Whitehorse, Yukon

Thursday, March 1, 1990 - 1:30 p.m.

Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.



Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.

Introduction of Visitors.

Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?

Reports of Committees.


Ms. Hayden: I have the honour to present the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Speaker: Petitions.

Introduction of Bills.

Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?

Notices of Motion?

Are there any Statements by Ministers?

This then brings us to the Question Period.


Question re: Agricultural policy

Mr. Phelps: I have some questions for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services regarding the disposition of land in the Yukon. When the draft agricultural policy was announced, the Minister defended, among other things, reducing the size of land parcels that could be granted under the new policy on the basis that there were no provisions forcing farmers to farm their land.

Would the Minister agree that in addition to measures taken in the draft policy that there are alternative methods used elsewhere that would ensure that when land is given out it would be used for agricultural purposes?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: To clarify the disposition of agricultural tracts of land, I should point out that while 65 hectares is the economic unit being proposed in the new policy, it does not preclude an additional 65 hectare piece of property from being sought at the same time by application.

The Member raises the concern about whether farmland would indeed be farmed through other incentives and I believe the Member can be assured that the number of incentives are described within the policy; certainly it is one of the purposes of the policy to provide farmland for farm purposes.

Mr. Phelps: It certainly appears, from the reaction we have been getting from the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association, that they see the draft policy as rather detrimental in its present form. I am wondering whether the Minister ever sat down with the executive of the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association to discuss the issue of land sizes and, as well, methods of ensuring that farmers would farm their land before coming forward with this draft policy.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The point I should emphasize to the Member is that the draft proposal that was unveiled is, indeed, just that: it is a draft proposal that is going out for public discussion, for public consultation, for public input. The proposal is intended to precipitate the discussion necessary to refine its content, to provide in the final analysis for a viable farming industry here in the Yukon. The Member should also be aware that I have been in communication with the farming community for a number of years, not to mention meeting with the executive on several occasions over those past years and as recently as a few months ago.

The Member’s suggestion that the policy has areas of concern being raised by the agriculture community is correct and we intend to continue discussions, continue refinement, and treat this for what it is: a draft proposal for agricultural development in the territory.

Mr. Phelps: The Minister may have spoken to some members of the agricultural community, but I suspect not about this issue. Certainly, his counterpart, the Minister responsible for agriculture in the territory, did not ever meet with the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association.

Can the Minister advise us whether or not he or his department discussed alternatives for ensuring land was put into production with his counterparts in the provinces of Canada?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: This policy was developed in consultation with the industry and in full communication with other jurisdictions. The Member should derive some comfort from the simple fact that I was born and raised on a farm myself, so I know quite well what the policy is about. From my discussions with the industry and department, the draft proposal we put forward provides for a basis of discussion to come forward with an eventual policy that will be adopted and accepted by all.

Question re: Agricultural policy

Mr. Phelps: The issue really is adequate consultation with the industry prior to coming out with a policy that has been years in the making. The previous Minister in charge of lands made a statement that farmers in Hootalinqua north are really gentlemen hobby farmers. Does the present Minister agree with that statement and attitude?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have no knowledge of such a statement being made by the previous Minister, and I worked very closely with him for a number of years. I would certainly like to challenge that statement. The Minister even previous to the last Minister said some things I would not want to repeat in the agricultural community today. The Member should be comforted by the recognition that this government has given to agriculture. We believe it is a viable economic base in this territory and believe it has an opportunity to provide a self-sustaining impact in agricultural products. We believe there are excellent farmers and capable people out there who can make the agricultural industry a rich one, indeed, for the territory, and that is what we are pursuing.

Mr. Phelps: Our new Minister in charge of land is agreeing that a large number of Yukon farmers are sincere in their desire to develop a viable industry and are investing their time and money in an attempt to further the agricultural industry in Yukon. Is that his position?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can tell the Member bluntly that, yes, this government has taken a very strong supportive position of agriculture in the territory. We believe agriculture has a place in the economy of this territory. We believe a number of products that are currently imported can be produced here. We believe we have viable land to produce these products on in the territory, and our policy endorses that.

We will continue the discussions with the industry to make it an even better and more productive force in the territory.

Mr. Phelps: I am sure the agricultural industry will be somewhat relieved to hear these reassuring statements emanating from the Minister.

Would the Minister agree that farmers who are sincere in their efforts, and who are putting their time and money into farms, ought to be given tax incentives on their farm homestead, as well as on their agricultural lands, in a manner similar to those incentives enjoyed by farmers in many of the southern provinces?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I wish the Member would introduce a motion where we could debate this entire issue. I do not believe Question Period is necessarily the best place to detail agriculture policy; nevertheless, it is a beginning, and I am quite prepared to exchange views with the Member.

The tax incentives that have never been applied before have been introduced in this policy. Tax incentives have been introduced in this policy to provide an incentive for farmers to write off the cost of their taxation against production. That is part of the serious-minded approach of this policy. Active production to the value of $3,000 will incur a tax rebate to the full tax value assigned to the property.

The tax incentive has been applied to the agricultural pursuit of the policy.

Question re: Agricultural policy

Mr. Phelps: I could not help but notice that the Minister was receiving advice from the previous Minister just prior to answering my question. The previous Minister seems to feel that the farmers in Hootalinqua north are gentlemen hobby farmers.

My question really has to do with the issue of the homes of farmers being exempted from the tax incentive policy. Should the policy not be such that those sincere farmers who are living at their farms be given tax incentives on their homes as well, in a manner similar to tax incentives utilized in most of the provinces?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: In the first instance, I have no knowledge and I challenge his assertion that any one from this side would consider the farming that goes on in the territory as hobby farming.

With respect to his issue of tax concession for the residential portion, tax concessions will ordinarily be granted. The home owners grant will be available. That is one concession toward a form of taxation. It is our intention, on the residential portion of the farm unit, to apply the same rules that we currently apply to rural residential land. That would simply permit people, over a 10 year period, to write down the equity value of that land. Farmers, with a commitment of 10 years, will not have to pay one cent for the residential portion of land. Over a 10 year period with a write down of 10 percent each year, no purchase price would have to be collected on the land, unless there is a development cost involved; then that might change.

The Member is familiar with the policy at Mendenhall and at Robinson. The difference between development cost and market value can be assigned to an equity write down over a 10 year period. We will be putting that proposal forward. That is suggested in this policy.

The short answer is that the residential land component can be acquired with no cash cost.

Mr. Phelps: The Minister is not answering the question I asked. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt and I am sure he is intelligent enough to understand what the question was, but he is deliberately addressing himself to a question that was not asked.

The issue is simply this: there is a large number of farmers who bought their land, who are farming and who live on their farms. My question is: for those people who are farming in a bona fide manner, ought not they enjoy tax incentives on the home portion of their farms in a similar manner to the incentives enjoyed by their counterparts in many of the southern provinces? That is my question.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I go back to the point that this is a draft policy proposal that we are putting out to the public, to the industry and to the Legislature for discussion. Any refinement in the terms suggested within this policy are up for discussion. With respect to the issue of tax incentives on the residential portion, I have already indicated to the Member that a tax incentive is provided, firstly through the home owners grant, and secondly through the value of production, which is a standard practice and feature in other jurisdictions.

I am not precisely sure what the Member is getting at; I have already explained that the land can be acquired through a commitment over a 10-year period for no cash cost. I have indicated already that there will be tax concessions to the agricultural component of the property, based on production. What more is the Member seeking?

Mr. Phelps: What concerns me is that there seems to be a bias against farmers who live on their land and it seems to tie in quite neatly with the unfortunate remarks of his predecessor about gentlemen and hobby farms.

Would the Minister consider, if he thinks I am misquoting what was said to the farming industry, checking that statement out with the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association executive. I invite the media to ask them as well.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not sure what the question is. If the question is whether or not my colleague, the previous Minister, considers farming a hobby exercise in the territory, I can tell him quite bluntly he does not consider it that. He is quite capable also of telling the Member that himself, and probably will, shortly, if he is goaded into it.

The Member raised with me the issue of tax concession on the residential component of the building. I want to know precisely what his question is and what position he is promoting for the residential portion in relation to tax?

Question re: Agricultural policy

Mr. Phelps: What I am suggesting to the hon. Minister is that people who are serious about farming ought to be encouraged to live on their farms and that the tax incentives and the tax breaks that are applied to the farmer ought not to be excluded from the farmer’s residential portion of his land. That is the case in most provinces; the entire farm, including the residential portions, are given tax breaks when it is a bona fide farming operation. That is all I am saying.

Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is a bit of a tax measure. I will take the opportunity to respond, partly because the Leader of the Official Opposition has repeatedly misquoted me in the House this afternoon and I feel obliged to set the record straight.

Firstly, I have never indicated to anyone that the bulk of the farming industry in the Yukon is anything but legitimate and hard working. I have never indicated that the bulk of the industry is made up of gentlemen hobby farmers. I do challenge the Member to find evidence of that.

