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††††††† Whitehorse, Yukon

††††††† Tuesday, April 19, 2005 ó 1:00 p.m.

 

Speaker:   I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with prayers.

 

Prayers

DAILY ROUTINE

Speaker:  † We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.

Tributes.

TRIBUTES

In recognition of National Volunteer Week

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I rise in this House today to ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing and honouring the hundreds of Yukon residents who donate their time and energy to their fellow citizens. This week is National Volunteer Week, a time to bring attention to the contributions volunteers make to our community and to our country. A 2000 Statistics Canada survey showed that there are approximately 6.5 million volunteers across the country who contribute their time and energy to a wide variety of organizations, charities and causes.

In the Yukon, that number is in the thousands. I do believe that we are one of the most caring communities in the country. Volunteers come from all walks of life. They come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from parents, grandparents, individuals and groups. They serve on committees and boards. They act as mentors, organize cultural and recreational activities, support the elderly, provide shelter, counsel youth, clean parks, coach sport teams, reach out to children, support others less fortunate in a wide variety of ways and raise money for a number of causes, both at a local, national and international level.

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They do this work because they believe in causes and equal opportunities, clean, healthy and safe communities, active living and helping others.

Mr. Speaker, many of the governmentís own programs are enhanced and improved by the work of volunteers. There is not a department in this organization that has not relied on the expertise of volunteers to improve the services it delivers to all Yukoners.

Volunteers work in our schools, hospitals and health centres. They bring comfort and assistance to our young and elderly, to victims of crime and misfortune. They serve as emergency ambulance attendants in rural communities to ensure that all Yukoners have a level of emergency medical support. They increase our technical support at airports and in times of emergencies.

In communities as small as the Yukonís, we need our volunteers. If we had to pay for the hours and hours that our volunteers provide, we would not have the sports teams, recreational activities, assistance for our seniors and youth; we would not be looking forward to hosting the 2007 Canada Games. Already, hundreds of individuals are giving of themselves to plan for this major event.

The Yukon is fortunate to have its own Yukon Volunteer Bureau, which will match volunteers with groups in need. This group provides a vital service to those with time to give and those who need the time.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to give special recognition on behalf of the government to the board of the Yukon Volunteer Bureau, to the volunteer organization leadership training services committee of YVB, the trainers on the boardís leadership development program that was created by the volunteer organization leadership training services and, last but not least, to the Yukon local network of Canadian volunteers initiative. These volunteers are at the core of all the programs and services that the Yukon Volunteer Bureau is currently able to offer.

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We tend to think of volunteers working mostly in social and health areas, but there are others who give their time. We do receive a variety of services from diversified groups of trained and dedicated volunteers. Some of those are the many volunteers who provide standby service in our community airports, the work of community aerodrome radio stations, our CARS contractors. Their employees provide critical support to our air medevac service in the Yukon communities. I would also like to recognize the exceptional work of CASARA, Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, and the volunteers that they provide. These highly trained volunteers fly their own aircraft to provide spotters when asked to search for downed planes.

The time and services provided by Yukon volunteers cannot be measured in dollars; however, it demonstrates great benefits and truly strengthens our communities. They deserve our thanks and appreciation.

 

Mr. Cardiff:   I rise on behalf of the official opposition to tribute all our Yukon volunteers on this National Volunteer Week. This yearís theme of ďVolunteers Grow CommunityĒ is especially relevant to the Yukon. Itís safe to say that thereís not one person in the Yukon, members of this House among them, who hasnít volunteered for something somewhere in his or her life. We all know many people who spend their free time helping others, from children who collect pennies for the less fortunate, to seniors who work on boards of NGOs.

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Although we have very busy lives, rather than give up on volunteering, many of us adjust the commitment to our favourite cause to fit the time that is available. In response to time constraints of volunteers, many organizations offer incentives to volunteers, such as recognizing training, time off of work and group sharing of responsibilities. Each contribution has helped to make our Yukon community lives better, richer, safer and more compassionate.

For instance, volunteers participate in coaching activities for a variety of team and individual sports. Community aerodrome radio operators provide essential services for medevac flights in many Yukon communities. Other volunteers assist with elders and youth activities; they help out with soup kitchens and food banks; and they sit on community and recreation association boards. There are many, many, many more in all kinds of other volunteer positions. Weíre grateful to those volunteers and we send them a warm thank you.

This year the Volunteer Bureau is making special efforts to recognize volunteers. Weíd like to turn the tables and pay tribute to the Volunteer Bureau. This organization offers many valuable services to Yukon volunteers. It offers free training sessions for individuals and boards. It advertises in the paper and on its Web site for special events. It offers advice and other support to NGOs from its office. Its print resource centre is available to anyone, and their coordinating role has become an important asset to all Yukoners, in a very short time.

Thanks go out to those volunteers of the United Way, who had the insight to establish this vital resource. I know for myself that getting an invite from the Volunteer Bureau to attend the volunteer function and bringing someone to that function to recognize their volunteer efforts means a lot to me, to go to that event and to rub shoulders with some of the best volunteers in the country, in my opinion.

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In closing, letís try to remember all our volunteers all year-round ó not just this week ó by saying a big thank you to them whenever you see the important work they do.

 

Ms. Duncan:   I rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus to extend my thanks and tribute our Yukon volunteers.

National Volunteer Week is a dedicated week in April set aside to honour and recognize Canadians who volunteer. Itís the right occasion to raise awareness of volunteerism in general and of the vital contribution that volunteers make to our communities and to our country.

Volunteering is giving the most precious gift: your time, your energy, your skills and yourself. Volunteers do what they do to make, in short, our community a better place.

This week is our opportunity to say thank you, merÁi beaucoup, mahsií cho.

Thank you to all the volunteers. You make the Yukon such a wonderful place to live.

Speaker:   Are there any further tributes?

Introduction of visitors.

Are there any returns or documents for tabling?

Are there any reports of committees?

Are there any petitions?

Are there any bills to be introduced?

Are there any notices of motion?

NOTICES OF MOTION

Mr. Hardy:   I give notice of the following motion:

THAT within three months of this motion being agreed to, the Commissioner in Executive Council Office shall establish an electoral reform commission consisting of five Yukon electors for the purpose of conducting a public review of the method to be used to elect members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly;

THAT membership of the commission shall be chosen to reflect, as closely as possible, the demographic makeup of the Yukon population;

THAT the members of the commission shall choose from among their number a chair of the commission;

THAT beginning no later than six months after the passage of this motion, the commission shall begin a process of public consultation throughout the territory, including both oral and written submissions related to, but not limited to, the following areas of consideration:

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(a) the strengths and weaknesses of the electoral system currently in use in the Yukon;

(b) review of the principal electoral systems currently in use, or under consideration, in such representative democracies as Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America and member nations of the European Union;

(c) review of electoral reform initiatives currently under consideration in other Canadian jurisdictions such as the Province of New Brunswick, and specifically the proceedings and reports of the Citizensí Assembly on Electoral Reform in the Province of British Columbia;

(d) variations within both majoritarian and proportional representation systems, including preferential balloting mechanisms, which may be applicable to the Yukon; and

(e) options regarding the Yukonís electoral system that the commission believes should be presented to Yukon electors by way of plebiscite under the Plebiscite Act;

THAT the commission shall determine its own procedures for achieving the general mandate as outlined above, including the form of public consultation to be used, and shall conduct its public consultation functions within a budget to be set aside for that purpose within the departmental budget of the Executive Council Office;

THAT the Commissioner in Executive Council shall establish a secretariat to provide administrative and research support to the commission, including the compilation of comparative information from other jurisdictions, preparation of public discussion papers and other documents as required, coordination and advertising of public meetings, development and maintenance of a commission Web site, preparation of interim and final reports of the commission and other operational requirements of the commission;

THAT the commission may issue interim reports of its proceedings and findings as it sees fit to do so and shall make such interim reports available for public review and input as part of the consultation process;

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THAT the commission shall provide a final report of its findings and recommendations to the Commissioner in Executive Council within one year of the passage of this motion;

THAT the Commissioner in Executive Council shall make the final report of the electoral reform commission public in its entirety and without amendment no later than five days from its receipt and shall table the commissionís report in the Yukon Legislative Assembly on the day on which the report is released to the public;

THAT if the Assembly is not sitting on the day on which the report is released to the public, the Commissioner in Executive Council shall cause it to be tabled on the first sitting day following its public release;

THAT the Chief Electoral Officer, either directly or by delegation to the Assistant Chief Electoral Officer, will advise and assist the commission in the preparation of its final report and recommendations, as well as in the preparation of questions to be put to the electorate by way of a plebiscite;

THAT should the electoral reform commission recommend that a plebiscite be held to determine the opinion of Yukon electors on the type of electoral system they prefer, the Commissioner in Executive Council shall take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that such a plebiscite is conducted within one year of the date on which the commission delivers its final report; and

THAT implementation of any other recommendation contained in the commissionís final report, in whole or in part, shall be subject to the approval of the Legislative Assembly.

 

Speaker:   Are there any further notices of motion?

Is there a statement by a minister?

This then brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re:† ††Dawson City bridge, tender documents

Mr. Fairclough:   Iíd like to return to the Minister of Highways and Public Works on the subject of the governmentís pilot project on the public/private partnerships. The minister didnít answer my question directly, so Iíll try again.

When we asked the ministerís office for a copy of the tender documents for the Dawson bridge, we were told that they were privileged and confidential, so Iíll cut to the chase for the minister: what is in the request for proposals that is so secret that the Yukon taxpayers are not allowed to see it?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   We are following the process that has been identified in conjunction with this particular process, and thatís what weíre doing.

Mr. Fairclough:   Iím sure the public is not happy with that answer. This government said it wants to develop a P3 policy while the Dawson bridge is under construction, but the P3 policy is already in place. Itís a policy of secrecy ó everything will be done behind closed doors where the public canít see what the government is doing.

On the governmentís Web site promoting the Yukon Partyís vision of P3s, it clearly states that a business case must be prepared to analyze a projectís life-cycle costs before a P3 option is implemented. How are Yukoners supposed to know the real life-cycle costs of this multi-million dollar project when theyíre not even allowed to see whatís involved in the request for proposals. Why is that a secret?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Yes, we are using the bridge as a pilot project, as he indicated. Weíre developing the best practices for a P3 framework as a policy for all P3s, and weíre following the procurement option. This framework will provide the guiding principles for procedures to ensure a fair and consistent process.

But letís be clear. This government has stated many times that we are not going to be utilizing a P3 for things such as hospitals, schools or corrections facilities.

Mr. Fairclough:   This minister and the Yukon Party government said they were going to be open and accountable and, so far on this issue, they are far from that.

So let me see if I got this right. Only two companies are qualified to submit proposals for the bridge. We donít know yet if the bridge is going to be built of steel, concrete or something other than that. We donít know if itís going to cost $30 million or if itís going to cost $50 million. We donít know if taxpayers will be facing a mortgage of 10, 15 or 30 years to pay for it. We donít even know who will own the bridge at the end of the day and weíre not allowed to ask, and the minister wants Yukon taxpayers to write this company a blank cheque. Will the minister table the tender documents tomorrow and give his assurance that no further requests for proposals will have a secrecy clause attached to them? Can taxpayers have that assurance?†

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   For the member opposite, we are following the process with regard to the tender documents. We are following that aspect through.

With regard to what the cost is, thatís the process weíre going through. Weíre exploring the options. Currently there are no P3 projects within the Yukon. There are none out there. We are exploring that option with regard to the bridge to ensure if that in fact takes place. We intend to do that. We wonít know these specifics until we get those documents back after the closing date.

Question re:  Public/private partnerships

Mr. Hardy:   This government seems bound and determined to pursue public/private partnerships to build public infrastructure. I would like very much to hear the Premierís take on this issue. I should remind the Premier of the old warning, though, that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. With all the evidence that exists about why P3s are not in the public interest, why is the Premier insisting on taking Yukoners down this secretive road that can only drive up the cost of building public infrastructure?

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   Again, for the member opposite, Iíd like to repeat that there are no P3 projects going on in the Yukon at this point in time. The bridge is a pilot study to determine best practices and determine the process, and when those documents come back, weíll determine whether or not we proceed. So, again, the member opposite is speaking hypothetically, but the reality is there is no such beast at this point in time.

Mr. Hardy:   Mr. Speaker, weíre not speaking hypothetically. This is a government that has announced that theyíre doing P3s.

If P3s are such a good deal for the taxpayers, why are huge corporations everywhere lining up for a piece of the action? They certainly arenít doing it out of the goodness of their heart. They arenít charitable institutions. Theyíre doing it for one reason only: public/private partnerships are good for their bottom line and that makes their shareholders happy. While it isnít the Premierís job to make the shareholders of some anonymous corporation happy, his job is to provide the best value for Yukon taxpayers when it comes to public facilities and services. Thatís the bottom line the Premier should be concerned about.

Iíll try my question again for the Premier: does the Premier have any evidence at all to show that using the P3 model to design and build a bridge in Dawson City will give Yukoners a better product at a better price than the governmentís traditional construction method. Does he have any evidence?

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Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   Again, there are no P3 projects except the one we are developing as a policy. I suggest that the member opposite is coming at this from a direction of very little enthusiasm for development and for economic development.

I would suggest that the corporate structures and corporate people are lining up because they do want economic development and they do want infrastructure development, and thatís something that has been sorely lacking in NDP policy.

Mr. Hardy:   Iíd like to remind that minister that there is a P3 project this government is working on; now theyíre trying to say there isnít. Itís unbelievable.

Itís pretty obvious from the ministerís answers and comments from other ministers ó and, if we go back in history, whenever the Premier will comment on it ó that this whole pursuit of P3s is about a political philosophy, not about value. If it were about value for taxpayersí dollars, there wouldnít be so much secrecy; they wouldnít be going to such lengths to keep information from the public.

Let me remind the Premier about just one of many of the huge P3 failures in this country: the Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. There are many other examples. According to the Auditor General of Canada, that bridge cost $45 million more than it would have cost if it had been built publicly. Because of the cost overruns, tolls went up by $8 per car in the first year alone. Thatís exactly what we could face in Dawson with a P3 project.

What safeguards are in place to ensure that wonít happen here? Why wonít the Premier lift the veil of secrecy so Yukon people can judge for themselves if their interests are being properly protected?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   First, thereís absolutely no reason to even head down this road. The government has been very open, accountable and clear on what itís doing. We have said to the public on many occasions that the government is looking into using the P3 mechanism as a possible area for furthering and increasing private sector investment in the Yukon. Weíve said we would not use this mechanism for such structures as schools and hospitals and so on. Weíve also pointed out that the bridge is not yet a P3 project. We are conducting a pilot process to see if the bridge is even an acceptable candidate.

Mr. Speaker, the only secret here is what the NDP is actually talking about.

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Question re:  Radio communication system, replacement of

Ms. Duncan:   The Yukon Party government has said they are looking at replacing the MDMRS, with the mobile communications solutions project, as a possibility for a P3. That was said on the floor of the House, Mr. Speaker. In fact, the request for qualifications for the MoCS has now closed. Technical questions on the tender were directed to Partnerships B.C. Will the minister now admit that they are not just looking at this project as a possibility for a P3, they are actually using the MoCS replacement as another P3 project?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   We do not have a P3 project in the Yukon at this moment.

