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Yukon Legislative Assembly

Whitehorse, Yukon

Tuesday, November = 13, 2018 — 1:00 p.m.

 

Speaker: I w= ill now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with prayers.<= /p>

&= nbsp;

Prayers

 

Dakhká Khwáan Dancers enter the Chamber

In remembrance of Doris McLean, former Sergeant-at-Arms

Speaker: Mem= bers and others are aware that Doris McLean passed away in January of this year. Ms.=  McLean served the Yukon Legislative Assembly as Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms from Novem= ber 3, 2003, until the end of July 2016 and as Sergeant-at-Arms from July 2016 until her resignation on September 30, 2017.

Ms.&nb= sp;McLean, a former chief of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, was of Tlingit and Tagi= sh ancestry, belonged to the Daklaweidi Killer Wha= le clan and was the first indigenous person to serve the Yukon Legislative Assembly as Sergeant-at-Arms.

Ms.&nb= sp;McLean conducted her official duties with dignity and efficiency and was well liked and highly respected by all those who came in contact with her. Doris McLean was a trail-blazing indigenous woman who led the way of cultural revitaliza= tion for family and community.

I woul= d like to take a few moments to provide you with the explanation that was provided to= me regarding the purpose of the ceremony today and the songs that the Dakhká Khwáan Dancers will share with you today. They will be singing what are referred t= o as “cry songs”. Cry songs are sung after a person has died by their respective clan members and also by the opposite clans. Celebratory songs i= n honour of a deceased person are not sung until after their potlatch happens.

Doris = McLean is Daklaweidi clan, Killer Whale, under the wolf/eagle s= ide. I spoke to Marilyn Jensen and she told me that one of the dancers has Ms.&nbs= p;McLean’s drum here today. The Daklaweidi clan will sing = an ancient clan song called “Eshaan du keet”. Their opposite, the Deisheetaan and the Gaanaxtedi, will then sing a Gaanaxtedi clan song back to the Daklaweidi clan to hold them up in their sorrow and also to maintain the balance of the two sides.

Out of= the respect for the solemnity of this occasion, I would ask that those in the public gallery not video-record the ceremony. I invite you to enjoy the cry song.

Thank = you.

 

Dakhká Khwáan Dancers perform ceremony in honour of Doris McLean, former Sergeant-at-Arms=

 

Dakhká Khwáan Dancers leave the Chamber

Daily Routine

Speaker: We’ll now proceed at this time with the Order Pap= er.

Introduction of visitors.

Introduction of Visitors

Hon. Ms. Dendys: I have many to welcome here today — such a special day f= or all of us who have gathered — very fitting for such a respected elder. I = have a very beautiful tribute to give to our beloved elder, but I would like to introduce our visitors here today, and I apologize if I miss anyone. That’s not my intent at all.

The da= ncers and singers today are Marilyn Jensen, Gary Johnson, Frances Neumann, Darla Lindstrom, Calvin Lindstrom, Patrick Voyageur, Annie Auston, David Jensen, Victoria Fred, Jared Lutchman, Phil McLean, Cheryl McLean, Pearl Callaghan, Lorraine = Netro, Seth Netro, Mark Rutledge, Jody Overduin, Lou Drapeau, Tricia Johnson-Drapeau, Jessie Stephen, Felisha Johnson, Heather Neumann, Tracy Camilleri, Shelby Blackjack, Jodi-Lyn Newnham, our MP Larry Bagnell, Carol Duquette, Dawn Duquette, Justin Ferbey, Katie Johnson, Karen Vallevand, Karee = ;Vallevand, Ruth Carroll, Sandy Neumann, Flory&nb= sp;Enzenauer, Avery Enzenauer<= /span>, Noushin Naziripour, Taravat Ostovar and Delsa Mostmand.

Again,= I am sorry if I have missed anyone. It certainly isn’t my intent. Thank yo= u so very, very much for coming here today. It is an honourable occasion and very historic — very, very historic. Thank you all for being here.<= /p>

Applause

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Mr. Gallina: We have some additional special guests joining us today. In the gallery we have four guests who are here participating in the Pacific Northwest Economic Region, or PNWER, winter forum, which Yukon is proud to be hosting this yea= r: from the Saskatchewan Legislature, and PNWER president Larry Doke; Oregon senator and past president of PNWER Arni= e Roblan; past president of PNWER and former MLA of this Assembly Jim Kenyon; and executive director Matt Morrison. Welcome.<= /p>

I woul= d also like to recognize Steve Rose, former ADM of Economic Development, who was i= nstrumental in bringing PNWER to the territory.

I woul= d also like to recognize Porter Creek Centre constituent Susan Simpson and her lov= ely parents, Betty and Gino Guatto, who are visitin= g the territory today. Welcome.

Applause

 

Mr. Hassard: I ask all members of the Legislature to help me in joining a couple of fellows here today: Mr. Dave Laxton, who, of course, most of us know, and Joe Iles. Thank you very much for being here.

Applause

 

Hon. Ms. Frost: I would like to take this moment to recognize former Vuntut Gw= itchin MLA Lorraine Netro and her grandson Seth. Lorra= ine is a constituent of mine. I just wanted to acknowledge you and also thank you = for your many years of great service to Vuntut Gwitchin. To my dear auntie Ruth Carroll, it’s really great to see you here. Thank you also.

Mahsicho.

Applause

 

Speaker: Are= there any further introductions of visitors?

Tributes.

TRIBUTES

In remembrance of Doris M= cLean

Hon. Ms. Dendys: It is truly my honour to rise today on behalf of all Members o= f this Yukon Legislative Assembly to pay tribute to the late Caroline Doris Angela Johns McLean.

Doris = was born in Carcross, Yukon on December 17, 1940 — the seventh of 12 children = born to Peter and Agnes Johns. On the day she was born, she was given the name “Guna” which means “fresh springtime water”. Being born into the Daklaweid= i clan under the Killer whale house, Doris spent her life in honour of her matrilineal responsibilities.

She wa= s known to many as a beloved elder, advocate, storyteller, former Chief of Carcross/Ta= gish First Nation and a true friend to all who knew her. Her family lovingly referred to her — and I heard this many times — as their regal matriarch.

In her childhood, she was always a feisty and adventuresome girl with an active curiosity about the world. The numerous stories of her childhood included running through the fields, riding horses in Tagish and spending time with = all of her cousins and the rest of the children of Carcross. Adventure after adventure, they partook in rafting their grandmother Mary Johns across Benn= ett Lake in choppy waters to selling rocks to tourists. Doris loved to be out in the wild with her dad and brothers. They enjoyed almost all of their weeken= ds fishing and hunting out on the territories of their ancestral lands — always returning to Carcross to distribute the meat and fish among the elde= rs and families.

Doris&= #8217;s childhood was abruptly interrupted when she fell ill with tuberculosis and = was sent to the Charles Camsell Hospital, where she= spent two years of her short life. According to Doris, she decided that she wasn’t going to die there, so she lay in that bed for a year forcing herself to get better. She overcame her illness and returned home. This resilience and determination are characteristics that she carried with her throughout her life. Through challenging times at residential schools, soci= etal discrimination and government mandates to assimilate, she fought through al= l of it with a strong and clear vision to create a better future for her communi= ty and for her people.

Doris = and her husband Philip celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in July 2017. Throughout their life together, they brought two beautiful and accomplished daughters, Marilyn and Shirley, into this world, and their dau= ghters brought to this world Doris’s and Phil’s greatest treasures: wonderful granddaughter Megan and precious grandson Patrick.

Phil s= upported Doris through all of her adventures and pursuits. He was her rock at home a= nd helped her to share her many gifts and interests with our territory. She se= rved as Chief of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation from 1988 to 1992, working as = she always did for the betterment of her people. She spent years working toward= the creation of the Yukon First Nation land claims and self-government agreemen= ts. She was involved in the reclamation of her people’s culture, rights a= nd dignity from the grassroots to the steps of Parliament Hill. One of Doris’s greatest legacies was her dedication in working toward the revitalization of her First Nation culture. Doris’s daughters remember their mother teaching them to dance and sing when they were very little, and these were the days when not many people were dancing or singing traditional songs.

In the= 1970s, Doris started the Skookum Jim/Keish Tlingit dance group. This group has evolved over the years into the award-winning and world-renowned group that we all know as the Dakhká Khwáan Dancers. Doris loved people, laughter, dancing and fun. She claimed a front= -row seat at the Adäka Cultural Festival every summer, in which she attended every show and event, showing her love for her culture and for her people. During Adäka this past summer= , the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association kept a seat reserved for Doris throughout the entire seven-day festival. I will never forget that. I= n my mind, that will always be her seat.

Doris = was an avid berry picker with a specific quest for the perfect soapberry. She and = her sister Frances Neumann were always the duo to beat at every soapberry ice-cream-making competition. It was sweet victory when she was recrowned the world soapberry ice-cream-maker champio= n in 2017 at the Haa Kusteeyi celebration in Teslin, Yukon, and I was privileged to receive a very small taste of that winning batch of soapberry ice cream. I cherish that memory. =

Doris = was well known for her many volunteer activities with the RCMP Citizens on Patrol, t= he Arctic Winter Games, the Yukon International Storytelling Festival and the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association. She was a recipient of= the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.

The ti= me that I was able to spend with Doris was always full due to her extensive knowledge= of her land, her people’s history and her commitment to seeing that her knowledge remains in the world through sharing it with others. Doris McLean= was the Yukon Legislative Assembly’s Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms from November 2003 to July 2016. She then served as Sergeant-at-Arms until September 30, 2017, making her the first indigenous person to hold this position in Canad= a. She served as Sergeant-at-Arms on the day that we were all sworn in on Dece= mber 3, 2016 — again, a cherished memory for all of us.

I will= always remember Doris as a fierce leader who provided strength and encouragement to all indigenous women and girls in Yukon and beyond.

I will= never forget a day at the Vancouver airport when I ran into Doris on her way back from a period of medical treatment. She was clearly weakened but still took= the time to talk to me and to encourage me in my new position in the Legislative Assembly. During that conversation, she said — and I quote: “I = wish I could be there to support you girls” — referring to the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin and me. She was so proud to see First Nation women taki= ng these seats in the Yukon Legislative Assembly. She spoke to me about how difficult it can be in the Legislative Assembly and shared that it can be at times a very hard environment. She gave me advice about how to protect my spirit and reminded me that we are all from spirit.

Doris McLean’s dedication to community, culture and history has left a prof= ound impact on all who came into contact with her. Her absence is profoundly fel= t, and her legacy and influence in Yukon will continue for generations to come= .

On beh= alf of all Members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly both present and past, we offer o= ur sincere condolences to Doris’s family. It was such a pleasure to work with her.

Thank = you all so very, very much for coming and being part of this honouring ceremony for su= ch a beloved elder. Thank you. Gün= ilschish.

Applause

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Speaker: Are= there any returns or documents for tabling?

Tabling Returns and Documents

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Mr. Speaker, I have for tabling a legislative retu= rn responding to questions about the aerodrome in Old Crow, asked by the Offic= ial Opposition during general debate on October 25.

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Speaker: Are= there any further returns or documents for tabling?

Are th= ere any reports of committees?

Are th= ere any petitions?

PETITIONs

Petition No. 4 — re= ceived

Clerk: Mr. Speaker and honourable members of the Assembly, I ha= ve had the honour to review a petition, being Petition No. 4 of the Second Ses= sion of the 34th Legislative Assembly, as presented by the Leader of = the Third Party on November 8, 2018.

The petition presented by the Leader o= f the Third Party meets the requirements as to form of the Standing Orders of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

Speaker:= 195;Accordingly, I declare Pe= tition No. 4 is deemed to be read and received. Pursuant to Standing Order 67, the Executive Council shall provide a response to a petition which has been dee= med read and received within eight sitting days of its presentation. Therefore,= the Executive Council response to Petition No. 4 shall be provided on or before= the first sitting day of the 2019 Spring Sitting of the Legislative Assembly.

 

Are there any petitions to be presente= d?

Are there any bills to be introduced?<= o:p>

Are there any notices of motions?=

Notices of Motions

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= he membership of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, as established by = Motion No. 6 of the First Session of the 34th Legislative Assembly= , be amended by:

(1) rescinding the appointment of Don Hutton; and <= /p>

(2) appointing the Hon. Richard Mostyn to the committ= ee.

&= nbsp;

I also= give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= he membership of the Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Bo= ards and Committees, as established by Motion No. 9 of the First Session of= the 34th Yukon Legislative Assembly, be amended by:

(1) rescinding the appointment of Don Hutton; and <= /p>

(2) appointing the Hon. John Streicker to the committ= ee.

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Ms. McLeod: I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Yukon government to take immediate action to develop a plan to address radon issues in government buildings that have unacceptably high le= vels of this gas in a timely manner.

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Ms. Hanson: I rise to give notice of the following motion for the production of papers: <= /span>

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to inform the Legislature and table documents showing which departments have produced information for their employees on = how to make a disclosure as directed under the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act.

&= nbsp;

Speaker: Are there any further notices of motions?

Is the= re a statement by a minister?

This t= hen brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re: Electoral reform

Mr. Cathers: The Liberal government has launched a survey that appea= rs to be about giving themselves political cover to make changes to our electoral system. The entire premise of this process is based on a view that there is something wrong with the current electoral system. The survey implies sever= al times that it needs to be improved. This exercise seems like a solution in search of a problem.

Can th= e Premier tell us what exactly he believes is broken with our current electoral system that needs to be improved?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, electoral reform is extremely importa= nt to our government, and I think it is extremely important to every Member of th= is Legislative Assembly. We want to strengthen the fairness, the integrity and= the accessibility of our democracy.

I woul= d say that electoral reform is also about the system that we use to turn our votes into seats in the Legislative Assembly. It is also about the way that Yukon̵= 7;s voices are heard. Again, with this survey, we are taking a look to see those people’s voices and make sure that Yukoners are being heard. <= /p>

Mr. Cathers: Mr. Speaker, that wasn’t an answer from the Premier.