With respect to tax incentives, there are two issues here: there is a property tax incentive, which this policy introduces for the first time ever. It was never before introduced by a previous government. Thanks to the current Minister of Community and Transportation Services, that property tax incentive is in place for the agricultural portion of the land. The Member is referring to a tax applied to the income from farming operations. The tax break he is referring to is a federal tax break. I had repeatedly made representations to the previous government to make representations to the federal government to improve the income tax break for Yukon farmers. When I became Minister for Community and Transportation Services, I did communicate with federal Ministers to try to have that income tax break improved.

The Member is confusing the two taxes. This is the property tax provision that the Minister of Community and Transportation Services has introduced for the first time in the new policy. It is a significant benefit to the agricultural community in this territory.

Mr. Lang: To give Members the background on this, what the public and Members of the House were lead to believe is that there was going to be an agricultural policy tabled in this House - not a draft, but an agricultural policy resulting from consultation with those groups affected by such a policy.

To give some credence to that, on February 26, in both statements given by “the magic and mystery”, and I quote, “The policy is a result of consultation with various interest groups.” If that were the case, I do not understand why the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association is so opposed to so many elements in the policy if it is the result of the consultation that the Minister of Community and Transportation Services spoke so highly of when he presented the draft agricultural policy?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The best way to approach the answer to the question is to make it clear that the consultation process is currently in progress. The preconsultation that has taken place and the draft of the policy has taken place over the past number of years, more specifically in the course of the last year.

To put it quite clearly to the Member, the departments of the government met a number of times with APAC, which has representatives from the agricultural community. A series of meetings took place last summer, during fall and into winter on the draft proposal we have before us. The Member suggests that the agricultural community has a number of objections to the policy; that may be correct. I have read the papers as well. I have also met with the executive of the agriculture association and I know they have concerns about aspects of the policy. I also know some of their concerns are addressed in this policy. I know the policy needs further refinement that is going to be based on discussions with the agricultural community and other interests.

This agricultural policy has been drafted in consultation with the industry. This agricultural policy is now going through a consultation process with the industry and other interested parties.

Come September, I expect we will have some excellent input. We may well have some changes and good justification for refinement, and I look forward to that process. It is a process that is highly democratic and productive and not worthy of the kind of criticism the Member is heaping upon it.

The Member seems to suggest that we should have drafted a policy and foisted it on Yukon people. That is not our approach. Our approach is to consult with the industry and the Yukon people ...

Speaker: Order please. Would the Member please conclude his answer.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: This policy reflects a consultation process that is currently ongoing.

Mr. Lang: That is why I am a little lost. We talk about consultation, yet we bring out a document that, in good part, the industry we are discussing here is opposed to.

The Minister keeps going back to Agricultural Planning Advisory Committee. For those who do not know, it is a body where all information is confidential and cannot be taken back to their organizations.

Is it not true that the opposition that has primarily been brought forward through the agricultural community made those points in the confidential meetings when the consultation took place?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: A number of concerns were raised in those meetings. A number of concerns were raised in the meeting I had with the executive of the agricultural association. We had some discussion on those points. The policy reflects a number of changes to the input that was done in the preconsultation period. We believe that further consultation is necessary, and that is what is happening.

I fail to see what the problem is. The agricultural community has privately and publicly expressed concerns to me, privately and publicly, about the price of agricultural land and the fact we are moving to a market-value system for the sale of land. The fact is that, with adequate capital improvement to the land, the market-value cost can be written down to zero. Again, you can acquire agricultural land at no cost.

The fears relating to us putting forward a policy of charging market value for the land is unfounded, in my opinion. The opportunity is there for the serious-minded farmer, who is prepared to invest and farm, to apply that on a write down of that market value for the land and not pay anything in the end.

I previously described to the Leader of the Official Opposition how the residential land can be acquired for nothing, given effort. The long and the short of it is that we are now in the process of discussing this policy. Yes, it will require some refinement. I predict there will be some changes. By September 30, those will have taken place.

Mr. Lang: In the statement given on February 26 by the Minister, he made it very clear the sale price of farm land will be based on the market value of undeveloped raw land. That was the statement the Minister gave to the House. I understand why he is now scrambling, in view of the comments that were made.

In view of the fact that all the representations made by the agricultural community were not listened to during the consultation process undertaken prior to February 26, who recommended the changes that are included in this document? Obviously, the agricultural community does not agree with them. Somebody had to do it. Were there other interest groups involved? If so, who were they and who made those recommendations?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not know what the Member is after. A policy has come forward. It is a draft document. It is a proposal. It has been assembled in consultation with the industry, in consultation with a number of interest groups. The drafting has been developed by the staff of the department.

It has gone through a number of rewrites and stages of review by my colleague, the Minister for Renewable Resources, and myself. What is the Member seeking? Is he trying to find out who wrote section 4, clause b(1)? I do not know that answer, and I do not intend to find out.

This policy has been drafted over a long period of time, over a long period of discussion, over a long period of analysis and comparison to other jurisdictions, in consultation with the industry, farmers, fur stations people and other community interest groups, along with the input of my colleague and me, as well as the previous Minister of Community and Transportation Services.

It was a long process that has produced this document that is before us today. I expect another six- or seven-month process before the document is finalized. If the Member is opposed to consultation, then he should say so. For the moment, we believe in it, and we are going to continue with it.

Question re: Agricultural policy

Mr. Lang: I would like to direct a question to a Member on the front bench who definitely believes in consultation on every given issue, and that is the real Minister responsible for agriculture, who has never met with the agriculture association.

Some Member: (inaudible)

Mr. Lang: The Government Leader would like to have the floor to actually say something. Maybe Members would like to hear it.

I was speaking to the real Minister responsible for agriculture. I do not know why the Minister for Community and Transportation Services answered. This is the magic and the mystery.

I would like to direct a question to the Minister for Renewable Resources responsible for agriculture. I would like to remind him that he is responsible for agriculture.

We talked about this document going out for public comment. What process does the government have in mind for hearing the views of the public on this document? Will there be public hearings?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to make the Member aware that I do recognize my responsibility in Renewable Resources, one aspect of that being agriculture. I would like to make a public announcement that if the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association would like to invite me to one of their meetings, all they have to do is contact me or my office. It is as simple as that.

We sent out letters to a variety of individuals who are interested in the development of this agriculture industry in the territory. We made them aware that they have until September 30 to respond in writing. If they request a meeting with either the Director of Lands, Mr. Cuddy, or the Director of Agriculture, Mr. Dave Beckman, all they have to do is contact their offices and an appointment will be made to meet with them to hear their views.

Mr. Lang: It would be very beneficial for the real Minister responsible for agriculture to hear their views and introduce himself to people whom he has never met.

Would the real Minister responsible for agriculture be prepared to go to a public meeting, address the agricultural community and leave himself open to questions that they may have on this serious issue?

Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to make it clear again that, given the opportunity, if an invitation is extended to me, I will meet members of the executive of the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association, either in my office or in their home or wherever. Now the Member is discussing the amount of consultation he is so familiar with and that has been ingrained in him over so many years. I imagine he has been attending many meetings of the Livestock and agriculture association. I am wondering if the members of that association agree with the Member for Porter Creek East’s statement, “I would like to respond to a statement made in both ministerial statements, which states matching farmers with suitable lands. This is a true statement of socialism. When the government tells the people where they can live, with this type of underlying philosophy guiding the government, this policy will not work.”

I am wondering if that is the viewpoint that was impressed upon the Member for Porter Creek East when he attended meetings of the Yukon Livestock and Agriculture Association?

Mr. Lang: I would like to follow up a little further on this. The Minister has volunteered to meet in their homes or in his office. I would ask the Minister, if he could find the time in his busy schedule - I realize he is involved in a lot of social activities - if he would be more than prepared to go to a public meeting and address this particular draft policy that he is so proud of, yet he has never met with the industry, and open himself to questions from the members of the agricultural community in the public forum he is so fond of?

Hon. Mr. Webster: For the third time, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with members of the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association; it could be in a public forum situation, and I could speak to matters of principles that have been put forward in this draft proposed agriculture policy. I want to make it clear, though, that the comments coming recently from members of the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association show that they are quite pleased with the aspects of the policy that relate to the agriculture branch.

I have heard some concerns expressed with the matters relating to the acquisition of land; despite that, I am quite happy to attend a public meeting at their invitation and explain both aspects: those that are the responsibility of the Community and Transportation Services, as well as in the area of Renewable Resources.

Question re: Agricultural policy

Mr. Phelps: The Minister of Community and Transportation Services stood up and said he understood the industry, because he was born and raised on a farm. I was born and raised in a desert, but I do not know very much about camels.

I am wondering, if they can get their act together, perhaps the Community and Transportation Services Minister could tell us whether it is his fault or his colleague’s fault that so many farmers are upset?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I think there is a dearth of questions from Members opposite, because they are struggling to find something in the agriculture policy that they can hang their hat on. It is incorrect for the Leader of the Opposition to say that so many farmers are opposed to this policy. I think the truth of the matter is that there is a desire for some discussion on this policy; there is a desire for some aspects of the policy to be clarified more; there is no doubt a desire for a refinement to take place in certain steps and processes, and that is what is going to be taking place.

I have already pointed out to the Members that one of the major objections relating to the sale price of land can indeed be met under this policy where there is no actual upfront cost to farmers as they fear will now be required.

I should point out that this policy has been brought forward within a year ...