Ms. Duncan:   Well, in their platform and repeatedly in this Legislature, the Yukon Party committed that they would consult with the public on matters of importance to Yukoners. The only public discussion on P3s and how well they work and donít work has been privately sponsored in the Yukon by a local law firm and the YEU. Both presentations note that there are a number of risks involved in using the P3 model. The legal presentation said in part that governments have to ensure that labour issues and liability risks have been adequately taken into account.

Mr. Speaker, it is very important that the public understands the gamble the government is taking. At risk in using a P3 model is the credibility of the government that promised public consultation. At risk is taxpayersí money ó will we pay more than we should using a P3 model? And in the case of MoCS, at risk is an essential piece of infrastructure. Is the government really prepared to run the risk of this piece of infrastructure not being built or, worse yet, owned by somebody else?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   As I mentioned previously, we are looking at the possibility for this vital system. As she indicated, it is a very vital system to the Yukon. We are up against a wall with regard to our existing system, and we are looking at options that will enable us to replace that system and get the service that we need.

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Ms. Duncan:   Today we have established clearly for the public that the Yukon Party government is using a public/private partnership for more than the bridge in Dawson. Theyíre using the P3 model for MoCS, the mobile communication system. Weíve established that the Yukon Party, without public consultation on P3s, is prepared to run great risks and use P3s anyway in spite of the warning.

The third point: the Premier committed to never using P3s until a proper policy was in place, yet the government has repeatedly shown they are not prepared to do the hard work of government and put a proper policy in place. Nobody wants to delay the replacement of this essential infrastructure, the communications system. We know the government wonít do the policy work in spite of the Premierís commitment. We know there are risks. Is there any possibility the minister will reconsider using the P3 approach to replacing MoCS, the mobile communications system?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   As Minister of Finance, it is important that I oversee expenditures for this government. The member opposite is implying that we have committed to P3 projects both in the bridge and the replacement of the MDMRS system. I would point out to the member, with all due respect, that is incorrect. What is correct here is that weíre looking at a traditional procurement process for those projects, and in addition we are looking at the possibility, through a pilot process, of those projects being P3 projects. No commitments have been made.

The member opposite has pointed out risk to the taxpayersí money. I ask you: look at the risk that was taken in allowing Dawson City to over-extend its credit limit by millions of dollars by that government. Look at the risks taken by circumventing the Yukon Utilities Board on the Mayo-Dawson inter-tie. An audit has shown it is millions of dollars over contract.

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Some Hon. Member:   On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Point of order

Speaker:   The leader of the third party, on a point of order.

Ms. Duncan:   Point of order, Mr. Speaker. To suggest that the former government, or any government, or any member of this House would circumvent a quasi-judicial board, such as the Yukon Utilities Board, is suggesting false and unavowed motives, which is Standing Order 19(g). I would respectfully ask that you call the member to order.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   There does not appear to be a point of order here. The actual truth has been stated on the floor of this House.

Speakerís ruling

Speaker:   The Chair finds there is a point of order, and Iíd just like to remind the Hon. Premier of a March 29 ruling which, in part, says: ďThe public interest is not served when members express themselves in a way that impugns the character of other members.Ē So Iíd ask the Hon. Premier not to do that.

 

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Iíll retract the statement and point out that the intent here was to ensure that everybody understood that the member chose not to use the option to use the Yukon Utilities Board.

Now, in closing ó

Speaker:   Your time is done. Thank you.

Question re:  Whitehorse Correctional Centre rebuild

Mr. Cardiff:   The Minister of Justice has started a corrections consultation. Weíre all aware that heís holding that up as his legacy to the Yukon. The minister shouldnít take this question as an invitation to expound on the corrections consultation. The corrections consultation is just one more example of this governmentís culture of secrecy. When you connect all the dots, you find the secret being hidden is that this government really wants the construction of the new jail to be a P3.

Will the minister assure the House that when they finally get around to building a jail that it wonít be built as a public/private partnership?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   I thank the member opposite for that question, because it does touch on an issue that is very sensitive to the members opposite, and thatís about working in partnership with First Nations.

This government has committed to open consultation, and thatís exactly what weíre doing with respect to WCC.

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Mr. Cardiff:   The minister didnít answer the question, and the dots are just too plain to miss. He should open his eyes, Mr. Speaker. The first dot is the memorandum of understanding between the government and the Kwanlin Dun First Nation. The Kwanlin Dun Development Corporation is a partner in Epcom. One of the other partners in Epcom is SNC-Lavalin. One of SNC-Lavalinís recent contracts is a five-year $400 million contract with Canadaís Department of Defence to build and maintain a prison camp in Iraq. A year ago the territorial government sponsored an economic summit for First Nations. One of the speakers they invited was SNC-Lavalinís VP of Aboriginal Affairs.

The Minister of Highways and Public Works said the bridge is a way to develop policy and process for all P3s. How many P3s are there? Thereís more than one, obviously, if heís talking about all of them.

Is the minister or any of his officials involved in discussions with SNC-Lavalin or any other corporation related to privatizing the new Correctional Centre through a P3?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   To correct the member opposite, Iíd like to state for the record that it is a land claims obligation to honour agreements that are signed with First Nations. Furthermore, the member opposite appears to have already selected the company to build while this government is still organizing the consultation process.

This consultation process serves a purpose. The purpose of the consultation is to develop a corrections action plan for delivering corrections programs and services that meet offenders, family and needs in the Correctional Centre and communities. Thatís something thatís different. This government cares about the offenders who are in there. This government cares about their well-being and wants them to have a chance at life. This government is going to continue to work toward building a new correctional facility; however, it will be done in open consultation with Yukoners.

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Some Hon. Members:   (Inaudible)

Speakerís statement

Speaker:   Before the member asks his final question here, the extraneous chatter is getting to the point where the Chair cannot establish who is speaking at what point in time, so I would ask all members to refrain from extraneous chatter.

Thank you. You have the floor, Member for Mount Lorne.

 

Mr. Cardiff:   Mr. Speaker, the minister is talking about the Yukon Party version of the Umbrella Final Agreement, and I would remind him that SNC-Lavalin is not signatory to the Umbrella Final Agreement.

Now, all the research on privatizing prisons shows that itís risky and itís costly. In the U.S. and the United Kingdom, corporations aim their promotion of jail construction and management in areas of low unemployment. These projects have proven disastrous, and governments are cancelling the contracts and taking over privately run jails that are falling apart, and in some places they are outright banning the private prison industry. Corporations promise efficiency, safety and security. They deliver the opposite, costing the taxpayers more in the long run with cost overruns and paying corrections officers extremely low wages.

Can the Minister of Justice offer one single advantage to Yukon citizens in using a P3 model to build and maintain a new Whitehorse correctional facility?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   It appears the members on the opposite side of the House today are sure stuck on P3s, and this side of the House is kind of in the dark about what theyíre talking about, because there are no P3 projects in the community today.

Some Hon. Members:   (Inaudible)

Speakerís statement

Speaker:   Order please. Did we not just discuss extraneous chatter? Was that an echo here? Please, allow the member to speak.

 

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:  As I was stating, the members opposite are putting things on the floor of this Legislature as though every project in the territory is P3. Thatís not true, Mr. Speaker. The truth is that there are no P3s, and the truth about the correctional facility is that this government is going to build a facility, but it will be when all consultation is completed.

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Question re:  Contracts, sole-sourcing

Mr. Hardy:   I am going to start with a quote from Samuel Johnson, which says ďWhere secrecy or mystery begins, vice or roguery is not far off.Ē Now this government has made a habit of avoiding the public tendering process by offering numerous expensive sole-source contracts. Weíve seen many examples of the poor return on investments that Yukoners get from these contracts. The latest example is the $120,000 for the McKinnon report. The Department of Highways and Public Works is responsible for maintaining the government contract registry, and there are specific regulations limiting use of sole-source contracts. My question: is the minister satisfied that all departments are scrupulously observing the contract administration regulations?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   We are following our rules and regulations and processes as outlined.

Mr. Hardy:   Well, sole-source contracts avoid public scrutiny, and this government seems to be very addicted to them. For example, sole-source contracts in a six-month period last year from April 1 to September 30, 2004: Community Services general contracts, 181 of 201 ó 90 percent of contracts went sole-source. Health and Social Services is another example in the service contract sector: 284 of 307 ó 92 percent were sole-source, worth almost $24 million. Tourism and Culture, a paltry three percent of 116 general service contracts went through a public bidding process ó only three percent. Economic Development: all 57 general service contracts were sole-source, every one of them. The list goes on.

Now my question is for the Premier: why is the Yukon Party government so addicted to distributing public funds in such a secretive manner?

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Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I say that this is a very unproductive discussion. The member well knows that, if we look back historically in the contract registry, there is no dramatic increase in sole sourcing or anything else. In fact the government has continued, as past governments, to use sole sourcing as we are obligated to do within contract law, policy and regulation. Nothing has changed. How that becomes a secret to the members opposite is maybe because they havenít looked at the contract registry and compared it to historical levels.

Mr. Hardy:   What an answer from the Premier. Heís talking off the top of his head and just trying to avoid answering the question.

This is just another part of the culture of secrecy that this government seems to operate under. Theyíre so secretive that they donít even know what each other is doing and they deny theyíre even having P3 contracts. In many cases, using sole-source contracts allows the Premier to reward the faithful. The Yukon Party pledged in their election platform to ensure government contract regulations, policies and procedures are sensible, consistent and fair to the local business community, and they have failed to meet that pledge.

Yukoners are hard-working people who expect fairness and openness from their politicians, and they arenít getting it in this case. When will the government stop its secretive practice and demonstrate that all Yukoners will be treated fairly when it comes to securing government contracts?

Speakerís statement

Speaker:   Before the Hon. Premier answers, once again I would like to remind the leader of the official opposition that terms like ďrewarding the faithfulĒ are imputing false or unavowed motives and I would ask you not to do that.

 

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Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Let me first begin by saying that the government has obviously taken a very fair and balanced approach, considering the 4.8-percent unemployment factor in this territory. That means more Yukoners are working today than ever before. I think that is testimony to the fair and balanced approach we take. Itís no secret that this government came into office to address the economy. Weíre doing that. Itís no secret the government came into office to build a better quality of life for Yukoners. Weíve increased investment in our social fabric. Weíve increased investment in education. There are no secrets here on the government side.

The secret is on the members oppositeís side ó trying to figure out whatís really going on in this territory. Itís a big secret to them, Mr. Speaker.

Well, Iíve got news for the members opposite. The time has come for them to be open and accountable with Yukoners. What is their vision and plan for this territory? Is it, as the member opposite has said, a place of madness and misery? Is that how the NDP promote the territory?

Not this government. We are going to build this territory, build its future, with all Yukoners in partnership. Thatís what weíve done. The results speak for themselves.

Question re:  Mayo-Dawson transmission line, cost overruns

Mr. McRobb:   Yesterday, we learned how the minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation failed to protect the interests of electrical consumers throughout the territory. He sanctioned Yukon Energy Corporationís application to the Yukon Utilities Board that would charge the cost overruns of the Mayo-Dawson transmission line to the ratepayers. Those costs are about $10 million and rising.

When asked why he would do such a thing, the minister failed to muster anything other than to hide behind the board; however, Yukon ratepayers were assured several times that theyíd be protected by Yukon Energy Corporation officials and the Yukon government.

For what possible reason would the minister break those promises and want to charge electrical consumers for the huge cost overruns?

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Hon. Mr. Lang:   The government of the day, this government, works with the Yukon Energy Corporation/Yukon Development Corporation Board. Certainly they have to address the issue of the Mayo-Dawson line with the Yukon Utilities Board, and weíre doing that. As far as protecting the ratepayers, we will wait until the Yukon Utilities Board comes out with a decision. We certainly are moving forward. The Yukon Utilities Board is doing their job. Itís too bad that the government of the day, when the decisions were made to build the line, didnít use that same board for a sober second thought when they went ahead with the project. But we will work with the Yukon Utilities Board.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, I didnít hear an answer, Mr. Speaker. Whatís the big secret?

Now, charging the ratepayers for the overruns is bad enough, but it gets worse. If the minister and his officials get their way, Yukon Energy Corporation will be earning a nine-percent profit on those overruns for several years to come. In itself, that could easily tally a million dollars a year. This rate gouging is outrageous.

Yesterday the minister failed to address a solution that is obvious to everyone but him. In fact, it is clear he doesnít even understand how the solution would work. Hopefully he has been briefed on the matter since then.

So let me ask him again: why hasnít the minister applied the $19 million sitting in Yukon Energy Corporationís retained earnings to pay for the overruns instead of shoving that burden on to the backs of the ratepayers?

Hon. Mr. Lang:   To insinuate that the Yukon Utilities Board hearings are not an open process ó I find that, with his qualifications, a little odd. The Yukon Utilities Board is an open process, and at the end of the day theyíre going to come down with a decision. At that point we will discuss what that decision is. It would be premature of me or anybody in this House to double-guess what the Yukon Utilities Board is going to decide on the Mayo-Dawson line.

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Mr. McRobb:   The government is not open. The Ombudsman was right when he identified a culture of secrecy. This matter is consuming everybodyís time at the hearing. If the minister would take a few minutes to wander over to the Yukon Innís Fireside Room, he would see for himself. Dealing with these overruns is costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in hearing costs and to pay for lawyers, consultants, engineers and other personnel. If the minister gets his way, power rates for everybody will increase for years.

The minister had the opportunity to demonstrate some leadership but he blew it. This money is not in the Yukon Development Corporation, as he said yesterday. The $19 million is sitting in Yukon Development Corporation as retained earnings. Can he shed some light on how much consideration he afforded the ratepayers, or is that a big secret too? Did he even consider this option?

Hon. Mr. Lang:   To calm the member opposite down, the process that weíre following of the Yukon Utilities Board is an open process. I just wish we were sitting here three years ago when these decisions were made. We would have worked with the Yukon Utilities Board to make sure these overruns didnít exist today, and now we have to address these issues after the fact.

There is an overrun on the Mayo-Dawson line. There are some questions on the cost of the project. We were not part of those challenges; we are here to address those challenges. The Yukon Utilities Board will make a decision, and we will work with that decision when itís tabled.

 

Speaker:   The time for Question Period has now elapsed.

Notice of government private membersí business

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(7), Iíd like to identify the items standing in the name of the government private members to be called on Wednesday, April 20, 2005. They are Motion No. 435, standing in the name of the Member for Southern Lakes, Motion No. 430, standing in the name of the Member for Lake Laberge, and Motion No. 433, standing in the name of the Member for Lake Laberge.

 

Speaker:   We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the 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

Deputy Chair:   Committee of the Whole will now come to order. The matter before the Committee is Bill No. 15, First Appropriation Act, 2005-06. We will continue with the Department of Health and Social Services.

Before we begin, do members wish a brief recess?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Deputy Chair:   We will recess for 15 minutes.

 

Recess

 

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Deputy Chair:   Committee of the Whole will now come to order.

Bill No. 15 ó First Appropriation Act, 2005-06 ó continued

Deputy Chair:   The matter before the Committee is Bill No. 15, First Appropriation Act, 2005-06. We are in Vote 15, Health and Social Services.

