(Yellowknife, NT) September 10, 2020 -- The Standing Committee on Social Development met in Hay River from August 17th to 19th, 2020, hosted by Hay River South MLA Rocky Simpson.
In each Assembly, Standing Committees take time to for priority setting and strategic planning meetings. This time is used to determine the focus of each Committee over the course of 19th Assembly. The Standing Committee on Social Development terms of reference includes oversight for the Departments of Education, Culture and Employment; Health and Social Services; and Justice. It is also responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation and Status of Women. The Committee is responsible to review and provide feedback on departmental business plans, budgets and legislative proposals.
During the 19th Assembly, Committee will be conducting statutory reviews of the Child and Family Services Act, the Education Act and the Mental Health Act.
Committee has agreed to focus their efforts on increasing and improving housing stock as well as access to housing according to the needs of small communities, regional centers and Yellowknife. Safe and affordable housing increases economic opportunities in our NWT communities and has been established as a social determinant of health, found to support improvements in health outcomes and decrease costs in other areas of government funded systems like health care or the criminal justice system.
While in Hay River Committee met with a number of community members, including Chief and Council of K'atl'odeeche First Nation and representatives from the Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre. Committee received a tour of the new homeless shelter run by the Hay River Council for Persons with Disabilities and the MacKenzie Place Highrise. Part of the meetings included receiving presentations from the Hay River Family Support Center and from a K'atl'odeeche First Nation master student studying colonial history, residential schools and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
Committee members would like to thank the people of Hay River for their dedication, work and efforts in supporting their community. Visits with community members gave Committee an understanding of the incredible work program providers must do to ensure people are supported in their communities.
Committee members in attendance at the meetings included Caitlin Cleveland (Kam Lake), Lesa Semmler (Inuvik Twin Lakes), Ronald Bonnetrouge (Deh Cho), Rocky Simpson (Hay River South), and Julie Green (Yellowknife Center).