Speaker: Would the Member please conclude his answer?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: I should point out that this policy has been brought forward within a year of the commitment that I made.

It is happening and it is a far better record than I recall when I was in Opposition and they were on the front bench. It took seven years to get no policy.

Speaker: Order please.

Question re: Emergency number 911

Mrs. Firth: I do not have a question about farming. I have a question to the same Minister, however. It is a short question and requires a short answer. It is with respect to the 911 number.

The Minister has indicated publicly that he drafted general instructions for his department to reconsider the 911 service. There has not been a decision regarding forming a committee. However, the Minister indicated publicly that he did not think the idea was unreasonable. Has the Minister made a decision or not with respect to the committee being formed?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The questions are really getting sparse.

The Member is correct. I directed the department not to look at the 911 number again, but to investigate whether or not it can be implemented in Whitehorse. Those directions have gone out. I am in discussion with NorthwesTel on the matter. It appears we have the potential for some progress on this, strictly on the basis of some new equipment that NorthwesTel has introduced. We may well have a much more expeditious result on the business of 911 than anticipated earlier in debate this week.

Mrs. Firth: The question is valid. I am asking if there is going to be a committee or not. The Minister has not answered the question, just because he is meeting with NorthwesTel. Perhaps he could just answer my question yes or no; is he going to have a committee?

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The direction I have given to the department on its investigation to review the costs and possible implementation for Whitehorse only included the examination of the kind of committee that would be useful to help with that decision.

The short answer to the question is that I am considering the establishment of that committee. I am waiting for the professional advice from the department on the subject, while at the same time I am in discussion with NorthwesTel on the technical features of that.

Mrs. Firth: I gather the Minister is still considering forming a committee. I raise this simply because I would like the Minister to be aware that I am interested in being a member of the committee.

No, I do not want to travel. I am telling the Minister I am interested in helping, and I would like the Minister’s response to that.

Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member could have asked the question more directly. I am appreciative the Member would like to assist in any work relating to the potential of establishing 911 service in Whitehorse or in the territory. I accept the offer from the Member to participate. If and when the committee is struck, I anticipate there will be the formation of a public interest group involved in any decisions surrounding 911, and I would be more than pleased to approach the Member to participate fully.

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


Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Mr. 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: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We will take a short recess.


Chair:  I will call Committee to order. We will continue with debate on the Department of Justice and the Human Rights Commission.

Bill No. 19 - Third Appropriation Act, 1990-91 - continued

Department of Justice - continued

Human Rights Branch - continued

Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell me if the Human Rights Commission has provided any information regarding the contracts?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I have not received anything, nor has the department.

Mrs. Firth: We will have to follow up on that.

I would like to ask the Minister some questions about the internal auditor’s report. I would like to get a general sense of the government’s opinion of this report. What is the government planning to do?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Yesterday, I had a discussion with members of the Human Rights Commission. The audit report was only tabled in the House yesterday. I do not believe that other Ministers and MLAs have had a chance to review it. It is our intention to do that.

It is our intention to discuss it. That may take place in a Cabinet setting. I do not know. The report is very new, and we will have to react to it in some way.

Mrs. Firth: I have certainly been put in the position, as a Member of the Legislature, to have to respond to the report. I would expect that we could get some kind of response from the Minister as to whether or not she has read it and what she intends to do with the report? What did she think of the observations that were made? Does she have any concerns about it? Will any specific changes be made or direction given to the Commission?

I am not looking for anything in any depth. I have gone into the report in some detail, so that I can ask questions of the Commission. I would like to get some idea of what the government’s or the Minister’s response to the report is.

Hon. Ms. Joe: There are some recommendations in here, as well as responses from the Commission. In it, there are certain things we could look at that are a possibility. If we are talking about reviewing legislation, that is a much bigger decision to make. There are concerns, and certainly we have to react to them.

If there is some misunderstanding about some of the responsibilities of certain people in the act - the executive director, for example - then we have to look at that. We have to look at the whole report, period, but there are some things that are more difficult to determine answers to, along with our responsibilities.

I would like a chance to be able to sit down with other Ministers to discuss the whole report, and that is my intention.

Mrs. Firth: I do not like to give the impression I am trying to pin the Minister down or anything, but does she think it is a good report; does she think it is a bad report? Can she make any comment with respect to that? I do not think it is unreasonable to ask the Minister at first blush to say whether she thinks the Commission got a glowing report or whether there are some reservations that were raised that she has some concerns about.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I felt it was a very thorough report. Unlike the Member for Riverdale South, I thought it was a fairly good report. It brought out a lot of things the Human Rights Commission was doing. It also brought out a lot of things we have to look at. I have not had a chance to spend a lot of time with it, but I did read it. Perhaps in further reading and reviewing I will see there are certain things I should be concerned about. I am prepared to deal with anything that can make improvements in the system, and I will.

Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister one final question about it. Is she satisfied with the Commission’s performance when it comes to fiscal management? I know she is put in a position where she has to come to the Legislature and defend the budget she has agreed to give to the Commission. It has been given quite a substantial increase this year. I do not think at first blush the internal auditor’s report reflects total satisfaction with the way it has been operating and managing its finances. I would like to ask the Minister if she is going to be particularly looking at that area of the Commission’s performance?

Hon. Ms. Joe: There has been a bit of a turnover there in the last little while with regard to executive directors but, on the whole, I believe they have managed their finances well. They did have a deficit last year; they have been able to overcome that through planning, and they have indicated to us that they would like to do a lot more but it would require a lot more money. We certainly have a financial responsibility when it comes to making any kind of decision in regard to that, but on the whole I think they have done a fairly good job.

Mr. Lang: I just want to make an observation; it is not a question. I want to register my concern in that in the past 10 months there have been only six formal complaints to the Commission. I want to say at the outset that it is positive to the extent that maybe there are not as many problems out there as some had imagined. My point is that for the number of complaints you are receiving, maybe it is incumbent on the government and the Legislature at some given time here to do a review of the administrative mechanisms we have put in place to deal with the number of complaints we are receiving. I am not saying this in a derogatory sense, but we spent $249,000 and now we are looking at up to almost $300,000. I really question just how far we have to go administratively with respect to dealing with some of the situations that arise.

If we are in the area of averaging six to 10 complaints a year, I think perhaps a more practical approach could be taken in handling them from an administrative and Commission point of view and cost the taxpayers less, yet, at the same time, deal fairly with the situations and complaints as they arise.

You will recall that during the debate of the Human Rights Act, this side never opposed the concept of human rights. There were some elements within that particular legislation we were opposed to, but in general, I do not think anybody is against the principle of human rights.

We questioned how much bureaucratic machinery would be necessary to administer whatever legislation we passed. We did provide some alternatives during the course of that debate. It should be looked at very seriously, because I feel quite strongly that if we are dealing with six, 10 or 15 formal complaints a year, it could be done with less money as opposed to more. I make that point, because I think it does have some credence. We have had two and one-half years of experience with the Commission thus far.

Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member does voice some concerns he might have with regard to the very small number of complaints, but the Commission does provide a larger service. They receive a lot of inquiries with regard to a number of other things. I mentioned in a previous debate that one of the former branches of the Department of Justice had almost acted like an ombudsman service because we did not have one. The same kind of inquiries are going to the Human Rights Commission.

To say we have had only six complaints does not tell the whole story. The whole story is there are a number of other inquiries that are directed to government branches. A lot of people very often threaten to go to the Human Rights Commission with regard to something that is happening. If all those people did go who threatened they would, the Commission would certainly be busy all the time.

I will look at the concerns of the Member as he has registered them and certainly take them into consideration.

Mrs. Firth: What is the justification for the increase this year?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Is the Member asking about the first line item in the amount of $253,000?

Mrs. Firth: I am asking about the 17 percent increase in the budget of the Human Rights Commission? That increase includes the $10,000 that was given to the Commission in the supplementary budget. I gather that the adjudication board has gone back up to $42,000 from $32,000. Because of that, there will probably be a balancing out. We would like to know what the 17 percent increase is for.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I sent the Member a little briefing note that explains the situation with the increases. The 17 percent includes the three percent, the overall increase in the budget. The amount was $6,000. The additional $40,000 was to cover the costs of education, training and the CASHRA conference.

Mrs. Firth: I just wanted it for the record. The Commission has told us that that they would be looking for $42,000 within their budget to cover the cost of the conference. The total cost is close to $56,000.

They are obviously going to need more than this amount, if this is identified for two or three things. Can the Minister tell us where they will be getting the money? They told us that the $13,000 in registration fees would leave them short by about $42,000. Does the Minister have any indication of where that money will come from?

Hon. Ms. Joe: The Commission has not approached me regarding any additional expenditures. I have not had any discussions with them regarding how they are going to find that additional funding.

Mrs. Firth: What kind of budget did the Commission provide the Minister with when they asked for the increase? I am talking about the budget that she took to her colleagues to justify the Commission getting the increase.

Hon. Ms. Joe: The budget that they provided was much larger than what we have before us. I took their concerns very seriously. The idea of the conference, that will bring about some economic benefits to the Yukon and also provide an opportunity for groups across Canada to talk about common concerns, was a good one.