Department of Health and Social Services ó continued

On Family and Childrenís Services ó continued

On Program Management ó continued

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   When we left debate yesterday, we were in family and childrenís services. In this branch of the Department of Health and Social Services, there are a number of initiatives underway that are ultimately going to have a profound impact on Yukon and the way the department operates.

One of those is the Childrenís Act review, which is underway. This act review is co-chaired by two very capable individuals, one representing the First Nations and the other representing the Department of Health and Social Services.

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Weíre in stage 3 of the consultation on the Childrenís Act review, and they have recently completed two policy forums. Each one of these policy forums was three extremely full days of meetings attended by over 100 people at each forum.

Now, the information that was obtained at these forums has been distilled and we are now targeting the consultation as a follow-up to the information from the forum discussions. It is quite a comprehensive and thorough consultation initiative, and it is very similar to what the government has now implemented for correctional reform. This appears to have been the pilot model of consultation and the involvement of the First Nations ó unlike the previous Liberal administration that went helter-skelter down the road of developing a whole review of various pieces of legislation that didnít have the buy-in from the other people affected across the Yukon, specifically the First Nations. The member opposite knows that I am referring to the education review, which was more or less politicized, and not an open and transparent ó

Some Hon. Member:   Point of order.

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Point of order

Deputy Chair:   Mr. McRobb, on a point of order.

Mr. McRobb:   †On a point of order, Mr. Chair. Standing Order 19(g) prohibits the member from imputing false or unavowed motives. Thatís exactly what the Health and Social Services minister did by accusing the leader of the third party of politicizing the process and so on and so forth.

Deputy Chair:   Ms. Duncan, on the point of order.

Ms. Duncan:   I would like to address this as well, in that not only does Standing Order 19(g) suggest that we should not cast aspersions on members or accuse them of false or unavowed motives, I believe thereís also a Standing Order ó the immediate reference escapes me ó that we should focus our debate and avoid spurious statements of extraneous material, and I would encourage the minister, as we have all been encouraged publicly to conduct ourselves in a more focused manner, that perhaps he would like to continue discussing the governmentís initiative on the Childrenís Act review as opposed to discussing his version of previous governmentsí activities.

Deputy Chair:   Mr. Jenkins, on the point of order.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I was just pointing out the realities of the matter before us. There doesnít appear to be a point of order. It appears more to be a dispute between members.

Deputy Chairís ruling

Deputy Chair:   I believe there is a point of order, and I believe the minister should keep his discussion relevant to the line of program management.

 

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   As I was saying, the consultation process that has been engaged in by the Childrenís Act review panel is a very thorough and very comprehensive one, unlike other initiatives that were begun previously. Itís a targeted consultation that weíre going into now and itís of a more technical nature. It includes representatives from First Nations and from family and childrenís services branch. We have two of these sessions scheduled to be held in April and May of this year. The outcome of it is that weíre hoping to have a draft public policy on the proposed legislation for this summer sometime. Then the actual wording and the actual contents and the areas that will be explored ó weíll be coming back and weíll be moving forward on the applicable processes to bringing this legislation forward.

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This is just one of three major initiatives that our government has begun in an open, transparent, thorough, comprehensive consultation process, engaging our First Nation partners and all other Yukoners. One is on the Childrenís Act review, the second one is correctional reform, and the third one is in education.

Mr. Chair, one of the next areas that we have expanded on and worked in is in the area of FASD. Now, this is one of the easily preventable diseases that is affecting newborns. Addressing the issue of FASD was a commitment that our party made, and we have done so. We have put in place the diagnostic team. That initial funding for the diagnostic team through family and childrenís services branch was for two years. It is now in the base funding of the Child Development Centre, and the original funding came under the primary health care transition fund. But this year we have added the amounts that we were flowing to the Child Development Centre into the base funding. That said, there have been some positive outcomes of the FASD diagnostic team through the Child Development Centre, and we have ensured the security of their ongoing funding in this manner, putting it in the base, Mr. Chair.

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Everyone involved in the process should be recognized and be proud of their accomplishments. This is a project that no one previously really wanted to tackle. It has been ongoing here in the Yukon, and while weíre concentrating on the treatment side of it, weíre also concentrating on the preventive side at the same time. The preventive side is very simple: do not consume alcohol, or any other drugs or substances, when you are in a position that you may become pregnant or want to become pregnant. This is what leads to fetal alcohol syndrome disorder.

The member opposite has some questions, and Iíd encourage him to save them for later in general debate.

This summer, the Yukon is hosting a FASD symposium and summer camp. This camp has run for several years, with funding coming from various areas. But this year our budget identifies base funding for this project, which supports both the boys and the girls camps. So this is a first-time initiative.

What we have found is that a lot of the NGOs and organizations have spent an inordinate amount of their time trying to track down sources of funding, writing proposals and moving forward on various initiatives to secure funding.

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What our government has determined would be the best course of action is to look at initiatives on a pilot project and after two or three years our government would provide them the security of funding by putting some of this funding into the base amount that flows to these various organizations.

This is just one of the areas, but the diagnostic team is in place and is working. In the area of FASD, weíre also now working very closely with FASSY, another NGO that addresses the needs of those afflicted with FASD, who usually have achieved the age of majority. They assist those persons in that category. Our government has increased the NGO funding to FASSY. They have a pilot project underway for the diagnosis of those above the age of majority. We look forward to working very closely with this NGO and hopefully achieving the same level of success with this age group as we have with the Child Development Centre.

The other area weíve addressed as a government is the area of childcare. The area of childcare is an initiative that loomed front and centre in the last territorial election. We as a government committed to putting in place the necessary procedures and funding to ensure that our childcare moves forward.

Today the Yukon should be proud that we have the second best funded childcare system in Canada, after Quebec, of $5.5 million a year that flows into the childcare field; there are basically 1,300 set-up spaces.

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We are one of the few jurisdictions in Canada that still has capacity, and there are still ads being run by various day homes and daycare centres that they welcome new children into their programs.

On another initiative, weíve all heard of the federal governmentís initiative. The Hon. Ken Dryden has gone to his caucus and Cabinet and they have a $5-billion program over five years that is subject to legislative approval with the first $700 million flowing into a trust fund, another $100 million earmarked for aboriginal communities, and the other $100 million is earmarked for accountability.

The three territories along with Prince Edward Island have been advocating base funding plus per capita, because on a per capita basis, the smaller political jurisdictions in Canada have a real definite problem in meeting the task of having enough funding that would effect positive change. So we have been advocating, and weíre hoping and weíre confident that Minister Dryden has seen the merits of our arguments. Iím looking forward to securing in the base funding a certain amount along with the per capita. Of course, this is all subject to approval of the federal Parliament of Canada, which may or may not occur.

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Right here in the Yukon, we have a four-year implementation plan, and weíre moving forward in these areas on a regular basis. We are currently reviewing the issues that have been raised around the accountability, and weíre hopeful that we will achieve a consensus very, very quickly in this area.

As the minister responsible, I have committed to the childcare and day home operators that we will put together representatives from the department and from Justice and meet with their lawyer and go over how we can develop a contribution agreement that achieves both of our ends.

But at all times, Mr. Chair, the money is subject to the approval of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, and we have to abide by the terms and conditions of the Financial Administration Act. We have accountability placed on us as a government. I know the leader of the third party is not comfortable with accountability and not comfortable with consultation, but these are part of the process that we have to adhere to.

Mr. Chair, one of the other areas that we have addressed as a government is autism. This is the third year of a $540,000 commitment, and there is $180,000 in our budget for this year. These funds are used by families to access services unique to their childrenís needs.

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The feedback is that the program is working well and we as a government are looking at new health care funding as a possible source of continuing funding in this area. At all times, we have to be cognizant that the federal government commitments and a lot of the funding commitments that were achieved through the First Ministers meetings and the northern health fund, for example, were negotiated and agreed to between the federal Government of Canada and the governments of the three northern territories and are subject to the approval of the Parliament of Canada.

Itís kind of interesting to note that the leader of the third party makes constant mention of our Member of Parliament here, but the other two territories, along with their federal counterparts, continuously thank the Hon. Ethel Blondin-Andrew for her tireless work in this area and tireless quest for federal funding to flow into the north.

So itís not just the efforts of one; there has been a tremendous effort on behalf of our Premier, along with the premiers from the other two northern territories. Yes, there has been work done by the federal Members of Parliament. It appears, the way these new agreements have been structured, that credit must primarily go to our northern premiers and their tireless efforts, working on behalf of northerners to achieve and negotiate new agreements, specifically in this case the northern health fund. If the funds are approved by the federal Parliament of Canada, we can put them to excellent work.

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Weíre into program management and line-by-line, and I hope Iíve outlined for the members opposite as much of the areas as I can. If there are any further questions in the activities, I look forward to receiving those questions in this area.

Ms. Duncan:   With respect to the program management line, when we left debate yesterday, I had asked the minister some specific questions around the additional money thatís allocated for the Childrenís Act review. The Childrenís Act review is a process ó weíre on the program management line, $4,960,000, page 11-7. Am I correct, Mr. Chair? Weíre on the right line? Okay.

The minister and I were having a lengthy discussion, because he had indicated that this line includes program administration, the Childrenís Act review and contributions to NGOs. There are resources to support the implementation of the Childrenís Act review in this line.

I would like to ask a specific question about those resources. We have the Childrenís Act review going on, and theyíre doing extensive consultation. We also have in-house legal counsel working on the legislative drafting. The end product will be new Childrenís Act legislation. Would the minister outline the working relationship between the legislative counsel and the Childrenís Act review committee?

My concern is that recommendations that come out of a committee are going to be written in law. Iím wondering if the legislative drafts person is working with the committee, so there is a continuous cross-check ó ďThatís not what we meant in that recommendation. Thatís not the way that it appears in legislation.Ē ó so that the intent and recommendations of the Childrenís Act review committee are reflected in the legislation.

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It takes a long time for that to happen. Just so the minister can clearly understand what Iím saying, I would like to reflect back on the development assessment process or YESAA legislation. It was meant in the Umbrella Final Agreement by Canada, Yukon and First Nations that there be a development assessment process but it took a very, very long time to end up in law, and if you go back, sometimes the chiefs will say, ďWell, thatís not what we meant when we were negotiating.Ē It took a long time. So my concern is the connection between the lay people who are hearing Yukonersí views and what they want written in the law and the person who is in charge of drafting that law. If the minister could outline that connection and where there is a cross-check?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Well, the premise for the member oppositeís analogy is incorrect, given that this is a Yukon Party initiative, and the YESAA is a Liberal Party initiative. Therein lies the crux of the difficulty, Mr. Chair.

We have thoroughly analyzed and concluded that there are capable people in the Childrenís Act review who understand the issues and understand how to convey what is needed in a new piece of legislation. There is First Nation involvement. There are three people sitting on the Childrenís Act review panel who have designation as lawyers, and also there are some with a designation as social workers. So this area is covered off, and the whole initiative works very closely with the legislative draft person or will be working very closely with the legislative draft person when we get into that phase. So there is an ongoing hand-in-glove arrangement. The Acting Grand Chief and I are very comfortable with this arrangement. The previous Grand Chief and I were very comfortable with how this process was working and how the back-and-forth dialogue was working.

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Overall, there has been a slight decrease in the budget for the Childrenís Act review as a consequence of more in-house capacity being utilized for developing the legislation.

Ms. Duncan:   I would respectfully suggest to the minister that it would be far more constructive to debate if he would absent from the patronizing comments and the comments that are denigrating of anyone who has either worked on a public process like YESAA legislation, public servants and those who have occupied a seat in this Legislature, because the people who served before the minister did a ó

Some Hon. Member:   Point of order.

Point of order

Deputy Chair:   Mr. Jenkins, on a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Pursuant to Standing Order 19(g), the member opposite is imputing false or unavowed motives to another member. What I was clearly outlining for the member opposite is that it takes capable political direction to start a process.

Deputy Chair:   Ms. Duncan, on the point of order.

Ms. Duncan:   No, go ahead and rule on the point of order if you would.

Deputy Chairís ruling

Deputy Chair:   There does not appear to be a point of order.

 

Ms. Duncan:   Thank you very much. I appreciate the laughter from the Member for Lake Laberge, who has already been publicly chastised for it.

The ministerís comments have not gone unnoticed and will not go unnoticed. I would thank the minister to perhaps engage in constructive debate in this Legislature.

I asked a very specific, very legitimate, very pointed question. I want to know if the in-house legislative counsel is sitting in on the Childrenís Act review committee in order that the review committee and the recommendations that they arrived at are understood first-hand by the legislative counsel. That is a legitimate question and I would appreciate the courtesy of a response.

034a

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The detail as to how the information is conveyed is one for the review panel to determine. All I can advise the member opposite is that there are extremely capable co-chairs, both with law degrees, who are conveying and summarizing the information on a regular basis.

The political direction that was given from our government has been very specific and succinct, along with the political direction provided by the previous Grand Chief. It has been very direct. This process is working. What the member opposite might want to do is have a look at it and see how well it is working rather than try to pick a little area apart that would have no benefit to the overall process.

The issue before us is that this is a process that, for the past while, has demonstrated itís working and working quite well. The member opposite might want to attempt to chastise the process or suggest various ways, but those decisions have already been taken, theyíre implemented and theyíre working.

Weíre not going to reinvent the wheel and the member is not going to rewrite history. That has been done.

Ms. Duncan:   The member opposite may not recall ó however, I have been in this Legislature when we have had pieces of legislation come before us that have not reflected what the community wanted and they have not served us as legislators well. The example Iím thinking of is the Maintenance Enforcement Act, which was brought forward by the then Justice minister of the NDP government. There was the Wilderness Tourism Licensing Act ó the Member for Mayo-Tatchun was the minister at the time. In that particular act, there was an abrogation of the rules of natural justice. We spent all afternoon talking about natural justice and explaining it to the then minister and amending the law with the Wilderness Tourism Association in the gallery.

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Some Hon. Member:   Point of order.

Point of order

Deputy Chair:   Mr. Jenkins, on a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Pursuant to Standing Order 19 ó Iíve forgotten the subsection ó but weíre in family and childrenís services, in program management. The relevance of the Wilderness Tourism Licensing Act and how it applies to this area is beyond me. This member opposite is attempting to rewrite history ó thatís all.

Deputy Chairís ruling

Deputy Chair:   I donít believe there is a point of order, as the discussion is revolving around how the legislation is developed.

 

Ms. Duncan:   My point, since the minister wishes me to get to it with great haste ó Mr. Deputy Chair, the minister appears unwilling to engage in debate. However, I will point out to him that as legislators, the legislation comes to us. It is critically important that legislation be drafted in a manner that reflects what the community wants.

Itís well and good that the Childrenís Act review panel is co-chaired by two lawyers. Itís important to note that not every lawyer is a legal draftsperson or a legislative drafts person. At the moment, we donít have the luxury of having a lawyer in the House and we, on either side, are dependent upon the legislation that comes to us.

If the minister would answer a very simple, very direct question, and a yes or no would be perfectly acceptable ó is the legislative drafts person sitting in on the Childrenís Act review discussions and meetings where they are concluding what their recommendations might be? Is the legislative drafts person sitting in on those meetings? This is a critical piece of legislation that will come before us.