The su= rvey seems slanted and the way that this entire thing is framed leaves the impression = that either the Liberals want to make changes to our electoral system without ha= ving any clue about what they want to change or that they have made their mind up already.

The en= tire survey is framed to imply that there is something wrong with Yukon’s electoral system. The survey doesn’t even ask the very basic question: Are you happy with the current electoral system?

This s= eems like an obvious question to include in the survey if the Premier actually cares = what Yukoners think. It seems that the Liberals may have already made up their m= ind that they are going to change the way that Yukoners vote.

Can th= e Premier tell us why they did not include a question in the survey to ask Yukoners if they are happy with our current electoral system?

Hon. Mr. Silver: It is an interesting chart that is being navigated by t= he member opposite. It would take Magellan awhile to figure that one out.

When w= e were on the campaign trail we said many times that there is a current system and th= at current system needs to be considered as well. Again, I am a little bit perplexed as to the question from the members opposite. Do they want more consultation or less consultation? In this case, public engagement was laun= ched on October 4, and the deadline for that public comment was changed from November 30 to December 14, giving more opportunities for Yukoners to make their voices heard.

I am r= eally perplexed by the question from the member opposite. Again, there was a lot = of preamble to it. We have reviewed efforts underway in other jurisdictions, a= nd one thing that we have learned is how important it is to make sure that the public is confident about the government and that they are heading the right way. We have said many times that there is a current system and there are other systems, and now we are asking Yukoners what is = the most important piece of electoral reform. Is it the age at which we vote? I= s it the system that we use? Is it the technology that we use? I believe that th= is survey is exactly that — allowing Yukoners to voice their opinions, a= nd it is broad for a reason.

Mr. Cathers: Well, we heard a lot of words from the Premier but no answer. The survey doesn’t give “liking” the current system as an option. The way the Liberals have designed the survey leaves the strong impression that they have made up their minds that they are going to change the way Yukoners vote. The survey says that our electoral system needs to be improved. It doesn’t tell you why it needs to be improved. The survey doesn’t even give you the option to say that you are happy with the way we currently vote and prefer the current model. It seems like the Premier and his Liberal government have specifically designed the survey so that it can’t all= ow for the result of Yukoners saying they are happy with the current way that = we vote. Yukoners should be given an opportunity to say whether or not they like our current electoral system. They should be allowed to vote on something as ma= jor as changes on the way that we elect our government. Will the Premier commit that there will be no changes to the Yukon’s electoral system without= a referendum?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I will address you in your chair, as = that is where we are supposed to be addressing you, not looking at a camera. Aga= in, Mr. Speaker, we are engaging with Yukoners to make sure that they know what electoral re= form is. It means so many different things to so many different people, whether = it is changing the actual system at the ballot or the age of voting or the sys= tems that we use or the way that political parties campaign. There are lots of questions out there. Our survey has a broad approach to it because we want = to make sure that we engage every Yukoner on every concern and at every level. Once those results come back in, we will take that data and I will reach ou= t, as I have in the past, to the members opposite. I have reached out to both leaders. The Leader of the Third Party met with me and we had a brief conversation about engagement. We will continue to do that and we will see = what the results are.

Again,= Mr. Speaker, I am very perplexed about the line of questioning from the member opposite.= We believe that we should be engaging with the public when it comes to elector= al reform and will be happy if that engagement process bears a lot of fruit, a= nd we will continue the debate here in the Legislative Assembly.

Question re: Contract bid challenge process

Mr. Hassard: Mr. Speaker, a bid challenge process was set up to= allow companies an opportunity to voice complaints about the tendering process an= d to provide specific input on correcting issues. However, it can only do this if the Bid Challenge Committee has people appointed to it. According to the government’s website, all of the appointments to the Bid Challenge Committee expired on July 31 of this year.

Now, M= r. Speaker, I know you’re probably not too shocked to hear this, as this government’s inability to make a decision has become their defining characteristic, but can the minister confirm if the website is accurate? Ar= e there currently no members on the Bid Challenge Committee?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question this afternoon on= the procurement improvements that we’re making to make sure that we buy g= oods and services for the Yukon government in a much more meaningful and better = way.

The me= mber opposite has talked today about bid challenge, and that’s an important part of the improvement process. I can inform the House and the member oppo= site that we are adding five more members from the private sector to the Bid Challenge Committee, which will deal with dispute resolution. This will help the committee to respond more quickly to challenges.

Mr. Hassard: Apparently it’s not that important to the minister, because there has been no on= e on it since the end of July. So Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell us if there are any bid challenges currently open, and if so, how many? Will the minister agree to have this committee appointed by the end of the week so t= hat this process can proceed without any more delays?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. The reason why w= e are retooling the Bid Challenge Committee is because it didn’t work in the past and we wanted to make improvements to make sure that it works better. = So that’s one of the reasons why we’re doing these things. =

We hav= e also created a Procurement Business Committee made up of industry representatives who met three times over the summer and again in October. In November, we’re going to continue to meet. This is all part of that procurement. We’ve used the 10 $1‑million exceptions. I’ve spoken about that many times in the House. We have taken action on all 11 Procurement Advisory Panel recommendations to improve procurement. We are investing in ongoing skill development, with more than 100 employees across government in professional procurement certification programs so that they actually have = the training that they need. We have partnered with the Organizational Developm= ent branch to create a procurement training framework to ensure that happens. We continue to meet regularly with local businesses and industry associations = and host annual events to connect our staff with local vendors and improve the process.

There = are many, many things we are doing. The member opposite has asked about whether there= are any bid challenges right now. I’m not entirely aware of that. I don’t know on the floor of this House, but I will endeavour to get the member opposite the answer to his question.

Mr. Hassard: I certainly hope there aren’t any out there because, with apparently no= one on the committee, it’s going to be pretty hard for it to work better = as the minister seems to be saying.

One of= the priority actions in the Procurement Advisory Panel report was to revise the= bid challenge process. At the time, the Government of Yukon committed to do this within one year. Can the minister tell us: What work has been done over the last two years to improve the bid challenge process, and does he believe th= at allowing all of the appointments on the committee to expire improves the pr= ocess?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: One of the methods we’re trying to employ to improve the procurement is to not have as many bid challenges. I can’t attest on = the floor of this House that we have reached that Nirvana yet, but we’re working toward it.

Transp= arent and fair government procurement processes generate economic benefits for Yukone= rs who are trying to keep money in the Yukon for Yukoners. We are working very hard on that. We have standardized clauses now in our procurement processes= to make sure that locals get credit for the knowledge they have about our territory and how to work here. We are working on a First Nation procurement process that will reside within our procurement process so that we can deal with First Nation issues.

There = is much work that is being done by the Department of Highways and Public Works and = this government, and I am very happy with the work that is being done. I know th= at we will have a lot more to say about this over the coming weeks and months.=

Question re: Geoscience Forum keynote speaker

Ms. Hanson: The Geoscience Forum is getting underway this coming we= ekend in Whitehorse. Every year, the Yukon government funds the Chamber of Mines = to put on this key gathering for the mining industry. Unfortunately, this year’s keynote speaker is Rex Murphy. In the past, Mr. Murphy has been under scrutiny for earning generous speaking fees from the oil industry while being a key figure at our national broadcaster. It is Mr. Murphy= ’s recent controversial column defending the infamous Trump Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh that pushed some conc= erned citizens to petition the government to dissociate themselves from the invitation to Mr. Murphy.

Does t= he Minister of Economic Development believe using government money to bring in this kind of divisive speaker is appropriate?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: We truly appreciate the member opposite’s question and h= ad a sense that we would be discussing this at some point this week. I am also a= ware of these concerns from at least one individual who has reached out to me and others in our caucus as well as to the Leader of the Third Party about a we= ek ago which touched on this. I have reached out to the executive director of = the Chamber of Mines about the concerns that were brought to our attention and passed that on — the e‑mail that was received by me and the Lea= der of the Third Party. They have informed us that the funding that the Yukon government provides to geoscience — of course, geoscience covers many different activities, from children’s days to supporting events for w= omen in mining and others — will not be used to support Rex Murphy as a speaker during this important event that will be happening over the next nu= mber of days.

Ms. Hanson: I will point out that also #MeToo for women in mi= ning have come out on this issue.

The mi= nister is right, the Chamber of Mines chose the speaker, but this does not change the fact that government money funds this event to a large extent. The minister= is accountable for public money. It has been reported that Mr. Murphy’s speaking fees run as high as $30,000. That is quite the price tag and it is doubtful that the Geoscience Forum could foot this kind of bill without government support.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, in the #MeToo era, it sends a troubling message= for the government to fund a speaker who defends Brett Kav= anaugh and thinks women should be charged for bringing up their experiences of abu= se. Does the minister not see a problem with using public funds to fund a speak= er whose values are so far removed from most Yukoners?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Mr. Speaker, I want to be extremely respectful as we have= this dialogue. I think there are some inaccuracies. I stated already that we wou= ld not be funding this speaker. The member opposite has alluded that we are. <= /span>

I am n= ot aware of the speaking fees associated with the individual. The decision to identi= fy the speakers for this particular event was made by the chamber. If the memb= er opposite wants to have a dialogue concerning those choices, I think that ha= ving the dialogue directly with the chamber would be best.

Please= — I would ask that the member is respectful — in the sense that we are funding this event. We are not funding the speaker. We think there are a lo= t of great things that happen. There is a long history of geoscience. I think th= at having our students there, having an opportunity to see what this industry = does for the territory — I think the work that women in mining do is incredible. We’ve had some people who have been recognized nationally over the last couple of years for their leadership in this sector. <= /p>

But on= ce again, I hear the concerns of the individual, and we’ve passed those on to t= he chamber.

Ms. Hanson: I want to be clear that this is not a matter of freedom of speech. No one is saying that Mr. Murphy shouldn’t be allowed to spew his misogyni= stic views. The Yukon does fund the chamber. We just don’t think that the government should help Mr. Murphy out by spending tens of thousands of dollars to have him speak here.

This i= s the second time in less than a month that this government is under the spotlight for publicly funding controversial speakers. A month ago it was a speaker f= rom a firm with a questionable relationship with the Saudi government, and now it’s a speaker who delves into victim blaming and whose view of the #= MeToo movement aligns with Trump’s allies in the extreme right.

How is= this a good use of public money, especially at a time = when all departments are asked to cut two percent in their budget? Mr. Spea= ker, how does spending thousands of dollars on these kinds of divisive speakers = help Yukoners?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I would once again just say to the Leader of the Third Party, = as stated after questions 1 and 2, that we are not funding — I don’t think it does justice to the Legislative Asse= mbly to continue to hear that answer but continue to allude to that inaccuracy. =

I appr= eciate the sensitivity to this on this particular topic. That’s why, upon receiv= ing an e‑mail about a week and a half or almost a week ago — the sa= me e‑mail that was sent to the Leader of the Third Party — we passed it on. I appreciate the fact that the work that is done at this event — there = are some great things that do happen, as there are at many of the events that we support. But certainly, once again, we’re in a situation where we’re not going to be funding this particular speaker, and I’m = not going to speak to the other pieces of that question. I think that would be inappropriate at this time.

Question re: Resource Gateway project

Mr. Kent: At one of this government’s photo opportunities last year they stood and smiled for pictures announcing quite a lot of money for the Resource Gateway roads project. According to the Government of Canada’s website, construction was supposed to start on June 1 of this year. Of course, we kn= ow that construction did not start on time and is now 166 days overdue.

Can th= e minister tell us when major construction for the Resource Gateway roads project will begin?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: First of all, this is an extremely important project for the Y= ukon government. A little background — as you remember, upon coming into government, there was —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Pillai: No — I mean, Mr. Speaker, there can be snickers acr= oss the way, but let’s call this what it was. We came into government, and there was a proposal that was moved in by a lobbying firm and was submitted= to the federal government. There was absolutely no written support from any indigenous government at that particular time for the project. Those are the facts; that is the truth.

We had= 90 days as a team — the deputy ministers, the other ministers, the Premier — to work to have our First Nation partners provide us some trust tha= t we would work together. That trust is something that we are not going to back = away from. We are continuing to have the appropriate conversations. We are worki= ng with Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation. Our phase 1 work has — we h= ave an agreement in place. The Minister of Highways and Public Works can add on= to what we’re doing through the YESAA process. We continue to speak with= our nations in the north and in the south. We’re going to do this the rig= ht way. We’re going to ensure that we have agreements in place. <= /p>

If the opposition doesn’t understand that this is not done through respectful dialogue and proper agreements — well, maybe that is why they were in lawsuits, one after another, before.

Mr. Kent: I think it’s important to remind the minister that we are now entering = the third year of their government.

Can th= e Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources or the Minister of Highways and Public Works= , as he alluded to, tell us if the Yukon Gateway Resource roads project has been submitted to the environmental assessment process yet, and will it be considered as a designated office evaluation or an executive committee screening?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn:I’m more than happy to talk about the Resource Gateway t= his afternoon on the floor of the Legislature. I want to inform the members opposite that the Department of Highways and Public Works has established a major programs office in the Transportation Engineering branch. The office = is responsible for the development and implementation of the Yukon Resource Ga= teway program, and the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources — my good colleague on the front bench — continues to work together with Highwa= ys and Public Works and directly with affected First Nations to achieve project agreements to proceed with the Yukon Resource Gateway program.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, we did commit to starting work this year. The members opposite don’t think that planning is part of that work, but planning is an integral part = of that work. That work has started. The Department of Highways and Public Wor= ks has done a lot of work on this project already, and we are going to be continuing right through for the next five years and beyond. That work has begun — the members opposite can rest assured — and I am more t= han happy to talk about this again on the next supplementary.

Mr. Kent: Perhaps when the minister stands he can actually answer the question that I asked i= n my second question, which is whether this will be done at the DO or the execut= ive committee, as that has timing consequences on the project.

As I m= entioned, construction is already 166 days overdue. The government originally stated = that construction would be completed by March 31, 2024. Can the minister tell us= if this is still the projected end date, or have the delays pushed that date b= ack?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Just for Yukoners who may not be aware, the total value is $46= 8 million, including $248 million from the federal government on this particular project, $112 million from the Yukon government and $108 million = from industry.

