Whitehorse, Yukon

Monday, April 10, 1989 - 1:30 p.m.

Speaker: I will now call the House to order.

We will proceed at this time with prayers.



Speaker: We will now turn to the Order Paper.

Are there any Introduction of Visitors?


Hon. Ms. Joe: I would like to welcome to the House today Jan Staples and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Staples, who are visiting from out of the territory.


Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?


Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have for tabling a number of Legislative Returns relating to questions outstanding from Estimates and previous Question Periods.

Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?


Introduction of Bills?


Mr. Lang: I move that a bill entitled An Act to Amend the Student Financial Assistance Act be now introduced and read a first time.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East that a bill entitled An Act to Amend the Student Financial Assistance Act be now introduced and read a first time.

Motion agreed to

Speaker:  Are there any Notices of Motion for Production of Papers?

Are there any Statements by Ministers?

This then brings us to the Question Period.


Question re: Ketza River Gold Mine

Mr. Phelps: I have some questions for the Minister for Economic Development: Mines and Small Business regarding the recent rash of negative news reports about the future of the mining industry in Yukon. Belmoral Mines announced last Thursday that it will not be buying the Ketza River Gold Mine because of the low actual production figures for that mine. We understand that Canamax issued a two-paragraph news release saying that Canamax is reviewing the situation with regard to the mine pending its response.

Can the Minister advise this House whether Canamax has issued any further public statements regarding the future of the mine?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I was made aware of the fact that the sale had at least temporarily fallen through late last week when the public announcement was made. Consequently, requests were made of both Belmoral and Canamax to see whether or not further information could be provided, to explain, in greater detail, the situation with respect to that financial agreement. To date, to my knowledge, no further information has been supplied.

Mr. Phelps: Is the Minister intending to meet with officials from Canamax in the near future?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, I had indicated a desire to visit Canamax to see the operation, and also to speak with officials in any case, and certainly this situation has accelerated those plans.

Mr. Phelps: Does the government have any plans at all to take steps to encourage Canamax to keep the mine operating?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: That was a primary concern we had, and we have been given verbal assurances that there are no plans to change the operation of the mine at this point. They have indicated to our officials that they intend to keep operating as before.

Question re: Omni Mount Skukum

Mr. Phelps: With respect to the developing mine in the Wheaton River area known as Omni Mount Skukum, recent news reports indicate the deal to lease the mill owned by Total Erickson has fallen through. Can the Minister confirm this story?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have heard the suggestion. I have not been able to confirm that the deal has fallen through. I have asked officials to keep abreast of the situation.

Mr. Phelps: Has the Minister been in touch with officials from Omni or Mount Skukum to determine exactly what they intend to do in the future with regard to opening up that mine?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have not personally been in touch. Again, I have indicated a desire to officials that I would like to meet with officials of the various properties to discuss the situation. I understand they have had some discussions with government officials about some related matters, including water use applications. We are taking a very direct interest in what is happening with those properties.

Mr. Phelps: Is the government taking any steps to encourage Omni and Mount Skukum to put the mine into production? Are there any plans of assistance or anything else from this government in the works?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: As I have indicated, I have not yet had the opportunity to personally meet with the officials. I know they have had regular meetings with the previous Minister of Economic Development. Any assistance that we can provide to encourage a production decision would be considered.

Question re: United Keno Hill Mines in Elsa

Mr. Phillips: My question is for the Minister of Economic Development as well. As we know, the Elsa mine has been shut down since January; most of the workers and their families have now left. I wonder if the Minister could update the House and let us know if there have been any discussions taking place and if there may be a change in the status of that mine and it may reopen in the near future?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have spoken, on a couple of occasions, with the president of United Keno Hill Mines about the possible re-opening efforts of the United Keno Hill Mine in Elsa. They have indicated at this point that they are in the process of doing a final wrap-up review of their year end. At the same time, they are finalizing the temporary closure procedures. Simultaneously, they are issuing a share offering to try to secure enough funds to cover their debt and to give them a buffer as well.

They have indicated a desire to continue speaking with the government on, not only their aspirations, but whatever issues there may be of common importance throughout the government and to the mining company. At the same time, I have indicated a willingness and a desire on behalf of the government to see what is available that could encourage an earlier re-opening decision.

Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister could tell the House if he has made any specific recommendations to United Keno Hill Mines on some specific things that the Government of Yukon could do that would facilitate the re-opening of that mine?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: A number of things have been broached with the mining company with respect to re-opening decisions. There are a number of elements that would be considered in any re-opening and certainly, the government is prepared to discuss any or all of the elements. The degree of support would depend very much on what results could be had from that support.

A number of areas have been discussed under our current programs, everything from mining rehabilitation to doing energy audits on the housing in that community. There are probably a dozen or more elements that would contribute to the re-opening decision, not the least of which is the silver price. We both agreed that neither the company nor the government can do much about that.

Mr. Phillips: One of the alternatives announced by this government when the mine was closed was the possibility of turning the mine into a mine training school. Is the government still pursuing this idea?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: We are pursuing the idea very actively. One of the agreements that we do have is that the feasibility of a mine training school for the training of underground miners be studied right away. The company has nominated a contact person. We have contact people and the approach is being made directly.

Question re: Salmon fishery

Mr. Lang: I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Renewable Resources. At the outset, I would like to say that we are pleased to see that positive steps are being taken with respect to the negotiations over the Yukon/Alaska salmon fishery. I understand that an agreement has been reached between the parties involved about borders and other things coming into effect over the course of the coming years. Is the Minister in a position to table that particular agreement?

Hon. Mr. Webster: No, I am not in a position to table that document as I have not received it myself, but the arrangement that has been reached between the two parties is that, over the next few years, a program will be initiated that will rebuild stocks over a long period of time, probably a 10 to 12 year period of time, which is, of course, a two-year cycle for salmon.

When I have that report available and I have had a chance to review it, I will make it available to the Member opposite.

Mr. Lang: In view of the discussions that took place in Anchorage, could the Minister inform this House of the outcome of the negotiations for this year as far as the fishermen are concerned? Are they going to being facing tighter quotas in view of the statements that have come from that particular discussion?

Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, the decision that was made this past week at the negotiations was to establish a meeting in Dawson City where both parties could have input into establishing the amount of take by each country, the Alaskans and the Yukoners. That meeting is scheduled to take place in the last week in May.

With respect to the amount, it is anticipated that in an effort to rebuild stocks there definitely will be a smaller number of fish taken by both parties.

Mr. Lang: I wonder if the Minister could also report to this House what progress, if any, has been made in regard to the question of enhancement? What I mean by that is the prospect of having, perhaps, a hatchery built to assist in rebuilding the sadly depleting stocks.

Hon. Mr. Webster: The whole matter of enhancement, being so closely related to stock rebuilding, was discussed at length. There are a number of things that we are able to do to improve the stocks through enhancement, such as habitat rehabilitation, and the one that the Member has correctly identified, of doing more work here in our fishery in Whitehorse and expanding our operations so as to develop more fry.

Question re: Salmon fishery

Mr. Lang: This brings us down to the basic question of who is going to pay. It is no secret that the Alaskans do take the lion’s share of the salmon that is raised in the Yukon. With regard to the enhancement and use of the hatchery, or building another hatchery, who is going to pay? Has there been agreement in that area?

Hon. Mr. Webster: There has not been any agreement as to what the responsibilities of the two parties are with respect to paying for enhancement programs. However, our Yukon contingent strongly feels that the Department of Fisheries of the federal government, which is still responsible for the salmon resource, should be called upon to put more money into a local hatchery to expand it, as we feel that their actions in signing the Pacific Salmon Treaty back in 1985, without dealing with the Yukon River situation, is largely responsible for the situation we find ourselves in at this time. There has not been anything agreed upon between Alaska and the Yukon in this matter, but Yukoners are establishing a position with respect to the federal government.

Mr. Lang: We are all federal taxpayers. My concern goes back to the principle that the Alaskans get the lion’s share of the fish. Is it not the position of the negotiating team that the Americans should pay a good portion of whatever costs are involved in running a hatchery, and perhaps building another?

Hon. Mr. Webster: The understanding is that it was deemed to be desirable by both parties to rebuild the stocks, and that both will have to take active responsibility in enhancement programs. The one enhancement program I have just referred to, which will be conducted here in the Yukon, was by no means the only one. I am quite certain that there will be others done on the Alaskan side of the border, where it is estimated that 50 percent of the fish stock are produced, as well.

Question re: Fire truck, Watson Lake

Mr. Devries: On April 5, 1989, when asked about the Watson Lake fire truck, the Minister of Community and Transportation Services indicated that $115,000 was agreed to, yet, in a letter to the town mayor dated March 6, the Minister indicated $130,000 was available. The Town of Watson Lake anticipates $130,000. What is the Minister’s position on this matter?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I thank the Member for giving me notice on the question. The communication of the previous Minister is the most recent and accurate information. At the time of the budget preparation, the amount of $115,000 was the usual allocation for that type of equipment capability. The $130,000 is the amount committed, in fact.

Question re: Dawson City new school, hazardous fumes

Mr. Devries: In light of the problem with the propane in the Dawson City school last week, can the Minister of Education tell me if his department has an emergency response procedure for all schools in the territory? It appears that the quick thinking of the staff of the school prevented any serious problems. However, the fire department was not called by the school. If no response procedure exists, would the Minister have his department implement such a procedure?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: Years ago, it was anticipated that emergencies would happen in schools. It is the policy of the public schools branch that there be instructions for drills in every school, for just such situations as the one that occurred in Dawson. It is the responsibility of the Regional Superintendent to ensure that there is a drill in every school. It is the responsibility of the principal to ensure that those drills are undertaken.

Mr. Devries: Does the Department of Education have a policy regarding exposed propane hook-ups at schools where children have access to them? Have other schools been checked for similar exposed installations?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: There are, literally, dozens of things that could result in emergency requirements for drills. Each school is to be schooled on emergency procedures, whether it be propane tank hook-ups or anything else. That is the case in the Dawson school. Some time ago, I asked that an analysis of what happened in the Robert Service School be completed.

Question re: Icicles, Watson Lake school

Mr. Devries: During the election campaign, the janitorial staff at the school in Watson Lake called me complaining that icicles were hanging from the eaves of the school. The concern was that an icicle would fall and injure a student. In some schools, the procedure is to have the janitorial staff remove these. According to the janitors there, they do not have the equipment to remove them. Does the department have a policy in place to prevent potential accidents such as this?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The policy is to discourage the potential for accidents from icicles building up on the roofs of schools. Primarily, it is up to the principal, who is the immediate supervisor, to identify areas of concern and ensure that appropriate action is taken. If the school custodians do not have the capacity within the school to remove the icicles, it is then the responsibility of the principal and superintendent to ensure that appropriate persons in the Department of Government Services be made available to ensure that any safety hazard is removed.

Question re: Territorial Court judges

Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Justice regarding the Territorial Court judges. It has been almost three weeks since the Minister met with the Judicial Council to discuss various outstanding issues, in particular, the hiring of judges. Can the Minister tell us if the position is going to be advertised and why it has not been advertised so far?

Hon. Ms. Joe: The position will be advertised. There are a couple of things that we are still discussing. I am hoping that we will reach an agreement by Thursday.

Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us what the issues are that are being discussed that are holding up the advertising of this position?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I would prefer not to talk about those discussions in the House today. The discussions I have had with the Judicial Council and with the judges have been favourable and we appear to be coming to some kind of agreement. It is my hope that I will be able to make an announcement on Thursday.

Mrs. Firth: Are we to take it then that the Minister will be readvertising the position on Thursday, or is she just going to be making an announcement about decisions that are going to be made?

When is the position going to be advertised again? I do not get a clear statement that that will happen on Thursday.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I am having ongoing discussions, and as late as Saturday morning, I was having discussions on one item on which  we have to come to some decision. It will just be a matter of days after that that the position will be advertised.

Question re: Territorial Court judges

Mrs. Firth: My new question is to the same Minister regarding the same matter: the Territorial Court judges.

Can the Minister tell us whether or not she has had an opportunity to discuss with the individual who is currently the chief land claims negotiator, the status of his position and whether or not that position is going to be freed up so that we can hire a judge?

Hon. Ms. Joe: No, I have not.

Mrs. Firth: Has she discussed it with the Judicial Council and can she tell us now when that secondment is going to end?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not have that information today.

Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us when she is going to make a decision regarding this matter?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I will be meeting with the land claims negotiator regarding that matter. We do not have a date set up. I was planning to contact him the other day, and, as soon as I do, we will be discussing the matter.

Question re: Mammography unit

Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Human Resources.

There has been considerable discussion about access to a mammography unit for Yukoners: whether it would be through a sharing of a mobile unit with northern British Columbia, or the purchase of our own machine. I would like to know if the Minister can update us as to his progress in obtaining access to a mammography unit for Yukon women.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I am sure the Member knows, the Department of Health and Human Resources has supported the introduction of mammography screening in the territory, and I am sure it will be a matter of interest to the Member that the deputy ministers of Health from across the country have recently endorsed annual mammographs at their December meeting.

The hospital in Whitehorse has recently evolved its position and is now prepared to house and lend support to the program as a working group, including the Yukon Medical Association, which supports the implementation of the program at the hospital. There is a significant capital cost - I understand something in the neighbourhood of $100,000 - to implementing such a program, and the cost-sharing arrangements for this development are being negotiated between the federal and territorial governments, but no conclusion has yet been reached.

Mr. Nordling: When can Yukon women have a mammogram here in the territory? Is there a date to which we can commit ourselves?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is impossible, when there are negotiations going on, to predict a definite date at which point they will be concluded, but I hope that not too much time will pass before this program will be implemented here.

Question re: Expectant mothers, assistance for

Mr. Nordling: That was not a clear answer. I would like to go on to another subject. There has also been discussion by this government over provision of a home or assistance for expectant mothers who have to come in from the communities to Whitehorse to have their babies. Will the Minister update us as to the progress in this regard?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sure the Member may have noticed there is one dollar provided for in the Capital Estimates now before the House to permit us to continue discussions we have now begun with various bodies, including the Department of Government Services, as to the availability of suitable accommodation, the cost of renovating the same, and a potential operator of such a facility.

At this point, we are seriously looking at having some social service agency in the community operating the facility. We have tentatively identified a building currently being used for some other purpose as a potential site, and we are assessing the costs of having that building meet the zoning and building code standards that it would be required to meet in order to be considered.

Mr. Nordling: That sounds very nice, but are there any set timelines or goals in which to achieve this?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Should we identify an acceptable site and properly identify the costs of renovating or improving that facility, my plan is to come before the House sometime this year with a request for a supplementary to do whatever renovations or improvements may be necessary to open and operate that facility and to have it in place in this fiscal year.

Mr. Nordling: I have also heard that the Minister of Health and Human Resources is planning to cut off Yukon Medicare for seniors who leave the territory for the winter months. What instructions or policy directions has the Minister given to his department in this regard?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: None.

Question re: NorthwestTel communication towers

Mr. Brewster: Could the Minister of Renewable Resources tell us if NorthwesTel received a land-use permit for the communication towers on the Dempster Highway?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will take notice of the question. I am not totally familiar with that detail. I know there are ongoing discussions about the phase 3 of the program, which would see expansion of that particular network up the highway. I would have to take notice as to precisely how it relates to the land-use permits.

Mr. Brewster: What is the position of this government in regard to this project?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The position of the government has been outlined in previous discussions in the House. The project is a cost-shared one, and this government has taken a funding support position to the project. The short answer is that this government is supporting the project in its plans to upgrade the telecommunication service to territorial residents.

Question re: Zoning regulations, Carcross cut-off

Mr. Phelps: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services by way of follow-up. Residents at the Carcross cut-off and Golden Horn Subdivision have attended numerous meetings in 1987 and early 1988 to work out mutually acceptable zoning regulations for the area. A consensus was finally reached after all kinds of meetings. I am wondering when the regulations are going to be made into law.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I cannot say definitively when. I am currently reviewing those regulations. They will require some additional approval before being passed into law, as the Member knows, but I would expect that a reasonable answer is within the next month or two.

Mr. Phelps: Can the Minister tell us why it has taken so long? The regulations were agreed to over a year ago.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can only advise the Member that I have just recently became aware of them and, as I indicated, I am currently reviewing them and will pass them on for the appropriate approval steps that are necessary very shortly.

Question re: Traffic flow

Mr. Phillips: My question is for the Minister of Transportation Services and it is regarding the Riverdale traffic on Lewes Boulevard and Hospital Road.

The traffic study released by the Minister, looking at this area, clearly states that without further expansion or use of the Old Yukon College, this intersection is a problem. In fact, it states that traffic-signal control is currently warranted for the existing volumes of traffic. Is the Government of Yukon working with the City of Whitehorse to address this problem prior to moving any more government employees into the Old Yukon College?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am pleased to tell the Member that there are ongoing discussions regarding the Riverdale bridge and the traffic-flow pattern. The Member is quite correct about the traffic patterns currently in place there, but he should also know that the proposed use of the Old Yukon College in and of itself will not increase the traffic patterns as they currently exist. In short, the proposed use of the Old Yukon College for the Department of Renewable Resources and the Child Development Centre will not change traffic patterns or increase them.