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The involvement of the various parties is determined by the act review panel and how they fit into it. I do agree with the member opposite on one facet: this is a very important review process, and I want to thank the member opposite for recognizing the very importance of this piece of forthcoming legislation.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, I have an additional question in this particular line for the minister, just one additional question ó depending, of course, upon the answer. There are additional resources for support for implementation of recommendations of the Child Welfare League of Canada. Would the minister please outline which specific recommendations are targeted?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   It is policy and standard development that is an ongoing in-house review that weíre moving forward on. But overall, this program management area of the budget for 2005-06 is $4.960 million. There is an increase of $411,000 or nine percent. As I indicated earlier, an increase of $116,000: in some of the areas there is a $160,000-increase to the Child Development Centre for additional work for the FASD diagnostic team, a $75,000 increase to NGOs, and there are a number of other areas, and an increase of $295,000 for 5.5 FTEs and funding for a new policy analyst and admin support. That is where we are at overall, Mr. Chair.

We recognize the program management area is another very important area, as indeed is the whole area across the Department of Health and Social Services.

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We have targeted resources where there is a demonstrated need.

Ms. Duncan:   I did not hear a specific answer. The Child Welfare League of Canada made a number of specific recommendations. I didnít bring the report with me in the House. Would the minister outline which specific recommendations? One of the recommendations I can recall was the caseload for social workers; one was about record management, I believe. Which recommendations are targeted to be dealt with by these additional resources? If he doesnít have the answer with him, perhaps he would like to send it over by way of legislative return.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   One of the areas the department is spending a tremendous amount of resources on is the IT sector. Itís across the board. It encompasses a number of areas that we have responsibility for. This was an area that previous administrations had let lapse and fall into disrepair, and weíre very pleased that our government was able to get the financial house of the Yukon in order, to go from a position when we came into power of having to borrow money to pay our bills to one where we have a surplus, a budgeted surplus. The finances of the Yukon are in very good hands now and we have targeted a number of areas of demonstrated need. This was one of them. We look forward to continuing the good work on behalf of all Yukoners.

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Deputy Chair:   Is there any further debate on the program management line?

Program Management in the amount of $4,960,000 agreed to

On Family and Childrenís Services

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   There was a $34,000 increase due to the collective agreement costs. The $178,000 increase is a result of a transfer of one position for child assessment and treatment services. The increase in family and childrenís services branch is $34,000, a one-percent increase due to the collective agreement.

Mr. McRobb:   Mr. Chair, I thought we had the minister in the groove yesterday, when he would give a breakdown on the line item. We ask for the same courtesy today.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   That is what I provided the member with yesterday. Family and childrenís services includes activity management, family services and child protection.

Mr. McRobb:   Mr. Chair, Iím asking for a breakdown of that line item; can the minister provide that, please?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Well, I can start with the FTEs and break that down. There are 25.75 full-time employees in family and childrenís services branch. That is where most of the costs that are being incurred are in this area: the staffing costs. The staffing costs for $2.525 million breaks down as follows.

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Thereís a $308,280 cost for wages and benefits. There are two contracts ó one for autism for $180,000. Thatís the budget. Healthy families ó $139,000. Community development ó $3,383. We get into family support workers where we have an increase in staffing complements. With salary costs, weíre at $567,969. Child protection cost is $1,360,709. So itís primarily wages and benefits. The one-percent increase in this line is attributable to the collective bargaining increases.

Mr. McRobb:   So is the healthy families initiative contained within the line item? I believe I heard the minister say something to that effect. I received some correspondence recently from the minister with regard to the community health improvement project, or CHIP. He indicated that there could be some funding from within that program for CHIP. I understand there has been some allocated. Can the minister give us the details?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The details surrounding that are not available at this time, given that weíre still sourcing the CHIP funding program.

Mr. McRobb:   All right, that also raises the issue about why the minister didnít find some funds for the CHIP program in January, February and March when a lot of Yukoners were prepared to take the program. Programs were slated in some communities that had to be cancelled because the minister pleaded poverty to the people involved in setting up the program. Well, we know now from looking at this record budget that there was no poverty, especially with respect to the spending in this department.

Why was the minister not able to find money to provide for that program at a very critical time of the year?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The member opposite should be posing those questions to the minister responsible for the community development fund that funded the CHIP initiative up to the point where they said this should be a health and care initiative. Our department has examined this area, and weíve agreed to fund it. That will flow in this budget cycle. Up until this point, the government, through other initiatives, has funded many sessions of this CHIP program. Iíd encourage the member opposite to pose those questions to the minister responsible for the area where the funding for this initiative flowed from.

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Mr. McRobb:   Mr. Deputy Chair, the minister is passing the buck. The community development fund did not provide funding for this program.

Some Hon. Member:   Point of order, Mr. Deputy Chair.

Point of order

Deputy Chair:   Mr. Jenkins, on a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Point of order. Once again, Mr. Deputy Chair, pursuant to Standing Orders 19(g) the member opposite is imputing false or unavowed motives to another member.

Deputy Chairís ruling

Deputy Chair:   There is no point of order.

 

Mr. McRobb:   You know, itís too bad the minister isnít as sensitive to the people who were looking forward to taking the CHIP course as he is to language he thinks he hears in here.

Now, Mr. Chair, he clearly passed the buck. Iím aware of some of the history of what happened, and the community development fund did not fund the CHIP program because of the limiting criteria. It cannot fund ongoing programs. It is basically a one-time-only source of funding. Mr. Chair, for that reason, the file was sent over to the ministerís desk back in November 2004 where it sat for several months with no action, despite several meetings between the facilitators and the minister ó and even the Minister of Education met with the facilitators ó despite several pleas from people in the communities who were helping to set up the program and several requests from people who wanted to take the programs that were planned. This minister did nothing, and now today, when I try to bring a bit of the flame to his toes to be accountable on this matter, he passes the buck.

Mr. Chair, review Hansard for my explanation. How can he possibly pass the buck when the application has been sitting on his desk since November?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The reality of the matter is that the community development fund funded a number of the CHIP program initiatives. This program recognized that this was an ongoing program and it didnít fit the criteria, and they passed the file and recommended that the Department of Health and Social Services fund it. In this budget cycle, the Department of Health and Social Services will be funding this initiative. Thatís where weíre at.

In the last budget cycle, a number of these initiatives were funded by the community development fund in its grant program. Thatís exactly what happened, and there is more that has transpired under this Yukon Party watch with respect to healthy families, healthy family initiatives, healthy living and healthy style of living than ever before in the history of the Yukon. The member opposite is once again attempting to compare apples to turnips.

Mr. McRobb:   This discussion isnít too fruitful because the minister doesnít want to talk about what happened for the past four or five months when the file was sitting on his desk. He only wants to talk about what happened prior to that. I can agree with what he said prior to that. The community development fund has funded prior applications for the CHIP program. However, it reached the point where it realized that the criteria for the program wouldnít allow the continuance of funds for an ongoing program. Thatís why they sent it to this minister.

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Now, this is a very important program. It speaks to preventive health in the territory. For the sake of less than $100,000 ó probably quite a bit less ó the territory can have ongoing CHIP programs in every community basically ó ongoing throughout the year. That would be enough funding to maybe provide for six programs a year.

This minister avoids putting some priority on funding preventive health care programs, such as the CHIP. I have personally talked to people who have taken CHIP, as Iím sure the minister has. Hereís something thatís very important to consider, Mr. Chair. One patient told me that she saves drug costs of $1,300 a month when sheís on the CHIP program. Those costs are paid for by the Department of Health and Social Services.

How many Yukoners like that are required before the program breaks even, even while itís going on? There are also the longer term benefits of getting people to recognize proper eating habits and physical activity and so on, to avoid some of the ďred flagĒ ailments in our society, such as diabetes. One heart attack medevac would probably pay for ongoing programs throughout the year.

This is a beneficial program. Itís very much needed in the communities, and this minister failed to come through. He failed to come through in the hour of need. Everybody knows that physical fitness programs are very popular following the festive season, especially in January, February and March. Thatís when these programs were scheduled to be held. The requests were in, and the minister said no.

044a

Well, he has lots of money for other things. He has lots of money for his pet project up in Dawson City thatís rumoured to cost in excess of $14 million; he has lots of money for one in the Premierís riding that will cost about the same.

Mr. Chair, what about the people? Obviously this is not a peopleís budget; itís a backroom budget and this is another example of how it is a backroom budget, and itís disgusting.

Ms. Duncan:   The statistics on the following pages support the expenditures in this line, family and childrenís services. I note there has been a nine-percent decrease in regional services offered by family and childrenís services. Thatís the change in the services offered ó individual families served. Thatís from page 11-8 of the statistics pages but it supports this line item in the budget.

Conversely, on page 11-16, there is a 15-percent increase in families served in the healthy families initiative. Are these decreases and increases strictly volume and requests, or is there some new initiative or redistribution of staff and refocusing of priorities?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The member is correct: there have been changes in demand and theyíre volume-driven. Family support workers have been placed in communities and the demands go up and down. Weíve addressed that.

Let me address some of the Member for Kluaneís apparent reasoning of the CHIP program.

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Itís our government that has addressed the issue head-on of healthy families, healthy living, and we acknowledge the success of the CHIP program. I want to thank the Member for Kluane for being a walking commercial for the CHIP program. It is very interesting to see the observations that the member has on this program.

Mr. Deputy Chair, the issue before the Department of Health and Social Services is that the CHIP program will be funded in this budget cycle. It is an initiative that we have accepted and acknowledged. In the last budget cycle, the initiatives under CHIP were funded by the community development fund grants, and this program has been well accepted and well recognized for the positive impact it has on the health of Yukoners. We as a government accept that, and weíre moving forward on this initiative. So I want to thank the member opposite for his positive input and his explanation of how worthwhile this CHIP program is and assure him and assure everyone that the government is going to be moving forward on funding the CHIP program. The level of funding is to be determined, and the number of courses that will be put on are to be determined.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

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Ms. Duncan:   The question I had asked was about volume increases and the minister has answered that part. The second question I wanted to ask was with respect to the CATS, child abuse treatment services. This is also part of this line item. There has been concern expressed in the past in this Legislature about the services that are available outside of Whitehorse. Weíre advised in the information that there were 94 children from regional communities and 181 from Whitehorse who received the service that is paid for in this line item. My concern is that in the past weíve had concerns expressed about the availability of CATS in communities. Is there any initiative within this budget line item? Thereís no additional staffing. Are there enough resources for the communities and available to regional communities?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Weíre meeting the requests in this area as they occur. That the member hasnít heard very much about this area gives credence to the fact that the department is probably doing an extremely good job in this area.

Ms. Duncan:   For the record, I didnít say I havenít heard much about this area. What I have heard, and what we have all heard in the past on the floor of the Legislature, is concern about the availability of these services to Yukon communities regionally. There is no increase in staff, no additional staff in this line item, and the minister has said that there have been no concerns raised recently from communities with respect to the availability of this service. I accept the ministerís answer. I just wanted the record clearly stated that it has come up in the past and I see no new resources identified.

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   As I indicated last year we increased resources in this area. Weíve moved forward. The challenges of the department are to move the resources where the demand exists or where the difficulties arise, and the department is doing just that.

Family and Childrenís Services in the amount of $2,525,000 agreed to

On Child Placement Services

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   There are: the impacts of the collective agreement; increased cost of children in care, $57,000; increase in adoption subsidies, $12,000; the transfer of one position from children assessment and treatment services to child placement services, $102,000. The total staff complement in this area is 15.5 FTEs. The total budget is $4.92 million.

Mr. McRobb:   A concern I heard from some constituents related to the policy of how foster parents may have little control over the foster children later in life when the birth parents may want to take the children back. This is quite a serious issue. Is the minister doing anything to help resolve that problem?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Yes, definitely. Itís called the Childrenís Act review.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, how illuminating was that? If thereís something in the Childrenís Act review that addresses this problem, I would request that the minister stand on his feet again and at least elaborate on whatís being looked at and perhaps what some of the potential solutions are and when we might expect those policies, regulations or laws to be in effect. Can he do that?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Last year, I sent over all information as to the Childrenís Act review and what they had heard from the various meetings they had held across the Yukon Territory. Across the Yukon Territory, this is an area that has given rise to the need for this Childrenís Act review. That message comes home very well-defined, primarily from our First Nation communities and First Nation members here in the Yukon. There are traditional adoption methods and First Nation adoption methods, and what weíre hoping to achieve with the Childrenís Act review that is currently underway is a balance. Itís the recognition of both systems and a way to work in a manner thatís acceptable to all Yukoners in this area.

Because weíre talking about family and extended family. The way itís set out now has given rise to a lot of concerns by a lot of Yukoners, be they First Nation or otherwise. Iíd encourage the member opposite to read the information I sent him on this very important matter, and he can see the essence of why the Childrenís Act review was begun and what they have determined to date.

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Child Placement Services in the amount of $4,920,000 agreed to

On Early Childhood and Prevention Services

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Chair, this $6.7 million is comprised of 19.8 FTEs in the department. One of the large increases is as a result of the collective agreement impacts, increased op contribution, child operating contribution and subsidies, $425,000.

Early Childhood and Prevention Services in the amount of $6,764,000 agreed to

On Youth Justice

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   There are 41.3 FTEs in youth justice, a total budget of $3.983 million and a $199,000 increase. This five-percent increase is due primarily as a result of the collective agreement.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, this is the line item that pays for the young offenders facility ó or formerly the young offenders facility ó is that correct, and the staff who are employed there? The minister is nodding.

Could I have the minister outline for the public record what the plans are for that facility? We have a new Youth Criminal Justice Act. There arenít a tremendous number of ó thankfully ó youth who are incarcerated at this particular point, yet we have a facility there. Could the minister outline how much of this money is staffing, how much of it is maintenance of the facility, and what the intentions are of the government for that facility?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The current facility will remain as a young offenders facility. Weíve examined options for its use otherwise. The demands on the facility are primarily for remand. I believe that the last time I looked at statistics, we had four or five individuals contained in secure custody on remand ó young offenders on remand.

In addition to that, the cost of wages and benefits for the operation of that facility is $1,895,000.

Ms. Duncan:   So, of the $3,983,000, $1,895,000 is for the operation of the facility. Is that exclusive of staffing? The balance of the $3,983,000 would be staffing ó is that my understanding?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Almost $2 million of that is staffing costs for the young offenders facility. There is an additional approximately $160,000 for the operation. Electricity costs are some $35,000 a year; communications are some $8,000; and utilities ó water, sewer, heat and all of the others ó come out to $173,000 overall.

Ms. Duncan:   The issue is that we have a new Youth Criminal Justice Act. Weíve had a peak period for young people in remand at that facility. Thatís what itís being used for now. That is a significant expenditure. There are staff that are not being used to full capacity. The minister has said they have looked at other options; however, the decision has been made ó I would gather from his remarks ó that that facility is going to remain as a young offenders facility for the time being.

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Is that the ministerís final answer? Are we not continuing to look at this particular facility and the staffing thatís in place, and a way to meet the needs of new legislation and the need that exists in a more effective manner?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The member opposite appears to be somewhat confused. There are two issues. Yukon has a responsibility under youth criminal justice to house those who are sentenced to secure custody, but we do not have a capacity problem in that area.

When a youth is apprehended and is confined to remand, we as a government have to house them in a secure custody facility, unless the courts state otherwise. Thatís where the majority of the capacity is originating from; itís youth sentenced to remand by the courts, where they have to be contained in a secure custody environment.