I thought that there would be many good all-around benefits, not only to the Yukon, but also to individuals involved. That was taken into consideration when we agreed to an additional amount. That amount, however, did not come close to the kind of funding that they would have liked to have had.

Mrs. Firth: One can only conclude that they must have come forward with the $440,000 request for funding.

How did the Minister arrive at the decision to give them this 17 percent? What was the justification for that amount of increase?

Hon. Ms. Joe: The justification was in regard to the benefits of the individuals concerned, such as more education. It is very important that more information get out to the public. That had a strong bearing on the decision I made. That was my justification.

Chair: We will go line-by-line.

On Operation and Maintenance

On Human Rights Commission Grant

Mr. Lang: The conference will cost $55,000. Is the $42,000 contributed by YTG for this conference included in this line item?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, it is.

Mrs. Firth: Next year, when the Commission is not going to be hosting this conference, is it anticipated that its budget will go down? I would expect that to happen if this is a one-year conference.

Hon. Ms. Joe: The request for funding was in regard to education and training. This was interpreted as being some kind of education and training. It certainly met the criteria. If they can prove to me that that is still the case I would, of course, look very seriously at a request for the same kind of funding. I cannot give a definite answer until I am presented with a request and budget each year.

Mrs. Firth: I would submit that is a very effective way for a department to build up its budget, to host a conference, get extra monies for their conference, then next year when they get their three percent on top of the $253,000, they are actually getting considerably more than the three percent increase. I caution the Minister to take a close look at that when it comes back for its budget next year, and that the monies spent on the conference should be deducted from the budget because it will not be hosting that conference every year. It is simply a financial exercise I caution the Minister about.

Human Rights Commission Grant in the amount of $253,000 agreed to

On Human Rights Adjudication Board

Human Rights Adjudication Board in the amount of $42,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $295,000 agreed to

On Capital

Capital in the amount of nil agreed to

Chair: Are there any other questions?

Human Rights in the amount of $295,000 agreed to

On Allocations and Person Year Establishment

Allocations and Person Year Establishment agreed to

Chair: Turn to page 242, Court Services.

On Capital

On Court Facilities Renovations

Court Facilities Renovations in the amount of $12,000 agreed to

On Court Administration and Security

Hon. Ms. Joe: The amount we are looking at is $38,000. It is broken down with $3,500 for court reporting equipment and attachments, JP portable recording equipment and attachments for $3,000, the law court sound system and paging equipment is $2,500, video recording equipment and attachments is $3,500, for a total of $12,500.

The additional amount of $25,000 will be spent on furniture and fixtures for the new Watson Lake court registry and probation office, and for the purchase of furniture to complete the furnishing of two conference rooms in the judges’ chambers. Projected costs for Watson Lake are $13,000. The conference rooms are projected to cost $12,000.

There is additional information. The justice of the peace portable equipment is used in the field by community justices of the peace in the absence of a court clerk. Proceedings are tape recorded. Specifically authorized justices of the peace in some communities now have the capacity to issue search warrants over the phone that require specially adapted equipment to record this information from a telephone. These warrants are known as tele-warrants.

Court Administration and Security in the amount of $38,000 agreed to

Capital in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

On Allotments and Person Year Establishment

Allotments and Person Year Establishment agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on the yellow pages?

Court Services in the amount of $2,854,000 agreed to

On Attorney General

Chair: Is there any general debate?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Are we on a line item or just general debate for the Attorney General?

Chair: We are on general debate.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I have nothing to add except what was in my briefing notes. If the Member wants me to repeat that, I will.

Mrs. Firth: We can move to the line-by-line items and get the specifics then.

On Operation and Maintenance

On Program Director

Hon. Ms. Joe: This activity is comprised of the salary costs for the director of legal services, his secretary and an articling law student. The salaries total $167,100. The director also has a small budget for the operation of his office, which includes items such as travel cost for the director to attend meetings and conferences, telephone costs and membership fees. This budget totals $7,800.

Program Director in the amount of $175,000 agreed to

On Solicitors Branch

Hon. Ms. Joe: This is comprised of six solicitors and three secretaries. Two solicitors are term positions, one handling land claim issues and the other handling devolution matters. Both terms are for three year periods.

The operational budget for this branch totals $44,600 and is comprised of travel costs for attendance on court circuits when required, as well as attendance at negotiations, meetings, settlements, contracts, conducting appeals, meeting with outside counsel and experts, and attending before administrative tribunals.

Membership fees for the lawyers are included, as well as office supplies and telephone expenses.

Mrs. Firth: A growing concern seems to be developing here. All departments have devolution or land claims personnel identified in them. What are these solicitors specifically doing when it comes to devolution and land claims? There are people working in the Executive Council Office, and I would like to tie in how everybody is working together.

Hon. Ms. Joe: It is my understanding that they are in part of the negotiations that would include agreements and contracts being drawn up, as well as part of any drafting that has to be done. It would include putting together information to keep the department informed as to what kind of things are taking place in regard to negotiations. We would be looking at the fallout from negotiations in regard to how it is going to affect certain departments, for instance in the Department of Justice, how it would affect tribal justice, how it would affect health in Health, and that sort of information.

Mrs. Firth: Do the responsibilities of these devolution solicitors include discussing and coordinating what they are doing with the land claims secretariat with the Executive Council Office? Who coordinates this whole thing? How does it all come together so that people are not duplicating services?

Hon. Ms. Joe: It is my understanding that those responsibilities are coordinated by the ECO; that is where the responsibility lies and the coordination takes place.

Solicitors Branch in the amount of $567,000 agreed to

On Legislative Counsel

Hon. Ms. Joe: This branch is comprised of four solicitors, two secretaries and a regulations clerk. Two of the solicitors and one secretary are responsible for the French language service. The salary and expenses for these positions are fully recoverable from the federal government under the French language agreement. Total salaries are $408,300, with $168,000 being recoverable as stated. Operation costs for the office include an amount of $37,000, which is the estimated recruitment and removal expenses for a French language solicitor. Other costs include supplies, travel and telephone costs for the office. The total operations budget is $67,000, of which $48,000 is fully recoverable in addition to the salary amount.

Mrs. Firth: I understand that, through this Legislative Counsel line, we are translating all of Yukon’s legislation into French. Is that correct?

Hon. Ms. Joe: They are preparing to translate all the statutes by January 1991.

Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister, just out of curiosity: do we get requests for Yukon statutes in French? Have we had any requests?

Hon. Ms. Joe: We are not aware of any, and we are not entirely sure whether or not the Motor Vehicles Act would be required by certain people. I believe it might be, but I do not have any specific facts.

Mrs. Firth: I guess, federally and constitutionally, we are required to do this. Even though we do not have anybody requesting it, we have to translate our statutes into French. I can see the Minister nodding her head. I understand that.

Legislative Counsel in the amount of $476,000 agreed to

On Legal Aid

Hon. Ms. Joe: The Legal Services Society administers the legal aid program in the Yukon. This program is 50 percent recoverable under an agreement with the federal government. The estimated recovery this year will be $409,000. The legal aid program provides legal representation to those who cannot afford it, in criminal and civil proceedings that could lead to their imprisonment or that would adversely affect their families. It is there in order to ensure equity in the protection of the legal rights of citizens.

Legal Aid in the amount of $818,000 agreed to

On Costs/Judgments

Hon. Ms. Joe: This is an activity that provides for vote wording authority to incur costs associated with litigation. Usually the costs are comprised of transcript costs for certain cases; however, there have been other costs included in this category, which have included payment of legal fees to a court-appointed amicus curiae and damages paid out in a human rights settlement.

That would be someone appointed by the court when the judge felt it was necessary that they have some kind of legal counsel sitting beside them, such as has been done in the last six months or so for a single case.

Costs/Judgments in the amount of $1.00 agreed to

On Litigation Costs

Litigation Costs in the amount of $1.00 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $2,036,000 agreed to

On Capital

On French Language Agreement - Equipment

French Language Agreement - Equipment in the amount of nil agreed to

Chair: Any other questions?

Mrs. Firth: I am just curious about the explanation of changes on page 247 with respect to the main estimates 1989-90 and the Supplementary No. 1. Is there some special reason that has been included here?

Hon. Ms. Joe: That includes the transfer of responsibilities in the department and the moving around of certain programs to different branches. For instance, she was the one who was with the Executive Council Office for a number of years and then was transferred back, but other reorganizations have taken place: the public administration land titles to justice services, the newly named group.

Capital in the amount of nil agreed to

On Allotments and Person Year Establishments

Allotments and Person Year Establishments agreed to

Attorney General in the amount of $2,036,000 agreed to

On Justice Services

Chair: Is there general debate? We will proceed line-by-line.

On Operation and Maintenance

On Program Director

Hon. Ms. Joe: This activity is comprised mainly of salary dollars for the assistance deputy minister and her secretary. The total salary is $116,300. The operations budget for the ADM includes such items as contract services for legislative development and specialized research programs, travel, supplies, advertising, and telephone costs to a total of $40,200.