Mr. Phillips: I beg to differ with the Minister. I believe that it will change traffic patterns; in fact, I know it will. The simple fact of the matter is that the government employees that will be working at the Old Yukon College will be arriving at work at the peak rush-hour periods when the people from Riverdale will be trying to get out of Riverdale. That was not the case with the Old Yukon College before...

Speaker: Order, please. Will the Member please get to the supplementary question?

Mr. Phillips: ... so I would ask the Minister if he will assure this House that no more government employees will be moved into the Old Yukon College until that traffic-flow problem at that intersection is addressed.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member has cited the traffic study that was used to determine just what impact that facility will have when its use has changed. While we may debate what impact the employees may have by going to work at 8:30 a.m. as opposed to students going at the same time, it is a matter of conjecture. I am reassuring the Member that the traffic-flow pattern of that bridge and area is being closely scrutinized by both Government Services and Community and Transportation Services, as well as city officials.

Mr. Phillips: The Minister and I are at least on agreement on one point. There is a problem. Now, there is a problem currently with traffic. His report says that. He said that in the House today. What I am asking the Minister is: Will he assure the House that no more employees will be placed in the Old Yukon College until that traffic flow problem at that intersection is addressed?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member has to realize that the problems that do exist at that location now are ones that I take seriously, and certainly this government takes seriously, with respect to any proposed use for the Old Yukon College. But the fact of the matter is that the responsibility rests with the city for addressing it, and we are currently in those discussions encouraging that action and rectification to take place.

Question re: Yukon Economic Council

Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister of Economic Development. The government’s Throne Speech delivered on March 8 indicated that the Yukon Economic Council would be expanded into a Yukon council on the economy and the environment during this year’s Legislative sittings. I would like to ask the Minister when this will be done and who will sit on the new expanded council?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The government has not finalized the details with respect to the make-up of the new expanded council. Certainly, discussions have been held with the acting chair of the council with respect to what the existing council’s aspirations are. The Ministers involved - the Government Leader, the Minister for Renewable Resources and I - will be making an announcement shortly. We have indicated a desire to see the council expand and see it resume operations in earnest.

Mr. Nordling: In the past, we on this side have asked that a representative from the agricultural industry be put on the Yukon Economic Council. I would like to know if there will be an agricultural representative on this new expanded council?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The suggestion will certainly be considered. It would be premature for me to indicate, prior to discussions with my colleagues, who might be placed on the council, given its expanded mandate. But certainly, when the mandate is determined, an announcement will be made.

Mr. Nordling: I am not having much more success with specifics from this Minister than with the Minister of Health. The government has a reputation for not following through on its Throne Speech commitments, and I would like the Minister to be more specific and tell us when the new council will meet and who will appoint the new council.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I sincerely do apologize that we have not acted more quickly to meet the Member’s expectations. The government has been in operation as a new government with this promise for a little over a month. There are a number of things pending, and this is very high on the priority list. As I indicated, discussions have been held with the existing Yukon Economic Council to at least show them the courtesy of consulting with them as to what they think the makeup ought to be. When the decision is made, which should be shortly, about the makeup of the council, then certainly the Member will be one of the first to know. We do consider this to be a high priority. This is something that was promised in the Throne Speech about a month ago and it certainly will be undertaken.

Question re: Justice of the Peace program

Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Justice regarding the Justice of the Peace program.

I asked the Minister if she would maintain the same rigid policy about racial and gender balance when it came to appointing JPs as did her predecessor, or could we look forward to a more reasonable and practical approach under her ministry?

The Minister did not answer the question. I would like to ask her quite specifically now if she is going to relax that policy when it comes to appointing JPs, so that some of these communities are not left with either no or just one JP in the community?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I have met with the Judicial Council in regard to that. It was on the list of items about which I spoke. We recognize that there have not been any JPs appointed for a long long time. I have also met briefly with the JPs when they were in town. It is my hope that there will be JPs in the communities other than Whitehorse, who will know the areas and people well. Those JPs may happen to be male, female, Indian or whatever, but I think that the most important thing here is that those people do understand the situations, the communities and the cultures. There will be a relaxation of those rules, but...

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear.

Hon. Ms. Joe: ...it is still my intention to make sure that there are more women, and it is my intention to make sure that there are Indian people, but the important thing, really, is that those people do understand the people and the communities.

Mrs. Firth: We do not disagree that there should be Indian people and women, but not at the expense of not having a JP at all. I think that that was the issue that we were raising. We are pleased to hear that that is going to be changed and that the objective is going to be that the communities have JPs who can identify with those communities.

I would like to ask the Minister when the new training sessions are going to start. She mentioned that that was going to happen. Could she tell us when?

Hon. Ms. Joe: There is a training proposal in place right now. There have been discussions between myself and the chief judge in regard to that training. There is no date set for that training to start yet, but certainly we are pursuing that, and we hope to come to some kind of a decision in regard to when that will be.

Mrs. Firth: I was of the impression that that could happen anytime. The Minister had said in the House that the plans are already being instituted, when I asked questions about the JP training and the appointments.

Could she tell us then when we are going to have some new appointments announced, so that the JPs can benefit from the training sessions?

Hon. Ms. Joe: As the Member knows, the recommendations come to Cabinet from the Judicial Council. I am not entirely sure when it will be making recommendations. There are discussions underway right now regarding the kind of training that is required for JPs once they are appointed. In the past, JPs have been appointed without training, and I think we would like to make sure that there is some kind of training before the appointments are made. There has not been any training in the last little while. I know there is an urgency for a JP in Old Crow. I think there have been discussions with the community about that. I am hoping that we can expect a request from Judicial Council in regard to that community.

Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.


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

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Motion agreed to

Speaker leaves the Chair


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

After a brief recess, the Committee will be dealing with Bill No. 28, entitled Day of Mourning for Victims of Workplace Injuries Act.


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

Bill No. 28 - Day of Mourning for Victims of Workplace Injuries Act

Chair: Is there any general debate?

Mrs. Firth: I move that Bill No. 28 entitled Day of Mourning for Victims of Workplace Injuries Act be deemed to be read.

Chair: Is there unanimous consent?

All Hon. Members: Agreed.

Chair: There is unanimous consent.

On Title

Title agreed to

Hon. Ms. Joe: I move that you report Bill No. 28 without amendment.

Motion agreed to

Bill No. 51 - First Appropriation Act, 1989-90 - continued

Chair: We will now proceed with general debate on the Department of Education.

Department of Education

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The budget before you represents a total of $15,940,000 in construction, renovation and capital equipment allocations to be divided between the various component programs and service branches of the Department of Education.

I will outline the major budget items for each branch, starting with the public schools branch. The construction of a new elementary school in the Whitehorse area is planned to proceed this year with $800,000 allocated for the design and initial construction activity. A local committee has been formed to advise on the design of the school. The school would tentatively serve the growing student population of the Granger/Hillcrest area, as well as subdivisions and communities elsewhere.

The Robert Service School construction and upgrading project is proceeding as planned and is expected to be ready for use in April of this school year. An amount of $761,000 has been allocated for the 1989-90 year to cover the cost of demolition of parts of the old school, further renovations to the remaining sections of the old facility and for school furniture and equipment. This project, which involved extensive community employment, will combine school and community-use functions wherever feasible.

To meet the demands of a growing student population in Porter Creek Subdivision in Whitehorse, $644,000 is included in the budget for the expansion of the Porter Creek Junior High School.

This expansion will provide much needed additional classroom and library space.

An amount of $550,000 is included in this budget for the design and initial construction of a new and larger St. Elias residence in Whitehorse. The current residence is too small to serve the growing number of students needing accommodation and there is no room to expand the existing facility; therefore, a whole new residence is to be built. The residence serves high school students from the communities who come to Whitehorse to attend FH Collins High School.

Jack Hulland School will receive an allocation of $350,000 to provide increased sources of natural lighting and to expand the administrative area in the school. A further total of $1,006,000 will be spent on a variety of renovations and upgrading projects of the following schools: FH Collins, Whitehorse Elementary, Selkirk, Chief Zzeh Gittlit, Christ the King High, Kluane Lake. This amount also includes $180,000 for a number of smaller miscellaneous school facility operations.

Four school computer labs will be constructed over the year for a total cost of $120,000, the locations of which are to be decided in the near future.

A number of schools will have grounds improvement work done at a total cost of $300,000. This includes such projects as refurbishing the grounds of Robert Service School, building a new soccer field at Johnson Elementary School and the Carcross School and providing the tennis courts replacement at Jeckell School.

The gymnasium floors in Selkirk and FH Collins Schools will be finished at a cost of $100,000. This is part of the ongoing maintenance necessary in our schools to keep the facilities in good condition.

In a continuing effort to make our schools accessible to physically handicapped people, $100,000 has been earmarked for Whitehorse Elementary School to alter the entrance and interior of the school to provide appropriate access.

This gives a total amount of $6,731,000 to go toward the construction, repair and maintenance of school facilities for 1989-90.

Instructional equipment for schools is another significant capital expenditure, coming to a total of $980,000. Of this amount $300,000 is for an instructional computer, $100,000 for business education computers to prepare students for a working environment, $100,000 for industrial education and home economics, $40,000 for physical education, $30,000 for musical instruments, $40,000 for drapes, $20,000 for the learning resources centre, $20,000 for special education, and $15,000 for kindergarten equipment. The amount of $275,000 falls under the general category of audio-visual, library, office and miscellaneous school equipment, which includes such items as audio-visual equipment, typewriters, desks, chairs and photocopiers. Priorities for these latter expenditures are determined by individual schools in consultation with the school committees.

The French language programs have $32,000 for classroom equipment and materials, $6,000 for an instructional computer and $2,000 for audio-visual equipment for a total of $40,000.

This completes the capital budget for public schools for a total of $7,711,000.

On Yukon College, the major capital expenditure here is for the completion of the new Yukon College construction. A project at a cost of $2,132,000 will finish the construction of the new gymnasium, the final component of the new college facility. A new community campus building will be constructed at Old Crow. The amount of $50,000 has been allocated to complete the construction of a northern research laboratory within the new Yukon College facility. This lab will support the Northern Studies Program and other northern research and science endeavours.

An amount of $225,000 has been identified for campus equipment for the central Yukon College. This includes $140,000 for new gymnasium equipment and $85,000 for new and replacement equipment for existing and new programs.

The community campuses of Yukon College have been allocated $130,000 for furniture and equipment to support existing and new programs.

That brings the total capital budget for Yukon College to $3,237,000 for 1989-1990.

Under the advanced education branch, the recently opened Career Services Office will receive $10,000 for furnishings and equipment for its new facility. This office provides a well-used service to the public and is effectively responding to an important community need for career development information and career counselling.

The libraries and archives branch has a number of significant items in the capital budget, for a total $2,952,000. The government will be constructing a new archives facility at the same site as Yukon College. Design work for this facility is nearing completion and $2,700,000 has been allocated for the 1989-1990 year toward construction. A further $25,000 has been earmarked for archival storage equipment and $16,000 for conservation assessment facilities, for a total of $2,741,000.

The archives has also been allocated $15,000 of capital funds for public display of preparation and maintenance. The library research facilities will receive a total of $141,000 in capital funds. This includes $50,000 for library facility planning for the Whitehorse Public Library and $91,000 for community library development in Ross River, Teslin and Dawson.

A further amount of $55,000 is allocated for library equipment, including audio-visual equipment. This amount will support the community and central public libraries in the continued provision of good service to their clients.

Finally, the finance and administration branch has been allocated $2,000,000 for the initial construction work on a new Yukon arts centre. The new centre, which is to be built in collaboration with Arts Canada North, will also be located by the new college facility in Whitehorse and will provide an outstanding locale for a wide variety of cultural and artistic productions and displays. Our public schools and Yukon College programs will benefit from this facility.

Finance and Administration will also receive $30,000 for custodial equipment for Yukon schools, bring the total capital budget for this branch to $2,030,000.

That is the general explanation of expenditures for this department. I am sure we will eagerly get into general discussion.

Mr. Devries: I was not here for the beginning. I have some concerns that I will address as we go through line by line. I would rather not comment on the whole thing right now. There are some concerns in the area of the arts centre and also in the new program being introduced regarding career counselling. I have some concerns as far as the rural communities go. I will get to them as we go through line by line rather than going through duplications.

Mrs. Firth: I have some general questions for the Minister as to how they made some of the decisions regarding the expenditure of funds and how the priorities were set. Other than the fact that school committees were consulted when it came to specific schools wanting equipment, how did the government determine the priorities as to whether they were going to proceed with new schools and which ones were going to require upgrading and renovations and whose turn it was? Can he give us some indication as to how these decisions were made?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not sure if the Member is talking about school equipment or extended facilities or both. I will respond initially with respect to school facilities themselves.

As has been discussed in this Legislature on a number of occasions, there have been a number of studies done in the Whitehorse in particular and around the territory that have been responding to what was anticipated to be a student enrollment increase. In Whitehorse in particular, analysis was done, not only of the reports, but also of student enrollments, given the programming that is available in the various schools. We are looking at student enrollments for particular schools, where we would anticipate the student populations to show strain in coming years. Clearly, we expect some strain in the junior high area, and we are experiencing strain in some schools in Whitehorse. For that reason, it was those schools in particular that were targeted for the expansions, given that we know the expansions will take place in a year or so. That is the general reasoning behind why some schools were chosen for expanded classroom space while others are not.

I believe we have gone through the rationale a number of times already in the Legislature and even in this sitting, with respect to a new school in Whitehorse. At the elementary end of the spectrum, there is clearly a need for more classroom space. The government is responding to that. We anticipate in the coming years that there will be further strain on the junior high school classroom space. It may, though it is probably too early to tell, result in some need for more space at the high school level. Certainly, though, the highest priorities at the present time are elementary school space in Whitehorse and some additional classroom space at the junior high level.

Mrs. Firth: I was asking specifically about the answer that the Minister gave. I was not so much concerned about equipment. I was more concerned about the larger decisions and what the government’s priorities were.

Those reports that the Minister keeps referring to were done in 1986. Some time has passed since then; I would like to ask the Minister if they are following the stated objectives, directions and recommendations that were given in those reports. Are they planning to deviate from them at all as they did with the issue that has recently been debated in the Legislature? Are they going to follow the recommendations that were made in the reports prepared by the committee that was made up of representatives from the city, department officials and educational representatives?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: Again, I am not exactly sure what the Member is referring to with respect to the comment about government deviating from previously designed plans.

The last report that I am referring to is the report on the Yukon school facilities requirements that was done jointly between the Education Council and the public schools branch. As I indicated a few days ago, the report is in the media and was made public with respect to the needs for school facilities in Whitehorse. This capital plan is largely based on that report.

Mrs. Firth: When the government makes decisions regarding ground improvements, - or which school gets a new gym floor, which school gets a new soccer field, which gets computers and so on - is there still a schedule or a rotation that is maintained so that each school receives its turn to get something new, or are those kinds of decisions being made separately now? Is there still some kind of maintenance schedule in place for when certain things happen at certain schools?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: As a general proposition, to my understanding, the answer is yes. From time to time, clearly, there may be something happening of a more urgent nature that requires the department to respond more quickly in some areas than others. Generally speaking, however, we try to ensure that necessary work on all schools is undertaken and no school is left without the services required.

There is a general understanding - at least in the schools that I have attended, which is every one - that everybody’s turn will come in the fullness of time, so to speak. Certainly there are schedules for certain things to happen with respect to, for example, the installation of computers. The computer labs is one area that may depend upon the maturity of the computer program in that school. With respect to ground improvements, sometimes the plan can be altered if there is a major reconstruction undertaken requiring grounds improvements. For example, there was a major renovation done at the Carcross school. Irrespective of where Carcross stood with respect to grounds improvements per se, because of the construction activity, the work still had to be done to provide for the landscaping.

Jeckell School is another example. As I remember it, the Jeckell School expansion necessitated the removal of some tennis court space. In the arrangement, there was a promise made to ensure that tennis court space was reintroduced elsewhere. That is something else that is sometimes done from time to time, to meet a specific need and does not perfectly fit the mold of the rotation basis. In the main, though, my understanding is that the needs are met on a rotational basis. The maintenance schedule requires that attention is given regularly to every school.

Chair: Is there any further general debate?

We will then proceed with line by line. I would like to refer Members to page 154, Capital Expenditures Summary, public schools, $7,711,000.

Facility construction and maintenance: student residence, Whitehorse, $550,000.

On Public Schools

On Student Residence - Whitehorse

Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is not as if the Committee of the Whole has not seen this before. Mr. Devries may be new to this particular project, but certainly the other Members in the Legislature are quite cognizant of the project and the fact that there has been some difficulty securing the appropriate location and proper zoning within the City of Whitehorse. There is every indication, however, that the project should go to tender shortly, and the project will be undertaken.