Once a= gain, we are excited about this project. I want to commend my colleague, and I want = to thank the Yukon Conservation Society as well for this as we start to have conversations now about road ecology and understanding how to make sure that roads, which do have an impact — and that, as we work with our partne= rs, we ensure that we take into consideration the full conversation around road= s. I think that the member opposite would understand that.

I don&= #8217;t believe that we are inhibiting any development at this time in Little Salmon Carmacks. We are looking to make that community safer. I think we will see throughout the next couple of weeks that, when we talk about resource development — which this is infrastructure for — we are in a go= od place right now.

I thin= k that when you talk about the capacity, all the construction companies — and the member, I’m sure, can reach out — I think that everybody is in a position where there is a tremendous amount of work and output. Really, our biggest concern is going to be: Within Yukon, do we have the total portfoli= o of capacity to ensure that we do all this work as we see Yukon companies win Y= ukon contracts?

Question re: Mining within municipal boundaries

Ms. Van Bibber: The Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources is quoted in a CBC article from December 16, 2016, as stating that he would meet with the Association of Yukon Communities and First Nations in the new year to devel= op an action plan with respect to mining within municipal boundaries.

Can th= e minister provide an update on this action plan?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Most of the work that has been undertaken on this has been qui= te bilateral. It has really been between the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources and specific municipalities.

At tha= t time, in 2016, I believe we were still waiting for the final decision on a very significant case that was playing out within the City of Whitehorse. Further — and I apologize to the Assembly if I am wrong — I think it was then appealed and then a final decision was made. That certainly gave the industry and the department — and I believe even the municipalities — an understanding from that case law about what = the parameters were.

We con= tinue within our department to work through this. Of course, we had a decision th= at was just played out last week, and it continues to be something that we are focused on.

I woul= d say that the work in our work plan is continuing. It has just been done directly with the municipalities versus the Association of Yukon Communities which, of course, has representatives of chief, mayor and council from each municipal= ity.

I will= just wait for questions 2 and 3.

Ms. Van Bibber: It is interesting that he said he would meet with the Associat= ion of Yukon Communities and First Nations. This was one of the first items that t= he minister said he would take action on.

Can he= update us on changes that have occurred since December 2016 when he told us that he w= ould develop this action plan to address mining within municipal boundaries?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: What has changed? The answer to the question — first and foremost, Mr. Speaker, in 2017 we watched the legal proceedings concer= ning the case here. That was in 2016. So — quickly — at that particu= lar time, if it was 2016 — I think within 30 days of that we signed a memorandum of understanding with all of our self-governing First Nations in= the territory, which has then led to work plans in our groups that have worked together on the First Nation side of things. In some municipalities — primarily Dawson City has been where we have had the most activity when it comes to mining within a municipality. Our teams have worked diligently with both First Nation governments as well as with the community. In past situat= ions we have definitely had dialogue because, of course, municipalities have a piece.

I thin= k that the work has been done. I wouldn’t want the member opposite to sort of mislead the public. We have worked on these issues, and we have consistently worked on them.

Whethe= r they are focused into a work plan — the work plan that the department has has certainly identified these conversations. There h= as been a tremendous amount of work and, of course, we will be getting together with First Nations and industry leaders later on this weekend around our Geoscience conference. We will continue to look for clarity when it comes to mining inside of municipalities — a long issue in the Yukon.

Ms. Van Bibber: I wasn’t intending to mislead the public. I had asked a question about an action plan and did not get an answer.

Is the= minister contemplating compensation for any claimholders who are affected by governm= ent decisions around claims within municipal boundaries?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Mr. Speaker, looking at mining in municipalities, especially as it looks to planning and zoning — just a bit of backgro= und. In May 2017, we responded to concerns from the Mount Lorne Local Advisory Council and the Ibex Valley Local Advisory Council by committing the Yukon government to developing our policies and guidelines — that would have been May of last year — in conjunction with those groups.

Also, = in May at the annual general meeting of Yukon communities, we had also indicated supp= ort for additional prohibition orders on quartz mineral staking. On May 23, the Whitehorse City Council passed a resolution requesting the five-year extens= ion to an existing prohibition order to restrict quartz mineral staking within = most of their — thank you to my colleague who works most directly with the municipalities for just highlighting some of that.

The in= dustry is still looking for some clarity within this. I apologize — I didn̵= 7;t mean to be sticky on that. I just meant that there is ongoing work. It is p= art our team’s work plans — that is a fact. There are work plans at Energy, Mines and Resources that identify this as key work. We continue to = go through our internal processes on these important topics.

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Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed.

Notice of opposition private members’ business

Mr. Kent: In order that we may expedite debate on government bills that remain on the Or= der Paper, the Official Opposition will not be calling any private members̵= 7; business for Wednesday, November 14, 2018.

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Ms. White: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), I would like to identify the item standing in the name of the Third Party to be called on Wednesday, November 14, 2018. It is= Motion No. 330, standing in the name of the Member for Whitehorse Centre.

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

Orders of the Day

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the Ho= use 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

Chair (Mr. Hutton): I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.

The ma= tter before the Committee is Vote 7, Department of Economic Development, in Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑19.

Do mem= bers wish to take a brief recess?

All Hon. Members: Agreed.

Chair: Commi= ttee of the Whole will recess for 15 minutes.

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Recess

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Chair (Mr. Hutton):  Committee of the Whole will now come to order.

Bill No. 207: Second Appropriation = Act, 2018‑19 — continued

Chair: The matter before the Committee is Vote 7, Department of Economic Development, in Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑19.

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Department of Economic Development

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Mr. Chair, I would just like to invite some of our offici= als from the Department of Economic Development who will be assisting today: de= puty minister Justin Ferbey, who is here to support,= as well as Catherine Marangu. We want to welc= ome her to the department. She has come on board over the last year in the role= of director of Finance.

I will= start with some opening words and then we can get into the questions on the supplementary budget. I do want to, as well, just thank the officials who a= re at the department and not here with us today — some 50 — who ha= ve worked extremely hard on a number of projects, as well as focusing on renew= al and things that we are looking at over the next while within the department= to ensure that we can best serve Yukoners and Yukon businesses — of cour= se, taking into consideration our focus toward diversification and making sure = that we have strong communities, a strong private business sector and great grassroots community organizations that are helped through our community de= velopment fund.

The De= partment of Economic Development has requested a budget increase in our supplementary budget of $956,000 for the Yukon film location incentive fund. This is a rebate-based fund that encourages production companies to film in Yukon, sp= end money locally and hire and train Yukoners. Under the fund, media productions can apply for a rebate of up to 25 percent of the money they spend in the territory if they meet the Yukon hire requirement of the program. This fund= ing is consistent with the media funding in all other Canadian jurisdictions. T= he additional jobs and spending brought by the fund provide a boost to the loc= al economy, with direct benefits such as hiring camera people and background actors.

Then t= here are the trickle-down effects of media production spending such as accommodation= and food services. This incentive to train Yukoners assists in creating a criti= cal mass of skilled media workers and encourages local people to explore their talents and start or grow businesses. The training also benefits Yukon̵= 7;s media producers who then have access to local skilled labour.

Yukon = is a long way from competing with industry standard indoor television and film facili= ties across the country, but media productions come here for the breathtaking na= tural landscapes. Rebates, of course, can make a difference between a production choosing Yukon over similar wilderness locations in Alberta or British Columbia.

Settin= g an accurate budget for the Yukon film location incentive fund is truly a challenge, since projects and expenditures on large productions vary widely from year to year.

The me= dia development unit may work for months and years with a major production comp= any before a final decision is made to include Yukon as a film location. When a production decides to film in Yukon, they can receive a substantial rebate.= For example, in the 2015-16 fiscal year, Raw TV received a rebate of approximat= ely $690,000 based on their Yukon spend of well over $2.7 million. =

The $9= 56,000 budget increase for this year allows the Government of Yukon to be flexible= and responsible to filming decisions and remain competitive with other jurisdictions. This sends a strong message to industry that this government supports and values the media industries in our territory and that we are committed to growing the economy and the workforce and to making Yukoners m= ore competitive in an international market.

To sum= marize, this fund has concrete benefits for Yukon as it encourages media production companies to hire, train and spend in the territory. Approving the budget increase allows the Government of Yukon to continue to support our growing media industries, remain competitive and reap the spinoff benefits to the broader economy.

With t= hat, I think we will open it up to questions. Really, it is a fairly simple reques= t in our supplementary budget, although it is significant. I look forward to questions about our request to increase our location incentive fund.=

Mr. Istchenko: I do want to thank the deputy minister and the director= for coming in here today to provide support for the minister.

I have= a few questions today. I guess the first one I will ask the minister is: Since be= ing elected, has the minister met with each chamber of commerce, including the community chambers? What were their identified priorities?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I guess this is as it relates to the film location incentive f= und or maybe broader, Mr. Chair.

I beli= eve that I have had the opportunity to meet with all chambers of commerce other than t= he Watson Lake Chamber of Commerce. I have met with representatives at the Yuk= on chamber, which hosted their AGM in Dawson City. I believe there was representation there from most chambers of commerce. I believe that I have = only met with the previous mayor and council for Watson Lake.

There wasn’t a great turnout — I am going to walk through the communities. There wasn’t a great turnout in Haines Junction. We met = with two representatives at that particular time. I believe it was the Minister = of Community Services who had met with the Watson Lake Chamber of Commerce. I = must say that all of my colleagues try to ensure that we pass on appropriate asks and requests to each other if it falls within our areas.

It wou= ld probably be best to refer back to my notes from the meeting, but I know tha= t in Haines Junction, we did talk a bit about some of the work that actually the member opposite, my critic, is asking about, which is the work within that corridor, talking a bit about tourism and some of the strategies and infrastructure that are needed there.

I did = have two local business owners who attended that particular meeting. It was quite casual. We sat at a picnic table outside the convention centre — it w= as a nice day — and sort of discussed what their priorities were. We talked about making sure that we also understood the work that is happening in the= se communities and some of the grassroots — which was also a catalyst for the conference that we held in Watson Lake. We thought it was very importan= t to host the conference in Watson Lake. That is really where we brought communi= ty members in from across the Yukon and tried to showcase the model that Teslin had used in the Deisleen Development Corporatio= n when it comes to procurement, but that was sort of the discussion that inevitabi= lity was happening with them in Haines Junction.

In Daw= son, it was really focused, I think, on small business, as I remember, and just mak= ing sure that we have the right programs out of our department. That’s be= en something that we’ve revisited — the way we fund in north Yukon= , so that’s been key.

I have= had meetings, of course, on multiple occasions with the Yukon chamber. We’= ;ve had a great relationship. We’ve had a lot of advice, help and support from the Yukon chamber as we’ve worked through the process — there’s an energy committee but also our carbon committee — and then the Whitehorse chamber on a couple of occasions.

To ens= ure the conversation was focused, a lot of times they would ask us to come in or as= k me to report on what we saw as a long-term sort of vision over the next couple years that’s playing out within the economy. I think that my official= s in support have said that procurement has been a key topic with a lot of these conversations as well as training opportunities and continued partnerships.=

Just t= o add, Mr. Chair, to the regional economic development side — which really takes into consideration the work we do with our chambers outside of Whitehorse, in partnership, of course, with the municipal and First Nation governments, businesses and NGOs — we have been making strategic investments in communities to support the development of regional economic opportunities through the territory by providing advice on project design and assisting organizations to access our regional economic development and community development funds. Our advisors have been doing a fantastic job of getting = out into the communities, working with the communities and being very client-centric in how they deliver. We’ve had a lot of activity right from Watson Lake through to Dawson and some of the other outlying communiti= es.

Also, = we are providing funding to White River First Nation in limited partnership in Bea= ver Creek to turn identified opportunities in the mining and exploration sector into arrangements with private companies that result in revenue for the development corporation and opportunities for community members.

WeR= 17;re also working with municipalities to ensure their communities have sustainable economies. For example, we are providing funding to Dawson City to analyze their development incentive policies, review best practices across Canada a= nd develop renewed incentives and policy for the city.

I am s= orry if I missed specifics in each particular meeting. What we try to do in any of th= ose interactions is that the official that is with me and I will take notes and= highlight the concerns. We bring that back and download that to our departments. It m= ight be Economic Development or it could be another department such as Highways = and Public Works or Community Services. We then request that they follow up and help in those particular cases. Sometimes there are things that are underwa= y, so it is just making sure that communities are aware of some of the programs that are in place. In other cases, there is a gap and we need to pivot to figure out how we can support and help in those cases.

I will= leave it at that and the member can carry on with questions.

Mr. Istchenko: My next question is: How much funding was dispersed this year through the regi= onal economic development fund and the strategic industries development fund? I = can understand if the minister does not have that handy. There is lots of information there, but could he commit to a legislative return so I can rev= iew it please?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I think it would be best if instead of doing a legislative ret= urn I could just provide the numbers. This year, we are at $2,758,843. That is our total for this fiscal. Our BIP fund has provided $599,609. Our RED funds ha= ve provided $1,050,506, and our CDF projects funds have so far provided $1,108,728. I can go through every single project if the member opposite wo= uld like, or I could just wait and we will go on to the next question.

Mr. Istchenko: I was looking for a specific project, so I could see which projects money was going toward.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Under the BIP project list: digital assets and guide developme= nt, which was with the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association, rea= lly focused on the photography, creative design, publication and distribution o= f a welcome guide that was in the amount of $99,590. We also did a business plan for a land development strategy with Chu Níikw&= auml;n Development Corporation of Kwanlin Dün First Nation for $73,500. In partnership with Yukon College, we worked on the expansion of the Institute= of Indigenous Self-Determination with a support of $65,000. With Chu Níikwän again, the Kwanlin Dün First Nation development corporation, we did detailed planning for a hotel development and planning for the development of a hotel in downtown Whiteho= rse. Under the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association, we provided $15,440 for Fashion Forward, which was the promotion of events, industry meetings and workshops to support the growth of the fashion industry in Yuk= on.

