North Yukon Planning Commission. That is one of the issues involved in the postponement of this exercise.
Mr. Phelps: I am just concerned. Is there a clear legal issue? The understanding I obtained from the news announcements is that the Inuvialuit are threatening to go to binding arbitration or the court over the issue of their participation south of the North Slope.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I think that is what is in dispute at this time. The Inuvialuit Regional Council believes that they should have more representation on the North Yukon Planning Commission, and we do not agree with their position on that.
Question re: North Yukon land-use planning
Mr. Phelps: Another complicating factor is the rights under the COPE agreements that were made at the last minute between various native groups in the northern area: the rights of the Dene/Metis of Aklavik and Fort McPherson. Does the Minister know what position the Dene/Metis groups are taking with regard to their participation on North Yukon land-use planning committees?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not aware of any position being put forth by the Dene/Metis with respect to their participation on the North Yukon Planning Commission as it has been expressed to the Inuvialuit Regional Council. Whatever interest the Dene/Metis have has certainly not been brought forward nor has it complicated this matter at this time.
Mr. Phelps: I am pretty sure that the Dene/Metis obtained some reciprocal rights by virtue of the agreement they made at roughly the same time the Old Crow people made agreements with the Inuit just before the COPE final agreement came into being. I am surprised.
Has the Department of Renewable Resources got in touch with the Dene/Metis with regard to their agreements that were made as a prelude to the final agreement of the COPE land claim?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I can only stress that I am not aware of any agreement that might have been made between the Dene/Metis and the Inuvialuit as far as it may relate to their participation in any planning exercise in the Yukons North Slope.
Question re: North Yukon land-use planning
Mr. Phelps: I am wondering if the Minister responsible for land claims could tell us if any progress has been made with the Dene/Metis people of the northwestern part of the NWT on overlapping claims in general.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I must say that the recent developments affecting the Dene/Metis claim may have put a different complexion on the situation than was the situation a few months ago. As you know, we were faced with a very substantial claim for land in the Yukon from the Dene people in the Delta, a claim many people here believe could have been satisfied in the Northwest Territories.
The fact is that those people now will be going to the table not as a part of the Dene/Metis group but are proposing to pursue the matter on a regional basis. They may be the first at the table. This puts a new light on the question.
We have had recent meetings with the cabinet of the NWT to exchange our views on this question, and I expect there will be further conversations...
Speaker: Order please. Will the Minister please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will try, Mr. Speaker. I apologize, but this is an issue of considerable complexity and the situation is evolving. I was just trying to give the Member opposite the full flavour of the situation.
Question re: South Highway School
Mrs. Firth: I have some questions for the Minister responsible for Government Services. They are about the South Highway School.
In the Legislative return the Minister tabled, he said the Takhini Southern Lakes - TSL, as I will refer to it now - did not conform to the tender requirements and that the government would have broken the law and been sued had they accepted the bid. Yet we know the government did accept the TSL bid and forwarded it to the committee where it was viewed for final selection.
I would like to ask the Minister why the TSL went to committee if, as the Minister stated previously, it did not meet the requirements in the first place?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not perfectly certain about the logistics involved with the bid in terms of it going to the committee. It may well be that it is the committee that provided the basis for rejection. The bid was rejected on the basis that it did not conform to the tender specifications and, in particular, required a major change from the tender specifications, in that it required that the foundation contract be provided to TSL as part of the acceptance of its bid. So it had a number of deficiencies in it, in terms of conforming to regulations by which we award contracts. They are regulations that we consider quite important in the contracting community and we will adhere to them.
Mrs. Firth: It was the committees second choice so I hardly think that they made that story up. After the government awarded the contract to Atco and made changes in the design of the school, which resulted in changes to the costs, before the contract was signed, and when changes are made prior to signing a contract, it should be retendered. Can the Minister tell us why the other contractors were not given an opportunity to submit a bid on the new design?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not sure what the Member is talking about in terms of changing design. Atco was awarded the bid and subsequent to Atcos construction of the modular unit - that is, subsequent to the acceptance of their bid - the rest of the jobs relating to the project were tendered. They were tendered locally and they were picked up by various contractors, the first of which was Trimates for the foundation. In terms of design changes, under our regulations, any time that there is a change in design that does not exceed 10 percent of the scope of the project, we are perfectly entitled within the regulations to go ahead with that change.
Mrs. Firth: I believe that is after the contract is signed. The contract was not signed until May 29. The changes were made prior to that. It confirms the accusations that there was some horse trading going on between the government and between Atco. I would like to ask the Minister, so that we can try to preserve some integrity for the tendering process, if he can tell us how often this kind of thing happens - where there are design changes made and if the contract is is not retendered - and can he cite specific examples?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: A couple of clarifications should be made. In the first instance, I resent the suggestion that there are improprieties taking place in the tendering process. In the second instance, this was a purchase contract, which is pretty straightforward. A set of specifications are designed for the product to be provided. Those specifications are met, or they are not. The government is perfectly entitled to negotiate with a supplier in a purchase contract to the extent they choose.
In the case of Atco, there was a change order to the extent of $56,000. That is less than five percent of the tender. It is totally erroneous for the Member to suggest that there is any impropriety, or that anything wrong was done.
Question re: South Highway School
Mrs. Firth: We will find out how straightforward this purchase contract was.
Let us just confirm the process the Minister is talking about. Purchase contracts are tendered out of the supply services branch of his department. They do not have to go to public tender. Construction contracts come out of property management and, if it is over $25,000, it has to go to public tender, by law. Yet, this proposal came out of property management as an invitational tender, and so did all the changes that were made to the original proposal.
The Minister did not give me those changes; Atco did. There were all kinds of changes made out of property management.
Does the Minister of Education want to speak?
Is it not true that this should properly have been a construction contract?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is dead wrong on that score. There is no rationale or evidence to suggest that this had to be a construction contract. It is a purchase contract, given the nature of the job. Let us put the entire job into perspective.
A decision was made less than a year ago to put a school in place. The only way that time frame could be met was to put out a purchase contract on a modular school construction. That is what was done. That was the advice from the building committee of parents in the community, by Education, and in consultation with my Government Services personnel.
The bottom line is that a purchase contract does not have to specifically come out of supply services. It can come out of property management. There is no law that suggests that it should come from one branch of the department or another. The fact remains that it was a purchase contract ...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Minister please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: ... that was properly and completely tendered, fitting all regulations under which we operate.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is absolutely wrong. The committees first choice was Travco. The committees second choice was TSL and the committees third choice was Atco. So let us get that straight on the record right now.
Property management has no authority.
Speaker: Order please. Will the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: I am just starting the question. The property management branch has no authority to enter into purchase contracts. I would like to ask the Minister, if everything was on the up and up, why did it not go through supply services? Why did it go through property management? They have no authority to do it.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: In the preamble to the Members question, she mixed apples and oranges. The building committee, in collaboration with Education and Government Services, had a position or a point of view about which bid should be awarded. The Member implies that the building committee preferred a construction job; that is not correct. Travco is not a construction firm, so the Member is confusing the issue by suggesting that the building committee preferred a construction type; that is not correct.
The fact is that property management are the experts when it comes to facilities construction. Whether or not supply services could have done equally as good a job - I cannot make that judgment. I can only undertake to go back and procure further information as to why one branch over another of my department put out the tender.
Mrs. Firth: I think it is about time that the Minister did that. He had better be very careful about the answers he gives in the Legislature. I will reiterate: the committees first choice was Travco. Their second choice was TSL. Their third choice was Atco. All of the government Members first choice was Atco. So what has happened here is: they bypassed the rules; they changed the first choice of the committee and the third choice of the government...
Speaker: Order please. Will the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: I am getting to it, Mr. Speaker. Atco ended up getting the contract. I would like to ask the Minister if he can tell us where there are examples in the contracting process where this has happened before. Can he give me some examples where property management has issued purchase contracts before?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member, too, has to be very careful of what she puts on the record. Travcos bid came in at $1.58 million. Atcos bid was $1.2 million. Now, what the Member is suggesting is that we should have taken the bid for $1.5 million - $300,000 higher than the low bid. The Member is again suggesting to this House that we bypass our contracts regulations, which require us to address low bid. The Member is suggesting that we waste an additional $300,000 because it is a preference of the Members. We must keep things in perspective. This was a purchase contract to expedite a facility that this government was committed to. This was a legitimately tendered purchase contract and we delivered on our job. The school is in place; the students are happy with it; the parents are happy with it. What more can the Member wish to know?
Question re: South Highway School
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is incorrect on everything he says. Attacking me does not get him off the hook. He made the decisions here.
It went wrong right from day one. They put a purchase contract out instead of a construction contract. It did not go out to public tender. The wrong branch of his department initiated it and followed through with it: property management instead of supply services. He is trying to pass it off as a purchase contract.
They accepted TSLs contract, but then when there was a public fuss that they did not award them the contract, they made up a story about it not meeting the requirements, but it went to the committee to be reviewed. Then, prior to signing the contract with Atco, they made a lot of changes that cost more money and did not let anyone else bid on it. They did not let anyone else bid again after the changes were made. They broke every...
Speaker: Order please. Will the Member please stick to the question.
Mrs. Firth: ...of the policy respecting the project management.
I would like to ask the Minister to cite examples where this is usual practice. I would like him to answer the question for a change. Can the Minister cite other examples of projects being handled this way?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Unfortunately, the Member is clearly putting wrong information on the record. The fact is that this is a purchase contract. The fact is that TSL bid on the basis of a construction contract. The fact is that their bid was ineligible; it was rejected. The bid was not accepted. If it had been, they would have gone ahead with the construction of the school. That could not be done on the basis of the tender.
As I indicated to the Member in the legislative return, we would have been sued if we had violated the terms and conditions of our own regulations. We cannot accept a construction contract on the basis of an award for a purchase contract. That is not permissible.
To answer the Members question, we do indeed put out purchase contracts on millions of dollars of goods through supply services. This is not unlike what was done here to meet the rigid time frame we committed ourselves to and which was supported by the committee...
Speaker: Order please. Will the Minister please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: ...and has resulted in a facility that is now in place. Members can go visit it and see for themselves.
Mrs. Firth: In response to that, I will ask the Minister why the TSL proposal was sent to the committee if the government knew it did not conform to the tender specifications. It was the committees second choice. Why did it go to the committee if it did not conform? Why did they do that? What a ridiculous thing to do.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not know precisely why the TSL bid went to the committee. All bids went to the committee. The committee would have been advised if any specific bid did not conform to tender specifications, to regulation, and each bid would have been analyzed by my staff to provide further information and background for the committee members. The Member made reference to Travcos bid being the first choice. The committee preferred that for its design features, but it was $300,000 more than the lowest bid. It was also not acceptable to approve a bid that violated the terms of the specifications. It would have required an additional contract for construction of the foundation if it had been awarded. A contractor cannot call terms of a bid. We do.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister stood here and said that millions of dollars worth of purchase contracts go through property management in his department. I would like him to bring us a list of those millions of dollars worth of purchase contracts that go through property management. Will he do that?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: To correct the Member again, who seems insistent upon putting erroneous information on the record, I did not say that millions of dollars worth of purchase contracts come through property management. I said, This government, on a regular basis, purchases goods and services in the millions of dollars. Hansard can verify what I said.