Student Residence - Whitehorse in the amount of $550,000 agreed to

On Robert Service School - Upgrade/Expansion

Hon. Mr. McDonald: This brings us to the conclusion of this significant project in Dawson City. This funding is required to finish construction and undertake the final renovations. This should be the last expenditure for a total cost of approximately $9.1 million.

Mr. Devries: Is the school ready to move into now, or are there still problems, such as fumes?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The contractor was late in completing the contract, which extended the time frame for the move into the new facility by approximately a month. At this point, the plan is that Occupational Health and Safety will be in Dawson on the weekend taking sophisticated sniff tests and air-quality samples for analysis. If all proves to be in order, and if there is no danger whatsoever encountered with respect to fumes or otherwise, the move should take place in approximately one week or more. The air exhaust system, or the ventilation system, within the building has been working to remove the fumes caused by the various paints, et cetera. It has had sufficient time to reduce the odour and smells that may be emitted. Our expectation now is that everything is fine, but we will be taking final readings on the weekend.

Robert Service School - Upgrade/Extension in the amount of $761,000 agreed to

On Porter Creek Jr. Secondary - Expansion

Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is for extra classroom space and one library for this school. There is presently no room for a computer lab. For Members who are not familiar with the school, the special learning assistance class has been operating out of a storeroom. The specialty classrooms that were designed into the project - the home ec room and the science labs - are currently used for classroom space, which is not considered to be the optimal use of that space, so this project was selected to go ahead. Last year, we projected to spend about $106,000. This year, the $644,000 should bring it to a total cost of $750,000.

Porter Creek Jr. Secondary - Expansion in the amount of $644,000 agreed to

On Granger - Design/Construction Elem. School

Hon. Mr. McDonald: No matter what you build and no matter where you build it, you have to design it. This is the funding for the design.

Granger - Design/Construction Elem. School in the amount of $800,000 agreed to

On Jack Hulland - Upgrade and Renovation

Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is a two-year project to upgarde the school. Members will remember $400,000 in the last budget. This is a two-year project to upgrade the school by installing hot water lines to various classrooms, sinks with hot and cold running water, improvement of the sources of natural light and improvements to the ventilation system. This is a school of the nouveau-old design, which discouraged natural light. We are now of the view that natural light is a good thing. We are putting in appropriate windows and skylights.

Jack Hulland - Upgrade and Renovation in the amount of $350,000 agreed to

On F. H. Collins - Upgrade

Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is a general upgrade of FH Collins. The total cost is projected to be approximately $720,000 in 1989-90 dollars. Members will remember that last year we initiated work in the neighbourhood of $50,000 toward the upgrading of the floors, walls, fixtures and doors to meet the recommendations of the 1984 energy audit. It will, in its entirety, renovate and expand the administrative area for clerical and office space and increase storage space for student records. It will also replace the stage drapes.

F. H. Collins - Upgrade in the amount of $200,000 agreed to

On Selkirk - Upgrade and Renovations

Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is the first year of a two-year project to provide the necessary renovations to the old section of the school as identified in the facilities study. The immediate projects will be the upgrading of walls, floors, doors and various hardware. We will concentrate on renovations to the washrooms, some of the classrooms and the staff room. We will also be increasing storage space to provide proper separation from the boiler room. The fire separation walls and the washroom renovations are considered to be the first priorities.

Selkirk - Upgrade and Renovations in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

On Chief Zzeh Gittlet - School and Teacherage Upgrade

Hon. Mr. McDonald: This $60,000 is to improve the roofing of both the school and the teacherage to provide for exterior lights during the limited hours of daylight during the winter. The hand bell will be replaced with an automatic bell system and the washrooms will be renovated.

Chief Zzeh Gittlet - School and Teacherage Upgrade in the amount of $60,000 agreed to

On Watson Lake Secondary - Upgrade/Expansion

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am sure everyone is aware of this project. The project began in 1988-89 with the conception design being approved by the community committee - with block schematics and design drawings. For other Members’ information, other than the Member from Watson Lake, the community committee includes members of the school committee and the Town of Watson Lake, the community campus community and the Indian band. Wood, Gardner and O’Neil are the architects for the project. They will be undertaking detail design. The project should go ahead this year as planned.

Watson Lake Secondary - Upgrade/Expansion in the amount of 2,000,000 agreed to

On Whitehorse Elementary - Upgrade

Hon. Mr. McDonald: Members will know that in past years we have expended approximately $400,000 on this project. This year, $200,000 is necessary for a total of $600,000. There has been ongoing upgrading work to improve wall and floor finishings and plumbing and fixtures for the building. The Members may know that the library expansion and the career lab were included in the 1988-89 portion of the budget.

The project this year includes the design and construction of the bus loading zone and what was remaining of the exterior retrofit should have been tendered already. That constitutes the entirety of this upgrading program.

Whitehorse Elementary - Upgrade in the amount of $200,000 agreed to

On Grounds Improvement

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The priorities for 1989-90 include $65,000,000 for completion of the landscaping of the grounds and the sports field at the Carcross School. Refurbishing of grounds after construction of the Robert Service School, the re-location of equipment and sports field activities is $100,000. Members will know that the old school will be removed under an existing contract, which will leave a space for a new field to be installed there.

There are a few other things on the list: the installation of playground equipment and upgrading of the driveway, parking and landscaping at the Johnson Elementary School at Watson Lake for $85,000, topsoil and grass seed for the sports fields, the installation of irrigation lines to the field from the school and fencing to control school traffic at the St. Elias Community School in Haines Junction comes to $50,000, refurbishing the soccer field, installation of a sprinkler and upgrading the track at FH Collins High School comes to $100,000, refurbishing the grounds around the school in Old Crow comes to $20,000. There was $35,000 for grounds improvement in the Elsa School, which will be reconsidered to determine the actual need. There is ongoing maintenance to all the schools for a total of $83,000.

Those are the total projects that will be considered as the priority ones for this year.

Grounds Improvement in the amount of $300,000 agreed to

On Install Computer Labs

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The priority projects for this year are Ross River, Porter Creek Junior Secondary, Selkirk Street, and JV Clark School.

Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us just how much money we are spending on computers within the public school system, and what is the computer/pupil or pupil/computer ratio now?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The provision of computer labs over all the years totals $540,000. We have spent $97,000 so far; this year it is predicted at $120,000. We spent, in the first year, after we adopted the computer policy, in the neighbourhood of $300,000 for computer equipment, et cetera. It is now in the neighbourhood of $250,000, as I recall. The student/computer ratio, I believe, is eight to one and is the best student/computer ratio in North America, with the exception of one school district in the San Francisco area.

Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us how our students are doing on a comparative basis with other students across Canada, or do we have that kind of information here?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will take notice of the question with respect to the actual comparative data, to the extent that it has been undertaken. I do know that the people who have done analyses on the computer programing within the schools recognized the value and the increased computer literacy skills of the students within the school system and the ability of those students to undertake learning programs with the appropriate software. It is considered by just about everyone I have spoken to, to have been a wise move by the department, and if it has the various support services, including the computer inservicing for the teachers, it is at least meeting the expectations that the public has. If there is any information of a more scientific nature that can assess the quality of the program, I will certainly make it available.

Install Computer Labs in the amount of $120,000 agreed to

On Christ the King High - Renovations

Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is one of two projects that was slated a number of years ago but was delayed for the upgrading of Christ the King High School. The first project was the upgrading of the library that was undertaken in this last year  with funding of $90,000. This is the upgrading of the science room to meet the facility standards and to complete the library renovation project that was undertaken last year.

Christ the King High - Renovations in the amount of $150,000 agreed to

On Gymnasium Floor Refinishing - Various Schools

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The refinishing projects include Selkirk Street School and FH Collins School, considered to be the schools having some of the heaviest use due to joint-use agreements. These schools are scheduled for refinishing. If there are funds left over, then other schools will also experience refinishing.

Gymnasium Floor Refinishing - Various Schools in the amount of $100,000 agreed to

On Handicap Access Alterations - Various Schools

Hon. Mr. McDonald: A lift will be installed at Whitehorse Elementary School in 1989-90, as I mentioned in my opening remarks. Members are familiar with some of the projects that were laid out in the previous years. Three lifts were added to FH Collins in the past, to enable handicapped students to reach the second level for their classes. FH Collins has a rather unique design in the sense that one lift would not be sufficient.

The project this year is primarily to provide a lift at Whitehorse Elementary School.

Handicap Access Alterations - Various Schools in the amount of $100,000 agreed to

On Miscellaneous School Facilities Alterations

Hon. Mr. McDonald: These are exactly that. I will just run through them, for the Members’ information. There are not that many of them here.

Storage and alterations to the vice-principal’s office and library renovations at Porter Creek Junior Secondary, $15,000. The installation of fume hoods and the reclamation of the French language area, at FH Collins, for $19,000. Shelving units at Grey Mountain School, for $10,000. Protective covering for windows around the courtyard at Johnson Elementary, $7,500. The installation of eavestroughs and downspouts at St. Elias, $8,000. The modifiation of doors at Teslin School for $8,700. Door improvements for both fire-rating and strengthening at Old Crow for $5,700. The improvements to the entrance foyer and washroom fixtures at the Elsa School, $15,000. Alterations to the equivalency education classroom at FH Collins, for $10,000. The insulation of wet areas at the elementary classrooms at JV Clark School, $12,000. There is the insulation of various windows et cetera and miscellaneous projects for principals’ and counsellors’ offices at various schools, for $13,500, and $55,500 miscellaneous school maintenance for projects that are not provided by Government Services.

Miscellaneous School Facilities Alterations in the amount of $180,000 agreed to

On Del Van Gorder - Upgrade

Hon. Mr. McDonald: As the Members know, at the time that the budget was developed, there was still a substantial question as to what would be done with the old and new gym attached to Del Van Gorder.

In December of last year and January of this year, the report had still not arrived respecting the future of the gymnasium. Last year, the school committee had asked that further engineering be done to determine whether or not the facility could be salvaged. The engineering report that came in was sponsored by Government Services. It indicated that it could not be salvaged. At this point, the decision is to have the building removed, subject to the allocation of funds.

Del Van Gorder - Upgrade in the amount of one dollar agreed to

On Kluane Lake - Upgrade

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The project is to rehabilitate the interior and exterior of the schools, and upgrade the windows, the carpeting in the classrooms, to replace the furnace and improve the lighting. It is a one-year project and should be done this summer.

Kluane Lake - Upgrade in the amount of $166,000 agreed to

On Industrial Education and Home Economics

Hon. Mr. McDonald: This was a standard item to provide equipment for various schools around the territory in the field of industrial education and home economics. The same is true for the items of physical education equipment, musical instruments, drapes and instructional computers.

Mr. Devries: If these items are large dollar items, are they tendered or do we just go shopping for them?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: Even though the figure of $100,000 is a substantial sum, it involves the purchase of various small equipment. Through their good auspices, Government Services provides for the purchase of the requirements of the school system.

Mr. Devries: My main concern is regarding the instructional computers. In listening to remarks I have picked up from students, especially in the higher grades, there seems to be a concentration strictly on Apple and Macs whereas, if they were switched over to IBM compatibles, it would save them having to take additional courses once they got out of the school to acquire the knowledge about how to operate the IBM compatibles. Several people seemed to indicate that there is money being wasted in this transition area. I think the Apple computers are fine in the elementary schools but, once you get up to grade 10, it would be more advantageous for students to take the courses on IBM compatibles. Several of the computers use the same type of software, but IBMs have function keys and Apples do not. There are different areas that could be improved.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member makes a valid observation. The reason Apple has been the company of choice by the Department of Education for many years is because of the software packages they provide. The research they undertake in public school programming is ranked number one. For their initiatives in the provision of computer software, IBM is not so heavily involved in the public school system in the United States, and it is Apple that ranks number one in the provision of software and the selection provided. It also does a tremendous amount of research into software and is considered to be far superior to the competition.

In the senior grades, the move to IBM compatibles is something the college has been pursuing. As Members will note, the introduction to business education computers would necessitate the stocking of computer equipment that is compatible to the IBM system, at least in the view of the people operating the Computer Education Program.

For that reason, there is a transition period where we do make use of the Apple system because of the superior quality of their software and the research they do undertake in public school education. As we move into the senior grades and into college, we will move to something that is related to IBM or IBM compatible, which appears to be the wisest choice.

Industrial Education and Home Economics in the amount of $100,000 agreed to

On Physical Education Equipment

Physical Education Equipment in the amount of $40,000 agreed to

On Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments in the amount of $30,000 agreed to

On Drapes

Drapes in the amount of $40,000 agreed to

On Instructional Computers

Instruction Computers in the amount of $300,000 agreed to

On Learning Resource Centre Miscellaneous Equipment

Learning Resource Centre Miscellaneous Equipment in the amount of $20,000 agreed to

On Special Education

Special Education in the amount of $20,000 agreed to

On Kindergarten Equipment

Kindergarten Equipment in the amount of $15,000 agreed to

On Instructional Computer - Business Education

Instructional Computer - Business Education in the amount of $100,000 agreed to

On A.V. Library, Office and Equipment

A.V. Library, Office and Equipment in the amount of $275,000 agreed to

On Classrooms Equipment - French Immersion

Mr. Devries: Would this be recovered through federal assitance for language training?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I understand that it is not.

Classrooms Equipment - French Immersion in the amount of $30,000 agreed to

On Materials - Ecole Emilie Tremblay

Materials - Ecole Emilie Tremblay in the amount of $2,000 agreed to

On Instructional French Language Computer

Instructional French Language Computer in the amount of $6,000 agreed to

On Audio Visual Equipment

Audio Visual Equipment in the amount of $2,000 agreed to

Public Schools in the amount of $7,711,000 agreed to

On Advanced Education

On Yukon College New Building

Mr. Devries: Could the Minister be a little more specific as to where this money is going now?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The gym at the college.

Yukon College New Building in the amount of $2,132,000 agreed to

On Community Campuses - Construction

Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is for the construction of community campus facilities in Old Crow.

Mrs. Firth: Would the Minister give us more detail as to what type of facility is going to be constructed there? I do not see any projections in the multi-year program. Is this $700,000 the total cost of that community campus?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is correct. It is expected to be approximately 2400 square feet and the projected building costs are about $333 per square foot. Because of the transportation requirements, as the Members know, the community campus facility in Old Crow is shared with the new Renewable Resources trailer but has never been considered to be adequate accommodation. In an effort to improve campus facilities around the territory, it was felt that this was a high priority.

Mrs. Firth: Where is it going to be located in Old Crow?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: Well, I am going on memory, but I will as the Member for Old Crow. Would it be correct, Madam Chair that it would be on church property?

Ms. Kassi: No. It would be beside the community centre.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would be correct if I state that it would be beside the community centre, then.

Mrs. Firth: Is that on YTG land or is it being built on someone else’s property?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The facility would be built on YTG property.

Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us how many students are projected to use the facility?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am not sure what the activity level is in Old Crow. As I understand it, though, the use of the facility has increased during the past couple of years - the community campus has only been in existence for the last couple of years, so I guess it had to have increased from prior to that. I will find out all this information.

Mr. Devries: This is regarding community campus construction. The Watson Lake High School, for instance, will have two rooms and a reception area that will be designated as community campus for Yukon College. Mind you, it will not be built this year, but will be next year. Will a separate budget be included for that portion of the construction or will it all be combined in the public schools budget for Capital Expenditures?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member has quite correctly identified Watson Lake as probably being the most fortunate of the communities with respect to the provision of community campus facilities. The campus facilities themselves are incorporated into the public schools budget.

Community Campuses - Construction in the amount of $700,000 agreed to

On Northern Research Lab - Construction

Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could tell us what this is for? Is this one lab that costs $50,000? What exactly is this item?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will get to that question immediately. The activity levels at the Old Crow community campus in the first year consisted of two students in drafting and surveying, 11 students in economic development, four students in economic development drop in, three students in personal skills development, six students in computer literacy and seven students in small engine repair. In the current year, I do not have the number of students who are attending the courses, but they are offering a continuation of economic development - the business communications course, the Accounting 300 course, a 16 week carpenter’s helper course, basic welding, small business management, typing, adult native language, tourism hospitality and English communications.

As Members will remember, a lab area was incorporated into the trades wing of Yukon College, which was meant to support a mineral technology program. It should not escape anybody’s attention that the Yukon College does not offer a mining and extraction technology program. Instead, it was converted to a northern research lab, with half of the area dedicated to an industry project and the other half dedicated to research projects that would support the Northern Studies Program in the northern sciences section, especially in the fields of archaeology, geology and remote sensing. The industry project was co-sponsored, I understand, with the Klondike Placer Miners Association.

Mr. Devries: So I would be correct in stating that this $50,000 actually adds to the cost overruns on the Yukon College building in a certain sense?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: If the Member wishes to interpret them as cost overruns, that is his business; I do not. The project itself requires the renovation of a room to fill specific requirements, and I am sure there will be renovations from time to time to ensure that the physical plant of Yukon College meets the requirements of the day. There will be upgrading from time to time and a rearrangement of space from time to time, I am sure, in the years and decades to come, which will make the space most usable for its users.