In par= tnership with Chief Isaac Inc., we did the development of a marketing and branding strategy for a total of $56,137. For the Mayo Airport and McQuesten Road business plan — and we did this in conjunction and partnership w= ith the Na Cho Nyäk Dun Development Corporation — and it was really about the identification of business opportunities related to the airport r= oad infrastructure in the Mayo area. We provided $28,035 for that particular project.

Under = the low carbon committee, I want to thank the Yukon Chamber of Commerce for their work and guidance in making sure the private sector had an opportunity to help us as= we look at carbon pricing models and how we can use funds from the federal government to impact our low-carbon economy. There was $40,000 to the Yukon Chamber of Commerce for that. The Arctic Indigenous Investment conference — the pan-northern conference — was hosted in the summer. There= was a huge contingent of Yukon companies, and I appreciated having an opportuni= ty to share the Yukon story and to meet with our companies as well as to speak with companies from across the north. I urged them to look at investing in Yukon and to set up partnerships or set up a footprint here. Through that, = we provided funds of $50,000.

There = was a China trade mission and FPT attendance — Northern Vision Development,= Air North and Arctic Colour Tours were supported in attending that important conference. My colleague, the Minister of Highways and Public Works, who was also backup for Tourism and Culture, attended. We provided $12,864 for that. We also supported the Arctic Indigenous Investme= nt conference attendance by a Yukon delegation. In many of these cases, we pro= vide some support and help to ensure that we have Yukon companies in attendance.= We provided that through the Yukon First Nation Chamber of Commerce — th= at was $19,788. On the tourism side, the International Indigenous Tourism conference — once again, we provided assistance for those in attendan= ce, and that was $24,755 for a multitude of individuals. The hotel feasibility study by the Carcross/Tagish Management Corporation was funded in the amoun= t of $15,000, for a total of $599,609.

Under = the RED fund, we provided a serious of great projects right across the Yukon. The Carcross/Tagish Management Corporation is looking at a prefab for a housing manufacturing business study — something they have really been lookin= g at — for $34,140. Through the Dawson north Yukon ready community project= s, through the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’= ;in First Nation, there was $70,000 for a series of opportunities. Community readiness and opportunities planning was $3,000. The capacity development, through the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’= ;in — this is a process where we have worked very closely with Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in because of the massive amount of im= pact and opportunity that is in the Dawson region, and we provided $300,000.

We als= o, through the Carcross/Tagish Management Corporation, have supported them with Execut= ive Council Office-tourism planning, and implementation — and that again,= to the Management Corporation, $42,750. Also, to the First Nation Na Cho Ny&au= ml;k Dun concerning the Stewart-Keno transmission line, supporting them as they = look for opportunities to work on that particular project with Yukon Energy Corporation with $17,318.55. Enhancement of the community development plan = for 2015-2025, a 10-year plan in Teslin for Deisleen Development Corporation, was $36,000. In Kluane, to the Kluane Community Development Limited Partnership for the Dalan campground business plan was $6,375. The Mayo north Yukon READI communities projects to the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun was $22,500. Real esta= te investment feasibility to Da Daghay Development= Corporation from the Ta’an Kwäch’än Co= uncil was $13,500. Carcross/Tagish First Nation Community Development Corporation strategy study, as well, in Carcross was $22,123.90. Champagne and Aishihik economic development strategic assistance was $25,861 to the First Nation a= nd their community development corporation. White River First Nation — we touched on this project earlier — in Beaver Creek was $24,425. Na Cho Nyäk Dun planning projects for their development corporation was $16,2= 75. White River First Nation on their tourism opportunity identification in Whi= te River was $36,630. Improving capacity for fire and land-based opportunities through the support of Charlie Crew, which we have seen over the last two y= ears was $15,000 for the Da Daghay Development Corporation. Chief Isaac human resources policies, procedures and tools for their development corporation as they expand were for $24,187.

Also, = the Minto Resorts campground revitalization to Selkirk Development Corporation is $25,000. The establishment of a community economic development corporation = for Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in was $50,000. In Watson Lake, the Liard First Nation capacity development for Liard First Na= tion was $27,000. Chu Níikwän commercial development sculpting workshop was $6,000 — of course, that is the development corporation Kwanlin Dün.

Earlie= r, we touched on the 10-year plan, but also the long-term sustainability planning= for Deisleen Development Corporation in Teslin was $34,125. Champagne and Aishihik strategic economic initiatives were $50,000= . I think there was an additional — White River First Nation mining sector business development was $20,175. Teslin tourism risk-management to the Tes= lin Tlingit Council was $50,000. Champagne and Aishihik First Nation for the Matatana resort third-party feasibility review was $4= 0,120.

You ca= n see a multitude of really diverse funding focusing not just on resources, but als= o on the tourism sector, trying to ensure that the governance models for all of these development corporations and their community corporations are strong,= as they tie to the vision of their First Nation, in many of those cases.

Then w= e have a couple that are just pending approval — and their corporate policies = and procedure — and that is Kluane — the member opposite’s constituents at Kluane Community Development Corporation — maybe I wi= ll just leave the number out at this particular time, but it is significant funding — and as well to the Burwash Landing Community Trail Planning, which is another that is just pending.

As wel= l, Mr. Chair, on the CDF projects — the multi-recreational project phase 2 to Kluane First Nation, $200,000; the development of the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation, $19,975; and the Klondike UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination = 212; I know our predecessors — I think there was about $400,000 previously= and then, last year, there was another $116,639 that was provided to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in on that particular project.<= /p>

Just t= o conclude — and I thank the Assembly for their patience. The departments, of course, have done all this work, and it is important to put it into the rec= ord versus them preparing legislative returns later on.

As wel= l, I know a project that was concluded — certainly my critic was a huge fan of = the Champagne Potlatch House expansion $75,000, which concluded in 2017.

There = was also: the Vuntut Gwitchin navigation systems project phase 2, $69,920; the horticultural landscaping and greenhouse development in 2017 with White Riv= er First Nation, $50,056; the website redesign for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, $14,348; the Fox Point playground dedication sign and ribbon cutting, which= was a great event — the member who represents the Teslin area, of course,= was in attendance — and that was for $9,382 — and a great grassroots initiative from a young citizen from Teslin who felt that this was a very important project, and then the community rallied around it; small-scale primary sawmill and biomass heating utility in Teslin, $150,000, as we move toward continuing to support the move toward more biomass — and that = was with Teslin Tlingit Council; the infrastructure — a baseball diamond, soccer field and fencing — in Old Crow — and I think it was als= o in partnership with Canada 150 — Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation — and that was $77,400; the Da Kų Cultural Centre expansion and the daycare project — the Member for Kluane and I were in attendance — that= was a great initiative there for $150,000, and is really a revitalization of language as well as having a well-needed daycare in that community; Ross Ri= ver playground equipment project, $38,391; as well, the youth hand games and drum-making workshop in Little Salmon Carmacks, $5,128; youth leadership development day in Little Salmon Carmacks, $1,840; the skateboard park, whi= ch opened with Carcross/Tagish First Nation and is a great addition to the community, $56,000; the Mayo legion hall structural upgrades, $35,900, in conjunction with Na Cho Nyäk Dun ; the playground as well in Pelly Cro= ssing, with Selkirk First Nation, $19,999; and the Kluane First Nation elders memo= ry project with Kluane First Nation, $18,700. That is $1,108,000.

I know= that the department is busy and that they are working with lots of community members. Now, of course, as we move through this year, there are lots of great proje= cts being funded.

That g= ives a real detailed account of the spending within our department over the last fiscal year.

Mr. Istchenko: What was the total amount of funding given by the Yukon government toward the innovation hub?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: The Government of Yukon’s contribution to the project wa= s $1.9 million in 2018‑19.

Mr. Istchenko: Has the Government of Yukon provided any further fundin= g to the innovation hub outside of the initial contribution?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Mr. Chair, there was no other money provided to the project, but we do provide funding to YuKonstruct and also the business centre. I believe that, in the last year, the funding was $150,000 for that.

Mr. Istchenko: My next question is: Does the Yukon government provide any in-kind support to = the innovation hub? If so, what is the value of it? Maybe that’s what the minister was speaking to.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: No, there would be no in-kind — there would be the funding to the organization and then the initial funding toward the capital expenditure.

Mr. Istchenko: I thank the minister for that.

How ma= ny government office spaces are located at the innovation hub?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Of course, we have the Yukon Development Corporation, which is= a Crown corporation, but I also think it is worth noting that there is space there. I think it takes up space for five individuals in that particular sp= ace.

Within= the support to YuKonstruct and (co)space, we do receive one= space within a collective area of (co)space. We do not consistently have somebody there, but there is a space within that work area that is part of our agree= ment with (co)space.

Mr. Istchenko: What is the total cost to the government to lease those spaces?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I would be happy to answer this question, but why don&#= 8217;t we get into that when we bring forward the supplementary budget for the Yuk= on Development Corporation, which will be specific to the rental agreement for= the Yukon Development Corporation? As I’ve stated, the Department of Econ= omic Development doesn’t have any other office space that is rented in that particular facility.

Mr. Istchenko: So was the leasing of office space at the innovation hub part of the government’s original plan when they reviewed this project?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Once again, I think that, when speaking with Economic Developm= ent — we do not have a lease agreement from the Department of Economic Development, but the Yukon Development Corporation does lease. I think that, through the process of the conversation that had transpired, it looked like that was a good opportunity for the Yukon Development Corporation, especial= ly with the IREI funding.

I can = touch on that a bit — and it’s not disrespect; it’s just trying to — for some reason, we’re hearing the Leader of the Third Party jumping in for questions, excited to ask me some questions. But once again, I’m just trying to be respectful of the process here. I can certainly= get into that when we speak to the Yukon Development Corporation supplementary budget.

Mr. Istchenko: I thank the minister for the whole-of-government approach to answering that question.

So can= the minister provide the House with the status update on the Dempster fibre lin= e? What work has been completed to date, and can the minister provide a timeli= ne for when construction will begin?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Mr. Chair, I’m going to defer to my colleague who w= ill be more than comfortable to touch on this. The way the process has been undert= aken is that the Department of Economic Development has negotiated the bilateral agreements with Canada to ensure that we had funding in place. The actual negotiation with our First Nation partners and the buildout of that work are being covered through the Department of Highways and Public Works. So to ge= t a most accurate understanding of that — but to be respectful, my collea= gue can give a brief update on this particular topic in the spirit of the one-government approach.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: As the members opposite no doubt know, construction of a backup fibre optic line is vital to establishing consistent and reliable Internet = in Yukon. We all know the history of this.

Routin= ely in the last several years, we have had backhoe operators cutting our line to the south, plunging the territory into digital darkness, so to speak — wh= ere cash machines don’t work and the whole bit. This really undermines our industry, and it undermines our commerce. The Internet is so vital to our l= ives every day that we have to prevent this from happening in the future, so we committed to and are executing a backup fibre optic line up the Dempster to provide that redundancy. We’re working very closely with our federal partner and with Northwestel and First Nations on this project.

Planni= ng is underway immediately. Work has started on this. My colleague in Economic Development has been working on this — on laying the groundwork for t= his fibre line, for looking at our options and for making sure that we know in which direction we’re going. Now that a route has been chosen, we are executing on that.

So our= next steps are to engage with First Nations and the public, create a project and procurement plan and start permitting. We also need to negotiate the requir= ed agreements with Northwestel and the Northwest Territories because it will be crossing a border up in the north.

The to= tal cost of the project is estimated to be $79 million, with a $5‑million contribution from the Government of Yukon, $59 million from the federal government and $15 million from Northwestel. At the end of the project, the Yukon government will own the line, and Northwestel will operate it and= pay all operating costs for the next 20 years.

This i= s a particularly complex project, and the schedule is subject to change as the project evolves. Right now, our best estimate is that geotechnical work will start in the fall of 2019. As I have said, planning is underway for this important piece of infrastructure, and the schedule is being developed and a request for proposal is expected shortly in 2019.

Mr. Istchenko: So we’re looking forward to the fall of 2019.

I want= to go back to the innovation hub again. When the Minister of Economic Development reviewed the innovation hub project, was the potential of the government leasing some of that space out part of the analysis that he reviewed?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I need to get some clarity. I’m not sure exactly what the question is, so I would just ask again for clarity on exactly what the ques= tion is.

Mr. Istchenko: So when the minister reviewed the innovation hub project, was the potential of= the government leasing space part of the analysis when he reviewed it? <= /p>

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I know that my interaction on it — was that the team at Economic Development worked very closely with the YuKo= nstruct Society to ensure that we could be supportive of a project that we think is very important.

The conversations concerning who was renting or which organizations were going = to be inside that facility were between the lead of= the organization. I don’t remember an analysis that was there.

I will= say that when the opportunity came up for Yukon Development Corporation to be in that particular space — from my perspective, I think that is a great fit. = For many, Yukon Development Corporation was previously a space where — ma= ybe if you had direct business with them, you would have an interaction, but no= w, especially as we look at some of the work there — in the supplementary budget, we will touch on some of their IREI funding where there is a lot mo= re opportunity for organizations to reach out to them and it seemed like an appropriate choice.

Of cou= rse, on this particular ecosystem, we were working in partnership with the Cold Cli= mate Innovation, TechYukon and the YuKonstruct Makerspace Society to look at delivering programming that supports Yukoners= and Yukon businesses working in the technology, innovation and knowledge-economy sectors.

We wor= ked with YuKonstruct Makerspace Society to secure funding and = to undertake the renovation of the new Yukon innovation hub. It is a collabora= tive space for innovation in Yukon’s knowledge and tech economy.

Of cou= rse, we secured funding and announced the construction of our fibre line. We think = that all of this fits together, but it’s really our technology team at T2D= 2 that is handling the work and working with the leadership at YuKonstruct, or the makerspace.

Mr. Istchenko: Mr. Chair, Economic Development provided a lot of money to this project. I would hope = that the minister would know, when he reviewed the project before money was spen= t, whether or not there was anything in there for the Yukon government to lease space through a part of the analysis that he did when he looked at the init= ial project.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Maybe I am missing it.