Yes, I will provide to the Member some random sampling of the types of acquisitions that are provided through my department for the acquisition of goods and services, which the Members colleagues in the esteemed and reverent City of Ottawa support for taxation.
Question re: South Highway School
Mrs. Firth: There he goes again, I mean what a silly thing for a Minister to stand up and say. Let us get the record very clear here. The Minister has said there are millions of dollars worth of purchase contracts that go through his department. I want him to tell me whether they go through the supply services branch or the property management branch.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I leave it to the Member to do her homework. Each year I table a list of all the purchase contracts that are let by this government. They are tabled in a document every April, and they will be tabled again. The Member can analyze them and see where the purchases are taking place, from whom and by which branch and by which department. That information is readily available, and it does reflect the millions of dollars worth of acquisitions by my department and which branches do it. It is on the record already; I do not have it with me to recite for the Member.
Mrs. Firth: If it is on the record and is so blatantly obvious, why can the Minister not answer the question? Why does he not stand up and answer the question? He has not. He just gives big speeches.
Does it go through property management? Do the purchase contracts go through property management or through supply services? Do the construction contracts go through property management or supply services?
He cannot answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The question is irrelevant. The question is asking me to recite which branch of my department acquires certain goods and services for and on behalf of this government. As a rule of thumb, supply services provide for the acquisition of certain goods and services, and property management looks after the supply of certain other goods and services. It is as simple as that.
Question re: South Highway School
Mr. Phelps: I feel I have to ask a few questions about the same subject, because people in my riding are rather perplexed about what has happened. What the people on the building committee feel badly about, to put it bluntly, is that this government seems hell bent on leakage, on spending our money on units manufactured in Alberta and bypassing the kind of work that could have been done here. They talk about leakage all the time. The reason the building committee preferred Takhini Southern Lakes bid over Atco was very simple: because it would have provided jobs here - jobs for people in the Yukon. When they are told that Atco was cheaper, and it turns out that instead of $1.2 million it cost over $2 million to provide the school, they are doubly perplexed.
I would like to know why this government was so insistent and so eager to give this job to Atco so we could bring in a bunch of trailers from Alberta instead of building the units here?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not know how many more times I have to repeat myself. This government functions on a democratic principle. There was a decision made less than a year ago to put a school in place for September 1, 1990. The only way the building could have been in place in that time frame was to issue a supply contract. What more is there to elaborate on that that I have not said before. That was the decision made by members of the community, by the Department of Education in collaboration with my staff. We had a time frame to meet. We have a set of contract regulations to adhere to. We respected low bid. We have a school in place.
Mr. Phelps: The local outfit that was going to prefab the units here, right here in the Yukon, is not only a local company but it is a big company and it said that it could do the job on time. It also said that it could do the job for about $500,000 less than it cost to bring these trailer units in from Alberta, that somebody in the government seemed so insistent upon doing no matter what it meant in terms of Yukon jobs, no matter what it meant in cost and no matter what it meant in quality.
Speaker: Would the Member please get to his...
Hon. Mr. Byblow: In the anticipated $2 million cost of the school, there should be a couple of points made. Over $800,000 of the work was tendered locally and provided by contractors locally. Takhini Southern Lakes, in spite of what the Member suggests, could not deliver the project on time. The simple fact that they said they could does not make it a reality. Takhini Southern Lakes required that they be given the foundation contract in conjunction with its bid. In the first instance, that violates our contract regulations because we cannot attach a construction contract on a sole source basis to a supply contract. That is a no-no. We would be going to court for that. TSL required that they had to be on the site by May 15. That was impossible. They could not be on the site by May 15.
Speaker: Would the Member please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am concluding, Mr. Speaker. TSL could not deliver.
Mr. Phelps: Well now, it is a strange thing that they gave the contract to the building committee and the building committee, made up of people who live in the area, thought they could. It is a strange thing that the company itself, TSL, said they could. I just do not understand why this Minister laid the proposal of TSL before the building committee and then ignored what it wanted.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: That is not true. The building committee, in reviewing the bids, endorsed the Atco bid on the basis of its merit: the fact that it would be a timely project in place, that it would be the low bid and the fact that the other contractors were either too high or incapable of producing the project on time - as was the commitment. The fact remains that TSL could not deliver on time; Atco could. The committee supported that, it was endorsed by my officials, it was endorsed by the Department of Education and we proceeded within the regulations. We could not even have awarded it to TSL if we wanted to. That is a fact. If Members are suggesting that I break the law and jeopardize the integrity of the tendering system, then I am afraid I have to tell them I will not do it. We played by the rules. We went through a democratic process and we delivered the project.
Question re: Mental Health Act
Mr. Nordling: In light of the discussion, I feel my question is relevant. It is in respect to the Mental Health Act, and addressed to the Minister of Health and Human Resources.
After years of waiting, a new Mental Health Act was brought forward and passed by this House last May. Has the new act come into force? If not, when will it?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It has not come into force yet. I am in receipt of most of the nominations for the new board, which is to be constituted under the act. The regulations, which have to be approved by Cabinet, are in the process of being drafted. I hope to have them very soon.
If I may speak personally, I do not want to have to continue for much longer the process where Ministers have to sign committals. I find that a totally unpleasant and unacceptable process.
Mr. Nordling: We waited years for the act, and I do not want to have to wait that long for the regulations. Can the Minister make any commitment as to when the regulations will be completed? Saying that they are in the process of being drafted does not give us much of an idea.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I can give the Member some kind of commitments about when the staff work will be done, but I cannot give him commitments about how quickly Cabinet will dispose of the matter.
These are matters that have been the subject of much public discussion, and may I say, much private anguish. The Member may know of some of the difficult cases, and may even know about some of the public discussion that has gone on recently. After the drafting, but prior to the approval by Cabinet, I may want to make sure that some of the stakeholders and interested parties on this question have had an opportunity to view the proposed regulations before I have them brought to Cabinet.
Mr. Nordling: I accept everything the Minister says. I would like an estimate of time from him as to when that will take place. If he does talk to interested groups, will it be next spring or next fall? Can he be more precise?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If the Member will forgive me for a moment, I am going to be conservative - but just for a moment - and suggest that I am going to have them completed in this fiscal year. If I can get them done in the first half of the time that remains in this fiscal year, I will do that. For all sorts of reasons, I do not want to give a firm deadline, because I am not in control of what might happen in the consultation process. I cannot exclusively set the time that Cabinet may want to discuss these. We are dealing with perhaps the most sensitive matters of all that can affect human beings who may be mental patients here, and I want to be confident that we have sufficient time to discuss it properly with the people who have something to contribute to the question.
Question re: Chipseal crew travel
Mr. Brewster: My question is to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. Yesterday I asked the Minister why he flew a chip-seal crew to work every day from Whitehorse to Faro this summer, by a DC3, rather than pay their expenses for staying in Faro. Can the Minister advise the House if it is true that his department was offered room and board in Faro for this crew at a cost of $70 per day per worker?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I cannot confirm that. Following the Members raising of the question yesterday, I spoke to my department officials, who are providing a legislative return in detail that essentially will confirm some of the statements I made yesterday: that there was indeed the commuting of a BST crew to Whitehorse, on daily basis, for a short period of time, due to the unavailability of accommodation. So with respect to the Members question today, I can only assure him that I will confirm that in the legislative return that I will be tabling shortly.
Mr. Brewster: I sometimes find these legislative returns do not show up unless you put a little pressure on. Since the Minister now has had time to refresh his memory about this matter, can he advise the House how many workers were involved and how many times they were flown to and from Faro?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I answered that in the negative previously. That information is being compiled; it is being assembled for Members in a legislative return, in writing. I do not know how many people were involved in the BST crew but the Member will know that shortly when I table the detail of information that is being provided.
Mr. Brewster: Sometimes if you ask the same question twice, you get a better answer. Can the Minister now advise the House how much it cost the Yukon taxpayer to transport this crew to and from Faro?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I really appreciate the opportunity to address this issue on two successive days, with a scarcity of information and working totally from memory. I can tell the Member that in my initial discussion with my staff following the Members question yesterday, they did confirm that there was a cost saving involved with the choice they made when compared to the fact that there was no accommodation available and the only available accommodation would be to take in a camp. So that information is now being provided in detail and it will be available to the Member as soon as I get it.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed.
NOTICE OF BUSINESS
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 14.1(1), I would request the unanimous consent of the House to call the following motions: No. 22, No. 19, No. 20, No. 14 and No. 15, under Motions Other Than Government Motions when that business is called on November 21, 1990.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been granted.
Speaker: We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and 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
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order and declare a brief recess.
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 15 - Second Appropriation Act, 1990-91 - continued
Government Services - continued
Chair: We are still dealing with business incentive policy under capital expenditures for $100,000.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could tell me whether he is going to be able to provide me with the contracts that have been entered into and the money that has been spent up to when he is asking me to approve this budget now from his department.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I had not intended to. If the Member is making a request, I suppose I can inquire with my staff what is involved to do it. I think the Member recognizes that it is a fair amount of work involved to do that. Perhaps she could be more specific on the request. I would like to be able respond favourably if possible.
Mrs. Firth: I asked the Minister a question in the House quite a few days ago at which time he absolutely, flatly denied me access to the contracts of all the government departments from April, 1990 to November 15, 1990, and said that if departments wanted to bring them to the Ministers, that was fine. I expected he would provide those contracts. I do not think the request is unreasonable. The Minister is asking me to approve this expenditure, which pretty much closes off the debate on the 1990-91 budget. I am just saying surely we have a right to know what money went toward contracts in that period so that we can dispense with the budget debate. He got up at that time and went on about how it takes two to three weeks to do all this. Well, I know it does not take that long, because people have told us it does not take that long. It has been put into the computer and it can be accessed fairly readily. I am not saying I need someone to stay up here all night to get this information, but the Minister was surely aware of it some time ago. I would have expected that if he had wanted to be positive about the debate, he would have taken some steps. The other Ministers have. The Minister of Education has provided us with the information and the Minister of Tourism has and so on.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Well, I will tell the Member that I will think about the request. Contrary to the assertion that there is no work involved, there is indeed a tremendous amount of work. In fact, it would require somebody to spend nights to pull the information together. I have a concern about tabling contracts that are either incomplete or of work in progress. I did that last year and I ran into problems with the contracting community. The contracts listing I tabled last year for the Member, in an open effort to be cooperative, caused me some agony both in terms of the amount of work I precipitated within the department and in the criticism from contractors who were involved in work for the government.
So, I wanted to re-think carefully what information I would be providing on that score. It is not as if there is any withholding of information, because we go through the annual exercise at the end of the fiscal year to provide an accurate listing of all contracts, government-wide; the Member knows that. The contracts that have been entered into, in many cases, are still in progress. In some cases, they involve holdback; in other cases they involve work that has yet to be verified. In many instances, these contracts are not filed with central registry so we do not have an accurate listing. It is onerous to provide that in any meaningful way.
What I can say to the Member is that I will take the request under advisement but it is with a different view than a year ago, largely because of the problems I encountered doing it the way I did last year.
Mrs. Firth: I really object to the Ministers attitude that he will think about it. I could stand here and say maybe we will think about passing this budget, too. I am not going to say that, but I just want the Minister to be aware that I really do not think that is an appropriate thing for him to say. I have not asked for the contracts that have not been closed off. All I have asked for are the ones that are closed off. The other Ministers have managed to provide that information for us. I think it is an important observation for us to make, to see what stage they are at now with the contracts, how much funds have been expended and how much is spent after publication of the first batch of them when we get the final full published listing.