So the obligation rests with Yukon. If you wanted to do a cost-benefit analysis, it would be a lot less expensive ó and Yukon has been approached by the Government of Northwest Territories to have existing facilities, relatively new, with a lot of excess capacity, and theyíll accept these individuals on whatever basis, as long as we pay the cost per person that we send to them.

It would be difficult for us to justify youth leaving the territory and the proximity of their families during this time. We canít justify it, and Iím sure the member opposite would be the first one on her feet in the Legislature if we were to attempt to do so.

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So the costs we are incurring are very high, but we are ordered by the courts to look after these individuals in a secure custody environment when theyíre so sentenced. We have that obligation and we are not remiss in meeting our obligations.

Ms. Duncan:   No one is suggesting the government is remiss and I fully understand the obligation of the government. We are also spending $3.983 million in this area. Staff is not being utilized to their full potential or to their training, and our facility ó just like the Northwest Territories ó has capacity as well. We have capacity and, thankfully so, weíre not making full use, so is there any other option? Could we provide and meet our obligation to the federal government in another manner, given that the minister has said that weíre only at peak over the last year of four individuals?

Itís difficult, of course, to predict; however, $3.983 million on a facility that at most is going to meet the obligation of the government to four people ó is there another method? Has the government examined another method of dealing with this? The minister has said theyíve looked at other options for this facility, so are they continuing to take a closer look or are they just saying that theyíll leave it as it is?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   To that end, we do have initiatives underway to examine the feasibility of adding other facilities and programs on to this to benefit from the staffing component that must remain in place. It doesnít matter if you have one person in there or 10, the staffing levels increase marginally. Itís a 24/7 secure custody facility.

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There are minimum staffing levels that must be maintained, and they are maintained. I indicated that the last time I saw a report, there were four in remand. I believe the maximum number we had last fiscal period was five ó one or two sentenced to secure custody and the balance on remand, but it varies. But as to the last time I looked at the statistics on it ó because it is a concern of mine, and we have examined other areas and other ways of addressing the requirements of Yukon for this year, and it looks like the status quo is going to be maintained overall, but weíre looking at adding other programs and providing other services out of that facility.

I would be premature in getting into any more detail or speculating in this area until we have had an opportunity to examine them in detail.

Ms. Duncan:   To reassure the minister, Iím not going to ask about the options or for him to speculate on details. I would like an answer, though, to this question: how are the staff ó staff who either work there now or are on call and are providing these minimum staffing levels, or those who have gone on to other things because they are no longer required ó involved in the discussion of options and possible uses of the facility?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The last time I had occasion to visit the facility, there were questions posed to me of a number of areas, and the department is examining that. Before we move along any further, there will be consultation back and forth to the staff there. Weíre not at the point where we can go in and suggest various options.

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Ms. Duncan:   Iím concerned about the flow the other way. These are experienced individuals. They are Yukoners. They know the job and they have good ideas. I wanted the minister to stand on his feet and say ó not that he listened to questions that were asked of him during his latest walk through the building ó that he sat down and listened to what the staff had to say. ďHereís what we think. Hereís how we think the Government of Yukon could meet their obligation and make better use of this facility.Ē Thatís what I was looking for.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The department has an ongoing process, and it entails involving the very capable public sector employees in the various areas and calling on their expertise as and when required ó theyíre involved. Now, I canít provide the member opposite with details on this, but I can assure the member that the public sector employees are listened to and their opinions are sought. In fact, any good suggestion that originates from the Public Service Commission bargaining unit is usually looked at very seriously.

Youth Justice in the amount of $3,983,000 agreed to

On Childrenís Assessment and Treatment Services

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   There has been a slight decrease as a result of a transfer of a position to child placement services. There has been an increase as a consequence of the collective bargaining agreement. There are 70.4 FTEs in this department. A total current estimate is $7,807,000.

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Mr. McRobb:  Mr. Chair, thatís not a breakdown. We expect the minister to give a breakdown of spending items that total the $7,807,000 in this line item. So would he do that for us, please?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The breakdown that the member opposite has asked for, Mr. Chair, is as follows: employee travel in Yukon with respect to residential services is anticipated to be $930. This is employee travel in Yukon with respect to residential services. Contract residential services: Liard residential services, $514,000; contract Mountain Ridge residential services, $605,000; contract general residential services, $304,000; contract out-of-Yukon residential services, $738,000. There are repairs in various categories to Liard, Lowe, Mountain Ridge receiving home, totalling approximately $1,000. Heating fuel for Liard residents is approximately $2,500. Heating fuel for Lowe residents is $2,100. Heating fuel for Mountain Ridge is $1,600. Heating fuel for receiving home is $3,600. Electricity for Liard is $5,200. Electricity for Lowe residence is $5,000. Electricity for Mountain Ridge is $7,500. Electricity for receiving home is $10,000. Communications for residential services is $500. Communications for Liard residential services is $2,000. Communications for Lowe residential services is $300. Communication for Klondike Residence is $150. Communication for Mountain Ridge Residence is $2,000. Communications for receiving home is $200. Equipment for residential services is $1,700. We anticipate some renovations in the receiving homes and the various ó there is the utility category that ranges from $2,500 to $500 to $1,800.

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Mr. McRobb:   Whatís the total for that category?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Itís $2,192,735. Actually when you gross it up, itís $2,290,422. This is the overall cost of running a group of group homes and receiving homes in the Yukon Territory and out of the Yukon Territory. Does the member opposite want the detail and staffing as to what costs weíre incurring there?

Mr. McRobb:   That has to be about the worst ever breakdown Iíve ever heard. The minister only accounted for about half of the spending for the line item, which was about $7.8 million. If you add up what heís identified, it comes to about $4.4 million, or about half, and he delved into detail as miniscule as $150.

Well, hereís the old shell game: look over here at the $150, but donít bother trying to find the $3.5 million I didnít mention.

We expect the minister to uphold a standard in here that at least doesnít make a joke out of accountability. What we expect him to do for the breakdowns ó and Iím sure he knows from his time in opposition listening to previous ministers ó

Some Hon. Member:   Point of order.

Point of order

Deputy Chair:   Mr. Cathers, on a point of order.

Mr. Cathers:   The Member for Kluaneís reference and accusation that the minister was making a joke out of accountability is in contravention of Standing Order 19(i) ďusing abusive or insulting language in a context likely to create discord,Ē and it is also in contravention of Standing Order 19(g) by imputing false or unavowed motives to another member, and I would ask you to direct him to retract that.

Deputy Chair:   Mr. McRobb, on the point of order.

Mr. McRobb:   On the point of order, obviously the culture of secrecy is well embedded over there. I said that that type of an approach could lead to that; I didnít specifically say ďthe ministerĒ.

Deputy Chairís ruling

Deputy Chair:   There is no point of order.

 

057a

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Mr. McRobb:   I would caution the backbenchers to not interfere with the budget debate. They have no control over spending in the budget. Theyíre not even part of Cabinet and they have no spending authority. Please butt out and let us do the job. If the minister would do his job, things would be expedited.

Now, I would like to know: would the minister give us a breakdown, at least by category, and identify the categories for us? The subtotals should add up to what the total is and not leave half of it in secrecy somewhere. Can we have a proper breakdown, please?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The member opposite appears not to have just jumped to conclusions, but leaped. I provided the information on the operation and maintenance side for the various facilities that the department operates. I asked the member what detail he wanted me to go into with respect to the wages and benefits. So weíll provide the member opposite with the wages and benefits information: the Fifth Avenue operation, $405,000; the RYTS, $400,000; 16 Klondike, $425,000; Wilson home, $130,000; the receiving home, $800,000; the additional category of pay with respect to the Fifth Avenue and RYTS, $230,000. Then we get into overtime payments for the various facilities: Fifth Avenue, $38,000; the RYTS, $40,000; 16 Klondike, $25,000; Wilson home, $15,000; the permanent receiving home, $60,000.

Shift premium for the RYTS is $12,000; for Fifth Avenue it is $9,000; 16 Klondike is $8,500; receiving home is $20,000 for shift premium; Wilson home is $4,000 for shift premium.

Vacation pay for the various categories amounts to about $90,000.

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If we get into the various other categories of pay ó overtime pay runs from $36,000 for Fifth Avenue, $20,000 for the RYTS; $40,000 for Klondike; the Wilson home is $20,000, the receiving home is $35,000; Fifth Avenue, $3,500. Then thereís shift casual auxiliary costs which, for all categories, is about $30,000. Vacation casual for all categories is another $60,000. Auxiliary casual costs break down for another $50,000; Yukon bonus, another $10,000; the various Yukon bonuses as theyíre applied to the various other properties: the RYTS, $7,000; Klondike, $18,000; Wilson home, $2,000; receiving home, $16,000; Fifth Avenue, $9,000; fringe benefits costs amount up for the various categories to $95,000; $90,000; $106,000; $35,000; $173,000; $50,000. Standby pay for 16 Klondike is $1,000; Wilson home, $300; standby pay, other categories, $2,500; standby pay permanent auxiliary, the RYTS, $8,400.

If we want to look into employee travel, weíre looking at a total in that category of $4,648,000.

059a

If we want to look in the employee travel and food program material, weíre looking at another $400,000, ballpark, for the various receiving homes. So by the time you add the operation of the buildings, repairs to the buildings, staffing of the buildings, and the overall cost of food and other program materials, we come up with the numbers that are clearly indicated. Does the member have further questions on the breakdown?

Mr. McRobb:   I want to thank the minister for giving what sounded like a proper breakdown, and it was much better than the first attempt. I want to ask him about children in social care, because I am new to this department and there are a lot of things to understand in the whole area of Health and Social Services.

One of the things that was brought to my attention last summer was that there was an 18-year-old person who was being cared for by a social worker, I believe it was ó I think the care runs out at age 18. I might stand corrected; it could be 19. But I think there is a year-long gap there. I think it is while theyíre 18 years old. I would like the minister to confirm that and tell us what he is doing to resolve that gap.

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The member raises a very good issue, because there is a transition at the age of majority into adulthood for legal purposes and otherwise, and it is dependent upon the case worker and the social workers involved and the assessment of the individual in care. Sometimes the transition into adulthood starts at an earlier age; sometimes there is a carry-over, where by mutual consent the department assists where they can into that year.

So there are very good initiatives underway by the department and the officials go the extra mile to ensure that the transition is as smooth as it possibly can be. But there are difficulties encountered when individuals wish to move away on their own at an earlier age and theyíre in the care of the government. So there is a large, wide-ranging series of initiatives that the department has, but theyíre primarily dependent on the individual in question as to the evaluation of how well they can work back into society and how willing they are to work with the officials.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, Mr. Chair, I think we all understand how important a personís 18th to 19th year really is, in terms of building their character and identity and developing their values on how to integrate into our society and so on. In todayís society, a person who is 18 is subjected to a lot of pressures and a lot of influences, and not all of them are good.

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Some of these people really do need help. I understand that 18-year-olds are in the gap between childrenís services and adult services. Is the minister saying that any 18-year-old who needs assistance can get assistance from the Yukon government just merely by asking? Is that what heís saying?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I outlined the procedures that are being adhered to and followed for the member opposite. Itís not just an issue of the transition between 18 and 19, the age of majority in Canada. Itís an issue of why these children come into the care of the Government of Yukon. Itís an area that is overseen by an entire department, and at any given time we have approximately 200 children in care. Theyíre all of equal importance and theyíre all deserving of the same level of care on behalf of the department. Now, that said, depending on the longevity of the child being in the governmentís care and their capacity to take on their responsibilities, the department assesses them and they move into adulthood. The only thing we canít stop is the clock. We can provide all the training, all the assistance that we possibly can, but every year that goes by thereís a birthday, and as these individuals achieve the age of majority, theyíre beyond the reach of family and childrenís services and thereís a transition that the department assists with into adulthood. The department assists the best it possibly can.

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Ms. Duncan:   When the minister was giving his line breakdown, I heard him say $783,000 was identified for out-of-territory residential care for Yukon children. Was that correct?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Yes, we have quite a number of placements at Elk Island, which is the prime facility. These children are usually 24/7. The costs per child ó Iíve just signed off a number of the sole-source contracts in this area ó range from approximately $40,000 odd up to, I believe, around $200,000 per child. So there is a wide range, depending on the needs and the type of care. Some of these children require 24/7 ó basically, one-on-one care.

Ms. Duncan:   Could I have the minister outline broadly how itís determined that a child will be sent out to Elk Island? Is this a decision of the courts, in some manner? My concern is that there are non-First Nation children whose parents, for one reason or another ó perhaps itís a disability of FASD ó require care ó perhaps itís respite, perhaps itís specialized care ó in one form or another. Is this an option? Is out-of-territory residential care, such as Elk Island, available to non-First Nation Yukoners and that itís not court ordered?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   This type of facility, Elk Island, is usually required when a disabled child comes into the care of the Yukon, sometimes with a major disability, sometimes a very severe disability ó FASD, for example. On other occasions, it can be court ordered.

Ms. Duncan:   So what about the situation where a child is not in care and it is not court-ordered but the parents of the severely disabled child ó either through respite or for services for the child ó require a service like Elk Island provides? Is there any avenue open to them? Will the minister consider paying for a child who requires care such as what Elk Island provides who is not in the care of the government, is not a ward of the court, and it is not court ordered? There are parents who are in this situation. What avenues of support are open to them?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Let me share with the member opposite another area that our government recognized there was a need for more resources in, the area of autism. I believe under the previous Liberal government about $35,000 was spent in this area, and that was the maximum resources available for parents who have children who were autistic.† Today, our budget is at $180,000, and it is an area that was recognized and resourced, so that is but another example.

Now, as to the methodology for how one accesses Elk Island, it has to be done on a referral basis after a complete assessment and evaluation. They donít just have a policy where they accept anyone. Quite a lot of background work has to be done, along with assessment and evaluation, before the determination is made to accept a child into that facility. So there is a whole series of initiatives that have to be followed and assessments that have to be done to determine whether the child is a suitable individual for placement in this type of environment.

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Ms. Duncan:   My specific question is: is the service of Elk Island only available to children in care? I understand thereís a process to go through, that thereís testing and so on, and itís only available for certain cases. Is one of the requirements that the child be in care? Can parents of a severely disabled child approach the government to see if Elk Island would be available without placing their child as a ward of the government? Thatís the very specific question. Does the child have to be a ward of the government or the courts?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   In the cases Iím aware of, that is the situation ó that theyíre being looked after by family and childrenís services, perhaps after the birth parent, or parents, have chosen to put them in the hands of family and childrenís services.

That said, I donít know if thereís a direct stream that could be followed from the parents directly to these facilities.

I know there are a number of facilities for direct placements when a parent or parents are having difficulty with a child. There are specialty homes in this area; they are extremely costly and Iím aware of a number of Yukoners who have had to utilize that avenue for a child who is proven to have some difficulties coping with their role in society. Whether or not thereís a level of disability, thatís something Iím not sure of. I think thereís more of an issue of there being very intelligent individuals scoring very high on an IQ test who just have difficulties in a family setting, and their parents or guardians have chosen this avenue to ensure that they develop to their full potential.

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Iíll take the question back and Iíll report back to the member opposite as to whether thereís a direct way of getting into these facilities, but my understanding to date is that the children we have placed in these facilities are there as a consequence of them being either court ordered or a determination was made and they are children in care.