Instea= d, let’s get right to the point. If the member opposite has a specific question or if something was done inappropriately, let’s just get rig= ht down to it. I think we have a great project. There are tenants in the build= ing. We will talk about things during debate on the Yukon Development Corporatio= n. I think our processes have had integrity and accountability. If there is something that we want to get to, let’s get to it, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Istchenko: The question I am asking is: When the minister reviewed the innovation hub proj= ect, was there potential for the government leasing space as part of his analysis when he looked at the project?

Hon. Mr. Pillai:  I want to be respectful to the question.

There = is a concept of a project. I think that the Yukon Development Corporation, along with Cold Climate Innovation and others, were all early adopters of the concept to be there. Whether they were there or not — I think it is a good fit, but if the question is: Do they need to be there for the model? Probably not. I think that = for all of us who attended the opening, it was very clear that there was a huge interest in being in that space. So when there was an opportunity for them = to be there — and it was communicated to me by my deputy minister and president of the Yukon Development Corporation — I thought it was a fantastic concept to have them in that space as we look at innovation.

I was = proud of the individuals who worked on this, because the other thing that played out — and we have shared this on a couple of occasions — was that w= hat was being touted in rural America in one particular case was that Google — when you look at a great technology company — was focusing on — the first project was in rural Vermont — was to take communit= ies the size of Whitehorse to look at innovation for a digital economy to make = sure that you had connectivity, which goes back to that conversation when we talk about the redundancy in fibre — but also to look at renewable energy = and where you could have innovation in renewable energy. They touted that as th= eir new concept. The team of people I get to work with were already months ahea= d on that concept being done here in the Yukon.

I hope= I answered it. There were reports coming forward to me through my bilateral m= eetings with the deputy minister as they worked through it. The teams that were involved did a lot of work in a short period of time. If there is a questio= n of whether it was needed or not — once I was told that there was an opportunity for them to be there, I think it was a good idea. Of course, th= ere is a board of the Yukon Development Corporation that was making that decisi= on, and Joanne Fairlie, who has moved on — an amazing individual who did a phenomenal job as the chair of the Yukon Development Corporation — handled this in a very eloquent way. It was great work and she reported back to me during our bilateral meetings. I hope that answers the question, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Istchenko: Does the Department of Economic Development have any funds allocated to the Yukon Trappers Association or to any trapping initiatives in this fiscal year?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I was going to try to get the department through a session wit= hout having a legislative return, but the member opposite has caught me on that.=

I note= that we did have a very good meeting with the members of the Yukon Trappers Association, but Fur Real, the group that has been working really to promote the fur industry, did a presentation to all the renewable resources council= s in Pelly this summer. Mr. Van Fleet was there, and it was a great opportu= nity to speak with him. Of course, the whole House had an opportunity to tribute= the work as well that Kelly Proudfoot, Kelly Milner and others took on to promo= te their work.

I̵= 7;m not sure if there was any submission. I know that in my discussions with them, = they said that they may be looking to continue the partnership with Economic Development. I think it’s a great initiative — absolutely amazi= ng initiative. I’ll leave that to our advisors on what value they see in= the proposals, but I will make sure that I get back to you to tell you what the status is on that particular project.

Mr. Istchenko: I thank the minister for that.

ItR= 17;s a pretty big issue with respect to steel and aluminum tariffs from the United States, as well as Canada’s tariffs that it launched in response. Loc= al businesses have raised concerns — I know that we’ve talked about this before — over both sets of tariffs. So can the minister tell us = what communications his government has had with Canada regarding the steel and aluminum tariffs, and/or have they expressed any concerns over them?=

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I think it is important to look at the conversation as really a two-part conversation. Of course, we had the announcement of the free trade agreement, the USMCA — the renewed agreement — my sense was tha= t, at the federal level — whether it be from updates from Minister Freel= and, who had done a great job of reaching out to all ministers in the country through the process, having thoughtful dialogues and updates when appropria= te. But at the same time, I think that most people would have heard publicly — for those watching that particular undertaking — that the tar= iffs were sort of the next part of the conversation.

I know= that there continue to be a series of conversations this week. We’re figur= ing out the effects almost in real time. It’s timely that the member asks= me this question. We actually met this morning with some of our US counterparts who were here today. Of course, the state senator from Oregon, as well as M= r. Larry Doke, the MLA from Saskatchewan, and we had a b= rief discussion. There is some messaging that you will see probably later today,= if not tomorrow, that is coming out from us as we work together to look at how= we deal with this very important issue.

Some o= f our local businesses have — there have been some workarounds and solutions that have helped them get through it — I have just been informed this morning — and that deal with aluminum, but I was explaining to our American counterparts the importance of the great questions that were broug= ht up here — when you think about infrastructure, the cost of new infrastructure and what the potential increase in the cost of steel looks l= ike to these projects.

So tho= se are continuing discussions. We have great officials who continue to be at the t= able from our policy shop at Economic Development.

I know= that there have been concerns voiced over this particular topic. What we’re going to be doing — even now in the short run — is we will be collecting communication from some local organizations. Having that voice a= dded was a bit of the strategy that was discussed today. So I would ask the memb= ers opposite, if there is anybody or any company specifically that they are awa= re of that is feeling the impacts of this — we’re going to work together hopefully here in this Assembly to make sure that we have as many = of those voices that are being affected put together to be sent to Canada but also, as we start to see the changes post-midterm elections, it’s important that our American partners know that.

So we = have, of course, provided some relevant consultation information on the issue from Canada to our chambers, as appropriate. Of course, we will remain in contact with Global Affairs Canada. I know that Canada continues to see — the removal of working with — and working to just do that. So, of course, this is something that we are keeping a close eye on. But I think that when= we talk about significant action, I am happy.

That i= s one of the reasons — we touched on it today and I know there is a bit of protocol. Mr. Rose, who is here with us today, was key in going to Victoria and bringing the PNWER event here. This is a perfect example of us having an opportunity to have American policy makers here wit= h us tonight and tomorrow. I know that the members opposite will have an opportu= nity and invitations have gone out. Please take that opportunity to speak with US policy makers to ensure that you get another voice in at the table speaking about how important it is to ensure that we have this free trade activity. = It is not a partisan issue. It’s great — Mr. Doke is here as our president, working hand in hand with colleagues from Alberta= and British Columbia to ensure that we’re all really talking about the northwest, but Canada and US relations.

So jus= t — yes, there has been conversation, as I have been informed, and we will cont= inue to have dialogue and more formal — moving forward, even after this we= ek, in some of our discussion that we will be putting out to both governments. =

Mr. Istchenko: Just further on that, I was reading through and looked at the agenda for PNWER, = and I’m sure glad that it is being held here in the Yukon. I look forward= to going to some of the events and talking to some of the people. But previous= ly — and the minister just said again today — you know, to encoura= ge business to get after it. Let us know — let us know. But my question = was — and I think we’ve had this discussion before — but the government — this government — this Liberal government — = have they been in communication, have they written letters, have they talked to their federal counterparts in Ottawa and expressed concerns over this? That= was kind of my question.

I agre= e that everybody needs to work on this. We need to work together on it, but I’m just wondering what the government has done. Have they sent a letter right after= or what? That is what I was looking for.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Our officials do a great job of continuing to voice our concer= ns. There is a briefing table and some of it is done in confidence between officials. We had officials — I believe even in the last couple weeks — who travelled out to sit at our bilateral tables. Mostly the focus has been, in the short run, on the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, but= we continue to voice our concerns any opportunity we get. One of the things th= at even pre-midterms and before the agreement was in place, the commitment tha= t I had made at a personal level was to ensure that we used this platform now to Minister Freeland in conversation about ensuring that we could get as many policymakers in western Canada who are part of the PNWER family here so tha= t we could continue this dialogue.

So two= parts to that: to continue to focus on the tariffs — so if the question is if = I have specifically spoken to the federal minister about my concerns around key issues, the answer is yes. Do I think there needs to be an ongoing dialogue? Yes, I do. I had that opportunity in calls with Minister Freeland. Of cours= e, we have concluded our free trade agreement since then, but there is still concern about what is going to happen after the mid-term elections.<= /p>

Mr. Istchenko: There has been much expansion of cellular service in the Whitehorse periphery and in the Yukon communities. It would not have happen= ed without the support of the Yukon government over the years. Cellular expans= ion has been a significant benefit to Yukoners in terms of convenience, economic opportunities and, most importantly, access to emergency services in times = of need. The Official Opposition has inquired numerous times about the government’s plan to support the next stage of cell service expansion= to all communities with a significant population — of course, including Junction 37, Grizzly Valley, Deep Creek, Fox Lake, Ibex Valley, Mendenhall = and Champagne — and as we grow.

Are th= ere any new developments and/or dollars for this service expansion?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I want to thank our officials for concluding the work that the previous government undertook under a program that was in existence. The to= tal expenditure was, I think, on the government’s side, about $400,000. T= hat concluded — I hope, Mr. Chair, when you are driving to your home riding, that the cellular service in Stewart has improved. I think there was some tweaking that had to be done initially. I know that you ensured that I= was made aware that things had to be tweaked on that particular piece.

The ne= west information would be that the CRTC is looking at key priorities. Part of our discussion that took place — the member opposite might have remembered that he had an opportunity to criticize me for not attending a meeting. The= re were two hours of the meeting that I did not get to go to. At the other par= t of the meeting that I was in attendance for, this was a topic that came up.

There = is a significant expenditure that is being identified. I think it is in the rang= e of $750 million and really, at this point, CRTC is trying to come up with= the mechanism and the criteria and the terms of reference on how to allocate th= at. The early indication is that it would be providing infrastructure in Canada along infrastructure arteries — highways — so if you go through= that list that was just identified by the member opposite, whether it be Junction 37, communities along the Klondike Highway or the Alaska Highway — I don’t know the perspective yet about how broad that is, but I think t= here is a pathway for it.

I will= say, when the Member for Lake Laberge brings forward his concerns — and I should not be remiss; you need to remember that the Member for Kluane has been a g= reat advocate for the communities he represents and has touched on the Champagne piece on a couple of occasions. I have gone and spoken with Northwestel on = this topic. There is the potential to upgrade — I apologize for my lack of technical terminology, but essentially to use existing infrastructure but to improve some of the power and strength of that so that certain communities = may — I think the member opposite and I probably could tell you which tree between Mendenhall and Otter Falls you can get cell service at or not. Ther= e is a little area within there near the Tay Lake turnoff or whatever, and then there’s another space, so it’s probably just extending there, and then just p= ast what many of us would say is the sod farm toward Grizzly Valley, you would = be in a position where you would maybe lose cell service.

How ca= n we extend some of the existing infrastructure? I think it is important, as the member opposite said, to take into consideration the health and safety of community members. As we see different projects in the resource sector and = the tourism sector continue to expand, how do we make sure that our corridors a= lso provide safe networks where people can stay in touch in times of need?

Mr. Istchenko: Sticking with cell coverage: Can the minister provide a status update on the 4G mobile service expansion in the Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: As stated, the work that we did — that was the conclusio= n of that existing program, and now we are looking to see some decisions made by CRTC to move forward. The goal is to ensure that there is connectivity acro= ss the country. When you look at particular — our officials are sharing = that it is.

So CRT= C did announce the funding for the enhanced fibre coverage, including cell covera= ge on major roads, but we were still waiting for details after our Vancouver session. There is a real inequity across the north when you take into consideration the quality of service, especially in Nunavut.

I will= endeavour to make sure that I get back to the House as soon as we are made aware R= 12; with public information about what is going to take place. I look at our pa= th forward as focusing on the new program versus the previous — what we would call the 4G program — but looking a= t what is going to happen over the next number of years through the reallocation of this $750 million and how that can help our Yukon highways and infrastructure — our arteries.

Mr. Istchenko: That concludes my questions for today. I want to thank the staff for providing support to the minister today and the minister for his answers.

I will= turn the floor over to the Leader of the Third Party.

Ms. Hanson: I just have a few questions for the minister on the supplementary budget and one other area.

In rev= iewing the information with respect to the film locations incentive fund, I had a coup= le of questions. When I look at the website, I see that the most recent annual= report was for last year, 2016‑17. A question would be: When will their curr= ent report be available for 2017‑18?

Can th= e minister confirm the status of the review that I believe was mentioned in the spring budget debate with respect to this overall programming area?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I am just going to request the patience of the Leader of the T= hird Party. We were just under the wire. The Yukon Trappers Association, UnFURled and associated projects — just to touc= h on that last lingering question from the Official Opposition — $53,479 in the 2017‑18 budget, and this 2018‑19 budget is supporting it with $13,370. We are continuing that particular partnership.

As for= the report, I will reach out to the department to see when it is going to be posted. I have signed off on it. The report has been completed. It was very well done by the team in the media unit. I have read through it. I know that there were a couple of things I had. They requested my signature. It just probably needs to be uploaded, but it has been completed. It will lay out t= he funding that has been in place for the last fiscal year.

For th= e film fund review, which was the second part to the question, the goal is to supp= ort a prosperous and diversified Yukon economy. We are reviewing our film and m= edia funding programs. In partnership with the Screen Production Yukon Associati= on, SPYA, we have developed terms of reference and a project charter to guide t= he review. I am happy to be working with those talented individuals.

The pu= blic consultation was expected to launch in October 2018, but I believe it is underway. I would have to see when the conclusion is, but I know that it has been undertaken. Our goal is to ensure that our funding programs are flexib= le and compatible with ever-changing technology and that they meet the identif= ied needs of Yukoners making a living in this industry.

Just a= bit of background — in supporting media production in Yukon, we are also supporting the growth and diversification of an industry that is sustainable and provides good-paying jobs for Yukoners. I had the opportunity a long ti= me ago to work part-time in that industry. What we are seeing now is something= to be really proud of. When you think of the positions on-site, you normally w= ould have grip work, which is technical but labour-oriented, and then you have people working on props or catering in different areas. What we saw on this last film that we had an opportunity to fund — it was the German production — was that we had an assistant director on the site —= ; a Yukoner. It was great to be there on the set and to see Yukoners in key rol= es now. That is the important thing, because they build their own capacity whi= le they are on-site — to see somebody in an AD role. Over the years, peo= ple left to increase their capacity and now they are coming home. We are seeing= a large growth.