I really think that the Minister would be wise, in the spirit of cooperative debate when he is trying to get a budget through the Legislature, to provide the information that we request. I am not asking him for any information that is going to get him into trouble with the contractors. If the contract has been given, it has been signed off and the money has been spent, I do not see where there is any compromise in his relationship with the contractors to give us that information. It is public information. I do not know how long it is going to take the Minister to think about this. I guess what he is telling me is that I am not going to get the information. I will have to wait until the debate of the operating and maintenance main estimates.
I also asked him for the transportation access program breakdown for this budget debate. He said he would get it to me, but we never did get it. That is money that was spent last year as well. I rest my case. I am not being unreasonable in asking for this. It is money that has been spent and I think we have a right to know where it went and how much it was.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The information about the RTAP funding has just been compiled. I have it on my desk and will send it down for the Member before the end of the day.
On the question of the contracts, I do not find the Members rationale acceptable. Her rationale is that it will provide some assessment of the amount of money expended. That is going to be an irrelevant argument because, if I do ask my staff to pull together a contracts listing, it would only be for completed contracts. It would not be complete, up-to-date or accurate because, for that to happen, I would have to direct my officials to ensure that all branches were canvassed for all contracts, and have them all registered with the central registry. It is going to require somebodys time for a considerable period. I do not think Members recognize the extent to which work is involved to assemble these contracts.
I want to assess the work involved. My experience a year ago was an unfortunate one, because I had to deal quite extensively to mitigate some of the negative fallout from it. We do provide those contracts in a full, thorough compilation in April of each year. That will continue to be the practice and policy. I leave with the Member my commitment to address the request and seek advice from my officials as to what work is involved to provide contracts that are complete to date, but I will not ask for it to be totally accurate. That is asking for too much work.
Mrs. Firth: I will move back on to the business incentive review committee. Who are the people who are on the committee?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have that information. The chair of the committee is a gentleman from Economic Development by the name of Terry Sewell. I do not have the names of the rest of the members. There is one person on that committee from the Whitehorse and Yukon area building trades council. If the Member will give me a moment, I may have the rest.
I apologize for the delay but I do now have the names. As I indicated, the Chair is Terry Sewell, from the Department of Economic Development. The member from the Yukon Chamber of Commerce is Mike Bryant. The Yukon Contractors Association is represented by Ed Sumner. The Yukon Federation of Labour is represented by Ron McDonald. The member from the Whitehorse and Yukon area building trades council is Todd Hardy and the member at large is Kim Tanner, a chartered accountant.
Mrs. Firth: Did the committee choose the government representatives to be the chair? I see that, according the policy, the committee has set its own rules. I would like to know how the chair was chosen.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The appointment of Terry Sewell was made by me on the recommendation of the steering group developing the policy. They suggested that the chair be a person from the government but not from Government Services. That was largely because of the appeal process and due to the role of Government Services in providing information to the committee.
Mrs. Firth: I am looking at the policy with respect to the appeal procedure. The Minister refers an appeal to the business incentive review committee and, then, the committee considers the evidence and, upon completion, they issue the opinion to the Minister. Who makes the final decision in the event of a dispute? Does the Minister, being the last person it is referred to?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is correct. The final decision would fall upon the Minister to make, but the recommendation of the committee would be a substantial element of that decision-making process. That recommendation would also be made public.
Mrs. Firth: In the event there is a dispute between one of the contractors with a claim for the business incentive policy and the government, who has the ability to override his claim? Is it the contract administrator? Can they say they think he is charging too much? How does that work?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes, the contract administrator can make a ruling that a rebate may not apply. The contractor has recourse to the appeal process, which would kick it to the committee for recommendation and then to me.
Mrs. Firth: I do not like the whole policy. I wish we did not have it, but this is another example why we do not need it. We have given a person a lot of authority, and some of it is going to be very subjective, unless you have a list of guidelines for every little thing that could be considered a rebate or a local material. There is going to be a problem in subjectively trying to determine what is eligible for a rebate when it is supposed to be a locally manufactured product.
We have given one particular individual all this responsibility, authority and determining power. I recognize there is some kind of an appeal process, but it ends up getting the whole thing wound up in red tape and more paperwork. It is a disincentive to the business community, as opposed to doing something good as an incentive, which is what the policy says.
For example, what is considered a locally manufactured product? How is the person going to make all these decisions? For example, if someone hauls in an unassembled unit of some kind or another, like a metal box, and the government wanted metal boxes, and if they bring them in and assemble them here, are they going to get more points than the business person who brings the boxes in already assembled? That is an example. Could the Minister give a definitive answer about that? If he cannot, then how is the individual supposed to make a subjective decision as to whether one is locally manufactured or not, when they are actually the same box?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member raises a reasonable technical point with respect to the rebate rules. As I indicated yesterday, the standing committee on the business incentive policy spent the summer developing a rebate schedule. We talked briefly about it yesterday. I will circulate to Members a copy of that schedule outlining the rebate guidelines that are provided to contractors and to the contract administrator for the determination of rebates. It is several pages long and I am sure the Member will want to come back to it. I will circulate it now and if the Member wants to pursue any detail of it, because it is administratively complex, we could debate it further now or in the mains.
Mrs. Firth: I do have lots of questions about the policy but I am not going to ask them all because we will be here for three weeks.
In the business incentive policy for construction it says under the apprenticeship incentive rebate that for the eligible apprentices, the contractor or subcontractor may claim a rebate of 10 percent of the total wages paid by the contractor or subcontractor. Why do they arrive at a figure of 10 percent? I believe Education provides a rebate of 25 percent for apprentices. Is there some specific reasoning?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The purpose of the policy was to encourage not only local labour and local hire, but to encourage the use of apprentices. The intention of the policy was to make sure there was an incentive for apprentices to be hired. It is true Education does provide a supplement to the wage of an apprentice who is used properly on a job. This 10 percent is essentially an incentive topping up what Education provides to encourage contractors to use apprentices. It is simply a matter of principle and policy to encourage that to happen.
Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister saying this 10 percent is in addition to the 25 percent paid by Education? I cannot see that. If you have a policy that is going to provide certain incentives for apprentices then it should be consistent throughout government. So if one area of government is paying 25 percent surely the business area of government should be eligible for that same amount of money if the idea is to encourage the use of apprentices and training in the business community.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am sorry, I have to correct some information I just provided. I did say that it was a supplement to education. That is not correct. It is a free-standing incentive where Education apprentice support is not provided. It came out of our collaboration with the Trades Advisory Councils who pointed out, quite legitimately, that not all trades and skills are eligible for apprentice support from Education or CEIC. This is to cover that gap, to provide an incentive in those trades and skills that are not eligible for support from Education.
Mrs. Firth: I will look at the rebate schedule and probably follow up with some debate with the Minister in the mains.
Business Incentive Policy in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
On Systems and Computing Services
On Computer Workstations
Computer Workstations in the amount of $59,000 agreed to
On Supply Services
On Office Equipment
Office Equipment in the amount of $37,000 agreed to
On Pooled Vehicles
Mrs. Firth: I just wanted to ask the Minister what the current policy is with respect to the pooled vehicles. I see fewer and fewer black and orange vehicles. Is the government getting out of the coloured ones and moving into unmarked, licence-plated, YTG vehicles? I believe they have a number on the sides of them, but they look like your car or my car in the driveway. I want to know if there has been some change in the policy and if the Minister could tell us just how many of the black and orange vehicles are left compared to ones that are now blending in with all the other vehicles in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: What takes place on an annual basis with our cars is that we simply get rid of the older ones and upgrade the general pool. The older ones are disposed of based on budget allocations and based on our assessment of the cost to maintain them. In the main estimates, we have budgeted for some new pool vehicles to be purchased and if that money is approved it will allow us to essentially dispose of all vehicles 1982 and older, so following next years budget allocation, during the summer of 1991, we will be disposing of all 1982 and older vehicles.
Currently in our stock, we have vehicles going back to 1979 and a couple of vehicles older than that; I think the oldest is 1976. With next years budget, we will be upgrading stock to be able to dispose of vehicles 1982 and older. We have currently 227 vehicles in the pool.
With respect to the black and orange vehicles, the Member is correct: we will slowly be abandoning and disposing of all the vehicles that are in that colour because we are not paying the cost of having vehicles repainted. It is simply a cost-saving measure. We are buying vehicles in bulk. As the Member knows, we tender for those vehicles based on our budgeting and we get the best price possible on a bulk basis to upgrade the pool vehicles at a standard that we consider to be reasonable, modest and acceptable for government-wide purposes.
I think that should have answered the question for the Member. The short answer is that eventually all the black and orange vehicles will be gone and what you will see is the new stock of mid-sized cars with a YTG number on the side and a YTG plate on the rear bumper.
Pooled Vehicles in the amount of $58,000 agreed to
On Queens Printer Equipment
Queens Printer Equipment in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $259,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Just before we do clear capital, I just wanted to point out that that $58,000 relating to pooled vehicles is not new stock. It is transferred money on our devolution programs for vehicles so we just simply transfer that money into our base with the vehicles that came through B and C airports.
Mr. Phillips: Before we leave Government Services, I would like the Minister to know that I acquired some information. I checked with Alberta and Saskatchewan, and we are waiting to hear from British Columbia, with respect to the GST and what government departments in other jurisdictions are doing.
Evidently, in Alberta, the government has a member of the economic development staff as advisor to business on the effects of the GST on Alberta business. In Saskatchewan, the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs is in the process of designing a pamphlet for business on the GST. I believe British Columbia is doing the same thing.
We asked the government yesterday to put something together as soon as possible to help businesses, as they are searching for answers about what to do in five or six weeks time, when this tax is applied.
Mr. Lang: The Minister, who is also responsible for Community and Transportation, during the debates on the supplementaries, committed himself to getting certain information to me on the area of highways. I asked for a breakdown on what we are spending on highways versus what was spent last year and the Minister had committed himself to getting that information to me this week. Is he going to be able to do that? I would certainly like that information.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I recall the commitment and directed that the information be assembled. I have not seen it yet, but I appreciate the Member reminding me.
Health and Human Resources
Chair: On the Department of Health and Human Resources, is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If you will allow me, Madam Chair, I would like to go through as complete an explanation as I can about this supplementary and then submit to questions.
Obviously, there are three parts to this supplementary. The first is in the O&M side, where there is a $478,000 increase in operating expenditures. That is entirely in connection with the extended care program. I will elaborate in some detail on that.
On the question of recoveries, there are, under the capital assistance program program and under the native programs, very substantial increases in recoveries, which are represented in this budget.
The third point is that the responsibility for the management of the extended care and rehabilitation facility has been transferred with the capital to the Yukon Housing Corporation; therefore, there is a significant capital lapse as a result of that.
Within this allocation, there is some money proposed for work on group home renovations, work on a new detox facility, some renovations at Macaulay Lodge to take care of the interim needs of extended care, as well as some expenditures at Na Dli, in terms of improving security and fencing, and some group home renovations, which I will describe in greater detail.
The items described on pages 43 and 44 of the budget book represent $478,000 in operating terms. That is required entirely to pay for the addition of 19.2 person years for the extended care program. I will explain how that works in general first and then go into some detail.