Program Director in the amount of $156,000 agreed to

On Consumer Services

Consumer Services in the amount of $338,000 agreed to

On Corporate Affairs

Corporate Affairs in the amount of $245,000 agreed to

On Labour Services

Labour Services in the amount of $275,000 agreed to

On Occupational Health and Safety

Hon. Ms. Joe: This program includes the occupational health and safe inspector, loss control and WHIMIS, the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, and also the newly devolved mine safety program. Total salaries for these officers are $431,700. This does not include the salaries for two positions in the mine safety unit. At the time this budget was prepared, the agreement was not signed and salaries for the two employees transferred were included. Two additional person years are vacant and not yet included in this program. Operations costs for this branch include $46,500 for the occupational health and safety unit, $11,300 for the loss control unit and $14,500 for the WHIMIS unit. This activity also provides vote wording authority for the Occupational Health and Safety Board. The operations costs for $46,500 for occupational health and safety include funding for the agreement with St. John Ambulance Association to provide employment-related first-aid training, telephone charges, office supplies and travel. Loss control and WHIMIS funding also includes telephone, office supplies and travel costs. The mine safety branch has considerable O&M costs associated with the program, which, now that the agreement is signed, will be transferred to the government through a formula financing agreement.

Occupational Health and Safety in the amount of $502,000 agreed to

On Public Administrator

Public Administrator in the amount of $363,000 agreed to

On Land Titles

Land Titles in the amount of $180,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $2,059,000 agreed to

On Capital

On Occupational Health and Safety Equipment

Occupational Health and Safety Equipment in the amount of $3,000 agreed to

On Safety Training and Loss Prevention Equipment

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

On Mine Safety Equipment

Mine Safety Equipment in the amount of $22,000 agreed to

Capital in the amount of $27,000 agreed to

Justice Services in the amount of $2,086,000 agreed to

On Solicitor General

On Operation and Maintenance

On Program Director

Hon. Ms. Joe: The salaries for the director and the secretary of the program are included in this total in the amount of $123,400. The balance of $260,600 is comprised of contract services for various projects. These include tribal justice in Teslin, Old Crow, a family violence contract with community workers, prison liaison programs administered by CYI, spiritual programming at the Whitehorse Correctional Institute and in communities and treatment costs for sex offenders.

An amount for the supernumerary special constable training is also included in this amount. I have a breakdown.

Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister give us a breakdown of what is responsible for the most of that 23 percent increase? A small portion of it will be the salaries. What is the rest?

Hon. Ms. Joe: There was $45,000 transferred from the program director into the family violence and crime prevention centre. I am just getting a little confused with the information that is being given to me. Please bear with me for one minute.

A secretary’s salary was included under Community Corrections that has gone to the Program Director. The family violence worker, who was formerly taken out of the Program Director line and put in to Crime Prevention, was then returned.

Program Director in the amount of $384,000 agreed to

On Community Corrections

Community Corrections in the amount of $537,000 agreed to

On Institutional Facilities

Hon. Ms. Joe: The increase in this amount over last year is largely due to the salary increases of the employees at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre of a standard four percent. The actual budget of the centre for operations has remained constant over the last few years with little fluctuation.

Fluctuations usually occur because of changes in the estimated inmate count, which is very difficult to predict. The operations budget for the centre includes food cost, which is the biggest item, utilities, cleaning supplies and toiletries, medical, dental and eye examination fees, and telephones.

An amount is also budget for inmate pay, which is the amount paid to inmates for work performed while incarcerated.

Mr. Lang: I have a question I raised some time ago about the right of guards to smoke. Has there been a policy developed by the government? If there has, could she provide it for us?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I now have a letter I will be signing that will be going to the employees at the jail. I hope I will be able to sign it by today and have it out. I would like them to get the letter first, before letting someone else know. I am responding to their petition.

Mr. Lang: Would the Minister undertake to table that letter in the House tomorrow, so the House can get a response to the questions they put forward on the floor of the House?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I can table it in the House on Monday. Tomorrow is Friday.

Mr. Lang: Okay.

Institutional Facilities in the amount of $3,225,000

On Community Residential Centre

Community Residential Centre in the amount of $220,000 agreed to

On Crime Prevention

Crime Prevention in the amount of $354,000 agreed to

On Police Services Agreement

Hon. Ms. Joe: This provides the funding for the provision of policing services under the terms of the police services agreement. For 1990-91, the Yukon portion for policing costs is $70,000. This percentage factor has escalated by two percent per annum and is now at the maximum of 70 percent of total cost as the Government of Yukon share.

The agreement is presently under negotiations for the 1991-92 fiscal year and thereafter. This is the one area we do have a bit of problem with regard to the kind of funding we get. Although we provide 70 percent of the cost of policing, decisions are made elsewhere that badly affect some of our financing here. There are always concerns brought to us in regard to additional person years. We have the highest number of members per capita of anywhere in Canada. It is a very difficult thing to determine the kind of costs it is going to mean here. There are ongoing negotiations between my officials and officials of the RCMP.

Mrs. Firth: I would like some idea on whether the Minister expects the negotiations to go smoothly. Are there any requests made or positions put forward that are going to cause a delay with the negotiations?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I have had meetings with the chief superintendent here in the Yukon to find out the kind of things they would like to do. They consulted with me on the things we consider a priority. The last agreement comes to an end in March 1991, so there is still a fair amount of time, but there are ongoing meetings with federal officials. I hope we will be able to meet shortly with the Northwest Territorial government officials in regard to our common northern concerns.

Police Services Agreement in the amount of $7,514,000 agreed to

On Native Special Constable

Native Special Constable in the amount of $275,000 agreed to

On Yukon Work Camps

Hon. Ms. Joe: This activity was previously included under the institutional facilities activity, but this year has been split to show the satellite work camps as a separate correctional facility in the Yukon. This year the camp will be located in Carmacks and will be operated during the summer months, as in the past. The salary component of this activity totals $197,000 and the operations cost is $67,000. The operations cost are comprised of much the same costs as the correctional centre: namely food, utilities, supplies, additional amounts for travel to transport the inmates, and rental of equipment for use in work projects, are included.

This program has been very successful. It has been in Teslin for the last two summers. I travelled down there last summer during one of my community tours to meet with the people who were there. We have requests from all communities for them to be stationed at those communities. Carmacks will be the next choice.

Yukon Work Camps in the amount of $264,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $12,773,000 agreed to

On Capital

On Equipment Replacement - Existing Facility

Hon. Ms. Joe: The $20,000 would include initial startup costs for the satellite camp. Every time it is moved it has to be hooked up. That and other preparations for that are included.

Equipment Replacement - Existing Facility in the amount of $20,000 agreed to

On New Equipment - Existing Facility

New Equipment - Existing Facility in the amount of $10,000 agreed to

On Correctional Facility Planning

Hon. Ms. Joe: I read into the record the other day the study that has been going on. I read the different phases into the record and who we contracted to do the study. We do not know what will happen next year. I have seen one of the studies, and there are further discussions that have to go on with regard to that.

Mrs. Firth: I hope we are not going to build a new correctional facility right away. I do not think we will. We will probably be looking at it for some time yet if they are just starting to examine it. I gather that is the direction the government is examining: whether or not we are going to have a new facility or not.

Hon. Ms. Joe: The preliminary reports have told us the existing jail is not adequate. I think the Member knows that is the case. We do not know what the future plans are, or how soon we will build a new facility if that is what we are going to do.

Correctional Facility Planning in the amount of $1.00 agreed to

On Other Prior Years Projects

Other Prior Years Projects in the amount of nil agreed to

Capital in the amount of $30,000 agreed to

On Allotments and Person Years

Allotments and Person Years agreed to

Solicitor General in the amount of $12,803,000 agreed to

On Policy and Planning

On Operation and Maintenance

On Operations

Operations in the amount of $186,000 agreed to

On Information and Education

Information and Education in the amount of $75,000 agreed to

Operations and Maintenance in the amount of $261,000 agreed to

On Capital

Capital in the amount of nil agreed to

Policy and Planning in the total amount of $261,000 agreed to

Chair: Before going to Schedule “A”, are there questions on the coloured sheets?

Mrs. Firth: If I may, I would like to ask a question about the grants. The Human Rights Commission grant allotment is given to them all in one lump sum at the beginning of the fiscal year, so they accumulate interest on it as opposed to the government getting interest on it. Is that correct?

Hon. Ms. Joe: That is correct.

Mrs. Firth: I know the Auditor General made some comment about the operating grants that were given out to the various agencies and made a suggestion that perhaps the government should keep the money in reserve and accumulate the interest for general revenues, rather than the organizations. Has the Minister given any consideration to doing that with the Commission - say, giving it to them in quarterly amounts, or so on?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not know if that has been a consideration in the past, but certainly it has not been a consideration of mine and we have not discussed it one way or the other.

Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister to consider it. I know it was raised in the Auditor General’s report with respect to other departments - health, education and so on. I know it is a way for the Commission to generate revenue but I think, at a time like this when the government itself is looking for all the money it can in general revenue, this kind of direction may be worth examining.

Hon. Ms. Joe: We certainly will be looking at the recommendations and concerns that were registered in the auditor’s report. The manner she is suggesting is, of course, is being done for other programs, so we will be looking at that recommendation as well.