I thin= k I have a meeting with SPYA as well to talk about the review. I know that the Yukon F= ilm Society has reached out and wants to have a discussion with me. I do want to thank the Yukon Film Society. They did a showing yesterday of three movies.= I had an opportunity to take my son to the 2:00 p.m. showing. It is phenomenal and great work that they do. Once again, all= of these important organizations — and then partnering with the Arts Cen= tre yesterday. We are underway with the review and look forward to this continued discussion with the industry.

Ms. Hanson: Can the minister tell us when the review be completed, and will it be done in t= ime to have an impact, one way or the other, with respect to budget 2019?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I am just endeavouring to get the concluding date of th= at.

Will it potentially affect the budget? I think we will have to wait and see the res= ults of this to see if it will affect our budget.

The on= e piece that I will share is that I think part of the dialogue — I don’t want to premeditate the findings, but one thing that I have heard from a nu= mber of individuals in the industry is that the industry has changed so much = 212; the medium that is being used, the expectations in the digital content that= is being produced, how people can use it, what all of the elements toward the = film are and then the digital content that is built as part of that package that kind of gives an overview of the film. It will be completed by the middle of November. That is the date. We are getting to that point now. We are almost= in conclusion, and then we will sit down and take a look at the findings.

I will= make a commitment to the member. There are lots of different priorities from diffe= rent members of the community that we are speaking with, but if we feel that we = can make some changes in an appropriate manner that can lead to a more client-centred approach and to support the industry and if we can undertake that work, looking to the next fiscal year’s budget — I know th= ose are things that we will most definitely take into consideration. But we are really excited to just see the findings and see what the industry is tellin= g us that they need or what we may be missing in supporting them.

Ms. Hanson: I thank the minister for his response.

Will t= he minister table the terms of reference for this review? In particular, I am interested in ensuring that the terms of reference have some reference to t= he value added of the jobs created in Yukon and what assessment criteria are contained in the terms of reference in terms of the review of this programm= ing area — basically to ascertain whether we are getting value for money = and whether or not, as the minister seems to allude to, this is an area that sh= ould seek further investment. I probably have no doubt that it is true, but I wo= uld like to be able to have some evidence to that effect before we support it or not.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I would like to provide a hard yes, but I would like to have a discussion with our partners who have helped us to define the terms of reference. I don’t think that there would be any discomfort at all. I think that it is a good question. We will speak to them, and I am sure we w= ill get support and be able to table the terms of reference, which are essentia= lly our questions and our focus on the review — not a problem.

Ms. Hanson: I just have some general questions. I would like to ask the minister for an update on the delivery of the immigration programs in the Department of Economic Development since that program area has made its transition from Education to Economic Development under the business industry development program and the business nominee program.

I am a= sking these questions because I don’t see any data or stats on the website.= How many business nominees have there been this fiscal year so far?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Concerning the Yukon business nominee program — t= he entrepreneurs and investors arriving in Yukon through the Yukon business nominee program, of course, inject new talent and innovative ideas to incre= ase job opportunities and enhance economic diversification and growth in the Yu= kon. The program has successfully attracted businesses and entrepreneurs to the hospitality, service, tourism, arts and agricultural sectors in Dawson, May= o, Faro, Haines Junction and Whitehorse.

The bu= siness nominee program operates under an agreement and annex with the Government of Canada to allow the Government of Yukon to accept prospective immigrants wi= th proven business skills to work, live and settle in Yukon.

Just a= bit of background — I know the member opposite is probably very well aware of all the details, but just for those who are not familiar with the program — participants are required to contribute a minimum of $300,000 to th= eir businesses and have a minimal verifiable net worth of $500,000. Since 2004, nominees have invested about $17.86 million into their businesses. From 2015 to August 2018, there have been seven new businesses and eight candida= tes nominated for permanent residence over the last three years. So that is it — there have been seven.

What I= have had the opportunity to see — there are, of course, some businesses locall= y, great contributors to the local economy here. But what we are starting to s= ee, which is really exciting, are individuals on the agricultural side — = some extremely talented people who have done amazing things in the work they have done in the digital economy or construction and who are now moving here to = work in agriculture. They have moved to areas like Mayo and Faro, and I’m pretty excited to see that happen.

Ms. Hanson: Could the minister clarify: Of the $300,000 contribution that business nominees a= re required to make, does Yukon retain any portion of that?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: No, I believe that it is a straight investment into the busine= ss opportunity.

Ms. Hanson: I’m sure the minister knows why I asked that question just with respect to the debacle in Prince Edward Island where we had 800 business nominees register= ed at one hotel, and the province was charging $200,000 and keeping $50,000, w= hich caused a federal investigation into the situation.

How ma= ny workers were admitted under the express entry stream to hire a foreign worker?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: The Yukon express entry — jus= t for a bit of background, in January 2015, the express entry was introduced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as a new way of managing the e= ntry of skilled workers into Canada. It is intended to create a fast and flexible economic immigration system. In March 2015, the department launched the new stream within the Yukon nominee program called the “Yukon express entry”, which mirrors the federal program.

I̵= 7;m just looking to see if I have the exact number of individuals.

The IR= CC — Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada — increased the number of annual nominations for Yukon — just our total amount allowed — = by 60 for the Yukon express entry candidates, bringing the annual allocation f= or all Yukon nominee program streams to 250. To date, we have had 25 individua= ls who go through the express entry.

Also, = maybe just to go a little bit further, the Yukon nominee program, which I just touched= on as part of that, administers the critical impact worker, the skilled worker= and the express entry streams of the Yukon nominee program, and it helps employ= ers fill positions crucial to the viability of their business with foreign nationals who intend to become permanent residents of Canada. Since 2007, t= he YNP has assisted 385 employers, addressing labour shortages. There have been about 1,250 nominees to date, and most nominees are in the food service, to= urism and hospitality industries and in early childhood education.

I will= share with the member opposite and the Assembly that the one area where we have b= een getting a lot of requests is for that seasonal workforce. In certain communities, it has been really difficult this last year. Mostly in the tou= rism sector we’ve seen requests, and they’ve been coming from some of our larger communities in Yukon and also from organizations in Whitehorse t= hat have had a really difficult time maximizing their potential. Of course, tha= t is so important because of the short season, but is really because of some lab= our shortages. In many communities, I have spoken with owners of organizations = and had a discussion about housing. In some of those communities the owners have said no, it’s getting the individuals there. They do have places for people to stay, but they need to find more staff.

In Atl= antic Canada, there was a pilot project that was undertaken. It was discussed at immigration ministers’ meetings really to support the resource with t= he seafood industry as well as agriculture. There have been some challenges wh= ere certain seasons are two or three months long and, if there is flexibility, that’s been one of the conversations — can = there be flexibility so that the same individual can then work in another type of sector in your community, but under seasonal? I know our officials continue= to have consistent discussions on a plethora of issues with Canada to ensure t= hat we can also support our economy and our local businesses, while always respecting the fact that we want to make sure that Yukoners have the first opportunity to seek those opportunities, yet make sure that we can still ru= n businesses with the appropriate efficiency.

Ms. Hanson: I thank the minister for that. The business market and trade-ready training programs for Yukon tourism businesses — can the minister tell us how = many Yukon tourism businesses have accessed this program? Has there been an assessment done of this program in terms of value to participants? I’m curious.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Sorry; can I get the member to just ask that question one more= time?

Ms. Hanson: The business market and trade-ready training program is for Yukon tourism businesses. It’s under Economic Development — that’s curi= ous to me — so I wanted to know how many Yukon tourism businesses have accessed this training. Has there been an assessment by Economic Developmen= t of its value to participants?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I think we had an opportunity in the earlier questions = from the Official Opposition to go through this in its entirety. I’m not g= oing to go through it again — I wouldn’t do that to the member oppos= ite. On our specific financial support for the sector as it pertains to a number= of different tourism initiatives, I will endeavour to get back to see how many organizations are using this particular program of training. I know that we provide it from time to time, but let me endeavour — it hasn’t = been a discussion point with the officials and me, so if it’s listed and it’s not being used, I will endeavour to find that out. If it has been used, I will find out the statistical information for the member opposite on that topic.

Ms. Hanson: I raised the question because I have been around for a while. I saw this prog= ram listed on the website. It appears to be mostly done through online and R= 12; whatever. It is self-directed. I just don’t know what kind of assessm= ent it is and how long it has been around. The question I am asking is: Is it v= alue for money?

I want= to move on to the business incentive program and the rebates to contractors. As we know, those rebates are for contractors working on eligible Government of Y= ukon contracts to hire Yukon residents and to use Yukon manufactured goods and services. There is a labour rebate for three broad categories: Yukon apprentices, Yukon labour and Yukon youth labour.

Can th= e minister tell me: In each of those categories, how many employees and how many are apprentices? How much is Yukon labour in terms of the number and the number= of Yukon youth workers who this program has supported in this past year?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I am going to go through the dollar values, and I will go thro= ugh the organizations. Then I will provide the breakdown concerning the number = of apprentices and youth. I know I have gone through some of that data and read through it — probably more is on some of my internal briefing notes — but I can certainly go through the program just to see. Of course, = you have to be eligible for these different funds.

First = of all, for the major projects in 2017‑18, the Yukon government construction = contracts — the Salvation Army building was $482= ,000 and the general contractor was Narrow Gauge Contracting. The labour rebate = is $161,495.71. I know Klondike Welding received $3,157, Keith Plumbing and Heating was $73,101 and Narrow Gauge was $85,236 — I’m sorry — the exact numbers for the apprentice rebates were $103,475. $33,000= of that went to Keith Plumbing and Heating — and a little bit more, and Narrow Gauge was $70,000. The youth rebates for that particular project was $6,529.41, and that was Narrow Gauge.

To con= clude, the manufacturing rebates were $210,000. Kilrich re= ceived $25,879.48, Kareway Homes received $62,935.72, = Keith Plumbing and Heating received $51,690, and Klondike Welding received $70,295.40. The goods and services contract was specifically Klondike Weldi= ng at $77,000. We can do the breakdown for you. I think it’s probably one youth, based on that number — I will have to check. We can get the nu= mber of apprentices who are associated with those rebates.

Chair: Is th= ere any further general debate?

Seeing= none, we will proceed to line-by-line review.

On Opera= tion and Maintenance Expenditures

On Business and Industry Development<= /span>

Business and Industry Development in the amount = of $956,000 agreed to

On Total of Other Operation and Maintenance=

Total of Other Operation and Maintenance in the = amount of nil cleared

Total Op= eration and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $956,000 agreed to=

On Capit= al Expenditures

Total Ca= pital Expenditures in the amount of nil agreed to

Total Expenditures in the amount of $956,000 agreed to<= /p>

Departme= nt of Economic Development agreed to

 

Chair: Commi= ttee of the Whole will recess for 15 minutes.

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Recess

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Deputy Chair (Mr. Adel): Order. Committee of the Whole will now come to order.

The ma= tter before the Committee is Vote 10, Public Service Commission.

Is the= re any general debate?

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Public Service Commission<= /p>

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the deputy mi= nister, Pam Muir, and Kim Brant into the Legislative Assembly to help me this afternoon.

I̵= 7;m going to take this opportunity this afternoon to speak to the Public Service Commission’s supplementary estimates for 2018‑19. There were two changes in the Public Service Commission’s supplementary amounts. They result in a total increase of $4,846,000.

The fi= rst change is a one-time increase of $200,000 for expenditures related to negotiating = two collective agreements. This fiscal year, the collective agreements with both the Yukon Teachers’ Association and Yukon Employees’ Union are being renewed. These additional expenses relate to hiring a chief negotiator and increased branch administrative costs in support of these negotiations.=

The se= cond change is an increase of $4,646,000 for the employee future benefits fund. = The employee future benefits fund covers the cost of benefits to be paid to Yuk= on government employees when they leave the organization or retire. This amoun= t is an estimate based on regular actuarial review and varies each year dependin= g on factors such as accumulated service, wage rates and demographic factors suc= h as rate of retirement. When the employee future benefits amount is calculated = for the main estimates, it has to be based on an actuarial review from the prev= ious year. When a more recent actuarial review is received, the expense is then revised based on the latest information.

In thi= s case, the updated figures from the actuarial review resulted in an increase in the employee future benefits fund amount.

Thank = you, Mr. Deputy Chair, for this opportunity to share the details of the supplementary estim= ates for the Public Service Commission. With that, I will leave it to my esteemed colleagues to ask some questions.

Mr. Hassard: I would like to thank the minister for his opening remarks, and I would also = like to thank the officials for being here today to help assist the minister with these brutally tough questions that we have for him this afternoon.<= /p>

The fi= rst question is: Would the minister be able to tell us how many employees have utilized the whistle-blower legislation this year?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. The Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoi= ng Act, as I am certainly sure members are aware, is a mechanism for addressing serious wrongdoings that may be committed within a public entity covered by the act and affords specific reprisal protections to employees of those entities.

The act obligations of each public entity include the obligation to ensure wide communication to their employees about the act, including how to disclose a wrongdoing. The Public Service Commission works closely with the Ombudsman,= who is now the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner, to coordinate act implementation and communicate activities.

So the= member opposite is asking how many employees have used the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act this year. I think= he referred to it as the whistle-blowing legislation. To be honest, we donR= 17;t know how many individuals in departments have used that piece of legislation this year. It is reported by the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner in their annual report. So we don’t know across the organization or its Crown corporations how many people actually used the act this year, but that information will be revealed in the annual report of the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner when they file that report sometime at the end of t= he year.

Mr. Hassard: Would the minister be able to update the House on what the government has done to strengthen protections for whistle-blowers, Mr. Deputy Chair? <= /p>

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The member opposite has asked, if I= am to understand correctly, what we have done to communicate more clearly to employees how to actually access the act and what their rights are. In addi= tion to briefings offered to public entities and specific communication delivere= d to all Yukon government employees, the Public Service Commission has also prep= ared and posted on our internal and external websites extensive material about t= he act that all public entities could reference and use for their own communication purposes. For the benefit of our public servants, the Public Service Commission is working with departments to enhance our communications and offer greater guidance across the Yukon government, including developme= nt of guidelines for supervisors and employees that public entities can use.