As we move toward construction of this facility, we are gradually adding the staff required to operate the program. For the most part, the staff hired will operate out of Macaulay Lodge until such time as the new facility is built. Then, the bulk of them will be moving into the facility with the patients who will be moving from Macaulay Lodge. We are meeting those peoples needs now by increased staffing and renovations, and we will move the patients and staff into the new facility in the fall of 1992. I will go into that in some detail for Members, because it is complicated.
As part of our strategy for ensuring the provision of extended care in the Yukon, the government has undertaken a project to upgrade Macaulay Lodge. As a result of this upgrade, Macaulay Lodge will be able to provide care for between 20 and 25 extended care patients. I will elaborate a little more on that later on.
Of the 19.2 person years that are requested for this program, 14.5 will be used to provide the necessary care and support required for those extended care clients residing in Macaulay Lodge as a direct result of the extended care strategy. I will go back over the numbers if Members want but, of the $478,000 in this operation and maintenance item, there is $343,000 provided for these 14.5 person years.
The remaining 4.7 person years will provide sufficient resources to meet the current operational requirements of Macaulay Lodge. These requirements were identified in a review conducted in 1988.
This review identified the need, with the changing nature of Macaulay Lodge which we have discussed, in particular with the Member for Riverdale North, for additional staffing. That review done in 1988 identified the need for as many as 10.5 new person years. What I should mention is that 5.7 of them were provided in the budget last year. These other 4.7 bring us up to approximately the number that were originally identified. There is $135,000 in this budget associated with the cost of those 4.7 person years.
I will go into more detail on this, but I should explain to the Member that these people will not be moving to the new facility, they will be staying at Macaulay Lodge. What we have to do in trying to meet the needs of this client group is to provide for a continuum of care, which goes from people staying in their own homes, which may be met by the home care program, senior citizens homes, where people may not keep up their own home but want to be in a senior citizens home with not much help, and then we will have a facility that started off as senior citizens home but is becoming more like a nursing home situation, which is Macaulay Lodge, filling in the next gap. Then the final stage is the extended care and rehabilitation facility, which will be built to meet with the most intense needs. We have a continuum of care. The new person years we are bringing into the system, which are 19.2 in total, provide for the latter stages of that care, in other words both in Macaulay and the new extended care facility.
I want to make it clear so that Members do not get a shock later on that this is not the total staffing for the extended care facility. The total staffing for the extended care facility, four shifts of extended care rehabilitation, will be over 40 person years. This is the early group that will be looking after some of those same people, and will move with them to the new facility.
That represents the $478,000 in the operating expenditures and the costs associated with phasing in those 19.2 person years over the year.
I will just mention as we go into the recoveries line that we have an increase in recoveries of $1,212,000. Those result from two main activities. The first is that under the Canada Assistance Plan we have negotiated final settlement with the Government of Canada that results in an increase of $707,000 in anticipated recoveries and the health services branch expects recoveries from the Department of Indian Affairs in respect to services that are provided for status Indians receiving treatment. That will increase by $505,000. This reflects in total, $1,212,000, so there is an overall net increase of additional funds to the government of some $734,000.
Let me say something about the capital part of this supplementary. In total, the department is lapsing in this year, $1,961,000 of capital funds. This is primarily due to the transfer of the extended care facility project from Health and Human Resources to the Yukon Housing Corporation. Members will have noted my description of the change in the project scope here, and in the management of the project, as it now includes the rehabilitation facility as well, a service that is provided to Workers Compensation Board clients largely outside the territory at this point.
The transfer of this project, I want to emphasize, does not result in any delays in the project. It remains on target and I think later in the month we will have on display in this building the design concepts of the facility, the illustrations and so forth, for people to look at. I hope I will be able to make a presentation available for Members of the House who wish to have one. That work is being completed now.
Offsetting the lapsed $3,075,000 due to the extended care facility transfer is $1,114,000 for various capital projects that require additional funds. First of all, we have $100,000 for group home construction renovation projects. I have explained that this involves a number of projects that came out of a review of our facilities a while back, and which identified changes that were needed in child welfare group homes. The $100,000 represents the costs that Government Services estimates is associated with implementing the identified changes that include moving walls in some facilities to permit room enlargement, in one case in taking a very large room and making it into two, moving some stairwells, adding stairs and doorways, et cetera, in order to meet code standards, safety and good program imperatives.
I would mention to Members that none of the individual projects were large although there were quite a number of them.
The next item in the capital side is the Whitehorse Transition Home for $200,000. I would emphasize to Members that this is a revote of the $200,000 requested in the last fiscal year. This comes as a result of delays in preparation of the capital project budget. The department could not transfer the funds to the transition home during the last year. The project budget was recently received by the department from the proponents and as long as we are satisfied about the contribution agreement criteria, the funds will be released very shortly.
The last time we debated the budget, I discussed with Members the need for a new detoxification facility. We had $80,000 requested last year, and $40,000 of this is a partial revote. Combined with the $200,000 previously voted for this project, that will complete the facility planning stage required for a new residential detoxification facility. We expect the tendering for the architectural work to be completed early in the new year.
The most significant item in this list is the Macaulay Lodge renovations, which consist of $174,000 and are part of the whole extended care strategy. Completed with $160,000 of these funds, the renovations will permit the Macaulay Lodge to provide for the 20 to 25 extended care patients I talked about earlier in the presentation.
There is $14,000 of this budget that is the fault of the Member for Riverdale North, who last year proposed that we complete a landscaping project to build raised garden plots, which would permit Macaulay Lodge residents to garden without bending. In other words, they could carry out the hobby without the kind of back strain that might result, and $14,000 of the $174,000 was used for that purpose, as suggested by the Member opposite.
The Member is anticipating a question. He is complaining it is too expensive.
I have been asked if I have been by to see them and, yes, I have. I would have offered to do them myself, and they would have been cheaper, but I am sure they would not have been nearly as well done. If the Member wishes, I am prepared to bring back information to explain the cost.
The next part of this item is also connected with the extended care facility. We had originally thought that, while we were trying to complete the extended care facility and doing some renovations at Macaulay Lodge, we might have to make some expenditures at Whitehorse General Hospital for some patients who may be there, but whose needs are of the extended care variety. We had provided for that money in this budget at $30,000. Even though I am coming here with this, I doubt if all of that money will be spent. With the current patient population, I do not think we will need those renovations at the hospital. When we put together this budget, it was there. However, I may be recommending to the House that, without amending the budget, we not spend all this money. Going ahead with the extended care facility and doing the renovations to Macaulay Lodge will be sufficient to meet the needs of the client group.
There is $20,000 here for the Whitehorse General Hospital, which is a partial revote of the monies approved last year for mammography equipment. This was monies required to install the equipment in Whitehorse General Hospital that could not be done last year before the end of the fiscal year and has been spent this year.
The young offenders facility: I think my colleague, the Minister of Government Services, took notice of a question that I hope to be able to answer shortly, of the total cost of the young offenders facility project. I do not have that information at hand but I hope to have it very shortly. There is $175,000 here that is requested for the purpose of installing a sally-port entrance and fencing around the perimeter of the project. This was recommended as security enhancement, on behalf of the juvenile justice branch, and has accordingly been followed up by the department.
We have, as well, $300,000 for juvenile justice group homes. A review of these homes was conducted by Government Services awhile back, and they made several major recommendations with respect to the standards and the physical quality of these facilities. Among their recommendations was the replacing of the roof at 5030 5th Avenue, which Government Services estimates will cost in the neighbourhood of $100,000. They have also recommended an interior retrofit and renovations and new furnace and heating system at 305 Lambert Street, and they estimate that that will cost $125,000. They have an interior and heating upgrade recommended for 501 Taylor Street for $75,000.
I do not have with me right now much detail on those projects. I anticipate questions on them, because I am sure Members will remark that the numbers seem very high.
I will just repeat those numbers at the request of the Member: replacing the roof at 5030 5th Avenue, $100,000; interior retrofit and other renovations, as well as a new furnace system at 305 Lambert Street, $125,000; and interior renovations and heating upgrade at 501 Taylor Street, $75,000.
The final item on the capital side is $75,000 in safe homes in rural Yukon. This is a partial revote of the 1989-90 capital funding, and these funds will be contributed to the Watson Lake safe home project, which is currently, I understand, in the planning stage. So these are monies that were voted last year but are now being revoted.
What I would like to do, if I could, because it is the most significant part of this budget, is go through in a bit more detail the extended care rehabilitation project. I mean no disrespect to any Member present, but I have tried twice to explain publicly how this project has been put together and, both times, at least in one of the newspapers, received stories that did not tell the whole story and alleged things that I thought were not the case. I would like to try to explain this. Perhaps I will be third time lucky. Well, perhaps this is the fourth time as there were two press conferences and one letter and these were obviously not sufficient to the task.
Among the problems I have had is explaining that the scope of the project has changed and that we are trying, by financing the project in the way I am about to describe, to save money for the taxpayers.
The capital costs for this program will not change. They were never the problem. The problem with the extended care kinds of programs are the quite staggering - and the Members can argue on this - operating costs. We are talking about perhaps one of the most, if not the most, skilled labour-intensive programs we have had. These are health care and rehabilitation professionals in a fairly expensive setting. Almost all the costs come from the public sector.
The Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation will explain this in greater detail later, but the construction costs will be financed through the Housing Corporation. They will use their working capital systems that they have used for their projects.
On the substantial completion date, which I talked about being in 1992, the Yukon Housing Corporation will tender the financing of the total construction costs. In other words, it will be built using working capital. Near the end of the project, it will tender the total financing costs. The funds raised through the financing process will permit the Department of Health and Human Resources to repay all construction costs to the Yukon Housing Corporation. If Members think about it, this is analogous to some situations in the mortgaging of a home. The Department of Health and Human Resources will then be responsible for paying all the principal and interest in respect to the financing over time. I will explain a bit about how that works.
We have to go through a mortgage-like instrument in order to be eligible for CMHC assistance. There is no doubt that we could find the $10 million out of our capital budget to do it, but there are good reasons to do it using the mortgage instrument. Then, the CMHC assistance can come into play.
I want to explain a little bit about the total cost of the facility, which is now estimated to be $10,659,000. Without being rude, I would note that there was a quite mistaken story in the Whitehorse Star. If I may be forgiven for saying so, there were two quite mistaken stories in the Whitehorse Star: one when we first announced how we were doing this, back in May, and the second one recently, when we tried to explain it again in answer to the Member for Porter Creek Easts questions. Not only did I fail the second time but, both times, I got bad headlines insisting that, somehow, we were doing something wrong, keeping something secret, or that we had a huge overrun. Neither observation was correct. The project has not doubled in cost, which was one of the allegations of the headlines, nor are we keeping it a secret, because we had announced this first in May.
The Member opposite suggests I buy the paper. I do buy it every day, but that does not make any difference. They do not seem to appreciate the fact that I am a customer.
The extended care facility is estimated to be $7,959,000, as we are now proposing the project. The rehabilitation centre is estimated to be $2.7 million. The extended care facility is to meet the needs of the clients of the Department of Health and Human Resources in the health care continuum that I talked about earlier in my remarks. These are people in the later stage with more intense care needs, a greater staffing requirement, and requiring a greater level of service and attention.