Northern Research Lab - Construction in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

On New Equipment - existing programs

New Equipment - existing programs in the amount of $15,000 agreed to

On New Gymnasium Equipment

Mr. Devries: Could we get a few more specifics? Is there any specialized equipment coming in on that?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not have a specific breakdown at the present time. The college gym, as it will be built, will basically be the empty building. Because the old college did not have a gymnasium, the new one must be fully equipped. I know there is an equipment list, because I did see it, ever so briefly, and I can certainly make sure that it is provided.

Mrs. Firth: Who is going to be able to use the gym that is to be built? Is it going to be open to the public?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The primary users will be the college users generally, and that includes the full range of staff, students, everyone. Initially, while the college is still in the hands of the government, the facility will be available under a joint-use arrangement with the City of Whitehorse. As part of the transfer negotiations, joint-use agreements will be struck for the college facilities, including the gym, for adoption by the board.

Mrs. Firth: The Minister is saying that, once the board takes over, will be responsible for administering the joint-use agreement and, if someone in the public wants to use that facility, they will have to approach the board of the college? If that is correct, when is that going to happen, and when will that process be in place?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The arrangement that will be struck will be a joint-use agreement with the City of Whitehorse, in all likelihood, so the City of Whitehorse can retain its role as the clearing house for space requests by the public within the city. I would trust that will be continued as being the most administratively sensible option.

In general terms, the transfer of the college - personnel and administration - should take place by the end of the calendar year. The transfer of facilities and the responsibility for facilities will take place either then or shortly thereafter.

New Gymnasium Equipment in the amount of $140,000 agreed to

On Replacement Equipment - existing programs

Replacement Equipment - existing programs in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

On New Equipment - new programs

New Equipment - new programs in the amount of $20,000 agreed to

On Yukon College - Community Campuses Equipment

Yukon College - Community Campuses Equipment in the amount of $130,000 agreed to

On Furniture and Equipment

Furniture and Equipment in the amount of $10,000 agreed to

Advanced Education in the amount of $3,247,000 agreed to

Chair: We will turn to Libraries and Archives on page 160. Is there general debate?

On Libraries and Archives

Chair: We will proceed with line by line.

On Library Planning - Whitehorse

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The archives will be moving to the college site and will be leaving substantial space in the appendage to this structure. The idea is to ensure that the appropriate planning is done so the Whitehorse Public Library can have its facilities expanded into the space vacated by the archives.

Mrs. Firth: So, the Minister is saying that this space is going to be used strictly for library expansion? We are not going to look at having government offices down there or anything like that?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is correct.

Library Planning - Whitehorse in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

On Community Library Development - various

Mr. Devries: Are there any major developments in that area? Would one of them be putting a library into the Robert Service School?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The design of the new Robert Service School incorporates the public library and the school library. They will be administered separately, through separate budgets, I presume, but they will be housed in the same facility, and they will be a joint activity between the two services.

Community Library Development - various in the amount of $91,000 agreed to

On Branch Library Equipment

Branch Library Equipment in the amount of $25,000 agreed to

On Audio-Visual Equipment

Audio-Visual Equipment in the amount of $20,000 agreed to

On Library Equipment

Library Equipment in the amount of $10,000 agreed to

On New Archives Facility

Mrs. Firth: The Minister talked about design work. Is the $2,700,000 all for design work? When are they going to start building this project? When will it be completed?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: The project, as I understand, should go to tender this spring or early summer. The total project is $4.4 million. This is the final budget vote. There will be a roll over revote for the balance of this to bring it up to the total. It should be undertaken this year and completed in 1990.

New Archives Facility in the amount of $2,700,000 agreed to

On Storage Area and Equipment

Storage Area and Equipment in the amount of $25,000 agreed to

On Conservation Assessment

Conservation Assessment in the amount of $16,000 agreed to

On Display Preparations and Maintenance

Display Preparations and Maintenance in the amount of $15,000 agreed to

Libraries & Archives in the amount of $2,952,000 agreed to

On Finance and Administration

On Yukon Arts Centre

Mrs. Firth: I understand this is the government’s contribution to the Arts Centre, and I would like to ask the Minister why the Arts Centre is put down in the multi-year projections as $7 million? I thought that this centre was going to cost over $9 million. I noticed last year it was put down as a multi-year cost of $7 million as well. Perhaps the Minister could just clarify that for me.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: My understanding is that the rationale for the figure is that it is the total Government of Yukon contribution to the project. I notice that in all the other projects there are no partners in the construction, but the total estimated costs for all these projects are the government’s contribution towards this project.

Mrs. Firth: Is the Minister saying that the government is contributing $7 million toward the Arts Centre?

Hon. Mr. McDonald: Yes, that has been the understanding. Irrespective of what the total amount is, the total contribution by the Government of Yukon is to be $7 million.

Mrs. Firth: I have one more question regarding this item. It is in conjunction with the archives facility and the college and the gym. Does the Minister have a name for all these facilities yet? The last time we discussed this, I believe he made reference to it as “Yukon Place”. There were comments made about what we were going to call the whole structure as it stands now, with the college building, the archival facility, the arts centre, the gym and the residences. Perhaps the Minister could enlighten us on that.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I realize that the suggestion of “Yukon Place” does seem rather ordinary or lifeless. For lack of a better name, until some more imaginative people come forward, we will refer to it as “Yukon Place”. I am sure the Arts Centre Corporation will have some great and distinct ideas about the naming for that component. None of the buildings have been named. There have been no changes with reference to the full site itself.

Mrs. Firth: Perhaps we could recommend to the Minister that if the board is going to handle the naming it look at a competition for school students or get some community involvement. I think then we will have creative suggestions coming forward. Either the Minister could do something like that, or the board could pull together some creative and exciting competition and allow school children to participate and give them a more involved sense of it being their post-secondary education facility and giving good strong community spirit. Our recommendation would be that the government look at some kind of opportunity for the whole complex to be named or the individual buildings to be named, whatever seems to be the consensus.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is a good suggestion. I will undertake to have some naming contests initiated. I think if we depend on our own resources to name this building it will be “Yukon U” forever. Something a little more dramatic would be desirable, at least for the naming of the buildings themselves.

Yukon Arts Centre in the amount of $2,000,000 agreed to

On Custodial Equipment

Custodial Equipment in the amount of $30,000 agreed to

Finance and Administration in the amount $2,030,000 agreed to

Department of Education in the amount of $15,940,000 agreed to

Chair: If it is the wish of the Committee we will take a brief recess.


Chair: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue with Bill No. 51, the Department of Government Services, on page 188. Is there any general debate?

Mrs. Firth: I do not recall doing the grants and contributions in Education on page 154.

Chair: It is carried within the vote. If you have questions ...

Mrs. Firth: Are we going to do it under operation and maintenance transfer payments, and I will have a chance to ask some questions? Okay, that is fine.

Chair: We will continue with Government Services on page 188.

Department of Government Services

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have a few remarks to make about the Capital portion of Government Services. I have additional information relating to the line-by-line items, which I will leave until we get to that place in the budget.

The capital program presented here places greater emphasis on the planning and capital construction projects and, accordingly, you will see in the budget that the pre-engineering, design and construction overhead programs have significant increases. As Members have reminded me, the Public Accounts Committee has identified this as an area of attention.

As well, I feel that increased attention will be shown in the area of local materials. It is the intention of the department to spend more time to specifically begin the project design and specifications to utilize local material where possible. As Members may be aware, this is something we are currently in discussions with contractors on, as well as chambers of commerce and the labour organizations, with respect to the value-added policy.

As well, there will continue to be emphasis on implementing energy conservation projects for government buildings. At the same time, something the department and I are currently addressing is the entire issue of long-term space requirement for government in Whitehorse, addressing the issue of lease space and a plan and policy relating to how to best address the needs of government on the space question.

Those are some general opening remarks. I would be pleased to discuss any specific issue or item relating to individual branches of the department and line-by-line items. I have additional information as we go through each of those, and particularly at the introduction of each of the branches.

Mr. Lang: Probably the most outstanding critique that can be made of the department is of the responsibility the department has for the purposes of overall planning for projects. I see that substantially more money has been put into the area of planning.

I would like to know what steps the government is taking in an effort to ensure the projects being tendered are within a reasonable striking range of what the tenders will be coming in at. We have a situation where people are bidding at great cost to themselves, then they find out that the government, for one reason or another, in most cases due to financing, turns around and revokes the contract and does not tender it. This is at great cost to the individuals involved. The government has almost a flippant attitude about this. It is in the clause of the  contract so they just pull it. The contractor is just supposed to fend for himself or herself. I do not think that is fair. I would like to know what steps the government is taking to ensure that the projects that we are being asked to vote here are going to come within budget or at least within an acceptable five or 10 percent range of what we are budgeting for these projects.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I thank the Member for his question. It is certainly one  that we flagged together in the supplementary discussions previous to the Mains coming before us today.

In some instances there have been some cases where the budget was developed using estimates that turned out to be low, in many cases. At the same time, in a couple of instances, however, they were actually high and there were projects that came in well under.

I guess this is an issue that the government is serious about addressing and, in particular, it is one that I have set as a priority to address. It goes hand in hand with the whole effort that was addressed by the Public Accounts Committee, about the handling of projects from beginning to end. The pre-planning exercise, the planning exercise, the implementation exercise all result in the final construction.

I think that it has already been mentioned that the department, on the recommendation of the Public Accounts Committee, and, from what I understand, by the commitment of the previous Minister, has embarked on a project management manual. I understand that it is in at least the third stage. I have not seen it yet, but I have been advised of some of its contents, speaking to the whole issue of Government Services being charged with delivering a project and its relationship with the client department for whom it is doing the project. Certainly, we will see a much better project estimate as a result of some of the steps that are being proposed to be put in place. There will be a much closer relationship between the client department and Government Services, a much closer accounting process of funding and, by and large, an expanded planning exercise.

For example, the Department of Community Services, for the most part, has implemented a two-year planning and construction exercise, meaning that what Members will find in a budget in one year on a new project will be largely a planning component. In the subsequent year, there will be the actual construction. This allows a time frame where a job is not rushed; there is more accuracy to the figures being assigned and, through the steps that take place between the client department and Government Services, there is a better refinement of the reality of things.

Government Services appears, historically, to have been caught in the bind of having to plan and build in the same year, and as the Member observed, more money is being directed at the planning exercise, and clearly that should permit much more realistic figures and subsequently accurate estimates for the final construction.

The project management manual I refer to is, as I said, in the final stage of effort. I expect to be reviewing it with department officials soon and it is my hope that we can implement this very quickly. I gather as well, that in light of some of the efforts to date, some efforts are already taking place to extend and refine the planning period in order to more accurately reflect estimates in the early stages.

Mr. Lang: I just remind the House that the Public Accounts recommendations that we are dealing with, I think were accepted by this House almost a year ago if not longer, yet at the same time there was $110 million last year and the $100 million this year, and we still do not formally have anything in place. I just want to register my observation that we should be finding that unacceptable if we are very serious about ensuring that we are getting the best mileage for the dollars we have. When is this document going to be complete and ready for tabling?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: To answer the last question first, I would expect that if it is not ready for actual tabling before this session of the House concludes, I will ensure that every Member gets a copy following its final acceptance and adoption. The Member recognizes the importance of this procedure to the government; I will make it available.

I believe, and I am working strictly from memory, when the House last dealt with the Public Accounts Committee recommendations, there was a commitment that such a project manual would be in place within a year of the time of discussion. Again, I am working from memory, but that year is not yet up, but certainly, I recognize not only the commitment, but the obligation to refine this.

Mr. Lang: I understand the stress the department is under too, because it does have a lot of responsibilities and at the same time the importance of this cannot be overlooked. It has to be a top priority item to ensure that it is done properly and to also not only give guidance to Government Services but other departments.

I had another question to the Minister. The service contracts that have been assembled, when will they be tabled - tomorrow?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have been staying very close to the development surrounding the contracts. It is my understanding, as of today, that there are still several contracts being entered into the system. We should have a final run of the contracts, I am assuming, at the latest, tomorrow and they are going to the printers simultaneously. We may or may not have them ready for Thursday tabling. I can assure the Member they will be tabled Monday at the latest.

Mr. Lang: The next time around, on April 1, let us just have the contracts that are in. Copies of those that are delayed can be sent to us. We are then not waiting around. In view of the time frame of our sitting, in deference to the House, we should have whatever information we require. I would rather have 98 percent of it than have to wait for that other two percent, which could come afterward, in any event. Is the Minister prepared to make that undertaking?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I take the Member’s advice. He must recognize that if we are going to produce an earlier, incomplete document, there will be documents to follow, or contract listings to follow. It is impossible to have them ready on the first day after the year end. The terms of one contract for registering are being flown in from Old Crow on the plane today. That is what is happening to compile a complete and accurate contracts listing. I take the Member’s advice under full consideration, and we will see what we can do next year.

Mr. Lang: We have not had that debate with respect to when the House sits, and it will come up. We could well be in a situation where we may be dealing with the O&M Budget in any given year in the late fall. In that case, the date would have to be changed so we can deal with those documents in conjunction with our budgets, as opposed to waiting for year end.

Year end is not that important to us. It is the end of a month, and that is it. There is going to have to be some accommodation on dates concerned.

I do not have any other questions in general debate. I am prepared to go on to line by line.

Chair: We will proceed with line by line.

On Systems and Computing Services

On System Development

Hon. Mr. Byblow: Under the systems development portion of the budget, the entire facility is designed to provide data processing for the government and, in that regard, to provide support service for all the government. In short, it amounts to computer access between departments for government and throughout the communities.

Some examples of what is specifically taking place within this year’s budget relate to driver records, systems specifically relating to the Department of Community and Transportation Services, providing computer access to territorial agents around the territory. Additionally, there are data systems developed for Health and Human Resources, with computer access in the communities.

This particular budget also provides for some development and implementation money throughout the Yukon. As Members will note, there is a considerable decrease from last year. The short answer for that is that, as many of the systems have been developed, budget restraint dictated cutting back in this area.

Mr. Lang: How much is projected for the whole program? You said there was restraint this year. Are we talking about $10 million or $5 million? What is the total amount that is going to be spent in order to update the system?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: With respect to systems development and implementation, last year $2.4 million was spent, this year $1.2 million is being spent. In comparison to last year, it is chopped in half. Is that the question?

Mr. Lang: There must be a multi-year plan about what has to be done or what people would like to see done. What is your total projected cost?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not have figures that would spell out future years’ costs in any extended fashion. I understand the department essentially receives the requests from various departments, priorizes them and budgets accordingly.

Mr. Lang: Basically, I would like to know, in general terms, what we are talking about over the next two or three years with respect to this particular program. Would the Minister undertake, for the next budget, to present to us an idea of what the departments are asking for, to give us an idea of what finances we are going to be dealing with during the next three to four years?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: So that I understand the request, I assume the Member is asking for anticipated, future years’ expansion to computer and data processing for all departments.

System Development in the amount of $1,200,000 agreed to

On Computer Workstations - Equipment and Support

Hon. Mr. Byblow: As indicated, computer workstations provide support for regular work duties relating to word processing, electronic spreadsheets, access to data and various ordinary forms of electronic communication for departments. The lower budget this year reflects restraint in this area.

Computer Workstations - Equipment and Support in the amount of $250,000 agreed to

On Central Facility

Hon. Mr. Byblow: As suggested, this is the program that provides the main storage database for the government where there are multiple users. In other words, it is the central activity for data. It provides for similar workstations throughout the Yukon to share the information. That is the intended expenditure for this year for the central facility. It would also, in part, be financing some of the expanded services that are going on in the communities.

Mr. Lang: I will go back to my question about the systems development. We spent $563,000 last year, and we are projecting $600,000 this year. It was just a number of years ago that we took out the mainframe that we had paid a few hundreds of thousands of dollars for. We sold it for under $20,000 because it could not cope with what the government needed.

Is this it? Will this effectively give us the central facility we need with some minor modifications over the next three to five years?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I share some of the Member’s concerns. One of the exercises in future budgeting will be to assess future costs. Part of the costs that happen each year, as I am sure the Member realizes, is that as you bring a new program on, you have to bring in the data support system for it.

I guess a simple answer is that any time you increase a capacity, for example in the communities, you have to make sure that you have the central facility support to access, store and exchange that information.

Mr. Lang: I will not argue that, and I am the last one to say that I am an expert on computers. My concern is that we replaced the previous computer at a great deal of expense under the understanding there was a larger computer that could do so much more work. Now we are being told that we need another $600,000. What is the end result here? Will we be voting another $600,000 next year, or are we at the end of our capitalization for this particular project with perhaps some minor modifications as we move along? Asking us to vote this much money each year really begs questions. Yet at the same time, like the service contracts, we still have to wait anyway. It does not make much difference.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: Good shot. My understanding is that the capital for the central facility is essentially spent. We are expanding the capacity for it to handle the increasing programs that are punched into it. I will undertake, for the next budget period, to have a long-term guesstimate and analysis of expanded computer and data processing facilities.