Ms. Duncan:   Thatís my understanding as well, that the children who have received services at Elk Island are either wards of the court or children in care. It may be that there is a direct avenue for parents to work with Elk Island in the care of their child. Parents canít afford that option.

The minister has said there are people who have made use of specialty homes, but thereís a very real difficulty because itís very expensive. The minister has said that the Yukon spends $783,000 on this. My understanding of this situation is that, for parents, itís a dead end coming to the government for support. If the child meets the criteria for Elk Island, itís a dead end with the government unless theyíre prepared to make their child a ward of the court or of the Government of Yukon, and thatís an untenable situation for parents.

Paying for it privately isnít an option. Itís not covered under our excellent health care services. So for parents there is a very real need. There are parents out there who this is a very serious issue for, and right at the moment with the government itís a dead end, in that thereís no policy to cover this exception and thereís no way for the government right now under this line item to pay for these services.

So I do appreciate that the minister has said he will take it under advisement and get back to me. Will they consider a request by a parent to pay for this service without making their child a ward of the court?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   As I said earlier, there are a number of situations that have to be addressed ó a number of various scenarios that could unfold ó such as whether the child has a physical or mental impairment. If itís a society issue, where the child has difficulty integrating into society but has no physical or mental impairment other than a behavioural problem, there is assistance in family and childrenís services. For the actual placement in Elk Island, itís usually for a child who has a severe handicap or various degrees of handicaps.

I will take the memberís question under advisement and respond verbally at the earliest opportunity as to whether or not there is a direct link so a parent in the Yukon can access these facilities directly.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, I asked my specific question as to whether or not the government would consider funding; secondly, the handicap I am speaking of is FASD.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The government would certainly fund an individual of this nature if they fit into the existing parameters of the existing programs and policies.

Childrenís Assessment and Treatment Services in the amount of $7,807,000 agreed to

Mr. McRobb:   I have some questions on the statistics. When is the appropriate time to ask those questions?

Deputy Chair:   I believe now would be that time.

Mr. McRobb:   If we turn to page 11-8, we notice that the number of families served is down nine percent in regional but, on page 11-9, regional services is estimated to have the same number of families with identified protection concerns. Can the minister indicate why that is? Does that mean that social workers in the regions are expected to cut their family service cases while still working on the same number of child protection cases? What exactly does it mean?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Could I just ask the member to refer to the top of the statistics? One is for family services, including counselling, prevention and support measures provided by the family and childrenís services unit in Whitehorse and by regional service personnel in rural communities. These services include those to children with special needs ó for example, autism.

The second set of statistics are for child protection services pursuant to the Childrenís Act provided by the family and childrenís services unit in Whitehorse and by regional service personnel in rural communities.

So there are two different sets of statistics applicable to two different categories. Thus, there is a difference in the statistical values provided in this overview and statistical review. Iíd encourage the member opposite to read the entire page, not just to look at the bar graphs and compare them. One has to compare them in the context of the overview that is provided at the onset.

Mr. McRobb:   I notice the minister sure hasnít lost his zeal for being condescending to the questioners.

Now, I notice that family services include children with special needs. What is the number of special needs cases in the regions and how are they given service?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I believe in the autism area we have one in rural Yukon and it is supplied by way of a contribution agreement.

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Mr. McRobb:   So 69 percent of the families are one-parent families. Does the minister know what number is female-headed, and how does the department respond to those people?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The exact number that are headed by a female, of that total category, I do not know, but I am given to understand that the majority of the families are headed by a female.

Mr. McRobb:   On page 11-9, the number of First Nation child protection cases is 36 percent of total, and on page 11-12, 68 percent of children in care are First Nation. Can the minister elaborate on those two statistics?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The statistics speak for themselves. The greatest numbers of children in care are of First Nation descent.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, Mr. Chair, we were hoping for more information than what the minister is willing to provide. However, we do want to make some progress in this department, and if we follow up to the degree we would like to, we would probably still be in the Health and Social Services department about a month from now, and a month from now the sitting will be over. So unfortunately we donít have the opportunity that we wish we had to ask all the questions. There probably will never be an opportunity for that.

Mr. Chair, can the minister indicate what number of child protection cases involve families that receive social assistance?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Although I am aware that there are a great number of families on social assistance, I am not aware of the exact percentage. Another department tracks that area. But what these statistics clearly point out is that the majority of the children we have in care ó and itís usually running around 200, 200 plus ó are of First Nation descent. The child protection cases are another statistic that tracks gender as well as ethnicity. So, that said, the number of children in care who come into care from families on social assistance ó I do not have that information.

Mr. McRobb:   Perhaps the minister can send over that information when he does get it.

If we look at page 11-10 and the adoption disclosure cases, what is the departmentís policy on disclosure? Can the minister tell us who can disclose what?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   This is a very technical area and I wouldnít want to get into providing the information that may be inconsistent with the way it is in place. What I can do is offer the member a briefing on this very important matter, and Iím sure that briefing will outline in detail in a far better way than I can ever convey it to the member opposite the disclosure rules and what can be disclosed and what is protected information.

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Mr. McRobb:   A legislative return is the normally accepted practice. Just put it down on a piece of paper and send it over when itís available. That way, it can be distributed to both opposition parties. There is no need to try to schedule a briefing with officials and both parties. Would the minister agree to do that?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   No, I believe itís important that there be a dialogue between the officials who are conversant with this area and the members opposite. We can send over the policy manual in this area for the membersí advice and review if the members opposite want to provide their time to this initiative and become completely conversant with the area. I can offer the policy manual in this area, outlining the specifics, or if the members want further detail on that, we can arrange for a briefing in this area for the opposition members, so that they can come to a complete and thorough understanding of what can be disclosed and how and under what circumstances disclosures can be provided.

Mr. McRobb:   I find it interesting how this minister, when heís in government now, takes it upon himself to rewrite the rules on how the opposition parties should conduct themselves and perform their duties in this Legislature. I seem to recall he had quite a different view before the last election. If he has any other rule changes for us, Iíd appreciate being apprised of them.

Obviously, weíve discovered a new one. The Yukon Party has a policy of not issuing any legislative returns. Itís quite evident now. On a routine matter, where a legislative return really is the best solution, the minister, point-blank, refuses to provide one.

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Isnít that interesting, Mr. Chair? Maybe someday the tables will turn. Itís important to note, for the record, what the Yukon Partyís policy and position is on legislative returns.

What is the number of children who are available for adoption at the moment?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I donít have that information at my fingertips. Letís back up a little bit. I can provide the information to the members opposite in a written format. That would basically be the policy manual the department has in this area. Now, if that is not satisfactory to the member opposite, I think if the member wants to get a thorough and complete understanding of this area and question officials as to the various areas, we can arrange for a briefing. Usually briefings are a lot more informative than the member taking the time to read a return or a book. So, the options are the member oppositeís choice: just let me know if they want a copy of the policy manual for this area or if they would like a briefing.

With respect to the number of children who are available for adoption here in the Yukon, I do not have that number with me. I will ask the department to provide it. We will provide that information to the members opposite verbally at our earliest convenience.

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Mr. McRobb:   Anything but a legislative return, Mr. Chair ó thatís the ministerís new policy. His options are not very accommodating from our perspective. It kind of reminds me of what Henry Ford, Sr. used to say: you can have any colour of vehicle you want, as long as itís black. Well, weíre in a very similar situation here, where the minister is giving us options but none of the options he provides are reasonable or accommodating to our needs.

I note there are 26 families approved and waiting for adoption. Whatís the holdup? How come there are so many, and why doesnít the minister know what number of children are available?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Chair, I would suspect there are not any children in the Yukon who are available for adoption. A number of Yukon families are choosing international adoption, and theyíre choosing international adoption for a reason. That is as a consequence of there being fewer and fewer Canadian-born children available for adoption.

One of the major reasons why the Childrenís Act review is underway is because of this area. There are a lot of First Nation-born children who have been adopted by families other than First Nation families, and there have been concerns expressed by those First Nation families and their First Nation governments as to that being the correct route to take.

If the member opposite wants a legislative return on the number of Yukon children who are available for adoption, and if that is the only way he wants to accept that information, I commit to providing the members opposite with a legislative return on the number of Yukon children who are available for adoption.

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Mr. McRobb:   Isnít that something? Itís nice to see the minister finally come around and break out of the shell of the culture of secrecy, as the Ombudsman put it. We do appreciate legislative returns because that is a much more convenient and productive way to disseminate information, from the oppositionís point of view.

Iíd like to ask him about children in care on page 11-11.

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Mr. McRobb:   Do you want to ask something prior to that ó on adoption? I will bow to the leader of the third party who has a question on a prior matter.

Ms. Duncan:   I thank the Member for Kluane for allowing me to interject in this adoption debate. Could I just have the minister explain? On the statistics pages, it says there are adoption subsidies, 16 of them, forecast for this year. There are 20 families receiving post-adoption services. I would just like an explanation as to what those programs are. Is the adoption subsidy available to those international adoptions or outside of Yukon adoptions, other Canadian adoptions? What is the subsidy, how is it made available and what are the post-adoption services that are made available by the department?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   These dollars usually flow to a family in a foster home environment initially, where they care for children. These grants are meant to provide, and do provide, assistance to families who adopt special-needs children, where a financial need is established by way of an income test, also.

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Ms. Duncan:   So, if a family were adopting an international child with special needs and met the income test, they would be provided with a subsidy by the department? Is that what the minister is saying?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   That would be my interpretation.

Ms. Duncan:   There are very few programs that are means-tested, so Iím quite surprised at the ministerís answer. What are the post-adoption services, then?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Itís mainly in the area of family support workers.

Mrs. Peter:   I have a question for the minister on this line item. I would just like to hear from the minister why this government does not recognize traditional adoptions within the territory?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Traditional adoptions are a legal matter. Iíd ask the member opposite to refer that matter to the Minister of Justice.

Mr. McRobb:   Thatís a little intriguing. Hereís the Minister of Health and Social Services, the department responsible for adoptions, being unable to comment on why the government doesnít recognize family-based adoptions in the First Nation community. Why is that? Why does the minister have nothing to do with this critical issue?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Itís a Justice matter.

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Mr. McRobb:   Well, talk about passing the buck, Mr. Chair, here is another example, just like we had with the CHIP program and the community development fund. Now the minister is doing it again. It is very difficult to make progress when weíre being shuffled between departments. If the minister is unable or unwilling to comment, I guess we will follow up with the Minister of Justice on this matter, and we will watch, Mr. Chair. If the Justice minister tries to shuffle it somewhere, the gig will be up for the Yukon Party.

Total Family and Childrenís Services in the amount of $30,959,000 agreed to

Deputy Chair:   I believe our next page is 11-19, Social Services, starting with the program management. line

On Social Services

On Program Management

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   This line item is to ensure the provision of an integrated range of appropriate services to our seniors, persons with disabilities, persons with substance abuse problems so that they can achieve the greatest degree of independence, well-being and self-reliance possible.

In the program management area of $2.4 million, $468,000 is a result of an increase of transfer of positions from adult services, collective agreements. There is a $320,000 increase to NGOs, and a contract for special residential treatment services for people with disabilities at $200,000.

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We completed a drug and alcohol survey in 2004-05, which resulted in a decrease in this program management area.

The members opposite want an actual breakdown. Options for Independence is an organization for which our government has recognized a demonstrated need. This society held their annual general meeting last night. It is a very capable group of individuals who have come together to, in the best way they can, meet the needs of these individuals who are somewhat less fortunate. They provide a home and living setting for them. They were experiencing financial difficulties. The Yukon government resourced this society to the level that allowed them to continue.

On behalf of the government, I would like to thank the board that oversees their executive as well as all the officials in the department who worked with them to increase the funding.

One of the next components, Mr. Chair, is the Whitehorse Handy Bus. There is a $184,000 contribution to the operation of the Handy Bus here in Whitehorse by the Department of Health and Social Services. The Salvation Army shelter in Whitehorse receives $68,000 from the department.

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If we add up all those categories, weíre looking at the sum of $1.8 million. There are various other categories, if the members opposite want me to get into the exact details, but those are basically the highlights of the drug and alcohol services, the adult services unit and, of course, the continuing care.

The program management is the first category, and the results are down further.

Ms. Duncan:   I donít want to clear that line. What I heard the minister say is that included in this program management is direct placement and specialty needs. There are also some transfers from adult services staffing into this program management, and there is a transfer for people with disabilities. Is that a residential treatment for people with disabilities, or what exactly is it?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Actually, itís the contract with Options for Independent Living. Itís an NGO. The biggest cost increase recognized in this area ó program management ó is the increase in funding to the NGOs, which I outlined right at the onset for the benefit of the House. This program management area includes 4.5 FTEs within the department. So itís a unit with a small staff. Its responsibility is to get the funding flowing to NGOs, among other initiatives, and to fund some of the programs that are in place.

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Ms. Duncan:   And the NGOs being funded are the Options for Independent Living and the Salvation Army shelter? Those were the two I heard the minister mention. Are there more than those?

Was the funding allocated to these non-government organizations an increase in funding?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Across the board, there has pretty well been an increase overall to NGOs. There are several NGOs that had been recognized and demonstrated a need, and their increase was more significant. Those NGOs were Kausheeís Place, which was over a $100,000 increase for this fiscal cycle. There were smaller increases for Help and Hope and Dawsonís womenís shelter. I canít remember the exact number ó about $6,000, ballpark, each. There was one other major increase in NGO funding, but the Options for Independent Living is singled out here specifically and the contract with Whitehorse Transit for the Handy Bus is basically a line item of $184,000.

When we wrap them all up, theyíre contained within this area. There has been a $320,000 increase to NGOs funded by the Department of Health and Social Services in this budget cycle.

Program Management in the amount of $2,487,000 agreed to

Deputy Chair:   Do members wish a brief recess?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Deputy Chair:   Weíll recess for 15 minutes.

 

Recess

 

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Deputy Chair:   Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue with general debate on Health and Social Services.

On Alcohol and Drug Services

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Alcohol and drug services estimates being requested are for $3,349,000. This area has 39.95 FTEs. The four-percent increase is a result of the collective bargaining agreement. The additional FTEs are to provide live-in residential alcohol and drug treatment, which were $88,000, in that area.

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Mr. McRobb:  I think the standards of the breakdowns are slipping a little bit again. We need the minister to give the breakdown by category that accumulates and jibes with what the total is, and clearly he didnít do that.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Let me further break down the cost. Detoxification, $1,085,545; live-in and out patient treatments, $1,211,866; prevention, $476,342; training, $26,908; and activity management, $548,469.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, there has been a noticeable lack of programming for young people with addictions. Are there any new initiatives in this line item or within the alcohol and drug services this year?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Did the member opposite determine how there is a noticeable lack of programming and initiatives in this area?

Ms. Duncan:   Constituents who have contacted me have indicated, in working with their youth, a lack of programming. Iím wondering if there are any additional initiatives ó if thereís anything new in the department.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The department has a number of initiatives in place. To the best of my knowledge, theyíre working. If the member opposite could help us and outline where there is a demonstrated need, weíll be happy to examine it.

Ms. Duncan:   Iíll take that discussion up with the officials.