In terms of the physical plant, the needs of such patients can be compared, in some ways, to the needs of clients of the Workers Compensation Board for rehabilitation. Right now, most of those clients are being sent to the south. We are trying to achieve some economies and efficiencies. We looked at the situation with the Workers Compensation Board and wondered why we could not, in a similar facility and using the same heating, water and maintenance systems, meet these two needs within a single facility? We were told we could have a separate area for rehabilitation, but they can be run as a single plant. There would be different staffing needs for the two components, but they could be run as a single operation. So some efficiencies could be achieved that way.
Secondly, we said, if we located the facility on the site of the hospital compound, we can also have common services and facilities with the hospital, so we may be able to save on heat, light, water and maybe even some services like dietary and so forth.
Finally, if we get these two units together, rehab and extended care, we can achieve some economies of scale and efficiencies that way.
Thirdly, we said that there is a likelihood, given the trend lines about populations, that the Yukon population will continue to grow and continue to age; therefore, we should build into this facility some surplus capacity. If the Members will cast their minds back to the original design concept, a series of pods were originally talked about that were kind of, as I recall the design, hectagonal units. The idea was that we would shell in an extra one of those at the time of original construction but not finish it so if we had to expand the capacity in a very short time frame, by adding staff or technical facilities, we could do that. So that was the idea. There were four things we felt we could do there to achieve some efficiencies and savings to the public.
The fifth thing was the financing - through some programs that were available through CMHC. Getting some of their money into the project was quite legitimate, but we had to arrange the financing in such a way in order to become eligible. That is where we came to the point of having to mortgage the building at the point the project is complete.
All the CMHC laws and programs stipulate that only the residential portion of the extended care facility is eligible for operating subsidies. So only that part which is calculated to be for people who are, for all intents and purposes, permanent residents of the facility. There will be a certain number of patients who will be, for all intents and purposes, permanent residents. Only those portions are eligible for subsidy.
Non-residential space, which we are defining as treatment space, is not eligible for the subsidy. The residential portion will, in the end, be determined through negotiations with CMHC, but we are making certain assumptions in those negotiations. Among those assumptions is that we are negotiating on the basis of something which is a maximum unit price for each, of $87,500 for each bed unit.
For the purposes of this calculation, that is the operating assumption: the residential portion of the building is estimated to be 38.9 percent, approximately 39 percent of the building. For the extended care component, the eligible costs for the subsidy include all building operating costs such as loan amortization costs, utilities, building and maintenance, repairs, janitorial and property taxes. Clinical salaries for the health care workers in the treatment facility are not eligible so we will have to make a distinction between those. In the negotiations, once the eligible portion is determined, that portion of the annual operating costs that is eligible for the subsidy can be calculated.
I will just give an example here. For example, if the annual amortization cost - mortgage, principal and interest payments - is estimated to be $1,060,000, based on the assumptions indicated as I mentioned earlier, the amount eligible for subsidy then is 38.9 percent of the $1,060,000. In other words, that is approximately $410,000. Now the total annual building operating costs are expected to be about $1.5 million, of which, as I said, 38.9 or roughly 39 percent is eligible; that amounts to approximately $590,000.
The CMHC criteria requires that we have to assume that residents are paying a percentage of their income in rent; therefore, we have to deduct the imputed value of this estimated income from the eligible cost in order to determine the amount of subsidies. It is not necessary that we actually recover this 25 percent, because there are some patients who will not have the means to do that; it is only necessary, under CMHC rules, that we include that value in the calculation. In this example, the imputed value of the rental income is $110,000.
Based on these assumptions, annual subsidies amount to $480,000, of which 75 percent or $360,000 will be contributed by CMHC, and $120,000 will be contributed by the Yukon Housing Corporation through its programs that it has with CMHC. They are all cost-shared programs.
I will just go through this because it is worth explaining. The arrangements for the rehabilitation centre are different. They are also eligible for CMHC subsidies but on a different scale than the rehabilitation centre. It is a slightly different program.
I will just mention that only the residential portion of the rehabilitation centre is eligible for an operating subsidy and, therefore, the rehabilitation centre must be divided between the residential portion and the non-residential, or the treatment, portion.
Similar to the extended care component, the residential portion is currently based on a maximum unit price of $87,500, which is the same as the unit price for the spaces in the extended care facility. Because of the different nature of the programs - the rehabilitation program is different from the extended care - we have estimated that only approximately 23 percent of the rehabilitation centre is eligible as residential space under this formula.
Unlike the extended care portion of the facility, the subsidy for the rehabilitation centre is not based on operational costs, but is rather based on the amount of interest paid in excess of two percent per annum. That is according to CMHC regulations. Therefore, as indicated in the example I have mentioned, the interest actually paid was $80,000 on the eligible portion of the rehabilitation centre, based on 13.5 percent per annum. Let us hope that is high over the next few years. The subsidy would be an amount in excess of two percent per annum interest, which would be $60,000, for the sake of the discussion here.
Of the subsidized amount, 75 percent, or $45,000, would be recovered from CMHC. The remainder of the other 25 percent, or $15,000, would be recovered from the Yukon Housing Corporation under their agreement with CMHC.
In addition to the subsidies provided by CMHC and the Yukon Housing Corporation, the Workers Compensation Board will provide $250,000 annually, by agreement on this project. By agreement, this will escalate at 10 percent per annum. These contributions will go toward the operating costs of the rehabilitation centre, because it is primarily to deal with their clients. Members can calculate the increases at 10 percent per year.
We think the costs we have talked about in this example are cautious estimates. As I said before, I do not expect that the interest rate of 13.5 percent will continue throughout the life of this project. The maximum unit price, on which the percentages of the new facility considered to be residential are based, are the estimates that we have at this stage. A decrease in the interest rate, or an increase in the maximum unit price, will change the net cost of the financing. Similarly, a change in the length of the mortgage will also have a net impact on financing costs.
I will concede that, in answer to the Member from Porter Creek Easts question a few days ago in Question Period, while I was trying to meet the requirements of Mr. Speaker to be succinct, I gave a bit of a shorthand in terms of the contributions for everybody in terms of the role that everybody has been playing. I think I said that CMHC will be contributing something like $3 million toward the capital costs of this facility. I want to make it clear that the $3 million represents the present value of the CMHC contribution over the life of the project. It is not that the statement was not true but I have gone through some detail to explain exactly how the CMHC money will be contributed each year.
Essentially, the effect of the contributions is the same as if CMHC gave us the $3 million right now, and as if we were, in effect, putting up the whole $10 million-plus dollars from our capital budget. I could go into even greater detail on this, but I sense some flagging of interest from some Members as I remain on my feet, so perhaps it would be better if I sat and responded to Members questions.
Mr. Lang: I have a number of issues I would like to ask about in this department, but I think we should deal with the extended care facility since it was outlined fairly specifically. I would like to begin by saying that this side supports the principle of an extended care facility. The only criticism we have had, which I think has been justified, is that we feel the department has been dragging its feet up until about four or five months ago. It was becoming very labourious and tiresome in this House to stand and vote for an extended care facility for three years running and not even get a design for us to look at until last summer.
I understand the Minister is trying to be very specific in outlining all the cost sharing. Now let us forget CMHC, Workers Compensation and Yukon Housing Corporation. I would like to know, in a lump sum, how much federal money is going to be contributed to this project every year, on the O&M side as well as on the capital side. From what the Minister has said to me, I understand we are dealing with two different financial arrangements. One is our mortgage for which we are compensated, in part, by the federal government through CMHC, and then our operation and maintenance subsidies, which is a separate issue, again. So, could the Minister tell us, out of the $10.6 million, how much money we are going to receive from the federal government for that initial $10.6 million capital outlay. He can answer that, then we can move to the O&M side.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: If you calculated the present value, the statement I made about the CMHC contributing $3 million to the $10 million is accurate. The way it will work out is that we will get from CMHC, every year, for both the extended care facility and the rehabilitation project, something like a total of $405,000. We will also get a sum from the Yukon Housing Corporation and from the Workers Compensation Board.
Mr. Lang: I would just like to follow up on the Yukon Housing Corporation. Is that capital money allocated by YTG or is that federal money as well? If so, how much would be federal?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I get into dangerous ground when I try to explain the Yukon Housing Corporation, but essentially all of the programs the Yukon Housing Corporation have are cost-share arrangements with CMHC. They are at varying levels of contribution.
Under this particular program, the cost share, to match what the CMHC is doing, will require the Yukon Housing Corporation to put in $135,000 a year for both parts of the residential program.
Mr. Lang: How is that divided into federal and YTG contributions? Is it a 75/25 split?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: That is $135,000 of territorial money. We spend the territorial money through the Yukon Housing Corporation, and we get $405,000 from the federal government through CMHC.
Mr. Lang: Is the Workers Compensation Board contribution $250,000 a year? And then there is an escalator clause of 10 percent per year? I am just wondering how much the Workers Compensation Board is spending on sending people out for rehabilitation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have to take that question as notice. There is always a bit of difficulty in calculating that, because the fact that a service is available here, we experience an increase in demand for it as a result.
I think an equally relevant question to the one the Member asks is, if the $250,000 with the 10 percent escalator is not sufficient to cover the costs, the arrangements with the Workers Compensation Board anticipate that there will be a fee charged for services over and above that cost. This is the negotiated amount with the Workers Compensation Board. Based on their knowledge of their client group and the trend lines, their projections make them willing to contribute to the total project in order to get locally delivered rehabilitation services.
Mrs. Firth: I want to follow up on the CMHC involvement in this project. The Minister said they are going to contribute about $3 million over the life of the project. That is not a lump sum - and I see the Minister shaking his head so I have interpreted that correctly.
I understand there is a time limit on the agreement to be made with CMHC so we are eligible for this program. I was not aware that the Yukon Housing Corporation and the government had completed all the paperwork and requirements to come in on time. Can the government verify that? There was a cut-off time of either December 31, 1990, or January 1, 1991, for participation. Perhaps the government could give me some reassurance they have fulfilled their commitments and have a signed iron-clad agreement with CMHC to participate in this program.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I guess I was not clear enough. I said that the $3 million represents the present value of the CMHC contribution over the life of the project. The answer I just gave to the Member for Porter Creek East, which was about the contribution on an annual basis, is $405,000.
The Member is quite correct. There were some deadlines for the project, but CMHC are part of this project.
Members will forgive me for harping on this, but it is a matter of some regret that, after putting this very complicated arrangement together and announcing it in May, that the headline of the story was Opposition Skeptical. Not a great cheery announcement for something that we felt we had done some good work on and felt some pride in, but those are the breaks.
Let me just say that CMHC were, of course, part of the announcement made over the Ministers signature back in May. I do not want to put words in the mouth of CMHC, but they attended the announcement with senior officials for the ministerial signature on the statement, and they regarded this as a very good project that they very much wanted to participate in. I think it is one of the few times the Yukon has been able to take advantage of this kind of element of that national program. We were pleased to be able to work out an arrangement to do so, in the same way we are very pleased to be able to have the Workers Compensation Board join with us in doing it. It really is a marrying of programs and interests in a way that nails the project, and I accept the criticisms of the Members opposite about delays. One of the reasons that drove us to look for creative ways to put this together and to get some funding from other sources is - I go back to the point that we are at a time when there are tighter budgets - is that this is a very, very expensive operation. I do not make an apology about trying to do that. In fact I think the way in which the elements of this thing are put together is a remarkable tribute to the officials, Dr. Poushinsky, Maurice Albert and the people from the Workers Compensation Board - I do not think it was Pat Cummings at the time; Linda Engels who was there - and others who worked very hard to make this work, as well as Mr. Kingsley and the people from the CMHC office here. I think there was a lot of brainstorming down about this.