Central Facility in the amount of $600,000 agreed to

On Telephone Equipment

Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister what this is for. It is a new item in the budget. It was not in last year’s Capital Budget.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: My understanding of the one dollar item is essentially to leave the vote open to be dealt with once further information is known. There is a current analysis being undertaken to refine whether there is any cost benefit to purchasing telephone equipment as opposed to leasing it. That study, I am told, is underway. It is essentially a cost-benefit analysis about whether or not it would incur major savings to the government. Once that study is delivered, it will provide some basis for decision making.

Mrs. Firth: It sounds like a blank cheque to me. Who is doing this cost benefit analysis? How much is it costing us? Where did the money come from to do this analysis? When did it start, and when do they expect to have an answer to it?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am advised that, at this stage, it will be done in-house. It will fall under O&M for costing. There is no outside expenditure expected at this point.

Mr. Lang: I would like an undertaking from the Minister that we are not giving him a blank cheque to spend $100,000 to $300,000. I hope the Minister would give the undertaking that if the study comes in and proves this cost benefit is beneficial to the government, we be given the opportunity to scrutinize it in the House prior to any substantial decision being made to purchase new telephones. That can get very costly. Will the Minister give us that undertaking?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am sure the Member realizes that no major decision is going to be undertaken without a close scrutiny of its benefit to the government and whether there are funds available to undertake this. Like a previous debate we had relating to photocopy equipment, there is a substantial benefit related to buying out certain leases and owning the equipment. That decision was taken, and I suspect it was taken before a supplementary came forward for any additional money. The money was found internally. I would trust the Members opposite would trust the judgment of this Member for the wise expenditure of funds.

Mr. Lang: I am not prepared to endorse a blank cheque. I am sure the Minister is going to do what he feels is right. I do not question that. My point is that I think it is an area that should be examined. I do not want to be sitting here in the House saying we agree in principle. We have not seen the cost benefit analysis, and we do not know what the costs are going to be. Is this cost benefit analysis going to be made available to those who are leasing the equipment to you, so that they have the opportunity to give their point of view in respect to what the costs are? It could all depend on the author how the recommendations come forward.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I trust the Member realizes the lack of information we have at this point to discuss the matter in any great detail. The study has not even begun yet. This is the approval for it to proceed. It is being done in-house. Given the Member’s interest in the matter, I can undertake to communicate with him once I receive the study.

Mr. Lang: He did not answer the latter part of my question. Is this study going to be made available to the company or companies that lease this type of equipment for their observations in respect to that study so you have the various points of view?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: It appears to me that I have to take some advice on the question. It is going to be an in-house document. It is going to contain some substantial analysis of our current costs of telephone equipment leasing. It is going to, no doubt, have quite a number of scenarios and options within it. I cannot give the Member a firm commitment that this will be provided to everyone. I prefer to take advice on that and check the wisdom of handing such a document out.

Mrs. Firth: This is a concern I have. What the government is doing here is to ask us to approve a new program. I mean, once there is a line item here that says “Telephone Equipment - one dollar” it means that the government can go out and purchase $1 million worth of telephones and never have to come back to this Legislature for approval. They have the approval here for one dollar, then can come back with a supplementary to say that they did it, if they can find the money elsewhere within the budget. However, what we are asking the Minister for is some explanation of what the government’s policy is and what its intention is, and he is telling us he cannot tell us that, because they are studying it, and if the study is being done in-house, it should not be costing any extra dollars, really, to do the study, if the department officials are doing it.

So, based on the results of that study, this line item in the budget gives the government the ability to go ahead and pretty well do whatever it wants, and perhaps the Minister could give us some indication if it is the intention of the government to get into purchasing telephones, that instead of renting them, as they do now, they are going to purchase telephones so that the telephone systems within the government then will be owned by the government, they will be maintained by the government, and again, we have the government controlling everything.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not want to get into a major debate about something that is currently being examined. The Member talks about policy. The policy currently is to lease telephone equipment, not to purchase. Clearly, what I have indicated is that a decision has been taken here to study the cost benefit of leasing over purchasing. I do not know the results of the internal investigation, the analysis. I cannot predict what will happen. Clearly, what is taking place here is that the policy is being examined as to whether it is wiser to lease than acquire. Yes, the Member is correct, there are a number of factors that come into play about who maintains the equipment and what is the long-term ramification. That will all be, no doubt, provided in the study. The Member says that this gives a blank cheque. I do not think that is the case. Should some decision be made, clearly we are committed to coming back to the Legislature to defend it and to deal with the decision. There ought to be some prerogative here and I make no contention that I know what is going to happen; I do not, and I am being up front about it.

Mr. Lang: Can we have the undertaking from the Minister that we may have a copy of the report that is done? You are asking us to give you vote authority on a report that is not even done. We do not have a problem with an examination being done but, if you are asking us to make some significant long-term changes, we should the information on why those decisions have been made, or are going to be made. There is no reason we should not have a copy of that report.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: If that is what the Member is asking for, I have already indicated that, once the study is done, I will communicate to him. I will now undertake a step further. I will communicate the results of the study to him.

Telephone Equipment in the amount of one dollar agreed to

Systems and Computing Services in the amount of $2,050,000 agreed to

On Supply and Services

Chair: Is there any general debate?

Mr. Lang: I would like an assurance from the Minister that we are not going into areas that are presently being provided to the government by the private sector. The government has to be very careful in this area. Over the years, governments have steadily encouraged people to get into the business similar to that of the Queen’s Printer. We have to be very careful that we do not intrude to the point of taking business away from them. Could the Minister give us that undertaking and assurance?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am assured by the department that we are not expanding our level of service, or quantity of service, or type of service, that would infringe on what is ordinarily the private sector area of supply under this vote. One thing that has been pointed out to me is that we are taking even more advantage of the private sector by using warranties of equipment more than we have in the past.

On Queen’s Printer Equipment

Hon. Mr. Byblow: This specific item is to replace equipment in the Queen’s Printer for $92,000 and, also, to purchase a number of photocopiers for various departments in the amount of $96,000.

Queen’s Printer Equipment in the amount of $188,000 agreed to

On Office Furniture - Replacement

Hon. Mr. Byblow: This capital item relates, as the topic suggests, to the acquisition of furniture. Approximately one-third of the amount would be used to purchase locally manufactured furniture. Indications from the industry are that local manufacturers are more able to provide office furniture. That is the result of some effort by this government to encourage that. I would like to see this encouraged as much as possible. I have a firm belief that we are not doing as much as we possibly could be doing in the utilization of local products, particularly wood.

Mr. Lang: Can the Minister tell us exactly what a locally-made desk would cost now?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have to take notice of that. I will undertake to get back to the Member on that specific question.

Mr. Lang: My only point is that we have no problem with items being made locally; it is just a question of what the cost is to us. The cost has to be equated to the service the government is getting. There is another $300,000 that the Minister has not accounted for. If the $150,000 is for local, what is the balance for?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is the office furniture that would be acquired from local suppliers. It is other furniture that could not be produced locally. I am sure the Member recognizes that when you say you are going to spend one-third of this by purchasing locally-produced desks or chairs or other forms of furniture, a substantial amount also has to be ordered from regular suppliers who import from outside. That is the split.

Mr. Lang: Will this money also cover the new furniture that is going to be required for the 70 or 80 new positions within the government of which 40 are yet to be filled? Will this come out of here or will it come out of some other area?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: Any positions, including new ones, that require new furniture, would come out of this budget. The Member makes reference to 70 new positions. I hope he understands that a good number of those positions are ones that already exist, such as terms that were made indeterminate or where teachers are being added to the system. The suggestion that there are 70 new bodies to be accommodated and supplied with furniture is simply not the case. The majority of the positions do not require the additional expenditure related to space or furniture.

Mr. Lang: How many of these positions are going to require new furniture out of this particular vote?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The best answer I can provide the Member is that there may be 12 positions that may require new furniture.

Office Furniture - Replacement in the amount of $450,000 agreed to

On Pooled Vehicles - Replacement

Hon. Mr. Byblow: This item is to provide for the purchase of vehicles in the pool fleet. Members will note that last year’s expenditure was extremely low due to other priorities. There is a requirement to replace some vehicles.

Mr. Lang: I want to reiterate my concern. We are being asked to spend $300,000. Are we spending $300,000 here so that $50,000 can be budgeted and then $250,000 can be moved around? That is what happened last year. We budgeted $300,000 and $40,000 was spent on vehicles. That is  total misrepresentation. Are we going to spend $300,000? If we are, give us a list of what you are going to spend it on. Otherwise, do not come to the House and ask for these figures. It makes a joke of the whole thing we are doing.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The short answer to the Member’s question is that the money is intended to be spent for vehicles. Last year, Government Services had to replace the money from discontinuance of charge-backs for equipment and services that had to be borne by the department but could not be charged back, and it came out of the pool fleet.

Mr. Lang: I will accept that. I want an undertaking from the Minister that if we are going to budget $300,000 to replace vehicles, then it should be in that neighbourhood. I do not want to come back here 10 months from now and find we spent $20,000 on vehicle replacement and someone else walked away with $280,000 and spent it somewhere else.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member knows that I listen very closely to everything he says. I scrutinize Hansard every day just to be sure that I am giving full consideration to the Member’s suggestions and I give it to him on record.

Mr. Lang: I will take that as an undertaking that we are not going to be seeing a great amount of this money going someplace else in the department.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member has my assurance that we will expend the monies within the budget as appropriated. If there is any change, I will give him the due explanation.

Pooled Vehicles - Replacement in the amount of $300,000 agreed to

Supply and Services in the amount of $938,000 agreed to

On Property Management

Chair: Is there any general debate?

We will proceed with line by line.

On Pre-Engineering Capital Projects

Hon. Mr. Byblow: As Members may have noticed, this branch was reorganized last year by combining public works and property management under property management. There is going to be some strengthening of the branch by the establishment of a planning and program section. In the pre-engineering capital projects, this provides for pre-design activities that I indicated earlier we were going to be devoting some additional energies toward. It will provide planning, it will provide for project cost estimating and it will provide for feasibility studies, as well as engineering reports.

It is going to begin on a planning basis by doing projects a year in advance of actual construction. In conjunction with the client departments, this will meet all the project requirements for the construction. The work in the pre-engineering area is what is conducted prior to specific projects being approved and what generally turns out to be the identification of a project’s overall cost. In some instances, projects do not proceed, so you invariably end up with some planning and costs related, but the project never proceeds and, in that regard, you never see the specific projects.

This money will also deal with project management. The activity is intended to more tightly control that end of construction. The higher expenditure is to advance the pre-engineering and project planning.

Pre-Engineering Capital Projects in the amount of $550,000 agreed to

On Energy Conservation

Hon. Mr. Byblow: This is part of what is an ongoing effort. The overall goal is to reduce the dependence on imported fuels by reducing heating and ventilation costs. While Economic Development is now responsible for studies and research, the implementation budget has been increased by $142,000 over last year’s budget.

Mr. Lang: I am just wondering if he will give us a breakdown of where this money is going to be spent.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The activity under this vote will be for burner replacement at various locations, specifically in four buildings at Watson Lake, at Teslin School, at Takhini School and the Ross River School, the Watson Lake one being the administration building. There are overhead doors and exterior window installation at the Haines Junction Grader Station. There are a number of energy projects being undertaken territory-wide and a retrofit at Watson Lake of the administration building, which will include a ventilation system and insulation.

Mrs. Firth: Just before we clear this last item, the energy conservation, in last year’s budget we estimated $1,145,000 for that line item, and according to this budget, we spent $308,000. Can the Minister tell us why there is such a large discrepancy in the figures and what happened to the rest of the money?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: Again, the explanation being afforded me is largely the one I gave earlier about where the money went on the pool vehicles. Because they discontinued charging back projects to client departments last year, the department had to find some method to assign those costs related to planning and construction management and project management and related activity for various client departments, so the money had to be drawn from somewhere to, in effect, create a balanced budget. The short answer is that the discontinuance of the charge-back policy forced the department to scrounge for dollars.

Mrs. Firth: What is the Minister saying now? That the departments are going to pay their own costs for things like pool cars and energy conservation initiatives, and that Government Services is no longer going to cover those costs? I am not quite sure what the explanation of the charge-backs covers.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: What I am saying, in short, is that the department now has to pick up its personnel costs related to capital projects. Government Services now has to pick up any costs that are related to its own projects or client department projects.

Energy Conservation in the amount of $450,000 agreed to

On Construction Overhead

Hon. Mr. Byblow: This capital program is part of the reorganization effort. It is new. It is the provision of an overhead program that eliminates all the charge-backs that we were talking about earlier. In effect, it addresses all the personnel salaries related to capital projects. The level of the expenditure is related to the level of capital building projects that are undertaken by the government.

As I was explaining earlier, last year’s dollars were quite low because, at the time that the budget was put in place, there was the expectation that there would a charge-back on the capital projects to client departments. This has been dropped. The department now picks up its own costs and hence these budget numbers.

As I said, the level of expenditure in the program is related to the construction projects being undertaken. It depends, of course, on the extent to which the client departments put demands on Government Services.

Construction Overhead in the amount of $1,950,000 agreed to

Renovations Public Buildings

Hon. Mr. Byblow: This line item is essentially to maintain and upgrade buildings to the various required standards. This is the vote authority, as noted, that has an amount identified for Yukon College. If Members have specific questions or want a breakdown of the entire amount, I can provide that.

It is a summary of some of the work being undertaken in this vote. One is elevator maintenance. That is the ongoing costs related to servicing and maintaining elevators under our responsibility. There is a fire alarm servicing program that is undertaken in this vote. I do not have specific amounts.

I will provide a breakout to the Members of the $1.9 million. There are quite a number of projects involved. There are about 20 as follows: various senior citizen projects, upgrading, handicap access, reroofing, sprinkler systems, some work at Corrections, $750,000 for the Old Yukon College and some school renovations. I would give the Member the undertaking to bring in a refined breakdown of the dollars of this vote.

Mrs. Firth: I would like to specifically ask about the Old Yukon College. The Minister has just said there is $750,000 in this $1,775,000 for the Old Yukon College. What does “Includes funding of $700,000 for the Old Yukon College for 1988-89" mean? Does it mean that amount is included in the $1.7 million as well?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The asterisk at the bottom of the page that refers to $700,000 being in that line item is for the 1988-89 year. That is where the $700,000 is identified. There is an additional $750,000 identified in this year’s vote. Combined, it would be $1,450,000.

Mrs. Firth: Why did they have to do this? Why did the department put this asterisk with this note? What is the relevance of doing it if the money had been in the capital budget all along? What is the relevance of bringing it to our attention and why was this note even included?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I asked the same question and the only satisfactory answer I received was, in part, because it was something of an issue, in order to ensure that this is where the money was identified.

Mrs. Firth: I have some difficulty with that concept because it looks more to me like the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing. We as legislators were of the impression that there was no money in last year’s capital budget for the Old Yukon College, because we were told that by the previous Minister, so, obviously, the departmental officials would have been of that opinion also. However, the new Minister has come in with this explanation and said that we found money here, and here, and here, and he gave me a big, long list of all of the places where they found a few hundred thousand dollars, until they scraped and scrounged together $700,000 in the old capital budget. I then wonder why, in the new capital budget, they would highlight this and put in an asterisk, saying that oh, by the way, this includes $700,000 for the Old Yukon College in 1988-89, because it looks as if the explanation is that that $700,000 is included in the $1.775 million and that he is asking us to vote retroactively.

That is the impression that is given. I interpret it that way anyway; the impression is that part of this amount that you are asking for includes a retroactive vote for $700,000 for the Old Yukon College.

I raise the issue because I think that it has been poor, sloppy financial accounting and there should not really be any need for them to have this asterisk and explanation if we had been given the proper explanation in the first place, and that there was money in the previous capital budget for the renovations to Old Yukon College. I think that it should be noted that I would not like to see it happen within the Department of Government Services again. I am sure the auditors will have some question about the management practice that we have just seen.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I appreciate the Member’s observation. It was an interesting comment that it was asterisked to provide the appropriate authority. I thought that we went through the explanation about how the vote authority took place, and that a year ago it was not in the capital budget as an identified line item; however, the authority for it came from that line item.

The Member and I have been around the mulberry bush on it. I appreciate the Member’s observations. I am certainly going to ask the question as the Member has pointed out: is this retroactive authorization. I do not believe so, not from the explanation that I had and provided to the Member, but I appreciate the observation.

Mr. Lang: I would like to make an observation. I find it disconcerting that we are getting general line items. They are so general, that, with this vote authority, you could go ahead and rebuild the Mayo Administration Building. I do not have a problem with having a general line item for general maintenance and small projects of $10,000 or $15,000. I do have a problem when we are sticking in, for example, a project over $700,000, that may be costing $5.5 million. It makes it difficult to follow it through.

Will the Minister undertake, in preparing the next budget, to have any significant projects identified and have a multi-year number put to these projects? There is nothing in this budget indicating anything, other than what we read in the Yukon News, that is worth $5.5 million. I do not think that is fair for the Legislature or the record. It should be identified. I would like to hear the Minister’s comments.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have quite a bit to say on the subject. I would like to speak to it at 7:30.