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Mr. McRobb:   Iíd like to ask the minister what happened to the $100,000 survey that was done by the Bureau of Statistics, Yukon-wide. Has that been released publicly?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Not as yet.

Mr. McRobb:   When does the minister anticipate the study will be done? It was due in March. Where is it?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Itís in the final stage of review before it will be released.

Mr. McRobb:   When can the minister undertake to send a copy over? Will we get one in April, will it be in the first half of May or will it be after the sitting is over ó which of the three?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   As soon as it becomes available.

Mr. McRobb:   Here we go again, more hints of what the Ombudsman was talking about ó the culture of secrecy about the Yukon Party government.

We notice that detox admissions are estimated down by 15 percent. Can the minister indicate why that is?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The remarks of the member opposite are very uncomfortable, given that thereís no secrecy surrounding this issue. The stats branch conducted a review. Theyíve compiled all the necessary data. Itís in the final stages and it will be released at the earliest possible opportunity. The official opposition and the third party will be provided with a copy of that review and that report.

So, that said, I cannot get time ó whether itís going to be today, tomorrow or next week. As soon as it is available to me in the final form, it will be transmitted to the official opposition and the third party.

Admissions: everything is demand, and itís demand-driven and volume-driven. There appears to be fewer people willing to partake of the treatment programs offered. Thatís the only conclusion one can draw. Unless they are court ordered to enter into the treatment programs, itís on a voluntary basis.

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Mr. McRobb:   I would suggest that any person who does participate in the detox admission is not less of a person. There could be fewer people who do take the program, but the minister should not make them out to feel any less at all. As a matter of fact, they should be commended for taking a very important step in getting treatment for what is clearly a scourge of the Yukon.

Now, what training does alcohol and drug services provide for community addiction workers. Can the minister indicate how that is evaluated?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Let us just back up to the last remarks by the Member for Kluane. I am very uncomfortable with the listening ability and the interpretation of the facts that I have put on the floor of this House.

There is less of an uptake on the programs that are being offered. The individuals enter into the programs on a voluntary basis. There is no reflection on these individuals as to their character or otherwise. There are only two ways they can enter into a program: court ordered or voluntarily. The uptake on the programs being offered is not at a level that indicates we are making much headway with the problems of significant substance abuse here in the Yukon.

We have a serious problem in this area. I would encourage the member opposite to examine in detail what we have in place on the acute care side. Where we are having to concentrate our efforts is on the preventive side and educational side, like what we are doing on programs such as the cessation of tobacco use and on other programs about drugs and the impact they are having on our society.

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Now, the question the member opposite asked was: what training do our workers have? It is a broad-ranging amount of education, depending on their classification, depending on where they are in the system. Many have degrees in social work. Many have courses in counselling, in counselling for addictions, and many of the bargaining unit employees, the public service employees, are extremely well qualified. Itís a stressful field to work in, and it is one that there is a turnover in, but it is one where we appear to be putting in place what is needed on the acute care side, but we are going to have to concentrate more on the preventive side, the education side, and get the information down into the schools as best we possibly can.

Mr. McRobb:   I want to ask the minister about counselling services specifically for youth. Now, several reports have identified the need for this. What does the minister offer?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Would the member opposite share with us the many reports that have indicated this?

Mr. McRobb:   Well, I would presume the minister has them. Heís the Minister of Health and Social Services. Iíd remind him that, if he doesnít have some reports, he can probably request them of his officials and they would more than likely be delivered expeditiously. Whatís the problem there? He shouldnít be trying to burden the opposition parties with doing his homework.

The fact is, several reports have identified counselling services specifically for youth as something that should be addressed, and Iím asking the minister: what has he done in this huge health care budget, which totals about $200 million, to address that need?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Once again, Iíd encourage the member opposite to share with us the source of his information. The member opposite is citing some reports that may or may not be hypothetical. I do not know. But the member opposite is suggesting that there is a series of reports. I ask that he share those reports with the House.

Mr. McRobb:   Iím afraid this matter of the reports is turning into a bit of a shell game with the minister. The real issue is: what is he doing in terms of providing counselling services for youth? Can he enlighten us on that, please?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Family and childrenís services and the department have family workers; the Department of Education has counsellors ó there are quite a number of avenues that we can point to in the various departments.

That said, I believe the member is probably very hypothetical in his line of questioning, and I would ask that he be specific as to the reports that the member opposite is citing and the conclusions reached in these reports. It would appear to me that the information may not be accurate.

Ms. Duncan:   Can I just try to ask this question of the minister? What specific alcohol and drug counselling services are being made available for young people in the Yukon?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Are the members opposite referring to young people as young people below the age of majority? Is that where weíre heading?

Some Hon. Member:   Yes.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Okay. In the schools there are counsellors, children and family support workers; the department also has a number of officials who counsel one-on-one when there is a need that has been brought to the attention of the department. When these individuals are below the age of majority, itís quite a bit different than after theyíre in adulthood. A lot of time thereís parental consent required, unless it is court ordered, so thereís an area in there thatís a transition area.

We have to work recognizing the responsibilities that parents and guardians have for their youth, or their children, vis-ŗ-vis once that child has achieved the age of majority and theyíre responsible completely for their own actions.

Mr. McRobb:   All right, well that sheds some light on that matter. Apart from the alcohol and drug forum, what measures is the minister taking to alleviate the serious drug problem in Whitehorse and the communities?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   As I pointed out earlier, we have a number of initiatives underway. The previous Liberal administration was creating a stovepipe of administration in this area: a drug and alcohol secretariat. We concentrated on programs and program delivery, and drug and alcohol services is now delivering those programs. There is a level of cooperation between the First Nations and our trainers, and our various officials attend at these initiatives, provide information and actually provide a measure of training in these facilities operated by First Nations.

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At the same time, we have people who travel the Yukon and assist where they can. Weíve reconstructed and established the 28-day residential live-in treatment program here in Whitehorse in the Sarah Steele Building. It has an intake every month. It was something that was dismantled under the previous NDP government ó the reason for which was never completely explained on the floor of the Legislature. But the fact remains that weíve re-established the 28-day residential live-in treatment centre. We have a number of programs and courses. Weíve increased our capacity in a whole series of areas and weíre hoping the hospital, in this budget cycle, will establish a medical detox/mental health capacity that can meet the added needs. Thatís all on the acute care side.

On the preventive side, thereís a lot of counselling, thereís a lot of work thatís going on. The FASD partnership has a series of posters and initiatives that are being conveyed around the Yukon. There are initiatives in quite a number of areas, laying out the problems associated with alcohol consumption and drug use across the Yukon.

As I admitted before, the Yukon has a serious problem with substance abuse. The Premier is committed to establishing a working group in this area and weíre moving forward across the board. Itís an issue weíve recognized and we are moving forward on the acute care side, on the training side and on the preventive side, but we still recognize thereís a serious substance abuse problem here in the Yukon.

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Mr. McRobb:   There certainly is, Mr. Chair. I guess the question is: are the actions taken by the minister adequate? When we see the incidence of substance abuse becoming more prevalent and frequent, Mr. Chair, then we know that certainly there is opportunity to do more. We have a record budget here. One would have expected the Yukon Party government would have assigned a greater amount of capital to fund programs and initiatives to take on directly this problem in the territory, yet we see very little in the way of new programs. Just take the prescription drug issue, Mr. Chair. There have been problems identified with how the minister has been handling that recently, and that is still a serious problem.

What about the problem in the communities, Mr. Chair? It is even worse in some communities than what we see in the capital city of Whitehorse, and the minister probably does even less to help alleviate the problem in the communities. So there are lots of issues in this area for us to follow up on, but again, the time is rather short. The time available to us is insufficient.

Now, I want to ask him about how alcohol and drug services provide support programs for aftercare in the communities. Are the people who have received treatment at alcohol and drug services monitored back home?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   If the member just thinks back a little while ago, when we were discussing at the House leadersí meeting the issue of the length of the sitting, it has been my position in the last two sittings that we go longer ó 40 days is what I suggested. This would give everybody ample time to discuss the ó

Some Hon. Member:   Point of order.

Point of order

Deputy Chair:   Order please. Mr. McRobb, on a point of order.

Mr. McRobb:   On a point of order, come on. This is ridiculous. Everybody knows that the minister opted for 30 days. We wanted longer. I asked him in that very meeting for a number. He was unable to give one. They wanted a shorter sitting and they wanted to get out of here because they are not willing to be accountable.

I know there probably isnít a section in the House rules that accommodates this point of order, but there should be, Mr. Deputy Chair. Itís one of the things I plan to talk about tomorrow.

Deputy Chairís ruling

Deputy Chair:   There is no point of order. This is merely a dispute between members.

 

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Thank you, Mr. Deputy Chair.

As I was saying earlier, before I was interrupted by that invalid point of order, both members opposite wanted to get out before the holiday. They didnít want to return after the May long weekend. It has been my contention on both budgets that we needed extra time here so that we wouldnít hear the rhetoric that we donít have enough time to get into detail.

This is the largest budget ever in the history of the Yukon. The last budget was the largest budget ever in the history of the Yukon. The Health and Social Services component of this largest budget ever in the history of the Yukon is again the largest budget.

Now, in all the areas we have responsibility for, when there is a demonstrated need, we have gone on record to say that we would meet that demonstrated need. We certainly have.

091a

Now, as I indicated earlier to the members opposite, a lot of the programs are voluntary ó you have to volunteer and you have to agree to enter into the programs, unless ordered by a court to do so. Itís something that we have recognized, but that is the way the situation is in our society today.

††††††† The Minister of Health and Social Services or anyone else canít go and beat someone over the head with a stick and say, ďYou have to enter into this program.Ē It is not the way our society works.

††††††† Some Hon. Member:   Point of order.

Point of order

Deputy Chair:   Ms. Duncan, on a point of order.

††††††† Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, on the point of order, Standing Order 19(i) suggests that we refrain from using violent language ó violent and sexist language, I believe, is what the exact point of order is. In this case, suggesting that we would somehow harm another person with a wooden instrument as a method of persuasion is a violent term. Iíd ask the member to perhaps rephrase that.

Deputy Chairís ruling

Deputy Chair:   I donít believe there is a point of order; however, I would caution all members to keep their comments such that there is no cause for discord.

I would also use this time to ask all members to keep the extraneous chatter to a minimum, as it has been getting rather loud at times.

 

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   As I was saying earlier, the department cannot force those with difficulties or impairments as a result of substance abuse into a program. Itís a voluntary commitment, unless ordered by the courts.

092a

Now, there is follow-up after somebody has been through one of the programs, be it the 28-day residential program or any of the other programs offered by the department, and this follow-up is provided across the Yukon. We will continue to look at ways of enhancing and improving our service delivery. Itís an ongoing system. Itís an ongoing evolution. The only thing I can add is that we have concentrated on programs and program delivery rather than setting up a stovepipe of administration as the previous Liberal government had done, Mr. Deputy Chair.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, Mr. Chair, maybe we need a court order to force the minister to answer the questions. Maybe that is about the size of it. Maybe we should mention that in tomorrow afternoonís motion debate on how to improve the decorum, because obviously the minister likes to talk about a number of issues that are unrelated to the question. We just saw another example. I want to ask him about gaming and gambling. What does the department offer to assist those who are seeking help for their gambling addictions?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Deputy Chair, there is a counselling service available, but that question was asked yesterday and answered.

Alcohol and Drug Services in the amount of $3,349,000 agreed to

On Adult Services Unit

093a

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Adult service unit ó $14,624,000, comprised of 32.25 FTEs. Thereís a 10-percent increase in the pioneer utility grant, the collective agreement impacts, increase in contracts primarily for life skills, day programming for disabled clients, and client assessments ordered by the Yukon Mental Health Review Board. That area is up significantly ó $182,000.

Ms. Duncan:   Is the increase a result of the ó and perhaps Hansard or the Clerk could give me the correct reference. The guardianship legislation, assisted living legislation ó is the increase in FTEs and funding for support in ó there isnít an increase in funding, but there are 32.25 FTEs. When we brought that legislation in, the minister pledged that the services would be available. Is it in this line item under adult services, or is it somewhere else? The support for implementing the guardianship legislation ó thatís not the right word for it. But the legislation ó where is it?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The implementation of that legislation and the resulting regulations have been concluded in the last ó

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

094a

Ms. Duncan:   I didnít hear the conclusion of the ministerís answer. He was saying the legislation was provided for, and then I didnít hear the conclusion of the answer.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The chatter in the opposition ranks is such that I decided to let them have the floor. Now that thereís quiet, we can conclude the response, and the response is very simple.

With respect to the adult support and decision-making legislation, the regulations were developed in the last budget cycle. It was across a number of departments, including this one. There has been a decrease in this department as a consequence of that and a couple of other initiatives.

Those regulations are being implemented; in fact, theyíre just being translated into French, as I speak, so I donít know. It should be forthcoming for approval of Cabinet very quickly. There are a number of boards that are being put into place also ó new boards that the Mental Health Review Board is evolving into. Itís virtually the same individuals who were appointed to the previous board who will be on these new boards.

There have been some other decreases. There has been a transfer of positions to activity management, a decrease in the Head Start subsidy applications, a decrease resulting from one-time contributions to the Salvation Army ó that was $36,000. The federal government contributed an initial amount to assist that NGO to finance its operation, and it flowed through the Yukon government.

So there are a number of areas where there has been a decrease as a consequence of programs being completed or applications for other initiatives being less than anticipated, and a transfer of positions.

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Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, the concern I have is that the minister has said that, as a result of the regulations being developed, there has been a reduction of positions and resources dedicated to the Decision Making, Support and Protection to Adults Act. Thatís the correct reference. So thank you to the Hansard staff for correcting that for me.

My concern is that when we debated this legislation that was developed, there were resources spent in developing it. It was also clearly identified in debate on that act that there were going to be additional resources. Now, some of them are in the Department of Justice. My understanding was that there was also going to be some required in this area of the Health and Social Services department. I am concerned ó the minister is saying, ďWell, the regulations are coming onstream and there are new boards coming onstream.Ē I am concerned that we have not adequately resourced staff to implement this act, particularly as it is new. I was looking for reassurance from the minister that we have adequately staffed, and I havenít heard that as yet.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Can I ask the members opposite to listen very carefully? Positions have not been eliminated, overall. They have been transferred out of this unit into another unit ó transferred in a department so that they are tasked with a different responsibility in some areas. After the regulations and the legislation were developed, the policy unit and the unit that developed them ó there are not the same requirements. Now it is implementation, but implementation is a different area so the implementation would require the transfer of those people from one category to another category, and that is exactly what the department has done ó transferred positions.

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Ms. Duncan:   Itís all well and good to transfer positions. People who have completed a task, such as developing legislation, have completed their task, so they have been transferred within the department.

In debate on this legislation, we also clearly identified that there would be more resources needed in a department. There will be more resources needed to implement the act. Itís new. It took a long time to develop. Itís very thorough. Itís a very good piece of legislation, worked on by the previous administration, I might add. Since the minister opposite seems to remind me once every 15 minutes of some version of the previous government, I have to remind him of that.

The issue is that this good legislation needs resources to ensure itís fully implemented. I donít see additional resources in this line item. I know that some of these additional resources are also needed in the Department of Justice in the administratorís office. Iím looking forward to, at some point in the future, debating Justice; however, I would like to know that adult services also has the additional resources required for this legislation ó please.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I can confirm that it does.