Throug= hout the Yukon government, we have done many things across departments. For example,= in Community Services, all employees were e‑mailed through the deputy minister’s office. Discussions have been held with department manager= s. Information will be prominently displayed on their corporate Internet, whic= h is now under development.

In Eco= nomic Development, all departmental staff were e‑= ;mailed with information and links about the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act. In Education, Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act procedures have be= en shared with departmental human resource unit staff and discussed at team meetings. Information and links have been e‑mailed to departmental managers and supervisors.

In Ene= rgy, Mines and Resources, the executive committee team e‑mailed information and links to all staff. A summary of the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act information has been sent in a we= ekly staff newsletter to all Energy, Mines and Resources employees. A Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoi= ng Act link was added to the employee information page, and a Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act link was also adde= d to the Energy, Mines and Resources site for managers.

In Env= ironment, a Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act snapshot document was shared in August via the departmen= tal intranet. The departmental directive on Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act was updated and signed by the dep= uty minister in October. All directives are posted on the Environment intranet = and are part of an on-boarding process for all new employees.

In the= Executive Council Office, the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act employee information page link is now on t= he Executive Council Office’s intranet home page. The deputy minister has shared Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act information with all staff by e‑mail on September = 11 and provided links to the Public Service Commission’s one-page snapsh= ot, Executive Council Office’s Pu= blic Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act guide for employees and the Yukonnect page on disclosing a wrongdoing.

In Fin= ance, the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoi= ng Act information communication was sent to all staff through a departmental blog. The Finance Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act activities are accurately recorded and they are planning on resending this information on the staff blog and through a = “finance-all” e‑mail. They are planning that in early December.

In Hea= lth and Social Services, the executive committee team e‑mailed information and links to all staff.

In Hig= hways and Public Works, a department-wide e‑mail was sent out by the deputy minister to all staff on August 14, 2018. Plans are to send information and links to departmental managers and supervisors to present at staff meetings= . We are going to post Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act snapshot documents in common spaces and on departmental intranet sites and provide information to all new employees as part of an on-boarding process.

In Jus= tice, information was e‑mailed to all staff and has been posted to a blog on their internal website.

In the= Public Service Commission, a blog post and an e‑mail was sent to all departmental staff alerting them to the Public Service Commission’s updated guideline document. A brochure, entitled Public Interest Disclosure, was provided to all new employees w= ith on-boarding documents, and there is a link to the brochure also provided on= the Public Service Commission’s intranet home page.

In Tou= rism and Culture, the deputy minister discussed the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act, its importance and how to report= any incidents to Tourism and Culture staff at the April 27, 2018, all-staff meeting. In June 2018, there was a deputy minister blog post on the Tourism= and Culture talk which was e‑mailed to all Tourism and Culture employees = with information links to additional information. In September, the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoi= ng Act guide was posted on the Tourism and Culture intranet site. Also in Septembe= r, the DM sent an e‑mail to all staff directing them to the intranet sit= e.

In the Women’s Directorate, the director sent an e‑mail to staff about= the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrong= doing Act information. The staff meeting scheduled for October 9 that had to = be postponed due to absences was scheduled for November 6, so that has probably happened. I will follow up to see if that has actually happened.

At the Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board, all staff were advised on the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act at tailgate meetings. Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoi= ng Act information has been posted on workers’ compensation bulletin boards.= A link to an employee info Public Int= erest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act page has been posted on the internal safety net site and plans are to add to the PPP — personal performance plan = and professional development plan document review checklist for this year.

At Yuk= on Housing Corporation, the president included information in the monthly newsletter to all corporation staff. It was brought forward at all tailgate meetings. It = is included in the orientation process for new employees and has been placed a= s a resource on the Yukon Housing Corporation human resource intranet website. =

Yukon = Liquor Corporation has created its own Pub= lic Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act guide. It is modelled on the Publ= ic Service Commission’s document. It has posted that guide on an employee SharePoint page, along with a poster and frequently asked questions. It has sent an e‑mail to all YLC staff to raise awareness for all Yukon Liqu= or Corporation employees and supervisors about the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act and to raise aware= ness about the process for disclosing a wrongdoing. Augmented posters are alread= y on display in the Yukon Liquor Corporation head office. Posters will also be s= ent to all stores and the distribution centre for posting to staff areas and bulletin boards. There will be further awareness of the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act at all Yukon Liquor Corporation staff town hall meetings in October. Managers and supervisors a= re going to be briefed at the upcoming management team meetings. That is what = we have done on the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act so far.

I am g= oing to put in a plug for the new on-boarding website which has been developed. It = is government-wide to provide resources to all employees coming on to Yukon government. It is one of the efficiencies we are trying to do where the Pub= lic Service Commission is providing a template — an on-boarding tool R= 12; for all departments so that it is more consistent and we don’t have t= o go through this process in every department and have every department develop their own on-boarding procedures. We are starting to have a central reposit= ory of this information for new employees. On that new on-boarding website, it = has information and links to the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act.

I will= leave it there for now, Mr. Deputy Chair.

Mr. Hassard: Following reports that a department sent plumbers into = some government offices to look through their things, can the minister tell us w= hat his department has done to follow up on these serious allegations, Mr. = ;Deputy Chair?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Could the Leader of the Official Opposition please repe= at his question? I missed the first part of it; I’m sorry.

Mr. Hassard: I will speak very clearly and slowly. Following reports= that a department sent plumbers into some government offices to look through the= ir things, can the minister tell us what his department h= as done to follow up on these serious allegations?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I am sure the member opposite understands that, as a minister responsible for a department and as the Minister responsible for the Public= Service Commission, I am not going to weigh in on individual cases or individual incidents within the public service. This isn’t the appropriate forum= for such talks.

To get= to the member opposite’s question, it speaks to how people conduct themselve= s in the civil service, and that I can address in very general terms. From the p= oint of view of a civil servant — I expect our civil servants to be professional. You know, Mr. Deputy Chair, I am very lucky to say that = we have a very professional, very conscientious and very thoughtful civil serv= ice. I am very happy to be working with them and to have the opportunity to represent them. As the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commissi= on, I am always exceedingly pleased and often humbled by their commitment to pu= blic service and to serving the people of the territory in a thoughtful and conscientious way.

They g= o above and beyond the call of duty in many cases to serve citizens of this territo= ry, be it in Highways and Public Works and working with the roads, in the Public Service Commission dealing with HR issues or in Education with our teachers= and administrators. There are just so many examples. You could go on all aftern= oon. I am sure all of us could do the very same thing. It is just a real pleasur= e to be able to work with such people.

That s= aid, since my time coming into this role, I have noticed that there are lapses or thin= gs we were missing — foundational pieces within the civil service — that will help us conduct ourselves into the future. For one thing, this institution doesn’t have a code of conduct. Over the summer and early fall of this year, the Public Service Commission has been developing and consulting on a code of conduct for Yukon government employees. This initia= tive is part of our government’s commitment to promote and support a professional and merit-based civil service. We already have many policies in place to guide the ethical and expected behaviour of our public servants. T= he code of conduct will draw from, integrate and build upon those existing policies — again, compile them all together so they are not scattered across government. We want to put them in one place to provide a good resou= rce for our civil servants.

Many C= anadian provinces, national governments and professional organizations employ condu= ct codes to set standards for their workforces. The draft code of conduct is currently undergoing an internal review. I look forward to seeing it established in the near future.

There = is that underway, and that will certainly help our civil servants and their manager= s to understand what is expected of them in the future, and that certainty will often, I think, be reassuring to many people.

We als= o have performance management in government. We want to — we do value —= ; I hope I’ve been fairly clear in that expression of support for the astounding and exemplary work by so many of our civil servants on a daily basis. We support our employees and the achievement of our public service priorities and objectives.

So the eligibility criteria for performance pay merit increases are set out in the terms and conditions of employment for Yukon government employees, which are posted on the public website. Performance plans are tools the Yukon governm= ent, as an employer, uses to set out goals and expectations for employees and for monitoring and reporting on performance generally. Satisfactory performance= and conduct is essential to employees’ performance pay or merit increment considerations, and deputy heads are responsible for ensuring that the perf= ormance pay or merit pay activities are carried out appropriately in all department= s.

There = are methods we use to manage the civil service effectively, to reward them, to reward our civil servants for the great work they do on a daily basis ̵= 2; and we’re providing some guidance now as to what our expectations are= so that they’re clear for our employees so they know what is expected of them — and compiling that information in a central location will be helpful for all.

Mr. Hassard: Would the minister be able to tell us today how many deputy heads have or are in = the process of hiring senior advisor positions?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I don’t have that information at hand, but I will endeav= our to get it for the member opposite.

Mr. Hassard: When the minister is getting that information, I was hoping that maybe he would = be able to get me the following information as well. I’m curious about t= he number of vacancies in government positions throughout the Yukon and if we = can get it broken down by community, as well as by department. I don’t ex= pect the minister to have that information here today, but last year he did prov= ide it in the form of a legislative return, so I’m wondering if the minis= ter feels that would be possible again.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I will endeavour to get the member opposite an answer to that question.

Mr. Hassard: I appreciate that from the minister, if he could do that.

During= the group home scandal earlier this year, the government made some pretty bold statem= ents about the quality of media reporting. I believe that the Minister of Justic= e, in fact, told the House that what’s in the media isn’t necessar= ily true.

The Pr= emier did an interview on a CBC afternoon program where he said that the media wasn’t dealing in facts. As you know, Mr. Deputy Chair, some of = these were very serious allegations coming from some whistle-blowers within the public service. I think it is a very brave thing for a public servant to co= me forward in that type of situation — yet when those people hear from t= he Minister of Justice suggesting that the reports coming from the whistle-blo= wers aren’t accurate, I believe that it sends a rather chilling message to public servants.

When a= senior member of the government comes out and essentially throws concerned public servants under the bus, it definitely sends the wrong message. I am curious= if the minister could tell us, with respect to the group home scandal, what we= re the lessons learned by the government on how to respond to whistle-blowers?= Has Cabinet changed their process to ensure that they don’t suggest public servants are not telling the truth in the future?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question this after= noon, because this is information that we went over quite a bit last fall in the = wake of the public discussion about group homes in the Yukon. At the time, and I will say it again, we encourage employees to bring forward issues or ideas = on how we can improve services for Yukoners.

I work= ed in the media for many years, and I am sure that is no surprise or a statement that= is going to shock the member opposite: I fully understand the media’s ro= le, respect it and I won’t be in any way critical of that institution. I think it is a very important institution for this territory, and I know the work it does in this territory and across the country is essential to our democracy, to our public governance and to society as a whole. It is an incredibly important institution for our society.

That s= aid, it is a blunt instrument. When we hear reports in the community about incidents happening from the point of view of a government,= we need information that is much more precise than what we will often receive = in the media. The media will flag an issue — and it does so very well — but in terms of dealing with those issues, we need more information than we often receive from the media — dates, times, individuals, pla= ces and things that happened — precise details that will allow us to go in and start to investigate properly the matters at hand. I don’t think = that is a criticism of the media — that is just an acknowledgement of some= of its shortcomings of detail that can happen.

As I s= aid, that certainly is not a criticism; that’s just a fact of life and one that= I know very, very well.

If an = employee of a public entity believes that there is a serious wrongdoing and that a serious wrongdoing has been committed or is about to be committed, they can seek advice or make a disclosure of wrongdoing under the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act and be reprisal protected for doing so.

At the= same time, we need to be clear that coming forward does not excuse any rule-brea= king that there may be or may have been on the part of the person making that disclosure. That’s an important point to note as well.

We are= working — as I have gone through earlier this afternoon — to enhance our communication and guidance to employees and supervisors on the act to bolst= er the efforts in that regard so that, when people come forward, they know what their rights and responsibilities are under this piece of legislation. Thro= ugh doing so, I think you will see a changing culture within the Yukon governme= nt as they begin to understand how this relatively new piece of legislation wo= rks and how it interacts with the workplace.

On the= floor of this House right now, I am not going to comment on any related investigatio= ns that may have happened or were underway at the Public Service Commission or= by the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner.

We do = encourage employees who have concern to come forward. The information on how to do th= at is now spelled out quite clearly within all departments, as I have noted earlier.

Mr. Hassard: I just have one final question. We have heard from a lot of public servants w= ho are concerned with the politicization of the public service under this government. There are individuals who are finding that they are under scrut= iny due to their political affiliation or whom they are seen with in public. I believe it has been a bit of a trend, unfortunately.

Last y= ear, we saw the Premier in a media scrum criticize private citizens who are members= of industry associations because of their political affiliation or even who th= eir family members were.

Can th= e minister tell us what this government’s policy is with respect to public serva= nts and their political affiliations?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: This territory only works if we have a robust and fear-free political dialogue. I take a very dim view of people being bullied or haras= sed as a result of their political views. I can assure the member opposite that= it is not something that I abide by in any way, shape or form. We all have political views — or not, I suppose. You are also entitled to not have any. That is perfectly all right.

I have= heard of no examples where members have been persecuted. If they have examples, plea= se bring them to my attention and I will do that, but I have no concrete examp= les. I certainly do not abide by bullying or harassment of civil servants based = on their political beliefs. That’s not something that is acceptable. It’s just not acceptable.

Mr. Hassard: I know I said that was my last question, but I don’t believe that the minister actually told me what the government’s policy is with respec= t to public servants and their political affiliations.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: We have a Yukon Human Rights Commission. It is to protect peop= le from harassment, in all its forms, including sexual harassment, which is a societal problem that governments across the country are working to address= . As an employer, we do not condone harassment in the workplace. Furthermore, we believe that a respectful workplace is essential for employee morale and well-being and ultimately for the delivery of a quality public service to Yukoners. As legislators — and a proponent of good governance —= we are working to provide and improve safeguards to Yukon workers who may be subject to harassment in the workplace.

