Work Completed July - October 2022
In the fall sitting, the Standing Committee on Social Development reported Bill 48: Arbitration Act back to the house including releasing a Report on the Bill on October 25, 2022. In sum, the Committee accepted the bill without proposing changes.
The Standing Committee on Social Development has completed extensive public engagement efforts regarding its priority of housing and particularly preventing homelessness. Its most recent efforts include five public hearings regarding this topic in the summer of 2022: one in Inuvik on June 13, one in Fort Good Hope on June 27, two in Yellowknife on June 29 and 30, and one in Behchokǫ̀ on August 29. The Committee will present a report to the Legislative Assembly early in the new year with recommendations to the Government.
The following pieces of legislation were referred to the Committee to review:
Bill 56: An Act to Amend the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation Act
Bill 57: Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 2022
Bill 65: Builder’s Lien Act
Bill 68: An Act to Amend the Child Day Care Act
The Committee will be collecting public feedback on these bills, as particularly Bills 65 and 68 will have effects on construction companies and workers and day care operators in the NWT.
Stemming from suicide statistics released by the NWT’s Chief Coroner, the Committee has focused its recent activities on suicide prevention. The Committee plans to continue to take as many tangible actions as possible in their remaining time in office to find effective prevention strategies for the Territory’s people.
Public Business July – October 2022 Included:
Hearing, Housing and Homelessness Prevention, Community of Behchokǫ̀ (August 29, 2022)
Hearing, Bill 48: Arbitration Act, Minister of Justice (October 5, 2022)
Clause-by-Clause Review, Bill 48: Arbitration Act, Minister of Justice (October 11, 2022)
Housing Priority - Homelessness Prevention
The Standing Committee on Social Development agreed upon Housing as its priority concern. The Committee knows that many residents are struggling to find safe and affordable housing. As a result, some families are living in overcrowded homes and some are facing homelessness.
The Committee is now focusing specifically on homelessness prevention. Homelessness prevention means providing those who are or have been homeless the resources and supports they need to stabilize their housing and reduce the likelihood of becoming homeless in the future. While homelessness prevention targets those who may be experiencing homelessness, it supports all people and communities because the focus is on creating safe and affordable housing throughout the Territory.
What’s been done so far?
Committee presented the Report on Housing Phase One: Needs for the NWT Homeowners and Private Landlords on June 2, 2021. The report contained 12 recommendations for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation and other GNWT department to address assistance for homeowners and landlords, collaboration with Indigenous Governments, NGOs, and the private sector, increasing housing stock and the removal of policy barriers.
What is next?
Committee’s next phase is to explore social housing and homelessness.
The result from Phase Two of the Housing Review will be a Committee Report containing recommendations for Housing Northwest Territories (formerly NWT Housing Corporation), which is scheduled to be released in the coming months. The Committee is focused on making recommendations on the kinds of policies, practices and interventions needed to increase safe and affordable housing, improving the maintenance and conditions of current housing and developing innovative housing solutions that are needed in the Territory.
Committee will engage public housing tenants, social housing providers, landlords and other stakeholders to understand current challenges and barriers.
If you would like to ensure your issues and ideas are heard by the Committee, contact them at Committees@ntassembly.ca to coordinate a virtual or in-person hearing.
Child and Family Services Act Review
The Standing Committee on Social Development released its report “Lifting NWT Children, Youth and Families: An All of Territory Approach to Keeping Families Together” on March 29, 2022. This report is the final product of its review of the Child and Family Services Act. It resulted in 19 recommendations to the GNWT. The main finding is that a whole of government approach must be used to mobilize system supports to keep families together starting from pregnancy. More information, including a visual summary of the report, can be found at ntassembly.ca/keepingfamiliestogether.
For more information on the Standing Committee on Social Development, please contact:
Committee Clerk, Standing Committee on Social Development