We have not built it yet, but I think this is a very good package. The commitments have been made; the actual contracts have not been signed yet, but I understand that the financing comes at the completion of the project. The actual documents required by CMHC, in every meaningful way we know, are aboard.
Mrs. Firth: With respect to the CMHC participation, the $3 million will take us over about eight years, at $405,000 a year. I see puzzled looks. Am I not calculating that correctly?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Not from the way the accountants or the CAs would do it. I wish I had never said the $3 million, but I was trying to give a shorthand explanation in Question Period, understanding the brutal axe, and the tough chopper in the Speakers chair, who would not let me explain these things a great deal. You saw how long it took me to explain it now. I would never have gotten away with that in Question Period.
Now that I have had a chance to explain it, it is clear. Since we are going to be financing, it is like a home mortgage where there will be payments every year. Because of the residential portion, some of those payments are eligible for subsidies. The total calculation of the subsidies that CMHC will make on an annual basis to this project, throughout the life of the operation, are in the neighbourhood of $405,000 a year.
This is not with capital. We are financing it. We get a bill for $10 million and, then, go to a financial institute instrument: a mortgage. That is part of our costs. I went through some of those costs that are not treatment for the residential portion and, thus, eligible for the subsidy, such as the principal and interest payments and janitorial. We estimate they would be about $400,000 a year. In terms of the operating costs of this thing, which include the payments for this facility, CMHC will be contributing $400,000; the Housing Corporation something like $135,000; the Workers Compensation Board, $250,000; and the rest of it will be picked up by the Department of Health and Human Resources. You can see the order of magnitude in the kind of numbers we are talking about. We have $478,000 added this year for essentially 19 person years. We are going to have about half that, so we will be in for more than $1 million a year on top of that. If it had not been done this way, we as the Health and Human Resources department could have been responsible by ourselves for between $2 million and $3 million on an annual basis the first year it opened.
Mrs. Firth: I understand what the Minister is saying. However, he says that the CMHC is going to contribute a maximum of $405,000 every year and, on the other hand, he says there is going to be $3 million over the life of the project. I interpret that as up to $3 million. What information is the Minister missing or forgetting to give us, or what is the missing equation?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We are talking about an accounting concept, as economists would know. If I agree to pay Mrs. Firth a certain amount of money every year, for example, to borrow a horse, for a certain number of years, accountants could calculate what they call the present value of that arrangement. It would be some number that would be meaningless. They could say it is so many thousand dollars, even though I am only paying you hundreds of dollars a year, which I am paying every month.
Just forget the $3 million number. It is not meaningless to accountants, but it is meaningless to real people and ordinary human beings. In the early years, the operating costs of this facility would range in excess of $2 million, approaching $3 million a year, if we were paying for it out of the Health and Human Resources budget.
Now, we will have contributions to that total cost amounting to $405,000 from CMHC, $135,000 from matching programs through the Yukon Housing Corporation, and $250,000 from the Workers Compensation Board, enabling us to have much more manageable net costs than they would otherwise have been.
Mrs. Firth: Does the CMHC contribution go on forever?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: It will probably go on for the life of this building. We are talking about the mortgage instrument, which would probably be of a very long term. It would probably be 35 years, or something like that.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister provide us with a breakdown in writing: the actual breakdown of how this is working, with the interest rates. One can do a lot with figures. I appreciate the work the Minister is doing on this, in trying to see how we can best cut a deal and get what we need. The point I want to make is that if we wanted to, we would have the opportunity to pay the capital expenditures straight out and just strictly go to the operation and maintenance side. There is a substantive cost to borrowing in the neighbourhood of $6 million on our side of the ledger, and the interest accruing to that over that period of time. Is the amortization period 15 years or 20 years?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There are a lot of 35-year mortgages.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister give us a concise breakdown on paper of exactly how that is going to work?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I did try to go through it in enough detail to explain it to Members, but I have no problem in trying to replicate it into something resembling a legislative return. As I was going through it, I hope I made it clear that the numbers were estimates based on interest rates. I cannot tell you what interest rates are going to be next year. If I could, I would be wealthy.
The Member has to look at the opportunity costs of doing what he suggests, but he must also understand that the CMHC federal subsidies would not be available to us if we just put the capital cost up front.
The only reason we are financing it is to take advantage of the CMHC program.
Mr. Lang: I recognize that but, on the other side of the ledger, there is an overall cost of going through the process of mortgaging and paying for it.
I want to see what the numbers are on the legislative return when it all shakes down.
How does the extended care facility relate to the new hospital? We were told a number of years ago that we would not be going ahead with the extended care facility because it should be part of the new hospital. We have had an announcement that there are indications of a new hospital in the offing. Is this building going to be constructed in such a manner as to become part of the new hospital?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Not precisely, but let me try to explain this. Imagine you are looking across the river to the hospital site. The area of the parking lot, the lip over that bit of escarpment overlooking the river, is the intended site of the extended care facility/rehabilitation unit.
The design concept is a long building, stretching along that property. The particular design feature of the building is that it is intended to look like a series of row houses. It will look like home units. The intention is to create as much of a homelike atmosphere within the building as possible.
There will be, once it is built, a walkway corridor that will include access to the shared services with the hospital. It will be an umbilical link with the hospital but will not be a physical part of the hospital. It will be administered separately from the hospital but we will, as much as is humanly possible, take advantage of common services to achieve some economy of scale.
This project will be finished and occupied at the time of the starting of the new hospital, if all goes well with the finalization of the health transfer. A more likely date is 1993 for the new hospital to be underway. It may even start in the fall of 1992, but whenever, we are taking about the extended care being finished, that will be the point this project starts.
If you imagine that whole area, for a while you will have three main building complexes. There will be the extended care/rehabilitation facility overlooking the river. The old hospital will be right behind it. Beside that the new hospital will be erected. The new facilities will be linked physically with the new hospital, as it was with the old. They will have shared water systems, heating systems and so on. This will be needed as extended care patients will sometimes have to be hospitalized. We want to be able to do that expeditiously without having to expose them to the elements. There will be a covered walkway between the two buildings. There will be common parking lots, ambulance and bus driveways and probably a common cafeteria. There will be a cafeteria in the hospital and it will provide meals for the people in the extended care facility as most of the people will not be ambulatory. These people will have to have their meals served in their rooms.
Those people who suffer mental impairment and are physically fine will be in a separate little pod of this facility, and they will probably be free to move around a little bit. I understand it is characteristic of such patients that they do wander around quite a bit, but they still will be fed in their rooms, I expect. The sequence will be: the extended care/rehab facility will be built and opened, and then the new hospital will be built and opened, then the old hospital will be removed from the site.
Mr. Lang: I am just going to raise a question; it is probably heresy, but I am going to raise it in any event, and that is the question of location. In view of the fact that we are looking at two brand-new facilities, has the government considered other sites besides the site of the old hospital? The reason I am asking that is because of the bridge and the traffic congestion in that area. We have a number of other factors coming into play, including the renovation of the infamous Yukon vocational school, which the government will make every effort to fill up. I am sure they will accomplish that as far as personnel is concerned. That is going to create additional traffic in the area of the Riverdale bridge. The extended care facility, with the additional personnel and people visiting, and with the Workers Compensation rehabilitation section, is going to put a further strain on the traffic situation. Did the government, in conjunction with the city, look at other locations, not only for the 1990s, but with expansion in mind for the years to come.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There are a number of questions surrounding location of hospitals and health facilities. Among them is a prejudice among health planners against locating them in the core of cities for noise and traffic reasons, although there are some advantages to that. I want to say that there is going to be a need to discuss traffic and some of those patterns with the city and do some direct planning, but if I can try and give the Member the short answer, the question has been raised with me about other sites. What I have been told was that if we really wanted to have a serious look at another site for this whole complex of health facilities, I would have to put the extended care facility on hold for another year or another delay and the bottom line of that discussion was that, given the appropriate criticism that I have had about the delays, I was not prepared to do that.
Mr. Lang: I just want to follow this through, because I think we should be fully aware of what we are getting ourselves into. Is the Minister informing the House indirectly that this may well precipitate the decision to build another bridge or a widening of the present bridge?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There is dispute about the meaning of the traffic stats there, and the Member is suggesting there will be big increases in volumes. I am not sure that that is borne out by our own information, but let us agree that that is an open question that we have agreed to discuss in the planning of the hospital, not the extended care facility. We are not talking about people who are coming and going; I do not think the traffic consequences of that can be huge. We are, in connection with the new hospital, going to have to have discussions with the city, probably also with the federal people who are there, to decide whether we agree that there is a sufficient problem to warrant the kind of solution the Member is suggesting.
The Member should know that, given that there is an existing plant, certainly during the construction period, if we were trying to conceptually talk about a new health facility area in the city - and one suggestion was up on the Alaska Highway someplace where we were going to put a hospital and an extended care facility and a detoxification facility all in one place - we would have, for a number of years during the construction and even after, some real diseconomies in terms of trying to have a working relationship between those facilities and the old hospital down by the river, the extended care facility somewhere else, two separate administrations, two separate heating plants, two separate maintenance operations and two separate nutritional operations.
Considering the options, considering the costs in terms of time and the options available to us, and given that most of the other potential sites had some potential inconveniences in terms of distance from the client groups and so forth - there is no perfect site from this point of view - the beauty and the peace of the present setting, the opportunities there to achieve some economies in terms of the plant, the need to get on with constructing both the extended care facility and doing the planning around the new hospital, made us conclude that the existing area is a good one, so that is where we are locating and siting these facilities.
Mr. Phillips: I would also like to voice the concern I have about the traffic in and out of Riverdale. I have never been satisfied when the side opposite told us that the Old Yukon College would not create a problem. I think that we have been reminded several times in the last two or three weeks, when we have been sitting in this House at about 5:00 in the evening, and we hear emergency vehicles tearing across here that seem to be having all kinds of difficulties getting in and out of Riverdale and especially to the hospital. Accidents seem to happen at that time. People go home for dinner. They are cooking on the stove and that is how fires happen. They are stoking up their woodstoves. It is a very critical time. It is maybe only for an hour or two, but it is a very critical time when we seem to have a peak of accidents. I think we are reminded of that sitting right here when we hear them blowing their sirens from up the street, all the way across until they reach the hospital. You know they are experiencing difficulties in getting over there.
I am extremely concerned about the numbers of people who are going to be moving into the Old Yukon College. Of course, we have had new developments in Riverdale with the student residence and now we are talking about the extended care facility over there.
The government should be taking a serious look at the traffic with the City of Whitehorse. They should be doing this soon and not when there is a problem and the facilities are all up.
The other area I would like to explore is the physical appearance of the building. The Minister has described it as a long building. I am glad to hear it is going along the river. I have had some seniors express to me the concern that they did not want it that close to the hospital. There was the feeling that that is the last place you go at the seniors conference. I understand it is going to be self-contained. I wonder if it could not possibly be along the river but not right beside the hospital. Perhaps that would make the elderly feel more comfortable.