Chair: The Committee will new recess until 7:30 p.m.


Chair: Committee of the Whole will come to order.

Bill No. 51 - First Appropriation Act, 1989-90 - continued

Chair:  We will continue with debate on Bill No. 51, First Appropriation Act, 1989-90. We are on Government Services, property management; line item, renovations public buildings

Hon. Mr. Byblow: Just prior to the break, the Member raised a question, as I recall, about some commitment to refine the detail of projects being undertaken by Government Services. Essentially, I have no major problem with the request. Certainly, it is my intention to refine those projects as much as reasonably possible for the known cost at the time of budgeting.

Earlier, I talked about the attempt to move into a planning and construction two-year cycle so that you can, indeed, do a more refined planning exercise before you go into the construction phase of things, and that would apply also to Government Services. It is my intention to be able to provide the kind of detail of where the money is going to be spent so that there are not these accusations of money being appropriated for one purpose, but being moved around at liberty.

Because of this type of responsibilities, I want the Member to understand that Government Services often has client needs sprung upon them, and there is a need for some flexibility at all times, especially when you are talking about renovating space, a new move of a branch, some issue related to upgrading a building, whether it is a school or whether it is a grader station. Quite often there are some urgent and pressing improvements that have to be dealt with that may not have been actually planned, so there is a need for some flexibility.

But, the undertaking I will give the Member is to review the extent to which detail can be given. I know the Member is familiar with the detail provided in Community and Transportation Services. It is virtually detailed project by project, construction of road by construction of road. The extent to which Government Services can refine that may be limited given the nature of its client’s service work, but I certainly will give the Member the undertaking to review and provide more detail.

Mr. Lang: I appreciate the spirit in which the Minister has come back to us. I would just make another point. We talked previously about systems and computing services. I feel that there should be a multi-year estimate done similar to what is done in Community and Transportation, because, in many cases, these are major, ongoing projects. I think it would do a number of things. It would makeus take the ramifications of the project into serious consideration. Also, at the same time, it would be very much of an encouragement within the administration to ensure that the estimates are somewhere close to what they should be when the project is finished. For example, buried in here, you have the $700,000 for the Old Yukon College renovations. Well, we can sit here and argue about the Old Yukon College renovations, but we are not going to. We very much question the government’s decision on it, but you have made it. The point is, it is $5.5 million. You would never know that by looking at this document. I think that there should be an outline and a multi-year designation and have it clearly delineated.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is my intention to provide more detail and, at the same time, respect the need for some flexibility, given the nature of the work. I think more statistical summaries can be provided within either the budget or separate from the budget, relating to space, relating to costs, relating to multi-year costs. I will be working toward that.

Mr. Lang: It should be in the budget. If it is not in the budget, it is just another piece of paper. The budget is the official document with which we work.

Renovations Public Buildings in the amount of $1,775,000 agreed to

On Property Management Equipment

Hon. Mr. Byblow: This is for workshop facilities, custodial equipment and facilities around the territory.

Mr. Lang: Are we building a new workshop facility, or are we renovating one? What is the estimate for?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The vote is for equipment, so it is the replacement of equipment.

Mr. Lang: What kind of equipment? We could be talking about skidoos.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: For example, in the central workshop, there is considerable equipment that periodically needs replacing, whether it is a table saw or equipment in the communities at a workshop site. It is also equipment relating to custodial work, meaning floor polishers, and that sort of thing.

Mr. Lang: Where did they get this money from before they had this section? I want the undertaking and assurance from the Minister that we are not going to be getting into the situation where we are going further into competition with people in private business, i.e. the cutting of keys and things like that. Things like this have always come from the slush fund.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I mentioned earlier in the description introducing property management that there was a restructuring of two branches of the department into one. Previous to this, any equipment supplies would have been pulled out of votes relating to the management of the property. Now, they are simply refining it into pulling the equipment out of the management of the property and specifying a certain amount for it. So, it is a refinement of the vote in the reorganization. There is no intention to compete with the private sector.

Property Management Equipment in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

On Office Accommodation Projects

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The office accommodation projects reflect the costs that are associated with renovations, alterations, changes that are made to existing office space. In the event of any new acquisition, there may be some money required to put in partitions or do some minor renovation to that space. So, it is existing and potential new space.

Office Accommodation Projects in the amount of $200,000 agreed to

On New Facilities

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $225,000 is specifically earmarked for upgrading the two building maintenance workshops at Faro and Dawson City.

Mr. Lang: In Dawson City, are we not in the process of moving the shop out to the industrial area? Or is that a different facility?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The detail I have on that is that it is to relocate the existing industrial arts building from the Robert Service School to a newly-constructed foundation. The additional note is that it is simply an expansion of the existing building.

Mr. Lang: I do not understand. You are asking us to vote on something when we do not even know what it will be used for. I just want to get it clear. You are moving the industrial arts wing of the school to another site. What is it going to be used for? Will it still be part of the school? Will it be a shop? The first explanation was that it was to be a shop.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member has raised some confusing points, even for me. I will undertake to get the detail on this particular vote to the Member.

Chair: Shall this item stand then?

New Facilities stood over

Department of Health and Human Resources

Chair: We will now go on to Health and Human Resources.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: What I would like to do is to take a few minutes to describe the budget in overall terms, and then I would be prepared to respond either in general debate or in detail as we go through the lines to the questions that the Members may have.

The capital budget for Health and Social Services has been designed basically to continue work done in previous budgets and to provide significant new funding for child care strategy initiatives. The major initiatives in the budget include the child care capital development program, as part of the aforementioned strategy, and the extended care facility planning. The budget also includes planning and design projects, facility renovation projects and equipment purchases in a number of areas.

Let me first, if I could, in a general way, just describe those items under Community and Family Services. As part of the day care strategy of promoting accessibility and affordability of quality day care throughout the territory, the Child Care Capital Services Program will be continued for a third year, with funding of $400,000. The program provides for start-up grants for communities to establish licensed child care centres and family day homes and enhancement grants for the improvement of existing, licensed child care centres and family day homes. The program funds that we have here are expected to support the creation of 100 new licensed child care spaces in this fiscal year throughout the territory, and the expectation is that the majority of the new spaces will be in rural Yukon. The program is administered by the placement and support unit in Whitehorse.

During 1989-90, the Community Agency Innovations Program will be funded with $100,000. This program was first established in 1987-88 for a one-year period, but no funding was provided last year. The program will provide funding for community agencies, such as Yukon Family Services Association and Skookum Jim’s Friendship Centre, which are delivering social services on behalf of the department.

The funding will be for the following types of purchases: planning studies to evaluate facilities, suitability for the type of service delivered and the needs of the client group, the purchase of office equipment to increase the administrative efficiency of the agency, and to purchase the necessary equipment and materials to support program delivery, such as resource centre books, program equipment such as chairs for workshops, or tape recorders.

As part of the Family Violence Strategy, funding of $125,000 will be provided to facilitate the development of a safe places network in communities outside Whitehorse. This will be done after we have completed consultation with the interested communities. The network is planned to include safe homes, shelters, and short-term transition houses for the victims of family violence.

As a complementary project to the safe places funding, monies in the amount of $200,000 will be made available for a Whitehorse transition home and second stage housing project. I would like to take a minute to explain this a little bit, because this is a new expenditure.

The purpose here is to develop secure emergency shelter space, in addition to the transition home spaces and second stage housing in Whitehorse. It is a project that is being jointly sponsored with the Yukon Housing Corporation and Canada Mortgage and Housing.

The second stage housing will provide alternatives for women and children who are victims of family violence and have difficulty finding appropriate housing when they are ready to leave the transition home environment. This initiative arises directly from the transition home that was conducted last year and identified such a need.

The project is planned for completion over a four-year period and will support seven transition units, four three-person units and three two-person units, five self-contained second stage units, 1 one-bedroom townhouse, 2 two-bedroom townhouses and 2 three-bedroom townhouses, and some office space. This is to deal with situations of women with children who have been the victims of spousal assault and have been in the transition home for awhile and are ready to re-enter the community, but who are not in the position, for the reason of safety to themselves and their children, to return to the home of their spouse.

I will move to health services branch. We have previously discussed the delays in a commitment from the federal government to replace the Whitehorse General Hospital with a new facility. I have indicated to the Members that because of the need for long-term care services, the department plans to proceed with independent planning for the extended care facility. There is $648,000 provided in this budget to enable the completion of architectural design and engineering specifications following the review of the various studies that are now being completed regarding support service integration, alternate site options and environmental suitability for the proposed site.

In the health service program area, provisions have been made for $448,000 in funds that represent 70 percent cost sharing of the northern health component of the community health program provided by National Health and Welfare on behalf of the Government of the Yukon. Members will recall previous years when this cost sharing arrangement was discussed.

The cost-share agreements provide for the funding for facility renovations and equipment replacement in nursing stations and health centres located in the communities throughout the Yukon and the environmental health, mental health, dental health and health education programs. The funding of $448,000 will cover the following areas: $196,000 for facility renovations; $160,000 for minor equipment replacement and acquisition, including medical, office, data processing equipment and furniture; $92,000 for vehicle replacements.

To recognize the commitment to provide a medical boarding facility for rural medical patients travelling to Whitehorse for treatment, I indicated today in question period that we are requesting a project vote authority of one dollar for the medical boarding facility at this time. Site options and demand projections will be prepared by the department in the period ahead, in conjunction with the medical community and Government Services. Once this information has been reviewed, I would hope to be in a position to come back to the House for a supplementary at an appropriate time in this fiscal year in order to establish this facility.

These are the highlights of the capital budget before you. I would be pleased to address any general questions during debate on the line or to respond to questions as we go through the $2.2 million, branch by branch.

Mr. Nordling: On general debate, I would like to ask about the one term position we have. There was one term position for 1988-89, also. What does that term position do? Is it a permanent position that will be renewed in future years?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am assuming this term position, as with many capital term positions, is specifically for capital planning within the department. There is not as large a capital budget this year as there was last year, but it has been customary to identify person years associated with capital programs separately now. In many cases, they are term positions, given the uncertain nature of capital spending in the long term.

Mr. Nordling: I am prepared to go on to each department now.

Mr. Lang: I want to further explore the idea of accommodation being made available in Whitehorse to those patients who are referred to Whitehorse. I gather it is primarily targeted to some degree to women who are pregnant. Why are we going ahead and either constructing or purchasing a new building? Why do we not look at renting some accommodation that is available? I understand it is going to be used on an ad hoc basis.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have not contemplated building a building at all. My first option is not necessarily purchasing. Renting may be an option. My first preference is to use a building that the government already owns and change its use. On Friday, I took a look at a facility that has been used for young offenders, but which will no longer be needed as a result of the opening of the young offenders facility in July of this year. Before we can make any decision about that, we have to assess the suitability of that building in terms of the renovations it would require, whether the building would meet code and bylaw standards of the nation and of the city, and we would have to assess not only the cost of renovations, but what kind of contractual arrangements we would have to make with whatever parties are going to operate it.

Mr. Lang: It would seem to me that, first of all, you should have a building in a prime area of the downtown core. It should be looked at from that perspective, so that you may get your costs out of that building. I think if there is common consensus in the House that accommodation should be provided, it would make more sense to me to go out to tender and rent two kitchenettes out of one of the hotels on an annual basis. During the winter months, in many cases, the hotels are vacant. They are struggling to make a dollar. You do not have to maintain it, but it would provide an alternative that would cost us less. There is no maintenance cost, as the maintenance is taken care of in your rent. It would do much better than to have an old building you have to renovate and follow up in the long term to have staff to maintain it.

When the motion was passed in the House, I do not think it was the intent to see added staff to accommodate this type of a service. The idea was to provide a service at minimal cost, but one where they are providing for themselves. If we have to provide staff, the individuals may as well be in the hospital.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I apologize for not making myself clear, but I thought I had made it clear in my previous answer that we are not contemplating staff. We are looking for a facility, which we may rent, or we may renovate an existing facility. In the first instance, it would probably not be operated by the department, but by some contractor. Whether it is a social service agency that wants to contract with us to provide this service or whether it will be a private contractor; we do not know yet. We will be looking at those options. We are not contemplating an arrangement whereby this government provides four shifts of staff to operate such a facility.

While we will look at the possibility of rental accommodation, I am not sure that we can satisfy the need by a couple of kitchenettes. I was told recently that there were 16 people in the maternity ward at Whitehorse General Hospital, a number of whom were from rural Yukon. Of course the patterns of travel to Whitehorse for medical treatment is not just when there are people expecting, but for other reasons as well. It is not uniform and not always predictable. We want a facility that will meet the need that has been identified and discussed before in this House. We are not looking at building a new facility or staffing it or operating it by public employees.

Mrs. Firth: In other areas, in Vancouver, I think, they are presently using old nurses’ residences that are no longer being used for student nurses because they are in apartments or at home. Has the government looked at any of the buildings that are up by the hospital? Are all of them being used? Is there any potential that any of those buildings could be used for that kind of accommodation?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: As far as we know, they are all being used at this point in time, but I would not discount the possibility. I would be prepared to look at that representation and see if, if not now, perhaps in the future, any of those facilities are likely to become available.

Mrs. Firth: I think it would be in the government’s best interest to do that, and also I would like to suggest that when people do utilize those kinds of services that there is some kind of small fee paid so that there is some kind of responsibility and transaction to take place. I wonder if this government had considered that, or was the government considering strictly a non-user paying kind of service.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: At this point, while we are committed to the concept of the project, we have not done a calculation of program costs or charge-backs or any of those things. Those are the issues we will be looking at in the next little while in consultation with people who have made representations from the communities and also with the interests I mentioned previously in my opening statement. Once we have done a calculation of the capital and operating costs of this facility, then we will be prepared to contemplate how we are going to pay for it.

Mr. Phillips: I would just like to follow up on the suggestion made by the Member for Riverdale South on the nurses residence. I go over there quite often, especially during the last election campaign. Previous to that, I made several visits to that area, and I have never found those units to be full. I think, on average, there are at least a half-dozen empty single units and one suite that is empty, so there is quite a bit of accommodation there that I would encourage the Minister to look at. It is a handy distance from the hospital, and it would be much better for the people as well.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Indeed, we will check that out. I take it, though, that the Member will understand that it probably would not be a compatible use to have both staff and patients housed in the same building unless it were a building that guaranteed the privacy and comfort of both parties.

Mrs. Firth: I do not really see that as a point. They are not patients yet; they are people. They are women who are waiting to have their babies, or people who are waiting to be admitted to the hospital. I could see that the nursing staff would be separate and there would not really be any nurse/patient relationship until after the individuals went into hospital. I would presume that they would be treated in hospital and would go home. I do not think it is as sensitive an issue as perhaps the Minister makes of it and I am sure that he will give it due consideration when all the decisions are made.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will do that. I want the Member to know that it has already been addressed as a concern by the staff and, given some of the recent discussions, I did not want to do anything to aggravate them at all.

Chair: We will proceed with line by line.

Child welfare group homes, planning and renovation and equipment replacement, $25,000.

On Community and Family Services

On Child Welfare Group Homes:

On Planning/Renovation

Hon. Mr. Penikett: There is a multi-year initiative to upgrade the government-owned group home facilities for children in care, under the director of family and children’s services, which has been underway since 1986-87. The reasons for the continued upgrade are to meet code requirements to complete internal renovations and to complete certain technical improvements. Among those improvements will be landscaping, to ensure that the group homes meet neighbourhood standards, and there is money provided here to permit an investigation of options for facility improvements and renovations to meet demands identified in the children’s facility review.

Mr. Nordling: Perhaps we could hear just a little bit about what equipment will be replaced.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The equipment is in the next line, and I would be happy to do that.

Planning/Renovation in the amount of $25,000 agreed to

On Equipment Replacement

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The equipment replacement line provides for equipment we have in the homes to be in accordance with standards. We have replacement schedules established on one-year through six-year cycles, and we also have some changing service requirements in correspondence with the age of needs of the children taken into temporary or permanent care and placed in group homes. This budget does not increase from the funding used last year but includes items such as bedroom mattresses, recreation equipment, beds, night tables and dressers, living-room furniture, appliances, grounds maintenance equipment, cribs, high chairs, and other infant care equipment.

Equipment Replacement in the amount of $60,000 agreed to

On Child Care Services Development

Mr. Nordling: The Minister talked about this line in general debate. I would just like to ask if there have been any changes in the criteria for receiving these capital grants for start-ups and for improving existing facilities.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Not from those that were publicly announced now.

Mrs. Firth: I wonder if the Minister could give us a list of the day cares that received grants, much as I have received in the past from the Minister?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Would the Member like me to read the list now or simply have it copied and tabled for all Members?

Mrs. Firth: Having it copied and tabled for all Members is fine. Can the Minister tell us who approves the grants? Is it a committee, and if so, is it the Day Care Services Board?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: They are approved in the department by the unit responsible for day care, according to the regulations and the program standards that are public.