Adult Services Unit in the amount of $14,624,000 agreed to

On Continuing Care

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Deputy Chair, in this line, we have impacts of the collective agreement at $409,000. Continuing care, at $20,953,000, shows an increase. It covers 237.51 FTEs, so the collective agreement is for $409,000.

Our government, as a result of the Premierís community tours with our respective MLAs and our visits to those communities where we do not have MLAs, demonstrated a need for additional funding for home care. By way of a supplementary, our government increased home care in the 2004-05 supplementary by $300,000.

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Weíve shown a further expansion of home care this cycle by an additional $95,000, so mains to mains, itís a $395,000 increase in this category for home care. There has been an additional maintenance requirement at the continuing care facilities, some $264,000. When we looked at the opening of another pod at Copper Ridge Place and the staffing of that, the equipment necessary to furnish it, the additional staffing and the additional furniture and fixtures for Macaulay Lodge, considerable additional resources were placed in this area by our government in the last fiscal cycle, and itís continuing through this one.

Mr. McRobb:   We asked for a financial breakdown, and the minister didnít give us one. Could he give us one now, please?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Continuing care, activities management ó $1,157,890; McDonald Lodge ó $963,477; Macaulay Lodge ó $4,206,774; Copper Ridge Place ó $11,222,783; community home care ó $3,402,000.

Mr. McRobb:   Can we get a breakdown of the community home care by community?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   We donít track home care by community. We track it by the demands in the various areas, and meeting those demands is how itís done.

Mr. McRobb:   Iím having difficulty with that answer. Why wouldnít this be tracked by community? First of all, is it possible to track it by community?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Itís possible to do anything with statistics. First Nation governments deliver quite a bit of home care in a number of First Nation communities. The government also provides home care across the Yukon. I can provide the overall information. Some of the workers have been expanded into the Tagish area and work a number of the outlying regions. We can see what we can do to break it down.

But the majority of home care is provided right here in Whitehorse, given that that is the largest population base in the Yukon. Of that $3.4 million, there is some working out of various Yukon communities. Iíll endeavour to provide verbally the information to the member opposite at the earliest opportunity.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, the next opportunity might be after the next election, so thatís not very satisfactory. Can the minister undertake to get us the information sometime ó letís try to be reasonable ó in the next two or three weeks? Can he provide us with the information written on a piece of paper, cardboard, or even the back of an old envelope would do.

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:  If we just look at what we can do with the issue before us, we can probably provide it verbally, if weíre still in Health and Social Services, at the next opportunity that we have to debate this budget, Mr. Deputy Chair.

Ms. Duncan:   Iíd like to discuss the continuing care line with the minister. I did ask a significant number of questions in general debate about continuing care and plans for the future facilities, McDonald Lodge and the facility in Watson Lake. However, the line item before us is for the existing continuing care facilities.

Now, first of all, I would like to confirm some information. The minister indicated that in this $20-million line item, $963,000 is spent on continuing care at McDonald Lodge, and there are 10 residents, according to the statistics pages. $4.2 million is spent in the operation of Macaulay Lodge, and there are 37 residents. There is $11,220,000 spent on Copper Ridge Place, and there are 84 residents, as I understand it. So thatís the information the minister just read into the record, in terms of the operation and maintenance for those three facilities and the number of individuals resident there per the statistics pages. Have I understood the minister correctly?

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Let me just qualify that, Mr. Deputy Chair. I refer the members to page 11-25, 11-26 and 11-27. Page 11-25 is Macaulay Lodge, and it gives the number of beds available for Macaulay Lodge, which is currently 37 ó 35 permanent and two on respite. There are currently 28 permanent and two respite beds. The average occupancy at the lodge is 93 percent. The waiting list now is down to about two months. Itís the shortest time it has ever been for quite a number of years.

†The next one is Macaulay Lodge, operation and maintenance costs ó $4,206,000 is projected for this next fiscal year.

Copper Ridge Place currently has 84 beds available; 72 are actually being used currently and thereís one more pod that can be opened up there. Currently the statistics show the number of people ó I believe there are eight beds that are available immediately for those needing assistance there. Thereís no wait-list for Copper Ridge Place. The total cost currently of operating Copper Ridge Place this next fiscal cycle is $11,222,783. Thatís what itís projected to be.

McDonald Lodge in Dawson City has 11 beds. It usually runs 50 percent to 70 percent to as high as 100-percent occupancy. It does vary. There are 10 beds and an apartment there.

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They accept respite admissions. The staff show that there are currently six residents. McDonald Lodge operates at just under $1 million a year. McDonald Lodge and Macaulay Lodge are level 1 and 2 care. Copper Ridge is level 3, 4 and 5, in all categories. Thatís pretty much the breakdown currently across the Yukon as to the number of beds available, occupancy and capacity.

We do have capacity. It would probably be about the same order of magnitude to open up another pod at Copper Ridge ó another $2 million or $2.5 million a year in costs. Thatís for 12 beds.

If one just extrapolates the current occupancy load of 72 Yukoners into $11 million, those are the kinds of costs Yukon incurs to look after these individuals who require our attention and help.

Ms. Duncan:   I take issue with a couple of comments by the minister. On these statistics pages, the occupancy number the minister has quoted into the record is the 2003-04 figure. So itís the 2003-04 actuals. The calendar in this House says April 19, 2005. I would contend that the 2003-04 figure that the minister has quoted in each of these cases ó we need the 2004-05 information. We should certainly know as of January 2005.

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This is as of March 31, 2004. Itís a year old. My understanding is that there are not eight beds available at Copper Ridge Place necessarily, and itís significantly used by respite as well, and that Macaulay Lodge, while there may be a bed available, is quite variable.

While I agree that there is capacity at any given point in time, it may be significantly reduced from what the minister has said. The figures I was using are the 2004-05 forecast. We should be comparing, as the minister loves to, apples to apples. The reason Iím asking this question is because I had asked the minister in general debate if there was any kind of a forecast of the O&M costs for facilities in Dawson City and in Watson Lake, the new facilities proposed to be constructed. I asked that for a very specific reason because, in previous budget debates, although we had debated the amount of construction of Copper Ridge Place, we also needed to look at and add into the long-term forecast the cost of operation and maintenance of facilities, and it is significantly higher in level 3 and 4 care facilities.

Two points: one, we need to use the current statistics as we have them in front of us, not the 2003-04 actuals; the forecasts are what we should be going on. The minister and I have in another lifetime argued extensively about these statistics pages, and I donít want to go into that debate.

I am concerned that we have on the record some kind of an idea that there is and will be capacity available for what is an ageing population and a growing number of seniors, that they arenít saying to each other, ďWell, did you put your name in at the lodge?Ē because that comment has been made as well. There is a wait-list.

In fact, in the statistics presented by the minister, the forecast increase of time on the wait-list goes up for Macaulay Lodge in spite of the new pod by 250 percent, and the number of people on the wait-list, the number of months on the wait-list, is forecast to increase by 150 percent and 300 percent respectively at Copper Ridge Place.

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The forecast increase for the need for respite in Dawson is 233 percent. There are needs in the community. I want to assure myself and all Yukoners that we will continue to meet those needs. I want to ensure that weíre talking about the right statistics, and I want to ensure that we have an idea in the future of what the O&M costs will be, and what ought to be budgeted, for the new facilities coming onstream. My understanding is that they are level 1 and level 2 care. Is it only level 1, or is it level 1 and level 2 care in Dawson and Watson Lake ó the enhanced facilities in Dawson?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The member opposite makes a very good point, and my question to the department was: what is the current situation with respect to vacancy or capacity at our three facilities? The information I put on record here today is the current situation. Currently, of the beds available in Copper Ridge Place, there are eight available. There is another pod that can be opened, which means we have additional capacity for 20. That said, there is zero wait-time for Copper Ridge Place.

The McDonald Lodge currently has excess capacity. It was full a year ago. A number of individuals have passed away, so now there is capacity.

The member opposite makes a good point with respect to respite. Itís projected to be a 233-percent increase in the need for respite in Dawson City.

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Currently Iím aware of one individual who goes in several times a year for several days. If we have two individuals who go in for a couple of weeks, that percentage increase might even approach 1,000, but the numbers are so small to use percentages as to render them meaningless.

What I can assure the member opposite of is that the new multi-level care facility in Dawson City and in Watson Lake will be level 1 and level 2 care, and that there is currently capacity in Dawson City for respite and, should someone need access to the facility, there is capacity.

For Macaulay Lodge here in Whitehorse, Iím given to understand that the wait-time is just over two months. Itís the shortest wait-time that has occurred for that facility for probably close to a decade. That should be something the member opposite may want to reflect on.

The need in Whitehorse is for assisted home living, an apartment, and thatís an initiative that our government is working on. Iím very hopeful that the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation may have an announcement in short order in this area.

Itís an initiative weíre cognizant of and weíre working on, and I would encourage the members opposite to analyze what has gone on. Our government is committed to meeting demonstrated needs where demonstrated needs exist.

If we want to go back to Macaulay Lodge, we reflect back to when our government came to power. There was a move afoot to move everyone out, gut it and convert it into bedsits by the previous Liberal administration.

Some Hon. Member:  Point of order.

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Point of order

Deputy Chair:   Ms. Duncan, on a point of order.

Ms. Duncan:   On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Chair, the member knows full well and ought to know that I completely disagree with his assessment of what has happened. His assessment of what went on under previous administrations is not germane to this debate, and I would encourage him to stick to the debate. It is a dispute between members, which doesnít make it a point of order, Mr. Deputy Chair, but I thank you for the opportunity to rise on a point of order and chastise the member opposite once again.

Deputy Chairís ruling

Deputy Chair:   Order please. There is no point of order. Mr. Jenkins, you have the floor.

 

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Chair, weíre here to debate the budget. This is the largest budget ever in the history of the Yukon. In order to understand where weíre heading, one has to have somewhat of an understanding of the history.

Our government inherited a whole series of overexpenditures and massive expenditures by the previous Liberal administration that we had to clean up and turn around. If you want to look at some of the costs that were incurred: the Mayo-Dawson transmission line the Energy Solutions Centre. You will want to look at the money that was granted to Dawson City. The council there couldnít have spent the money they spent had the government of the day not sent the money to them to spend.

Deputy Chairís statement

Deputy Chair:   Order please. I would ask the minister to direct his comments to the area of debate, and that is the Department of Health and Social Services and continuing care.

 

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Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   One has to reflect on the total envelope to understand the issue with the continuing care situation today. Our government has addressed the issue head-on, across the board. We have capacity at McDonald Lodge. We have capacity at Copper Ridge Place. The wait-list at Macaulay Lodge is the shortest it has been in probably a decade, Mr. Deputy Chair. I am very hopeful that one of the initiatives that we are addressing, which is an assisted home living unit of apartments, may come to fruition very quickly under our watch.

That said, overall, the envelope of facilities are in good hands, but we have inherited a number of issues that have been very, very costly to address. One was the issue of Macaulay Lodge where the previous Liberal government was going via the Yukon Housing Corporation. It was to gut it and spend over $5 million retrofitting it to something one of the seniors conveyed to me were like coffin rooms or bedsits. No one wanted that. The lodge is a good lodge. We have spent some money on maintenance there. We have staffed it to the level necessary to meet the capacity of that facility. Things are functioning there very well. Weíre very pleased with the accomplishments in this domain. I would like to thank the staff there for their excellent work and dedication to their responsibilities.

Copper Ridge Place is another facility. There is still one pod with 12 beds that can be opened. We have to buy the beds and recruit the staff necessary when that demand develops. That demand will develop over time.

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Our government has committed to meeting the demands where the demands exist, and we will do so.

Ms. Duncan:   Iíd like to thank the minister for that tongue lashing. Apparently I needed that to end my day.

The minister just stood on his feet and said thereís capacity to open 12 beds and that they will be opened. Is there money within this O&M, or would the minister have to come back for a supplementary if those 12 beds were to be opened in the new pod at Copper Ridge Place?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   As I indicated to the member opposite, there are eight beds available currently. That is as of some time last week ó the last time I got an update as to where we were facility-wise. There is no wait-list at Copper Ridge Place. There are currently eight beds available. Now thatís about the fifth time Iíve repeated it and I donít know what itís going to take to get this message across, but I encourage the members opposite to listen.

Ms. Duncan:   A polite tone of voice might be a good place to start. The minister said that they were prepared to open an additional 12 beds if required. Iím not asking if there are eight beds currently available. The minister said thereís capacity to open another 12 beds. Iím asking if the funding is within this envelope as it stands now or, if they have to open the 12 beds, do they have to come back for a supplementary. Thatís what I asked.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   In this fiscal cycle, there are no plans to open the additional pod at Copper Ridge Place. As that demand develops, we will meet that demand and, if itís required outside of a normal routine budget cycle, it will be done the same as the opening of the last pod ó by way of a supplementary.

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Ms. Duncan:   I can wait and ask this question in recoveries. Iíll just put the minister on notice. Some of the recoveries from Canada come in respect to paying for continuing care facilities. When we get to that point, Iíd like the minister to note that I would like a list of the outstanding receivables. I have asked for this before. If we could have it in time for the next debate on Health and Social Services, Iíd appreciate it.

Continuing Care in the amount of $20,953,000 agreed to

Total Social Services in the amount of $41,413,000 agreed to

On Health Services

On Program Management

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The program objective of this part of Health and Social Services is to foster an environment in which communities, families and individuals can achieve and maintain optimum health through health promotion, active living, disease prevention and provision of health services.

Under the program management area, we have forecast an expenditure of $1.9 million. The main component of this area is seven FTEs. The decrease reflects the remaining amount available in the final year of the primary health care transition fund. Weíre hoping that the federal government will revote the additional funds that havenít been expended in the primary health care transition fund to permit completion of the projects.

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So there has been a decrease overall in this department as a consequence of the federal funding coming to a conclusion in this area.

The management dollars ó $487,000; the primary health care transition fund ó $1,432,000.

Program Management in the amount of $1,910,000 agreed to

On Insured Health and Hearing Services

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The management component: activity management ó $605,000; 21.5 full-time employees. Health care insurance registration ó $365,172. Medical claims ó $16,705,682; hospital claims ó $8.8 million; medical travel ó $5,265,360; chronic disease ó $2,786,000 million; pharmacare ó$3,185,290; extended benefits ó $1,324,000.

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Childrenís drug and optical in the amount of $30,000 and hearing services in the amount of $577,542 is the overall breakdown of the costs that are projected to be incurred ó $39,655,000, which is one of the largest components.

Seeing the time, Mr. Deputy Chair, I move that we report progress.

Deputy Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Jenkins that we report progress.

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Some Hon. Members:   Disagreed.

Deputy Chair:   I believe the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to

 

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Deputy Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Jenkins that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Motion agreed to

 

Speaker resumes the Chair

 

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Speaker:   I will now call the House to order. May the House have a report from the Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole?

Deputy Chairís report

Mr. Hassard:   Mr. Speaker, Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 15, First Appropriation Act, 2005-06, and directed me to report progress on it.

Speaker:   Youíve heard the report from the Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Speaker:   I declare the report carried.

 

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I move that the House do now adjourn.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the government House leader that the House do now adjourn.

Motion agreed to

 

Speaker:   This House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

 

The House adjourned at 5:57 p.m.