If the government has finally decided it is going to go beside the hospital, I would hope that in the design they will take into account that it will be part of the future waterfront development. It will be sitting almost directly opposite Closeleigh Manor. It should tie in with the motif of the manor. With all due respect, the design of the present hospital is one of the ugliest in the world. I remember one American tourist asked me, when the train was still running and was rolling into town, if it was the sewage treatment plant. Some would argue the sewage does not get treated here, it goes the other way, but we will not get into that. It is a really ugly building. I would hope that when the government considers this new building and its individual home motif, it is made with something with our heritage and our past in mind so that it conforms with our waterfront development projects, whenever they happen.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I hope and pray we will be able to satisfy the Member on this score. I am not a fan of vinyl siding and I have had lots of discussions with architects about this building. The Member might be surprised, but some people actually like this building. I will not, on this occasion, give my own view, beyond saying that if I had a choice between living and working in this government building and the old one in Dawson City, there is no doubt which one I would choose. I think the one in Dawson City is a building of real beauty. I think it is perhaps the finest piece of architecture in the territory.
This one would not make the top 10 list. I have a whole feeling about buildings that has to do with aesthetics and whether they look like they belong in an area and a lot of it has to do with the use of local materials and the use of local labour in putting them up.
Having said that, I want to say that the intent, the instructions to the architects, have been to reflect, anticipate if you like, waterfront development - look at Closeleigh Manor, try to talk about what we have been trying to do in terms of the profile of the building, the heritage, the Victorian period elements that are being represented, and have that represented in the low profile with the units that look like individual homes with the kind of roofing style that looks like it belongs here - that is the bottom line - rather than something that is ripped out of some suburb in the south and just plunked here.
The ugliest buildings in this town, I think, are those designed by outside architects simply on the basis of the current fashions in Vancouver or Toronto or New York. I do think it is possible over time to evolve in institutional and public buildings an architecture that people feel good about. I hope, given the instructions that have been given to the architects, because they are also trying to represent both cultural traditions in the territory in the design element, that it will be a building that will please not only the clients, the people who will be living in it, and there will be people living in it for a very important time of their lives, but it will also be pleasing to the eye to the citizens in downtown Whitehorse who will see it every day when they are looking across the river.
It is the Members right that it is talked about being a self-contained building. It is going to be close to the hospital, though. For some of the seniors that, too, is a pretty important element. It is not just a question of wanting to be separate from the hospital. I know the anxiety elders can feel about location. I have talked to elders. In a certain community I used to live in they were appalled that they lived in a place called the Sunset Home. What a suggestion that makes when you arrive there: This is it folks, watch the sun go down.
There are a lot of places across the continent with names like that for senior citizens homes that I find appalling in their insensitivity.
I remember one when I was a student that had a big place and a big, long beautiful paved driveway that came in across the front. It was a lovely lawn out front. I used to wonder why hardly any of the elders would ever sit on the front porch in front of this grass. I asked someone why they did not and they said they could not stand it because the only time anybody ever used this driveway was when the hearse came to pick someone up for a funeral. The rest of the time everybody came to the back door. There was just a bunch of bush out back and that is where the people used to sit to watch the bush because they did not like watching the hearse route. It was all wrong. I do think that is important. The Member opposite made a point, and I know I get accused of not always listening to everything Members say, but we did try to listen.
The Member talked about the need for the residents to have a view so we have also tried to orient the facility so, not that everybody will have a room with a view, but everybody in the building will be able to have access to the waterfront view, to be able to see it. The design, the Members will see, has opportunities for them to sit out and be able to walk out and be able to enjoy a perspective of the river and the city and the mountains beyond, not simply an institutional hospital building, which will be behind them. It will be connected but they will be separate, and we will try and take the physical advantages of proximity to shared services and shared maintenance and so on but we will also make sure that it is, if you like, operationally separate.
But there is one dimension to this, as I have talked about, that when you are an extended care patient or a rehab patient, there are times when you will need emergency care. There is a sense for clients there where their security and comfort level is enhanced by the fact that they are very close to the hospital. If something happens in heroic measures to call for health treatment, it is not far to go. They do not have to go in an ambulance. They can actually be wheeled into emergency or into an operating room if that is necessary. That too, without having to actually be in a hospital, is comforting for many of them.
Mr. Phillips: I am encouraged by the comments made by the Minister about the physical appearance of the new facility. Another concern I have is about the actual operation of the new facility. The Minister mentioned earlier in his talk that one end of the building would be a rehabilitation end and the other end would be extended care facility. What I am wondering is if the extended care facility will have its own staff for rehabilitation, for their occupational therapy and physical therapy, or will it share that O&M responsibility with the rehabilitation centre in the other end? The concern I have, of course, is that there is a great need for physiotherapy and occupational therapy in the territory and there is always a backlog.
From my experiences at Macaulay Lodge, seniors cannot wait. They have to have it almost every day on an ongoing basis and to have special treatment. I know it is expensive but that is what we are talking about here. I am just concerned that they may end up putting the seniors secondary because they have such a backlog of other people coming in. Just because of the fact that dealing with the large volumes the seniors may get pushed back a day or two or may have to go every second day or third day like some of them do now at the hospital. That just is not good enough. It just is prolonging things in some cases where they just never do get well because they cannot go every day, they have to go every second or third day and it does not do them any good at all.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would just like to say that the simple answer to that question is that there will be staff and a range of services there. Even though they are separate services, they will be working for the same government and will be in the same building. There are some real advantages in having people being able to meet all the needs. For administrative purposes, we do have to have them separate.
I will get into that directly.
Chair: Committee will now have a short break
Chair: I will call the Committee back to order.
Mr. Lang: I have a question on the traffic situation as outlined very well by the Member for Riverdale North. Anybody wanting to get across to Riverdale from 4:45 p.m. to almost 6:00 p.m. knows it is a long, long road. It takes quite a bit of time.
Would the Minister make an undertaking that, in view of the fact he has obviously recognized there is a problem here to be considered, he would have his officials over the course of the next couple of months, prior to the spring session, meet with the City of Whitehorse to hear their concerns and see what can be done for the traffic situation surrounding these facilities in the long term?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not know whether it would be useful to make that commitment since my Cabinet colleagues have already met with the entire city council to talk about that situation. We have given an undertaking that, as we get into discussions around the planning of the building of a new hospital, we will be taking that issue up with them.
I also want the Member to know that there will be a debate about the extent of the problem and the nature of the solution and the allocation of costs resulting from that problem. I want the Member to know we do not need to start discussions, we have already begun that conversation with the city. The lead agent in continuing dialogue on it will be the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, although, as the Member will recall with the Hospital Act that we just passed a few months ago, we have provided for city representation on the board of the hospital. It certainly is our intention to make sure we have a dialogue with the city as we get into the serious discussions about the building of that facility.
Mr. Lang: When did the Cabinet meet with the City of Whitehorse?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I would have to check; we had a meeting at which I was present and of course the Minister of Community and Transportation Services has many meetings. I was at a meeting, along with Members of Cabinet and city council, which was, I think, in April or May of this spring. The exact question that the Member has asked was raised.
Mr. Lang: The scope of what we are dealing with is quite a bit larger than what we had first thought it was going to be. The Minister is shaking his head, but the extended care facility with the rehabilitation wing attached to it is obviously a bigger complex than what was contemplated when we discussed it last spring. I am just asking if he can have his officials outline this to the City of Whitehorse, so that they are fully aware of the consequences of what we are dealing with here.
The reports that we are getting are that the City of Whitehorse is now planning for a second bridge - or at least they have it in their B level, as far as proposed projects are concerned. We have real concerns being expressed by both Members from Riverdale about the present traffic situation and the traffic flow that exists there now. I think it would be very unwise for us to wait until we have started to build the extended care/rehab building before we give serious consideration to the ramifications of traffic-flow patterns. As I have already indicated to the Minister, and as he has said, the only reason that he is committed to the site is because it may put the building on hold for a year. I also think that we have a responsibility, in deference to the planning process, to take a hard look at our traffic situation.
Will the Minister undertake to have his people meet with the City of Whitehorse and be in a position next spring to sit down to discuss in a knowledgeable way exactly what the effects are going to be? We do know what the working personnel is going to be. That has already been outlined.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have already said, several times, that we have done that; we are going to do that, and I have said that, in connection with the planning and the early discussions around the new hospital, we will get down to, I am sure, brass tacks on that question. It is not a new commitment. I know my colleague has had communication with the city on the point. I simply, in reference to the earlier spring meeting, wanted the Member to know that the discussions have taken place and that I was present at one meeting with the city where this was discussed.
Mr. Lang: I am going to go on to another topic, unless somebody wants to carry on with the extended care facility.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister, in his opening remarks, talked about Macaulay Lodge and about having some of the people who are going to be working at the new extended care working at Macaulay Lodge on a temporary basis until the new facility is built. What is that going to do to the numbers in Macaulay Lodge?
Over the past several years we have watched Macaulay Lodge go from a senior citizens complex to almost an extended care facility in itself. I am just wondering what happens to all the seniors who can no longer stay in Greenwood Place or Closeleigh Manor but cannot get into Macaulay Lodge because it has now become our extended care facility. We do not seem to have that sort of a middle facility, or some kind of a facility for seniors who are still fairly active but yet cannot take care of themselves in their own home and have to have a little more intensive care than extended care patients. I am just wondering what we are doing to solve that problem. Do we have any plans to accommodate them or are we building on to Macaulay Lodge and that is where we are going to put the extended care patients?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I tried to describe at the outset of todays discussion why we are staffing at Macaulay Lodge in anticipation of the opening of the extended care facility. We have a certain number of clients who are now, for all intents and purposes, extended care patients, but we do not have a facility yet so we have to be able to provide it for them. The long-range objective is to be able to have the full continuum of care needs met. Where we have a gap right now is for the most intense needs in the extended care end. Macaulay is being forced, if you like, to play a role for which it was not designed. Once the extended care facility is opened - we are talking about the fall of 1992 before having people in there - I hope that then as the staff and clients move from Macaulay into the new extended care facility we will have a situation in which the Macaulay Lodge will be able to fill the niche prior to extended care. It will be more like a nursing home facility, what it was before, but remember it started off as simply a seniors home and has evolved.
The other facilities that we have will provide the seniors housing and other programs, like home care and others, that will help other people to stay in their homes so that there will be a continuum that will meet most of the needs of that population group in the territory. The seniors housing that is being built will meet most of those needs and the extent to which the demands are being placed upon Macaulay now, which it is not designed for. The staff that will move to the new facility will leave Macaulay and it will be able to resume the role for which it is better designed, which is the intermediate role.
Mr. Phillips: Last week I was at a tea and bazaar held at Macaulay Lodge and it is becoming more and more evident that Macaulay Lodge is becoming an extended care facility. When you look around at the residents, many more of them need assistance to do almost everything. I suggest that it must be bordering on 50 per cent who are extended care patients. It appears when you walk in that there are an awful lot of people who are in need of a lot of care.