Mr. Phillips: I have a couple of questions. On these grants there was a practice in the department where someone obtained a capital grant to purchase toys for a day care. After they purchased toys for the day care, my understanding is that they had to go through quite a process. In purchasing the toys they were given a catalogue from the Department of Health and Human Resources to purchase the toys from. They selected the toys. The toys were approved by the Department of Health and Human Resources as safe toys. Then they ordered them and when they received their toys, they had to pay for them first and then they had to produce receipts for the toys to the department. After they produced the receipts from the toys, the department sent out a questionnaire to all the parents of the children who went to that day care.

As a matter of fact, one other stage that was involved in that was the fact that the toys were on-site, the government officials came to the day care and inspected the toys to make sure the toys they said they purchased were there. But then they sent out a questionnaire, as well, to the parents, and the questionnaire said things like “Have you seen anything new in the day care recently? What toys have you noticed?” I just wonder if the department is not prepared to take the word of the day care operator and the receipts and even their own officials who have actually inspected that the toys were there. Is that practice continuing?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not know anything about the procedures that the Member has described which sound much more Byzantine and elaborate than I was led to believe were in operation.

I think it may be appropriate from time to time appropriate for the department to do an evaluation program including asking parents their response and an inspection of the kind of toys and equipment that have been in place. I have been into a number of the day care centers and seen the equipment that has been purchased and I think most of it obviously meets a very high standard of safety and enjoyment for the kids.

If the Member will permit me to take his question as notice, I will check on the veracity of his description of the process by which these matters are dealt with.

Mr. Phillips: I just raised it because the day care operators in question feel that it is a little bit much, and that they did go through quite a process and they felt that the government has to justify that the money is spent, and spent well, on safe toys for the children, but then they felt that they were not taking the word of the day care operator, or even the word of their own inspectors who had looked at the toys in question, and asked the day care operators to send home this questionnaire.

What I will do for the Minister is to go to my office now and I will get a copy of the questionnaire and provide it to the Minister so he can see that they asked the parents if they realized that this day care operator got a grant to purchase these toys. Then it asked them what they noticed was new in the house, if they noticed the toys, what condition were the toys in, and these kinds of things. I think it is a little bit much after they had gone through the whole process of showing receipts and having them inspected and everything else. I understand they have to follow through and do periodic evaluations on what their programs are doing, but this seemed to be little bit much.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have not seen that questionnaire. I had nothing to do with designing it. I would be interested in receiving a copy from the Member. I would suspect that the inspection of the equipment and the questionnaire to the parents were designed to serve different purposes but, in any case, I will check into that.

Child Care Services Development in the amount of $400,000 agreed to

On MacDonald Lodge: Equipment Replacement and Landscaping

Hon. Mr. Penikett: This is to provide funding for landscaping improvements and equipment and furniture maintenance for the MacDonald seniors facility in Dawson City. There is a replacement schedule that is designed to ensure the safety and well-being of residents and compliance with public safety standards. There is a five-year equipment and furniture replacement schedule. Under this item is included beds and mattresses, chesterfields, tables and chairs, appliances, kitchen equipment, bedroom and dining-room furniture, recreational equipment and grounds maintenance equipment.

Mr. Nordling: When did the five-year schedule start? There is nothing in the 1988-89 forecast. Was there no equipment replacement or landscaping done at MacDonald Lodge last year?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: In this case, the five-year program is a new initiative starting in the last year.

MacDonald Lodge: Equipment Replacement and Landscaping in the amount of $16,000 agreed to

On Community Agency Innovations

Hon. Mr. Penikett: In my opening remarks, I described the organizations and the purpose of this funding. The types of projects and purchases eligible are acquisition and installation of major equipment, program materials and furnishings for the facility. It can also involve some planning dollars for construction, acquisition or renovation of facilities, including modifications to enable disabled access and can involve land acquisition, site preparation and grounds improvements.

In the year in which there was funding previously provided, there were seven agencies funded under this program: the Child Development Centre, Yukon Family Services Association, Yukon Council on Aging, Crossroads Society, the Rehab Centre Society, Skookum Jim’s and the Transition Home Society. The money is provided in the program for this year. We do not yet know the nature of the program or what agencies will necessarily come forward to request funding under this program.

Mr. Nordling: Does the Minister have program guidelines that are prepared, or application forms, that he could provide for the Members so we know about the program?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I can either table those in the House tomorrow or simply mail them to all Members of the House, whichever Members prefer.

Mr. Nordling: Whatever is easiest. Perhaps they could just be sent down through internal mail or tabled tomorrow so they are recorded.

Community Agency Innovations in the amount of $100,000 agreed to

On Safe Places in Rural Yukon

Hon. Mr. Penikett: This is to facilitate the development of shelter spaces and safe places in communities outside of Whitehorse. It is designed to support projects involving the planning, construction, acquisition or renovation of facilities, and the acquisition or installation of major equipment, program materials or furnishings for the facilities.

This amount of $125,000 is in the vote. Program materials will be available late this month. We are currently developing the guidelines and regulations in consultation with a number of interested agencies and individuals.

Mr. Nordling: How will the money be administered? Will it be through applications for grants? Could the Minister tell us when the guidelines will be ready? When they are, I would like a copy sent to me, as critic.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The established practice in this area is for a community organization or society to make an application for a grant. We are still talking to some of the groups we know are interested about the program details, which I indicated will be available this month. I gave myself a deadline, and therefore the department, to have them in place and public by the end of this month.

Safe Places in Rural Yukon in the amount of $125,000 agreed to

On Whitehorse Transition Home and Second Stage Housing

Mr. Nordling: The Minister described this line item in general debate. How will it be administered? Is it going to be a system of applications for grants?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: In this case, no. We are dealing with an established organization that is running Kaushee’s Place, which the Member knows does not have a long term, secure arrangement, given the uncertainties of federal housing. It is often overcrowded or inadequate for the demands being placed on it. This is a project that is being sponsored by the department and Yukon Housing Corporation and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. We are going to be working with the societies and groups involved in this process but this, unlike the rural area, will be an initiative that will be more in-house, at least in terms of the arrangement and the construction of the housing.

Mr. Nordling: Will the seven units the Minister described, 4 for 3 people and 3 for 2 people, be government-owned housing?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: As is Kaushee’s Place now. I would contemplate that once it is arranged or provided for or built or purchased or whatever, it would then be operated by the same society that is operating Kaushee’s Place now.

Whitehorse Transition Home and Second Stage Housing in the amount of $200,000 agreed to

Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister what operating and maintenance implications this almost a $1 million capital expenditure has. Can he tell us what it is going to do to the operating and maintenance budget?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe the Member is asking about the transition and second stage housing.

Mrs. Firth: The whole thing, all of the programs. What impact is it going to have on the operation and maintenance budget?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: What will drive the programming costs in this area will be the demand and the need. That is true particularly in the case of the transition home for Whitehorse and the safe places. In the 1989-90 Main Estimates, the Member will note that there is operation and maintenance funding provided for in the amount of $125,000 to provide for the operating costs of the additional sites that will result because of this capital initiative.

Mrs. Firth: Does that include the Whitehorse Transition Home and second stage housing as well?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not anticipate that there will be operating costs this year for those because I do not expect they will be in place in this fiscal year. The money for the operation of those would come under that line in future operating budgets of the department.

Community and Family Services in the amount of $926,000 agreed to

On Social Services

Alcohol and Drug Services:

On Facility Planning and Design

Hon. Mr. Penikett: This funding is for design work for a residential detoxification facility in Whitehorse based on the final recommendations of the facility-planning team. There is a facility strategy and planning project for Alcohol and Drug Services in the Yukon including the residential treatment and detoxification services, which are being addressed.

There is right now some thinking going on about future directions and requirements for ADS and the general role of residential treatment and detoxification facilities and an assessment of the needs. The facility-planning team will complete the analysis of the bed needs and program contents during this fiscal year. Then discussions will follow respecting site requirements and possible construction or acquisition with the Department of Government Services.

The mandate for the detoxification centre will be reviewed. The Members will know that currently it is for a non-medically based service. In other words, it is not a medical service per se. Consideration has to be given in the site selection though, to ensure that the access to in- and out-patient hospital services are readily available for those clients arriving at the facility who are in need of medical attention. But also I think there is a fairly persuasive argument for a facility like this being located in the downtown area since most of the people who arrive there are on foot or find their own way there from some place downtown.

The facility itself has hundreds of clients arrive during the course of the year. It is, at this moment, extremely crowded. There are times when it has to turn away people because it does not have enough beds. Occasionally, people are referred to other agencies or the hospital. An adequate detox facility, it is believed, is needed here, and this is the planning money to talk about a facility to succeed the existing one.

Facility Planning and Design in the amount of $80,000 agreed to

On Equipment Replacement

Equipment Replacement in the amount of $8,000 agreed to

On Home Care - Operational Equipment

Mr. Phillips: What equipment are they buying for the home care program?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will give the Member a partial list of some of the items but they include wheelchairs, grab bars and support rails, respiratory equipment, patient lifters and other specialized aid items.

Home Care - Operational Equipment in the amount of $10,000 agreed to

Social Services in the amount of $98,000 agreed to

On Health Services

On Northern Health Services

Hon. Mr. Penikett: As the Members know, we were obliged to pick up 70 percent of the cost for expenditure by federal Health and Welfare throughout community health facilities on behalf of our government. The 70/30 split was established in the 1954 funding agreement with Canada. The federal health-care expenditures are projected to be $640,000 this year, that is what they have budgeted, and our share of that is $448,000.

Mr. Nordling: We do have the breakdown of the $448,000. I would like to ask if we discussed it with the federal government and whether or not we are confident that the $640,000 they have budgeted is accurate, because in the past they have missed by quite a bit.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Yes, I am assured that there were quite substantial discussions with the federal government about this commitment in this budget; sometimes governments and officials change their minds during the year and do not always proceed with things that they planned to do at the beginning. That is what happened last year.

Northern Health Services in the amount of $448,000 agreed to

On Extended Care Facility

Mr. Nordling: There has been considerable debate over the extended care facility already, so I do not want to spend a lot of time on it. The Minister promised to write me a letter about the extended care facility and the plans. How is that coming along?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Well, I hope I can get it to the Member within the next week.

Extended Care Facility in the amount of $648,000 agreed to

On Communication Disorders Equipment

Communication Disorders Equipment in the amount of $8,000 agreed to

On Extended Health Benefits for Seniors Equipment

Extended Health Benefits for Seniors Equipment in the amount of $8,000 agreed to

On Chronic Disease Benefits Equipment

Chronic Disease Benefits Equipment in the amount of $6,000 agreed to

On Macaulay Lodge Renovations

Hon. Mr. Penikett: As I mentioned before, projects for upgrading and renovating Macaulay Lodge have been funded through previous capital estimates for Health and Human Resources, and for Government Services when it was respecting energy conservation measures. The health safety project proposed under this item includes the replacement of flooring of Macaulay Lodge and landscape improvements around the lodge, which will permit increased residents’ mobility; it will enable them to get around outside more.

Mr. Phillips: I am pleased to hear that the government will be doing something to the outside of the lodge, because I know that the sloped hill and those kinds of things right outside the door are a real problem for some of those seniors.

I wonder if I might make a suggestion to the government. It probably could not be included in this year’s budget, but it could be looked at in the future. There is a bit of government property just east of the lodge that is fenced by Macaulay Lodge. Apparently it is sort of a lawn or recreation area for the seniors. I know that in the past couple of years they built a little greenhouse on the end of Macaulay Lodge and many of the seniors have taken advantage of that. A lot of them are very avid gardeners. When they come to the lodge, there is not much for them to do. I would suggest that the government look at some landscaping and a little trail with some aids for the seniors, who could walk along this trail to the back and possibly open some little garden plots that would be elevated, so that they could actually work on small plots. I think that it would give the seniors something to do. We now have the occupational physiotherapist there who could work on them. It is very good for them, mentally, to get out and do that sort of thing. It is close enough to the lodge that it would be good exercise for them to walk back and forth there, and I think it is something the government should look at. It would certainly beautify that area that really now is just a little pine forest, but could be turned into quite an enjoyable spot for the seniors. They could sit out there in their little garden area that they had actually worked on and take a little bit of pride in what they are doing, and make life at Macaulay Lodge a little bit more comfortable for them.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I thank the Member for this suggestion. I will look into that. In fact, I will ask the department for a report on the feasibility of incorporating the proposal, or proposals, similar to what the Member suggested, in next year’s budget.

Macaulay Lodge Renovations in the amount of $10,000 agreed to

On Macaulay Lodge Equipment Replacement

Hon. Mr. Penikett: We have a new five-year equipment and furniture replacement schedule. We are going to be talking about replacing beds and mattresses, chesterfields, tables and chairs, appliances, kitchen equipment, bedroom and dining-room furniture, recreational equipment and grounds maintenance equipment.

Macaulay Lodge Equipment Replacement in the amount of $30,000 agreed to

On Equipment - Operational

Equipment - Operational in the amount of $3,000 agreed to

On Boarding Facility - Rural Medical Patients

Boarding Facility - Rural Medical Patients in the amount of one dollar agreed to

Mr. Nordling: Before we clear the total, I asked about a mammography unit today in Question Period. Is there a line item somewhere in this budget that covers or provides for such a unit in case we do buy one?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: There is no line now. As I told the Member today, the estimate is $100,000 capital cost, which we would have to negotiate with the federal government. If we reach agreement in the next little while with the federal government, we will come forward to the House with a supplementary. The Member will understand there are a number of negotiations involving new facilities, which could have some bearing on this question.

Mr. Nordling: Would that be something other than what would be covered by the northern health services and the 70/30 cost-sharing agreement?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: It is possible it could be included there if we reach agreement with the federal government, but that is not contemplated under that $448,000 now. If we were talking about something in addition to that, it would either be a supplementary under that line or a new line.

Mr. Nordling: With respect to that, the Government Leader has included it with many negotiations with the federal government. What sort of a priority does this government have with obtaining a unit so women can have their mammograms done here in Whitehorse?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: The priority is high. I would hesitate to list the top 10 priorities. Everything we are doing now is being done in partial consideration of the overall health transfer and the hospital transfer, as well as some of the financial negotiations around these two items.

Mrs. Firth: Before we go on to juvenile justice, I have a question about the child care services development. We just got the information the Minister tabled. It is in regard to the enhancement grants for which day cares are eligible. I have seen the grant applications, and there is nothing in them, but are there any provisions or analysis regarding whether or not the day care, family day home or child care service is conforming to the city by-laws before the government goes ahead and gives them grant money to do renovations or whatever? Does the government make sure they have met all the city standards? What is the process for doing that?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe it is normal for us to solicit an undertaking that the operator is in fact running the day care in conformance with city by-laws and that changes, or amendments and improvements, to the day care would be done in accordance with city by-laws. They would need a permit from the city for substantial improvements. That is how they would establish if they are living up to the by-laws.

Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us if day cares that had major renovations done came with permits from the city?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot prove that here and now, but I would certainly hope so. I would assume that anyone making improvements to their property that would require a permit from the city would obtain one in accordance with the by-laws. I am absolutely sure that proper authorities were obtained by the Minister of Government Services.

Health Services in the amount of $1,161,00 agreed to

On Juvenile Justice

On Equipment - Operational

Hon. Mr. Penikett: Again, this equipment is required for the Fifth Avenue Group Home, 501 Taylor and the Annie Lake Base Camp Youth Development and Educational Services and the Community Alternative Measures Programs in order to meet program requirements and maintenance standards. This funding will be used for new acquisitions and equipment replacement, including instructional equipment, furnishings, appliances and recreational equipment and mattresses and beds.

Equipment - Operational in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

On Young Offenders Facility

Mr. Nordling: I am pleased that we have the total cost of the facility. We know it to be now $3,224,000. I am relieved that it is finished. It was announced by the former Minister at $1.6 million. In January, 1988, when we discussed the capital budget, the former Minister estimated the total cost of the entire project to be $2.5 million. I am glad to see that we have completed the facility.

Hon. Mr. Penikett: I thank the Member for his backhanded compliment. I am sure the Member will express gladness as well at the fact that it is costing us considerably less than the 24-bed facility that was previously planned at $7 million to $8 million.

Mr. Nordling: I would like to ask the Minister when we can have a tour of the new facility?

Hon. Mr. Penikett: July 3.

Juvenile Justice in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

Chair: If there are no questions on pages 229, 231 or 234, we will clear the department?

Health and Human Resources in the amount of $2,235,000 agreed to

Chair:  If it is the wish of Committee, we will have a short break.


Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order. We will proceed with Justice.

Department of Justice

Chair:  Is there any general debate?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I have an item for $156,000 that I have broken down into three areas, and I would be prepared to go line by line if that is all right with the Member.

On Court Facilities

On Court Facilities Renovations

Hon. Ms. Joe: The program is to implement the recommendations of two facility review evaluation reports and plans for court facilities throughout the territory. The $65,000 reflects some of those renovations that were recommended in some of the courtroom facilities in the communities.

Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could be a little more specific. Exactly where are they renovating, what are they doing with the renovations and so forth?