On Schedule “A”

Mrs. Firth: There are a couple of issues I am not in complete agreement with. We already have had a motion that has been defeated and there is some concern about the Human Rights Commission.

On Operation and Maintenance

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $21,094,000 agreed to

On Capital

Capital in the amount of $110,000 agreed to

Justice agreed to

Public Service Commission

Chair: Is there any general debate?

Hon. Ms. Joe: The Public Service Commission is responsible for human resource management for all employees of the Government of Yukon, including the following functions: recruitment, training, compensation, classification, labour relations, employee assistance and health promotion, employee records, pensions and costs of employment.

The PSC manages these programs under the authority of the Public Service Act, the Public Service Staff Relations Act and the labour relations section of the School Act. The staff complement is 31 full-time, permanent positions, two half-time permanent positions, and 15.5 term positions, 12 of which are associated with the positive employment program.

The prime focus of PSC’s activities over the coming year is human resource planning. This activity will focus on the strategic approach to meet the government’s overall human resource objectives. Some preliminary work in human resource planning has been done in the past years, and it is recognized that the time has come to make a concerted effort to respond positively and decisively to demands of local hire, affirmative action, turnover, career planning and staff development.

New initiatives in the training and development area will also contribute to the achievement of the human resource planning objectives. We will be introducing new courses to assist clerical and secretarial staff in developing administrative skills and knowledge to help them progress to more senior administrative positions.

A training program will also be developed for senior managers, based on input to be obtained through a survey of managers. These two initiatives are being added to the existing training program.

The positive employment program has three staff and nine training positions, all term. Six training positions are presently allocated to various departments and staff: recreation consultant, manager programs and projects, community learning centre coordinator, deputy court clerk, probation officer, and computer operator.

The positive employment program also has three training positions for which recruitment action is underway. They are: a social worker in Ross River, a policy analyst in Whitehorse, and a community learning centre coordinator in Carmacks.

Two additional training assignments are presently underway for community learning centre coordinators in Pelly Crossing and Ross River. This is a joint undertaking in cooperation with the federal northern careers program. The positive employment program will provide funding for second year training for these two positions.

To date, 11 people have successfully completed training in the native training corps, and all were offered positions with the government of Yukon. Ten are currently employed, while one has resigned.

Plans for the introduction of the first stage of a career-development program for people with disabilities has been completed. This is a pilot program that will provide support and training for people with disabilities.

Mr. Lang: This side supports the concept of the training and upgrading programs for staff within the public service. The more we can do that, the less outside hire will be required - if we get our local people trained in the necessary expertise to take on some of the more senior management positions in the government.

This side feels that the creation of six ADM positions within the government was inappropriate. We feel, to some degree, that it was almost belittling to the women of the territory. Over the past little while, there have been a number of deputy minister positions come open. They could have been filled by some very capable women from the territory.

I hope that the government is not going to continue with the policy of getting more women involved at the management level by creating positions and then appointing them to those positions, instead of filling positions as they become available.

The training programs are the vehicles that can be utilized for getting more women involved in the senior management of government. We thought that the government was using this instead of the creation of these six new positions.

Is the Public Service Commission involved in the interviews of all the applicants who are short listed for deputy Minister positions and the top positions in the government, such as the chief executive officer positions?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I would like to respond to the comments made by the Member regarding the ADM positions that were restricted to women. It was not something that was done without a lot of thought. The Member and I have different views about the reasons why they have been created. Much thought was put into the planning and into the final decision. We found that they were necessary.

The women in management group talked it over very thoroughly. These women are very involved in equality and promotion for women within the government. Our records show that statistics are unbalanced regarding women and men in management positions.

Although the decision was a very controversial one, it was one that I took a stand on. I felt it was good, and that it was a chance for women within the government to be promoted. Each and every woman who has been successful in those positions is very capable and very well qualified. They cannot be called token positions because that label does not apply.

The fact that we have done this puts us at the forefront across Canada with other governments. We know that each time we try something new there will be problems. We also know that 10 years down the road we can look back and say that it was something that we had to make a hard decision on; it was very important. We knew that there would be criticism. I hope that 10 years down the road I will be able to say that I was glad I did it.

With regard to interviews for corporation heads, I understand it is the position of the Public Service Commission to be a part of the interviews and selection process.

Mr. Phelps: I feel I have to join the debate at this time with regard to the ADM positions because I want to make it clear that the criticism from this side has been that this was an ad hoc solution, in the absence of a total comprehensive policy that this government has not brought forward to ensure equality of opportunity, particularly in the management levels of government. The criticism at this end has been about the lack of that kind of policy and the lack of dedicated initiative taken by the government over the course of the past several years, and suddenly coming up with this policy in order to try to stem the very justifiable criticism that was being leveled at this government by women’s groups and management groups throughout the territory.

We, on this side, want to say that the women chosen for those positions have excellent qualifications. That makes our point all the more valid. There are a lot of dedicated, experienced and capable women in the civil service of YTG. They were frustrated, and have known frustrations in the past, at the lack of equal opportunity, lack of adequate training and concern over the male networking that takes place in all governments, including this one.

I, personally, and other people on this side, congratulate each and every one of the people who qualified for these positions. That is not the issue. I would hope each of those candidates has a chance to move on into even a more senior position as time goes on.

The issue really is the lack of a comprehensive policy being put in place with regard to the very serious problems women have had with regard to the issue of equality at senior management positions.

The statistics bear this out. In a government where at least an equal number of employees are of the female gender, we certainly do not have that reflected in the senior management positions.

In saying that, we are not in any way trying to take away from some of the efforts that have been made, particularly by the new Minister in this position. There have been some advancements, there has been some progress, but the problem with this particular move by the government is seen by many as simply a rather hasty and expensive way of trying to quell the rising chorus of disappointment with regard to real progress being made in equality at the senior management level of government. The facts speak for themselves.

I do not want to have people saying to me that we are opposed in any way to measures that will prove to enhance equality at all levels of government - equal opportunity and equal training opportunities.

I think the eventual target of government has to be that the gender balance in senior management ought to equate to the numbers of people in the civil service. There is no way people can say we are doing great when a rather small percentage of people at that level are women. There is no real defensible argument that can be made. I certainly want to see the comprehensive policy come forth. I know there have been efforts made recently to develop such a policy, and we very much look forward to seeing it.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his comments in regard to the lack of policy. I think I have mentioned to him before that we are putting together a policy; some parts we are in agreement with, some parts need work, but we do know what it is that we are supporting and we will proceed, knowing what that is. It has not been through lack of consultation. Practically every step of the way there has been involvement with the women in management group in regard to the affirmative action policy and in regard to the six ADM positions. They work as a group. They are very well aware of statistics in other jurisdictions with regard to women in management. Our statistics here in the Yukon with this government speak for themselves in comparison to the federal government with women in management. Women are certainly being promoted in a lot of areas, and are being promoted very quickly because we all recognize, as the Members on the other side do, that we have well-qualified women in the service. It is not to stop the men from being promoted; they are also being promoted and we are encouraging that.

I would like to mention that the Leader of the Opposition has talked about the additional dollars that were being spent in regard to the six ADM positions; that is not the case - no dollars were added to any budget to do that. They were all taken from money within that department through the reorganization of positions and branches that took place. If the certain amount of money was not there, it was found from within.

So, there were no additional dollars. This resulted in five positions being filled so far, which will put a lesser burden on some of the existing people in senior management and give an opportunity, we hope, for those women to be promoted in the future.

Mr. Phelps: I just feel it is rather unfortunate, because I think this is a move that perhaps in some ways sets back the cause of equality for women in senior levels of management. That is certainly the way a lot of aggressive-thinking women feel. However, I feel a comprehensive approach and a dedicated effort over the years to establish targets and meet them in terms of equality has to be the way government goes, and I just hope that is the direction it takes in the future.

I want to move on from that, because I am sure we will be getting back to this subject when we deal with the Women’s Directorate.

I want to go back to a couple of years ago when we had a considerable debate with regard to the issue of moving expenses. I recall we were looking at the service contracts that had been let by the government for the previous year. At that time, we were somewhat dismayed by the rather exorbitant amounts that had been paid for people to leave employment in southern Canada and travel to the Yukon.

We were rather dismayed at part of the policy at that time, and that new employees of the government could actually leave Toronto and come up here on a house-hunting trip, compliments of the Yukon taxpayer. I recall the rather controversial chief executive officer of the Human Rights Commission having exceeded the budget in terms of money that was paid to him for his move to the Yukon.

My question is by way of follow-up on the policy with regard to moving expenses and paying for trips for families to come up and look for a new home in advance of moving here and the policy with regard to our paying for any loss occasioned when a perspective employee signs on with this government and sells his or her home down south; has this whole area of policy been revisited? Have some kinds of practical limits been introduced since we discussed this issue at some length in a previous budget debate?

Hon. Ms. Joe: There has not been much of a change. Normally, any request for outside hire has to have ministerial approval. We like to determine that all the local people who have applied did not meet the qualifications. We take the authorization to hire outside of the territory very seriously. We tabled the number of people who were hired from outside the territory, so that information is available to the Member. It was tabled a few weeks ago.