I guess the concern I have is that in our attempts to fill both areas - the extended care area, plus seniors who cannot stay in their own homes - we have sort of gone halfway with each. We cannot meet all of them right now because we do not have an extended care facility. I know there are some seniors out there who would like to go to Macaulay Lodge but cannot get in right now because there is a fairly long waiting list of people to get accepted to Macaulay Lodge. Possibly one of the ways the government could deal with this would be by increasing the home care so that people can stay in their own homes just a little bit longer and maybe that would help take some of the pressure off Macaulay Lodge.
I would certainly encourage the government to take that approach. I strongly believe in it. I think that if you can keep seniors and elders in their own homes, they are much more comfortable than in any kind of an institution, and secondly, I think it may end up costing us less in the long run.
I make the suggestion to the government that they should possibly look at augmenting that type of service, at least in the interim until we get the extended care facility built. Once those people shift over, I know that will create a lot of vacancies in Macaulay Lodge. Right now, the people at Macaulay are doing an outstanding job, but it was never intended to be that kind of facility, and mixing the two is not the best of worlds: the seniors who are ill and need extended care and the seniors who are healthy but have to see that every day. It is not a good atmosphere.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Off the top of my head, I cannot tell the Member the relative numbers as to how many would be described as extended care patients versus the ones who would need more nursing care, or another category. I can undertake to obtain that information and report back to the House, as well as to ask what the waiting list for Macaulay is at the moment.
We are continually reviewing the home care program, in terms of trying to make it better. This program does make a real and valuable contribution to the whole objective of getting people to stay in their own homes and to be able to manage there.
I would even argue that, as the home care program expands and develops in the coming years, as it is bound to do as the population ages - even if there were spaces in extended care and Macaulay - it would still be better for the people to have access to programs like home care, which enable them to stay in their own homes. Until the person cannot look after themself anymore, that is always the preferable arrangement to an institutional environment.
Mr. Lang: What is the waiting list to get into Macaulay Lodge now?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I just answered that question. Off the top of my head, I do not know, but I promised the previous questioner that I would come back with that information.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to make a comment on the waiting list. I know of at least two seniors I have personally talked to who are not on the waiting list for Macaulay, but did enquire about it and were given indications that there was such a long wait to get into Macaulay, Greenwood Place and Closeleigh Manor, that they have given up.
They are still in their own homes, trying to cope with the situation and are frustrated. A lot of these people have never been involved in government and have never asked the government for anything. They never thought they would have to go into an institution. It is difficult for someone to decide to go into Macaulay.
My father had a very difficult time deciding to go there. He felt he was giving up a lot of his freedom and had to accept that he could not do things for himself anymore. It was very hard for him to deal with that and I think a lot of seniors have a difficult time. If they run into these little road blocks or the proper care is not made available to them, they will give up on it quite quickly. They close the door and live with what they have. This is not a great lifestyle. I have been in the homes of some seniors where there is very little in the cupboards and the house is not as clean as it once was because they are not capable of cleaning it. They do not want to admit they cannot do it anymore. If they run into road blocks in their decision, they will just give up.
I agree with the Minister when he talked about the home care program. I support that philosophy totally. The longer a senior can live in his or her own home, the better.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I agree with a lot of what the Member said. There is always a fine line between the perception of people having needs we may be able to help with and the willingness of people to ask for it.
My department is not directly responsible for the supply of seniors housing. Members may want to debate that question when we come to the Yukon Housing Corporation estimates, but we are responsible for the home care program and some of the facilities, such as Maccaulay Lodge.
I have indicated to the Member that we will have a look at the waiting list as far as we know it, but I will also ask if there have been inquiries beyond that to see if there is evidence of a greater demand than the official waiting list shows. I suspect it is likely that some of the seniors with whom I have spoken have applied to several places and may be on several waiting lists. I think that is worth analyzing as well.
In fact I know some people who are not yet ready to move out of their own homes, but knowing there is a waiting list may well contemplate putting themselves on a waiting list in anticipation of the day when they want to take advantage of that opportunity. The Member is right, we will all at some point get to an age where it will be harder and harder to look after ourselves, perhaps feed ourselves and keep our homes clean, and we may feel some anxiety and some unhappiness about having to be in either a seniors complex or nursing home or whatever, but for many people that is the reality they eventually have to face.
Mr. Phillips: Do we have a policy of priorizing the individuals who apply to go into these seniors homes? I know of an individual in my constituency who wanted to get into a home and has lived in the Yukon for 35 or 40 years who applied and went onto a waiting list. Some people have been here from six months to a year but happened to have applied prior to this person so they got in.
I wonder if they priorize based on residency. For instance, you have an Indian elder who wants to get into one of the homes and has lived in the Yukon their whole life and someone else comes to the Yukon this year and brings their mother or father with them and gets them in there. Do we priorize anything like that? Is that taken into consideration when we look at who we are putting in the facilities that we have? We do have limited facilities.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: First of all we should distinguish between the decisions made by, say, the Whitehorse Housing Authority for some kinds of social housing. I am sure the Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation could probably provide information to the House when we get to his estimate about the criteria the Housing Authority uses, if beyond the simple position on the waiting list, in assessing need or residency. I would be surprised if they had a strict residency rule, because ultimately they would wind up making a decision in favour of someone who had been a resident for 10 years over someone who had been here eight years. Those would be tough calls to make. It is very rarely, when there is a tough decision to make, a choice between someone who has been here one year or 60 years. It is usually something much tighter than that. In Macaulay, or an extended care facility, in looking down the road, I think the dimension of need is going to be a much more valid criteria than residency or even, perhaps, the waiting list, because if there is someone whose need from a health point of view is such that they absolutely require that kind of service, I think fairness would dictate that they do get access before someone whose need is marginal, but who may have been waiting a little bit longer.
Mr. Lang: I just want to pursue that a little further. I share the concerns but there is one element that we have not discussed with respect to improving care for seniors within our society and that is the role of the family. We have been talking about institutions and how one gets into them and finds out about them and how you priorize and how you fit. The reality of the situation is there is only so much public money available for these kinds of facilities. The Minister, I know, has agonized over how he is going pay for the operation and maintenance costs of what we have been speaking about a little earlier. I appreciate that and as a Member of the House it concerns me too. We are only going to be able to provide so many services for a population of 30,000. I think we have to start looking at innovative ways to provide services to our seniors and get the most value for our dollar. We are not going to do that, in good part, by running institutions because that is a seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year operation whether we like it or not. And as the Member has pointed out, just on the extended care facility we will need 40 new person years and that is a big payroll, a very large payroll.
My feeling is this: I do not understand why we are not looking at extending the home care program, in conjunction perhaps, with individuals or organizations like the Victorian Order of Nurses, I believe - modelled on that concept - where a family, in conjunction with the government and in conjunction with that organization, can see about maybe contracting with those with the necessary expertise to come into the home a number of times during the day.
I am thinking there may be things of this nature that have to be done on a fairly regular basis, yet do not really call for the individual having to be put into an institution. It would seem to me that if we take that approach we would be much further ahead in the fact that we can at least in part meet the concerns that both Members have spoke of here earlier. We are in a catch-22 situation where we have our one facility in good part being used as an extended care facility and yet at the same time we have senior citizens needing the assistance that that home can provide and yet they cannot get in because it is full. Subsequently, what do these people do and how do you cope with it.
I am submitting, I guess, and I just want to put the Minister on notice that in the main estimates I am going to be recommending that we take a look at our home care program and see what we can do to extend it because right now it does meet some needs but it does not meet them all. It is an 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. program. There are needs that people have that have to met in the middle of the evening and on the weekends. Some of these things are done on a seven-day basis as opposed to just strictly the normal government work week. These are things that I think we have to look at and have an open mind and be innovative to see what we can do, collectively, here in this House, and not on a partisan basis, to pool our resources in this particular area and meet the need that is out there. Because that need is not just here. It is in Dawson City. It is in Watson Lake. We are not just talking about the City of Whitehorse. With that I want to ask the Minister a specific question. He mentioned the needs test for the use of the extended care facility and talked about 25 percent. Is the Minister telling us that anyone that is going into that facility will be under a needs test and if so, how much are they going to be asked to pay or has that been determined.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will deal with the first part of the Members observations first.
With respect to the home care program, I appreciate the Members notice that he wants to discuss this when we come to the main estimates. The home care program is relatively new. It is improving all the time. As does the Member opposite, it is a program we want to see extended and enhanced over time but, like many other such programs, it is not an inexpensive program. I know of at least one jurisdiction in this country where, in terms of cost per patient, the home care is in doubt. It was elaborated and improved to the point where it was actually more expensive than the institutional arrangements. This is ironic, given that one of the arguments for originally establishing home care programs in most jurisdictions was that it was seen to be a more economic alternative than developing institutional arrangements.
I hoped I would leave no confusion on the question of the financing for the extended care facility. When I talked about need, in terms of admission, I was not talking about a means test in the financial sense. I was talking about health need and the sort of care the person had. I talked about 25 percent of income for rent. We have national housing programs, like CMHC, which require that we calculate the contributions that were made on the basis that the resident will be paying 25 percent.
I do not know them as well as the Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation, but there are housing programs where the rent is tied to income, and there is a deemed contribution. The point of mentioning the 25 percent is to talk about CMHC criteria, which requires that we calculate their contribution on the assumption that the resident is going to be paying 25 percent. Whether or not they actually pay, we have to calculate on that basis in working out the calculations for the cost that the CMHC will cover.
I have already given the Member an undertaking that I will try to lay out in writing some of the ground I covered earlier this afternoon in talking about the estimate. I will further offer to try and explain that a little better in writing, so it is clearer than it obviously was when I did it earlier.
What we are talking about here is a requirement of the CMHC program rather than the kind of operations of our facilities. I cannot say what kind of regime will be in operation for people who would need extended care facility who, let us say, are pretty affluent but they are in here as residents. Some residents will be residents for the rest of their lives. We know that. We are talking about some people who would be of an age where they would have pensions and so forth and some of them will be fairly well-off; others will not be. I can talk a little bit about that in the written answer that I give to the Member rather than trying to define all the possibilities today.
Mr. Lang: I have a further question on the extended care facility, which goes back to the Workers Compensation Board and its contribution. When I asked about the $250,000, I was asking whether or not that was a cost that was incurred to them now. In other words were they just taking the $250,000 that they were spending and sending people out for rehabilitation in other jurisdictions and were transferring the $250,000 from that expenditure over to this facility?
If there is going to be a further cost to the Workers Compensation Board, I want to know how much.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot tell the Member, but I will take it as notice on behalf of the Minister responsible for the Workers Compensation Board, what they are spending on rehabilitation services, even if they cannot calculate them in every case. I am pretty sure that the contribution they agreed to make to this project is on the basis of their assessment of the kind of needs and the kind of contribution that is required to meet the needs of that client group for now and for the next few years. If the Member permits, I will take that question as notice and come back.
I move that we report progress on this bill.
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 will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole.
Ms. Kassi: Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 15, Second Appropriation Act, 1990-91, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move 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. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 5:23 p.m.
The following Legislative Returns were tabled November 20, 1990:
Cost of MLA travel, December 1, 1989, through October 25, 1990 (Speaker-Johnston)
Written Question No. 1
Helicopter contract, Kluane area (Webster)
Oral, Hansard, p. 219
The following Sessional Papers were tabled November 20, 1990:
Family Violence Policy (August 1990) (M. Joe)
Family Violence Initiatives, 1990-91 (M. Joe)
Family Violence, A Yukon directory of services and resources (M. Joe)