Our ex= pectation for the respectful and harassment-free conduct of public servants is expres= sed and enforced by a respectful workplace policy. I hope that clarifies the ma= tter for the member opposite.

Mr. Hassard: It certainly doesn’t. I’m not talking about harassment in the workplace. The question was, I thought, very specific and very straightforw= ard about the government’s policy with respect to public servants and the= ir political affiliations.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The member opposite says “persecution”; it is harassment. I’ve answered that question. There has been no change in policy since we came into office. It is unacceptable. We have a respectful workplace policy. We expect our civil servants to follow it. That is fairly clear.

Mr. Hassard: I don’t think I’m getting anywhere, but I do want to clear the record. I never at any time said “persecution”, so I will leave= it at that, Mr. Deputy Chair.

Ms. Hanson: I had not intended to go here, but having been a public servant for a very lo= ng time, I would be very happy to have the minister put on the record the simp= le statement of policy with respect to political affiliation and public servan= ts. I’m leading you, Mr. Deputy Chair — I’m leading the minister. Public servants have rights. Could the minister finish that with respect to political affiliation?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The Yukon Human Rights= Act — the charter — expressly protects our rights. From the human rights website, it’s illegal to discriminate against people on the ba= sis of certain characteristics: ancestry, including colour and race; national origin; ethnic or linguistic background or origin; religion or creed; age; = sex, including pregnancy, gender identity or gender expression; sexual orientati= on; physical or mental disability; criminal charges or criminal record; politic= al belief, association or activity; marital or family status; source of income; and actual or presumed association with any of the grounds listed above. That’s absolutely clear. I don’t understand. It’s not an issue, Mr. Deputy Chair, and I don’t know what else to tell the members opposite.

Ms. Hanson: Well, I’ll start back where I was going to start. It’s unfortunate th= at the minister can’t outline what the Government of Yukon’s public policy is with respect to public servants’ political affiliation. Tha= t is generally standard. There are certain guidelines that are followed with res= pect to the political activities — or not — that are allowed —= or not — for public servants with respect to political parties, and there are those within the large umbrella of the human rights legislation.=

I just= wanted to go back. I don’t think we did welcome Ms. Muir in her first appearance here as the Public Service Commissioner — and other offici= als.

The mi= nister outlined — and I was pleased to hear him outline — the long lis= t of departments and agencies that have communicated procedures to be followed if public servants believe a wrongdoing has been committed or if they feel they have been unfairly treated as a result of raising concerns about a wrongdoi= ng.

I do n= ot recall him setting out in that long list the Department of Health and Social Servi= ces and Yukon Hospital Corporation. Are they covered in that list, and has the PIDWA been communicated? Have the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Serv= ices and the CEO of the hospital set out procedures and policies, and what communications were used to convey that in those two entities?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: It was a long list and I can repeat it. I’ll repeat the = Health and Social Services piece for the member opposite. The Health and Social Services executive committee team emailed information and links to all staf= f; so Health and Social Services did that globally.

As for= the Hospital Corporation, that’s outside of the Yukon government’s purview. That’s managed by the board and its executive. That’s = for the board of the Hospital Corporation itself as a Crown corporation to e= 209;mail its employees. I don’t have information on what the Hospital Corporat= ion has done.

Ms. Hanson: I would like to go back — I have asked the minister previously and prev= ious ministers, but I’m hoping that, given that the minister has articulat= ed in a number of statements so far today — improving the performance and the workplace so that public servants can perform to their full potential. = I am going to go back and ask the minister for some follow-up with respect to the audit on staffing. I am going to keep asking this until I get an answer from the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission.

I just= want to point out that, as the minister is no doubt aware — and I would assume that by now he has read the government’s internal audit of staffing f= rom February 20, 2013. I raise this again because I am hearing echoes of the sa= me concerns, and I do want to know that the minister has plans in place to add= ress these and that he will articulate and set them out for the Legislative Asse= mbly.

The au= dit at that time, which was an audit that had been underway in terms of identifying the risk to government — and it goes back = to 2011. They agreed to do an audit in 2012 and finally published it in Februa= ry 2013. They found weakness in the human resources regime government-wide to monitor quality in competitive files for staffing, but they found no regime= for monitoring quality in non-competitive staffing actions — for example, direct hires, exemptions and temporary and acting assignments. According to= the audit, over 60 percent of approximately 1,900 staffing actions could fall i= nto these categories — in other words, 60 percent of the 1,900 staffing actions that were considered to be direct hires, exemptions, temporary and acting assignments. The Public Service Commission at the time argued that m= any staffing activities carried out under these categories arguably posed limit= ed risk to the organization due to their theoretically limited duration. Howev= er, the Audit bureau found concerns: “First, there are indications that t= hese staffing types have been used for periods other than short duration.”= I am sure that everybody who has been involved in the public service will know that this is a fact. “Second, individuals who obtain employment throu= gh exemptions and auxiliaries-on-call can be employed on a permanent or ongoing basis. Given that these types of transactions far outnumber competitive one= s, and are subject to significantly fewer rules by their very nature…= 221; — the Audit bureau maintained — “… that the absence= of a monitoring regime for non-competitive staffing activities is potentially problematic, and warrants further consideration from the employer.” <= /span>

Is the= re now a monitoring regime for non-competitive staffing activities across the public service? If so, how is it communicated and how is it being deployed?  

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: That is a very specific question from the Leader of the= Third Party. I appreciate it, and I will endeavour to get an answer to her.

Ms. Hanson: I do appreciate the minister’s undertaking to get back to me. I will po= int out that it is not the first time I have asked this question of this minist= er. I have referenced this particular audit a number of times because I think i= t is particularly important — and, Mr. Deputy Chair, it is absolutely consistent with this government’s own Yukon Financial Advisory Panel’s recommendations with respect to the HR function in government= . I am not going to go on — I am going to come back to this. The minister= is on notice that he will be getting in-depth questions on this whole particul= ar area and how both the findings of this six-year-old audit plus the Financial Advisory Panel with respect to the HR function are addressed.

I woul= d just like to go back to the supplementary estimate. I would just like the minist= er to explain — we are seeing a 25‑percent increase in the employee future benefits. The minister said and I understand that this is due to actuarial assessment calculations. This is a significant increase. How ofte= n is a 25‑percent increase seen in employee future benefits? Is that an an= nual increase or is this a catch-up of some sort? Could the minister please prov= ide an explanation?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The actuarial review is done every year so this isn’t ca= tch-up or keep-up. This is based on an actuarial review that is done every year and this is the adjustment that the actuaries have asked us to make for this ye= ar. I believe the total number is $11 million and change — about $100,000 in non-pension post-retirement benefits. That is an increase of $4= .8 million. This records the future liability of retirees and eligible current employees for extended health and life insurance. Amounts are determined by that year= ly actuarial estimate. It reflects the length of service and the age of the pu= blic servant — that whole algorithm that the actuaries use.

Ms. Hanson: I understand that. That is why I said I understood that it was based on actua= rial assessment. It was roughly a 25‑percent increase this year, and I ask= ed him how often we see a 25‑percent increase. Has that been the pattern each year over the last five years, or are we starting to see a dramatic increase?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The member opposite has drawn attention to the increase this y= ear. Most of that comes through the extended health care, so those are benefits = that flow to people who retire. If we have more retirees, that number is going t= o go up. Over the last five years, it has varied. In some years, this is a larger increase and probably reflects the larger retirees we have coming out of the civil service.

Ms. Hanson: I want to get an update from the minister. When we spoke in the spring, I ask= ed questions with respect to Respectful Workplace office, and the minister indicated there was a steering committee that had been established that was= a union government committee. It included the Public Service Commissioner, YEU and YTA. There was an evaluation piece that was being done on the Respectful Workplace office, and they had not developed the evaluation criteria or methodology as of yet — that was in the spring. Could the minister set out for the House what the evaluation criteria are? Have they been establis= hed? As he noted at that time, there was going to be some setting out of the objectives, the measurables and the scope of an= evaluation for the RWO.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The respectful workplace policy came into effect in Apr= il 2013. A commitment was made to evaluate the policy and appropriate dispute resolution processes used by the Respectful Workplace office after five yea= rs of operation. As the member noted, we are in the process of that. The evaluation has two components: the evaluation itself and a client survey. T= he evaluation framework was established in 2013 and identified performance indicators based on capturing quantitative data, such as the number and typ= es of complaints received by a department and branch.

The co= mmittee overseeing this work is a union management team, so it is collaborative. The evaluation will also be informed by other data, including but not limited t= o: the results from four employee engagement surveys in 2011, 2013, 2016 and now in 2018; key informant interviews; worksh= op evaluations; and the client survey. The client survey was developed in close collaboration with the Yukon Bureau of Statistics. It queries clients on the principles of the appropriate dispute resolution practice, timeliness and feeling heard; the ADR process they were engaged in and their satisfaction = with the same and their satisfaction with the outcome of the process. The survey= was administered by the Bureau of Statistics, and that institution will tabulate the data to provide the evaluator. That will then provide the data analysis, and recommendations will be made based on that analysis. The Respectful Workplace office will not have access to this data.

I can = say that approximately 650 current employees received this survey and there was almo= st a 50‑percent response.

Ms. Hanson: We will look forward to the final product.

When w= e were debating the mains in the spring, I asked questions with respect to the employee assistance program. The minister indicated at the time that an RFP= had been put out and there would be an announcement soon.

It is = no longer Morneau Shepell. Their contract apparently ended on M= arch 31.

Can th= e minister tell this House: Who has the employee assistance program? What is the lengt= h of the contract? How much is the contract and how is it being delivered?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: To begin, I’m just going to go back to the former questi= on and the assessment of the Respectful Workplace office, and that whole process is expected to be completed by the end of December. Just for the member opposite’s information; I wanted to say that earlier and it slipped my mind.

The em= ployee and family assistance program was retendered. We had a few bidders on that contract. The successful company was called Family Services Employee Assist= ance Program; it goes by an acronym — I’m not going to read it. It b= egan its contract with the Yukon government on April 1. The contract is funded o= n an annual basis and is renewable for three years. I don’t have the cost = of that contract handy, Mr. Deputy Chair, but I will endeavour to get it = to the member opposite.

Ms. Hanson: Can the minister tell this House where the Family Services Employee Assistance Program is based out of?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The company is based out of Vancouv= er.

Ms. Hanson: Does that company based in Vancouver subcontract to any local agency?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Yes, I do have some information. It does use the servic= es of Many Rivers and it also has other individual representatives here in the Yu= kon that it also pulls on — so individuals as well.

Ms. Hanson: The Family Services Employee Assistance Program agency out of Vancouver that subcontracts to Many Rivers has an annual contract, renewable for three yea= rs. Are there criteria associated with the renewal each year, and will the mini= ster table those criteria when he tables the total amount that the contract is f= or each year?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Thank you very much, Mr. Deputy Chair. The criteria would= have been outlined in the contract, and I will review the contract and endeavour= to get an answer to the member opposite.

Ms. Hanson: I think I need to paraphrase that because I wasn’t really sure what the minister said. I believe he said that he will endeavour to get back to me a= fter he reviews the contract, but he doesn’t want to release the criteria.= Is that what he is saying with respect to the renewal provisions?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I said I would review the contract to see what the crit= eria was and get back to the member opposite.

Ms. Hanson: I do look forward to that. When we were speaking in the spring and I asked questions with respect to the representative workforce, the minister indica= ted that there was a new, revised plan that was in the process of being updated= . It had been worked on for almost a year — since 2017‑18 — an= d it would be completed by the end of this calendar year. Can the minister provi= de the House with confirmation that this new revised representative workforce = plan has been completed or if there is a revised date for when it will be comple= ted? When can we anticipate seeing it tabled in the Legislative Assembly?=

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: We are collaborating with our Yukon First Nation partne= rs through the Yukon Forum to advance the renewal of the representative public service plan. As the member opposite, I think, has noted, the plan has not = been comprehensively reviewed since its establishment in 2011. An intergovernmen= tal committee comprised of Yukon First Nation and Yukon government representati= ves has been formed to co-design the new plan. The committee anticipates that t= he draft of the renewed plan will be completed by the end of December, with the approval process to begin thereafter. The plan continues to be a priority f= or both the Yukon government and self-governing First Nations, as demonstrated= by its status as a joint priority of the Yukon Forum.

Deputy Chair: <= /span>Is there any further debate on Vote 10, Public Service Commiss= ion?

Seeing= none, we will proceed to line-by-line debate.

On Opera= tion and Maintenance Expenditures

On Labour Relations

Labour R= elations in the amount of $200,000 agreed to

On Emplo= yee Future Benefits

Employee= Future Benefits in the amount of $4,646,000 agreed to

On Total of Other Operation and Maintenance=

Total of Other Operation and Maintenance in the = amount of nil cleared

Total Op= eration and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $4,846,000 agreed to

On Capit= al Expenditures

Total Ca= pital Expenditures in the amount of nil agreed to

Total Expenditures in the amount of $4,846,000 agreed to

Public S= ervice Commission agreed to

&nb= sp;

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Mr. Deputy Chair, I move that you report progress with re= spect to the matters before the House in Committee of the Whole.

Deputy Chair: It has been moved by Ms. McPhee that the Chair report progress.

Motion agreed to

 

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Deputy Chair: It h= as been moved by Ms. McPhee that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Motion agreed to

 

Speaker resumes the Chair<= /p>

 

Speaker: I w= ill now call the House to order.

May th= e House have a report from the Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole?

Chair’s report

Mr. Adel:=  Mr. Speaker, Committee of the Whole has considered= Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑19, and directed me to report progress.

Speaker: You= have heard the report from the Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole.

Are yo= u agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Speaker: I d= eclare the report carried.

&= nbsp;

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I move that the House do now adjourn.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.<= /p>

Motion agreed to

 

Speaker: Thi= s House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

&= nbsp;

The House adjourned at 5:15 p.m.

 

 

 

The following legislative return was tabled November 13, 2018:=

34-2-169

Respon= se to matter outstanding from discussion with Mr. Hassard related to general debate on Bill No. 207, Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑19 — Old Crow Airport (Mostyn)

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