Hon. Ms. Joe: The recommendations that came from this report were for a number of changes that were needed in a number of the community facilities where courts are held. The $65,000 that we are asking for today is not the total amount that we needed, but it was all the money that was available. We are looking at places where some of the facilities do not meet the needs to hold court. They would, in some cases, recommend better lighting and others would recommend interview rooms; in other cases, the heating would have to be upgraded. It is not necessarily work that would have been done by a community that owned a building, because those needs were necessary only for the courtroom when the court was being held in those communities in such places as a band hall or community hall.

Mrs. Firth: The Minister still has not answered my question. I would like to know where these renovations are going to take place. Is the $65,000 to cover a specific community that needs lighting fixed or that needs a better facility with more chairs or a more pleasant place to hold court? I would like to know if she could be specific.

The reason I ask this is that there is a multi-year projection cost of $450,000, and I would like to know what else is going to happen. Perhaps the Minister would be prepared to provide us with a copy of the recommendations from the facility reviews so we could look at it as well.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I could provide her with the copy of the evaluation. The recommendations we received reflected the amount of money that was needed in different communities and for different facilities. As I mentioned before, we did not budget for any more than $65,000. It was the intention of the department to decide which one of those facilities would have to be done within the $65,000, from a list of about eight or nine.

Mrs. Firth: Do I gather that the Minister is saying they just want $65,000, and the department is going to decide how they are going to spend that $65,000, and that they do not have a plan for the expenditure of it yet, for example, $5,000 in Old Crow, $2,000 in Watson Lake and $7,000 somewhere else? I would like a more specific answer.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I have not had a copy of the recommendations I have been speaking about presented to me, so I have not seen it. I have been told there are certain communities that have a more urgent need for renovations than others. I have been told that someone will decide which of those communities do have that urgent need, and the $65,000 will be spent on that, which would not complete the recommendations that were in the report. The recommendations were for renovations that would cost much more than $65,000.

Mrs. Firth: I would like to know who is going to make the decision on this money we are being asked to approve. From what I understand from the Minister, she does not know where it is going to be spent, yet we are being asked to approve this funding for some anonymous person in the department to decide to spend. I would expect it would be the Minister who would give direction to the officials as to where the money was going to be spent, based on her interpretation of the recommendations that come from the facility review. From the Minister’s comments, I gather she has not reviewed the facility review and the recommendations.

I feel silly standing up and being asked to approve this funding when I cannot get an answer about where it is going to be spent.

Hon. Ms. Joe: The $65,000 will be spent on those facilities. The recommendations will have told us which of those facilities would need the most immediate renovations. I apologize at this time. I cannot say whether the need is greater in Ross River, Old Crow, Haines Junction or wherever. I believe the original recommendations that came from the evaluation amounted to about $300,000 in renovations in all the places where they hold court in the communities.

Mrs. Firth: I have a great deal of concern voting for this item. I want to know where the money is going to be spent. I do not even have an opportunity to say, “well, why are you spending it there?” I mean, we are sort of sanctioning $65,000 worth of expenditures. We do not know what facility it is going to be spent on. Maybe it is going to be spent on some dumpy old building that is going to be torn down in six months and a new facility put up. Ross River has a huge arena that is being built, or a huge arena/community complex that I am sure the government is going to rent court facilities space from. What if they are going to spend some money in Ross River on some old dumpy facility and then tear it down and it is just a waste of money? I cannot even responsibly vote for this because I do not know anything about where the money is going, except for the Minister saying that all we could get was $65,000 when she had to fight in the budget process with her colleagues and it is the first phase of implementing this almost $500,000 capital project. The multi-year project indicates it is going to be $450,000. Well, we do not want to approve that expenditure. It may not be a wise expenditure on behalf of the government, and I cannot get the information from the Minister.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not think that the department would be so irresponsible as to spend tat kind of money on a place that was falling down. I have no real explanations, but it just makes sense to know that it will be spent in one or two or three of these places that have been recommended in the evaluation. There have been some renovations that were made under the LEOP project in some of the community halls and some of the band halls and I think that we have to know how much of that work that was done was able to meet the needs that were listed in the evaluation. That is one of the things that we would have to find out first. It is a known fact that some of the facilities do not meet the need, and we would hope that $65,000 would address some of those recommendations.

Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister, if she has the recommendations at her desk, could tell us what the first three projects are on the recommendations. Where are the first three areas that the money is going to be spent? Where are they recommending that it be spent?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I have already mentioned that I did not have a copy of the evaluation on my desk. I am sure I could get a copy of it tomorrow and make it available to her.

Chair: Is this item going to stand?

Mrs. Firth: I think that is a good suggestion. It is a new program in the capital expenditures program, so Members can have an opportunity to look at where the money is going to be spent. I do not think it is unreasonable to ask to stand this item over.

Court Facilities Renovations stood over

On Court Administrative and Security

Hon. Ms. Joe: The $9,000 has been budgeted to allow for replacements to court administration and security equipment, court reporting recorders and justice of the peace portable recorders and attachments. They are replacements that are on that five year cycle.

Court Administrative and Security in the amount of $9,000 agreed to

On Correctional Facilities

On Equipment Replacement - Existing Facility

Hon. Ms. Joe: The $13,000 is designated for replacement of items in the correctional centre such as vacuum cleaners, mattresses, wheelbarrows, drills and recreational equipment for the gym and for summer recreational activities.

Equipment Replacement - Existing Facility in the amount of $13,000 agreed to

On New Equipment - Existing Facility

Hon. Ms. Joe: There is $34,000 budgeted for the purchase of new equipment at the correctional centre. This equipment includes an electronic time recorder for checking stations both inside and out of the facility, a buzz saw for the cord wood cutting project and start-up costs for the rural work camp. There is $5,000 budgeted for the purchase of training aids and a VHS recorder for the family violence section.

New Equipment - Existing Facility in the amount of $39,000 agreed to

Correctional Facilities in the amount of $52,000 agreed to

On Departmental Facilities

On Occupational Health and Safety  - Equipment

Hon. Ms. Joe: The $30,000 is budgeted for the purchase of several items in occupational health and safety and loss control programs. The largest item is a portable ambient air analyzer which will provide immediate analyses of 110 chemical vapour gases. Presently, the analysis is carried out by an outside laboratory, which is costly. The purchase of this machine will eliminate the need for costly laboratory analysis and will allow for immediate results. The cost of the occupational health and safety equipment is 75 percent recoverable from the Workers’ Compensation Board.

Mrs. Firth: Does the portable ambient air analyzer cost $28,000?

Hon. Ms. Joe: The cost of that is $25,000. The other $3,000 is for gauges and metres and various tubes and all of the other things that go along with the equipment.

Mrs. Firth: Are the personnel in occupational health and safety qualified to operate this air analyzer, or are they going to have to take a special course to learn how to use it?

Hon. Ms. Joe: They are qualified to use this equipment.

Occupational Health and Safety - Equipment in the amount of $28,000 agreed to

On YTG Safety Training and Loss Prevention Equipment

Hon. Ms. Joe: This $2,000 item is just for the replacement of small pieces of equipment and could be included, as mentioned before. It is the same thing as meters and gauges and things you have to replace to go along with the equipment that is used in occupational health and safety.

YTG Safety Training and Loss Prevention Equipment in the amount of $2,000 agreed to

Departmental Facilities in the amount of $30,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on pages 274 and 277? If there are no questions, we will proceed with Renewable Resources, on page 312.

Department of Renewable Resources

Chair:  Is there general debate?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I welcome this opportunity to outline details on the capital expenditures proposed for the Department of Renewable Resources for 1989-90, as prepared by my staff.

As hon. Members are aware, Yukon trappers, as well as trappers everywhere, are under pressure by the anti-fur lobby. Many of the groups involved in this lobby are bent on destroying the trapping industry. One of the prime targets of their campaign has been the leghold trap.

Our government and other governments across the country have responded to this attack on the trapping industry. We are proposing to restrict the use of the steel-jawed leghold trap in the Yukon, beginning the winter of 1992-93. More humane traps will be required for many species. Padded leghold traps will be allowed for species such as lynx, fox, coyote and wolf. Standard steel-jawed leghold traps, when used in a drowning set for species such as muskrat, beaver, otter and mink, will continue to be permitted. These changes are a critical step in stemming the attacks from the anti-fur lobby and helping to preserve the trapping industry.

In taking this step, we have recognized the need to help trappers change their trapping methods. During the past year, our government spent $35,000 under the Economic Development Agreement on the purchase of humane traps. These are made available to trappers in exchange for their steel-jawed leghold traps. This year, we plan to step up this program and are proposing that $150,000 be made available for the purchase of traps. The money you will be asked to vote in these estimates will help ease the transition to more humane trapping methods.

While the trap exchange program will address the specific problem related to our wildlife populations, our department is concerned with the overall management of all our wildlife species.

Another problem we have faced in the effective management of the territory’s big game is a lack of comprehensive, integrated management plans for these populations. In the past, big game management has largely been focused on studies to collect information on game populations. Changes to regulations or approaches have been in response to quite specific harvest situations. In contrast to this practice, we want to take a big-picture approach and have identified money in these estimates to develop comprehensive plans that can guide the wise, long-term use of these important Yukon resources. The integrated management plans that will result from this capital undertaking will encompass plans to rebuild certain populations such as moose, protect critical wildlife habitats, allocate harvest opportunities to hunters, and to provide for more effective use of resources, conserving our big game populations.

An important aspect to these management plans is public involvement. In the past, Yukoners have had opportunities to provide input on questions concerning big game populations, but these opportunities have been, at best, random. As you are aware, the Wildlife Advisory Committee has recently been reactivated as a wildlife management board. We now have an effective forum for public participation in the development of wildlife management plans, policies and legislation.

To begin work on an integrated big game management plan for the southwestern Yukon, the Capital Estimates allow for $130,000 for a program manager and six community field workers. Implementation of such a plan, once published and accepted by the public, is scheduled for July of 1990. In subsequent years, integrated management plans will be developed and implemented for all big game populations in the territory.

Our government is committed not only to the effective management of wildlife populations, but fish populations as well. A recent consultant’s report, which examined the economic potential of the Yukon fishery, identified a serious concern about over fishing in many Yukon lakes and streams. Now that this government has responsibility for freshwater fisheries, something Yukoners have advocated for years, we have to move quickly to inform Yukoners about the state of our fish resources. To that end, we are proposing to spend $25,000 on a communications program consisting of a pamphlet and a series of public service announcements on radio and television. This program will be designed to promote a better awareness of the Yukon fishery and an understanding for the need of the conservation of this resource.

Conservation, or the wise use, management and protection of our resources, is everyone’s responsibility. That is one of the principles underlying the development of the Yukon Conservation Strategy, which is being prepared in cooperatively by government and interested Yukoners. A public discussion paper on the strategy was released this past fall, and a final strategy is expected to be ready this fall.

To ensure the final strategy is readily available to all Yukoners, these estimates include $30,000 for publishing costs. In order to make sound decisions about our economy and our environment, we all need to be informed. Therefore, $50,000 has been provided in these estimates for the development of a film and a video and the writing of a booklet.

Next year, both the film and the booklet will be produced and, as a spinoff of the film production, about 10 video vignettes will be produced for television usage. This written and audio-visual material will reinforce the message of the conservation strategy and will be available to support environmental education programs at the secondary school level, as well as for the general public.

In conjunction with the development of the Yukon Conservation Strategy, the department has also been preparing a strategic plan that will outline the direction of the department for the five-year period, 1990 to 1995. Included in this plan will be a set of detailed commitments for implementing the Yukon Conservation Strategy. There is $15,000 proposed to allow for the printing of this plan.

A couple of years ago, some trees in the Klondike River campground fell, causing damage to two vehicles. As a means of avoiding these types of situations, we are proposing an expenditure of $50,000 to remove dead trees that have the potential to cause damage or injury to campground users.

This will ensure a safe environment for campers and reduce the risk of costly liability claims against our government.

As in the past, we will also be treating our work of campground rehabilitation with the proposed expenditure of $361,000. During 1989-90, major upgrading work will be undertaken at our busiest campground, the Yukon River Campground. A new bridge will also be constructed at the Wolf Creek Campground. Three projects started this past year will be completed: the rehabilitation of the Marsh Lake and Fox Lake Campgrounds, the completion of the campfire circles at Congdon Creek and Pine Lake Campgrounds.

In addition, money is proposed for planning further rehabilitation and redevelopment projects for future years.

In the area of campground relocation, we will be completing the campground and day use area in Old Crow. The construction of a dock for float planes will complete the work at Johnson Lake. Because of the success of the self-registration system, we are also proposing to make it more widely available. It will be expanded to include another eight campgrounds this coming summer. The amount of $75,000 has been allocated to these projects.

There is also a regular need to replace or upgrade facilities in the 50 territorial campgrounds as items wear out, are damaged or become obsolete. During the next fiscal year, we are proposing to spend $225,000 to ensure that our campgrounds, which are heavily used, meet the public’s expectations.

Yukoners and visitors to our territory have also expressed a desire for short trails for nature viewing and recreation, particularly at our campgrounds. We will be continuing with a program to construct trails near existing campgrounds.

There has been $20,000 included in these estimates for the completion of a safety fence at Million Dollar Falls to protect the public walking along the canyon trail.

Another project that will continue this year is a Dempster corridor study. Honourable Members will recall that money for phase one of this project, which consisted of updating the Dempster study completed 1983, was approved for 1988-89. With that work complete, we can now develop a management and implementation strategy for the Dempster corridor. This will be designed to provide the proper management of the resources within the corridor, by providing economic benefits and development opportunities for Yukoners. These benefits are expected to include the enhanced management of fish and wildlife resources and increase recreational and visitor facilities. The amount of $50,000 has been proposed for the completion of this work.

The government will also be continuing work this year on a study to determine the forage productivity and carrying capacity of Yukon grazing lands. There is $105,000 being sought for this purpose. This will ultimately allow Yukon farmers and outfitters the full use of grazing resources and reduce the risk of overgrazing and decertification of our native ranges.

This concludes my initial remarks on the details of the proposed capital expenditures. Overall, the estimates for the Department of Renewable Resources totals $1.7 million, an increase of $28,000 from the forecasted spending for 1988-89. Thank you.

Mr. Lang: I was listening with a great deal of interest and it almost sounded like the public relations office of the government when you went through the list of the publications and the various public relations campaigns you are going to be launching through the department.

I just want to make an observation. I do not have any problems with some public relations within the department, but it begins to bother me when a good portion of the capital budget seems to be directed in that manner. I want to say that I am a little concerned - and I want to express this, and I guess maybe this is a philosophical point - but we are almost saying that conservation and development cannot go together and subsequently, we are going to set up a public relations campaign which says we are going to protect the habitat and subsequently, I guess, to try to shape the minds of the younger generation here in the Yukon, that development really cannot go hand in hand with conservation measures. I just want to express my concern if that is the philosophy and the direction the government is going, because I think it is very bad for the Yukon if the idea is to make the Yukon one big park. Obviously, there are going to be a lot of reasons, for example, why people in Porter Creek East are going to have to move out eventually, if that is the philosophy that we are going with. I really want to know just how far we are going in this area of public relations.

The other area that I would like to have a little bit more of a description is big game management within the Yukon, and I want to say we share that concern.

We are prepared to support whatever the government is going to do to see that the big game stocks within the Yukon increase. I would like to know what steps the department is going to take, other than to put more rules and regulations on the hunters. What other steps is the government going to be taking? It is going to be putting in a predator control program? If so, what kind of program is going to take place? Maybe the Minister could start from there.

Hon. Mr. Webster: I will be brief. I do not share the same interpretation as the Member opposite with regard to his comments on public relations. I see it more as a public education campaign in which we are seeking information from Yukoners from all walks of life as to how to plan for future development of the territory. We are trying to instill and make more people aware of the importance of conservation in anything we do, so that all economic development proposals brought forward are sensitive to the environment and the principles of conservation.

With respect to big game management, I think there are a number of strategies we will be employing other than limiting hunters from harvesting stock. Predator control is certainly one. We are in the last year of a wolf predator control program in the Ross River area. We are also looking at improvement of some critical habitat areas and are working very closely with Wildlife Habitat Canada on that. There are a number of strategies in place to ensure that our stock of big game does improve throughout the territory.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that you report progress on Bill No. 51.

Motion agreed to

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

Motion agreed to

Speaker resumes the Chair

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

Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 28 entitled, Day of Mourning for Victims of Workplace Injuries Act, and directed me to report the same without amendment. Further, Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 51 entitled, First Appropriation Act, 1989-90, and directed me to report progress on same.

Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are your agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Speaker: I declare the report carried.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move the House do now adjourn.

Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. House Leader that the House do now adjourn.

Motion agreed to

Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 9:28 p.m.

The following Legislative Returns were tabled April 10, 1989:


LEOP funding to unincorporated communities, 1985-86 - 1988-89 and capital funding to unincorporated communities 1985-86 - 1988-89 (Byblow)

Oral, Hansard, p. 52


Estimates and actual expenditures of projects in various rural communities (Byblow)

Oral, Hansard, p. 96


Government Equipment Rental, and use of government steamer at Faro mine (Byblow)

Oral, Hansard, p. 196