Mr. Phelps: My question is, since this was raised in May 1988, whether there have been any changes to the policy with regard to the moving expenses and travel up here to go hunting for real estate, and so on.

Hon. Ms. Joe: There has been no change. It is something we can look at. If it appears it is not the proper way in which to go, and if there is some other way to do it that would improve upon what we are already doing, we would look at that. We have a certain amount of money budgeted for outside travel. When that limit is reached, the word is sent out there is no more available and money has to be found somewhere else.

Mr. Phelps: I am looking back at Hansard. I have difficulty with an open-ended policy under which we will purchase a new employee’s home if he or she sustains a loss in selling it in a place like Toronto, when there is no kind of justification for such a policy.

I have a problem with a policy that does not place limits on the amount of stuff - household effects, and so on - that can be moved under the policy. I have seen abuse by numerous individuals in the federal government, not just this government, where they bring up everything from toys that they could not sell through the Salvation Army, to favourite old blankets and beds and everything else, because there is no cap on how much they can bring. I guess my concern is that there ought to be very firm guidelines in this regard. It should not be open ended.

When we discussed this issue in May of 1988, it appeared that the Minister-of-the-day was concerned and troubled. To quote him, “I must confess that I am troubled by the sums of money involved”. Of course, he also said that for that reason he would like to see local hire. I just think that we ought to have a close look at the potential for abuse and the kinds of things that the taxpayers of the Yukon ought to be paying for to have shipped up to the Yukon when we have a new employee on board. As well, we ought to be taking a hard look at the policy of covering off a poor investment when somebody buys a house in a place like Toronto and it turns out that he cannot sell it at a profit or break even.

Hon. Ms. Joe: The travel money that is allowed for recruitment, and I think the Member recognizes this, is limited by weight, and the expenses allowed would be limited - anything over that weight, the employees would have to pay themselves. I would like to mention that the local hire percentage in the Yukon right now - and it has been so for the last four years - is 98 percent.

Mr. Lang: There are two different issues here. It is the two percent of which we are speaking. It is a question of policy. We recall one particular individual - this was raised on the floor of the House - who was the previous executive director of the Human Rights Commission. I raised the question: why were we paying for so much to come up here. I believe - I am going on memory because I do not have my files in front of me - we paid up to high as $20,000 - or very close to $20,000 - to pay for his belongings to come up here. The point was made at that time that, firstly, it was an astronomical amount of money to be paid to anyone to move here and, secondly, it came to my attention, for example, that the taxpayer paid for two vehicles to be shipped here - things of this kind.

I guess the point that we are making from this side is that yes, there is a responsibility, if we do hire somebody from southern points of call, to pay for their belongings to be brought to the Yukon. The question that we are pointing out is: how much are we responsible to pay for to come up here? There is no question that this is abused.

We are bringing in furniture that, if the individual was going to pay for it, they would take it to the dump before they shipped it themselves, but because the government is paying for it, they ship it up because it is within the allowable limits. That is the concern that we are expressing here, that those allowable limits should be re-evaluated and maybe what we are prepared to provide should be more firmly and specifically stated.

I noticed that the Minister was very quick to note that there is about two percent hire from down south. Once again, we are playing with statistics. That two percent of the total hiring within the public services would be for top management positions.

Those are the top dollar jobs. We are not talking about someone sitting in a tourist information centre, handing out brochures. We are talking about a $70,000 or $80,000 a year jobs.

We are providing a very good monthly wage, and so we should. I do not have a problem with that. The question is: how much are we are prepared to pay to have these people come here. Is it possible for the Minister could provide us with a copy of the current policy?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I thank the Member for Porter Creek East for his comments regarding travel and recruitment costs. I have no problem with providing the Minister with the policy. The recruitment policy has been the same for a number of years. Last year we transferred some of the recruitment money into training. We recognize that we have to look at the policy to make necessary changes. We will do that. I understand the Member’s concerns, and I take him seriously.

Mr. Lang: It is one thing to say that she agrees with me and that I raised good questions, but we are going to go home and she will see me next year. Will the Minister make an undertaking to review the policy to see if it is possible to further refine the limits of how much taxpayers will pay for such moves?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I thought I said that. I will. I cannot see any reason why I would not.

Mr. Lang: I appreciate that. In one case, we paid for two vehicles to be shipped here. That is not our responsibility. One vehicle is fine, but I really object to two vehicles being shipped.

The Minister was telling this House that the Public Service Commission is involved every step of the way in recruitments for the executive officers for the corporations and for the deputy Ministers within the civil service. Is that correct?

Hon. Ms. Joe: That is my understanding.

Mr. Lang: Who is responsible in those cases, once the applicants are short listed, for checking out all the terms of references, character references, et cetera? Does the Public Service Commission, the departments or the corporations assume that responsibility?

Hon. Ms. Joe: The Public Service Commission is responsible for the reference checks.

Mr. Lang: When one is doing a reference check on one of these very significant jobs within the government, how far back does the Commission go? Is there a policy that says references have to be checked as far back as five years, 10 years, 15 years?

Hon. Ms. Joe: When someone applies for a job, we list their resume with their past employment. They give us a list of reference checks. The information provided in that is used by the Public Service Commission when it does reference checks. There is no policy regarding the length of time. The people who are listed as references would be contacted. Any other necessary information to assist the Commission in making a decision would be required as well.

Mr. Lang: It is one thing to do the reference checks, but if a person is working in Vancouver in a certain industry and has applied for a job, does the Public Service Commission also check other companies involved in that line of business to verify what is being said to the PSC?

Hon. Ms. Joe: It is my understanding that not only do they check with the references provided to them, but do they further checks with former employers listed to get the information they need. It is not just limited to the references provided in a resume or application.

Mr. Lang: I would like to go back to the moves. Can the Minister provide the cost of the moves in the past year for the various deputy minister and assistant deputy minister positions that have been filled? I am thinking of the deputy minister in the Executive Council Office; there were one or two ADMs in the Department of Education. A number of senior management moves were made, and I would like a full accounting of what it cost us to move these individuals here to the territory.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I thought that was tabled. Apparently it was not. I can certainly provide that information to the House.

Mr. Lang: I would like to move on to the Yukon Government Employees Union Benefits handbook. Did the union cost share in the production of this particular document?

Hon. Ms. Joe: It is not the union handbook. It is our book to provide the employees with necessary information.

Mr. Lang: Was this requested by the union membership?

Hon. Ms. Joe: There were discussions with the union on this. Certainly the information we had up to that time was becoming outdated and we felt it was necessary to upgrade the information so every employee would have it available. There was some discussion with the union.

Mr. Lang: I got some information through a legislative return. I have to say I believe this to be very extravagant. I had a number of public servants phone me when they received this in the mail asking why their money was being spent in this manner. I am verifying that some quarters within the public service have felt it was a waste of money. They would have preferred getting the extra $30 or $40 per document it took to print it. They would have probably spent it in a better way than the government did.

I want to go to the legislative return. The total number of handbooks printed were 3,850. It outlines for the total amount given - $31,454 - that each particular document cost $8.61 to produce and mail out.

The answer to my question was very specific. The answer is as follows: layout, design, printing and stationery costs ordered through the Queen’s Printer was $22,348. Does that price include the binder as well as the dividers included in this document?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, it does. I would like to respond to the comments made previously concerning the book and the response the Member received from individuals. Every time you do something, some people will like it and some people will not; certainly the response we have been getting has been very good and employees have let us know that they appreciate the kind of information they will get out of it. It is the kind of book you can add to or take out of if any amendments have been made.

I answered the Member’s first question, did I not?

Mr. Lang: I am not too sure if you answered it or not. I wanted to find out whether the cost of the binder, the dividers and the paper are included in the cost of the document?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, I did answer the question. It does include all of that.

Mr. Lang: Does the $31,454 that it cost to produce and mail out this document include all the typing and all the person hours that have gone into putting it together, or is that over and above the $31,454?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes, it does. It does include the typing and the preparation.

Mr. Lang: To pursue this a little further: was this developed totally within the Public Service Commission?

Hon. Ms. Joe: There was a person who was hired to put it together - a contract was given to Northern Writes, Sheila Serup, under two contracts.

Mr. Lang: The two contracts total $5,390?

Hon. Ms. Joe: The one totalled $4,400 and the other was $962.50 for the Yukon Teachers Association.

Mr. Lang: I am not going to prolong this. I want to go on the record as stating our position on it. Once again we felt it was a great amount of money for what was received and for the work that was done. I can understand that perhaps some work had to be done, but to do it in this manner demonstrated to us and to many of those who received it that we really had to question priorities of expenditures when you see this kind of document being sent in the mail. The other point I want to make is that, just to send it in the mail alone cost a few bucks, and I could not understand why in many cases it could not have been hand delivered as opposed to sending it in the mail.

With those comments, unless anyone in the House has any other questions, I think we can proceed to the line-by-line.

On Systems and Administration

On Operation and Maintenance

On Administration

Administration in the amount of $320,000 agreed to

On Devolution

Mr. Lang: Government is kind of funny; it is like a hoola hoop. It just keeps going around and around and around, and the only difference is that the wording seems to change. At one time we were planning; today it is “strategic planning” - and now we are “devolving”. Everybody revolves for a while and now we devolve. My question is: I would like to know what we are receiving for the $135,000? In the past year we have received the mine safety transfer; we have received the limited fishery transfer, which was primarily done through Renewable Resources, and what else have we got to show? I really question this particular line item and I have to say the success of the government is consistent: very, very little.

If it is not a priority, we should get rid of it and quit making a charade of it to the general public. When we asked the Minister of Renewable Resources about forestry, he knew less than my little girl does, and he is supposed to be in charge of the forestry transfer for the territory. I say that because she was involved in a science project in forestry, so I felt she obviously knew more than the Minister responsible for forestry.

What grand accomplishments have we accomplished in the past year to justify this $135,000?

Hon. Ms. Joe: We do have a person by the name of Pat Herbert. There is ongoing work in regard to the devolution programs. They have been involved in the many aspects of the negotiations in regard to making sure certain things are in place. She is currently involved in the hospital negotiations transfer and the forestry negotiations.

Mr. Lang: I am not trying to be facetious. I am sure the individual in question is trying to do the best they can do, as far as the job is concerned.

I am looking at results, which are zip - zero. If you had someone on your baseball team who was doing that well, you would either ship them to the minors or find them some other employment.

We carry on voting money, and what are the results? Would the Minister take the undertaking, through the auspices of the Public Service Commission, to provide me with how much money has been allocated over the past three years specifically toward devolution?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I will take that question as notice and provide him with the information he requires. You cannot move someone on when there are ongoing negotiations. We have to be prepared. We have to have somebody in place to deal with those situations. With respect to the information he is requesting right now, I will provide him with whatever I can.

Mr. Lang: I appreciate the Minister’s undertaking, and I will be following up on that.

I want to conclude by saying I feel we have missed the boat, as far as devolution is concerned, primarily from the point of view of the Government of Canada and the financial pinch it is in. Everybody is going to have to participate in the misery, whether we like it or not, and this is one area that is going to be touched.

Some of these transfers should have taken place two or three years ago when the Government of Canada was quite prepared to sit down, negotiate and pass some of these things on to the Government of the Yukon Territory. There are certain times in your life when windows of opportunity present themselves. You either take them or not, either in our personal or public lives. I think this is one where the government’s record is dismal.

As time goes on, it is going to prove more and more to the general public that it is really a charade going on, and the political will has not been there from the beginning.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I would like to disagree with him that the political will has not been there. I may or may not disagree with some of the other things he has said.

Mr. Lang: I know there are some people out there who do agree.

Devolution in the amount of $135,000 agreed to

On Allotments and Person Year Establishment

Allotments and Person Year Establishment agreed to

Systems and Administration in the amount of $455,000 agreed to

On Recruitment and Training

Chair:  Is there any general debate?

Mr. Lang: This is similar to what it was last year. What new areas are we getting involved in? Perhaps the Minister can highlight them for us.

Hon. Ms. Joe: We are involved in many things: the positive employment project; developing an affirmative action policy that is almost completed; human resource planning, and that is something that is being done in many other jurisdictions with regard to improving the system as it is.

The Member has indicated some of the concerns he has with regard to the Public Service Commission. We all know nothing is perfect. Every time you have a program of some kind, it has to be looked at and evaluated. If there is some other way we can more effectively deal with recruitment and training in the territorial government, we will do it.

This planning is new to us, but not to other jurisdictions. It will provide us with the necessary information we need to deal with the kind of things that would improve the system and employment opportunities, whether it be through further training or looking at what we already have within the government to train somebody - for example, a promotion in the way of a promotion with training in the position, or career training. It will focus on a strategic approach to meeting the overall objectives of the government. Once this planning is in place, I am confident we will look at an improvement in some of the things the Member has mentioned.

Chair: We will take a 10 minute break.


Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order. We will continue with the recruitment and training branch.

On Operation and Maintenance

On Recruitment Administration

Mr. Lang: My understanding that the ADM positions were restricted to people who were currently working within the public service. That policy has to be reviewed. I am not questioning the abilities of the individuals who have those jobs. However, some people in the private sector have made significant contributions and significant accomplishments in various types of jobs. They were precluded from even applying for those jobs.

When we have a situation within top management in government, there should be a provision that the competition be open to both intergovernmental employees and to the private sector. I would like to hear the Minister’s comments on that policy.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I thank the Member for his comments. If we had done it the other way in some cases, we would have criticism from individuals within the government who might have felt slighted because we were looking outside the government. We had a long discussion on the method we would use.

We talked about the existing women in management and the kind of qualifications that many of women in government had. We felt that because of the expertise, the qualifications, the experience that a lot of the women already in government had, we would offer them the choice.

We often do restrict our positions to government employees only. If we could not find qualified women within the government then we would look outside.

We had to make that choice and we thought the best choice was to give those individuals within the government first choice to apply for those jobs. I believe we had 30 women apply for the positions advertised.

Mr. Lang: It is a question of perception. We sometimes forget that we are here to serve the general public because we are confined to this building. The general public has just as much right to work for the civil service of the Yukon government as those presently enjoying employment within the YTG. That is my point.

You cannot justify your answer. It is not logical to say that because there were so many experienced people within the civil service it was not necessary to go to the general public. It is a perception of fairness to those people working outside the public service who may well have the necessary qualifications, and maybe even more.

I use the ADM positions as an example. I am talking about top management positions in general. I believe that the private sector should have at least the right to apply and be fairly dealt with. When this type of thing goes on, the perception is that they already know who has the job, that they are just going through this exercise to give some perception of fairness within the civil service. I do not think that is the way it should operate.

The perception of the Public Service Commission is very important. When people are precluded from these types of competitions it is a case of discrimination. When a person has been successful in a business why should they not have the right to apply for a job within the government and maybe bring something to the government that perhaps was not there before, like fresh ideas and new approaches.

I would ask that she review the general policy and ensure that top management positions are also offered to the general public.

Hon. Ms. Joe: There is provision in the act for that kind of recruitment. The Member could probably get a copy of that act, which defines our recruitment process. I understand his concerns about the perception people have of any government department. We also have to seriously consider the individuals who are working for this government, and would like to be able to promote career opportunities, which we have been able to do in many cases, but not with the ADM positions.

I have taken his comments seriously. I will not ignore anything he has to offer in any way.

Mr. Lang: Do I take it she is prepared to review the policy and consider making all top management competitions so people both within and outside of government can apply?

Hon. Ms. Joe: We do have policies, we do have acts, and we do have the Public Service Commission Act that requires we try to hire from within the government first. When we find those positions are not filled, we then go out. I understand that is the way it has always been done. If the Member knows of certain cases where we do have individuals who might be interested within the government, and have instead gone out, that would cause concern.

We do have a human resource planning program in place, and that will identify a number of other things in regard to the process for recruitment and training.

Mr. Lang: To my knowledge, the act does not say you must promote from within the public service. It gives the ability to do it, if you decide to do it. I am not questioning the legal authority of the government of how they go about advertising or deciding where they hire.

I am making a representation that for the top management positions within the government, people outside the public service should have as much right to apply as those from within. That is all I am asking. Everybody pays for the civil service and for the government to function, so I am asking the Minister to review that. I am not saying that the person outside the public service is going to get the job. It goes through the review process and everything else, but I think they should have a fair opportunity.

Hon. Ms. Joe: As I said, I have taken his comments seriously. I do not know whether or not it is a priority with me to right away look at policies and review the recruitment process but, as I said, we are aware of concerns such as those registered by the Member for Porter Creek East and we are working at trying to improve what we have.

If we did decide that what we are doing now is not the right way and we decided to do what the Member said, we would certainly hear from the employees of the government. I think they would feel that they were not being given a fair opportunity to be promoted within the government and I think it is only fair that, in some cases, we do look at what we have within the government first. We do have that choice to make, in some cases.

If we feel, some time down the road, that we have to change our policies and change our acts, then we would look at that possibility. Certainly, I have taken note of the Member’s comments and I will remember that he does have a concern.

Mr. Devries: Recently, one of my constituents in Watson Lake brought to my attention that he had applied for about three different jobs with the government - I believe they were in the payroll clerk area. His concern is that he wrote a letter and asked if they would send an answer back as to who actually got the job and what the qualifications of that person were, so he would know where his weaknesses were and so that he could upgrade and be qualified next time around, and get the job somewhere down the road.

Hon. Ms. Joe: That opportunity is available and we will find out who was successful in that competition.

Different programs are available within the Public Service Commission to improve resumes or do a better interview. In a lot of cases, people are nervous at interviews. People who have very good qualifications, but have never had to put together a resume, can be helped in that way.

People have phoned my office many times about the same thing the Member for Watson was talking about. We have had to deal with individual situations and pass the concerns on to the Public Service Commission in that regard. If people need to know more about how to improve a resume or an interview, or to find out why they did not qualify, that information can be made available to them.

Mr. Lang: Could the Minister explain the nine percent increase?

Hon. Ms. Joe: The nine percent increase is due to the merit and economic increases and new personnel hired at lower salaries in 1989-90.

Recruitment Administration in the amount of $442,000 agreed to

On Recruitment Operations

Hon. Ms. Joe: The 10 percent decrease in that line item results from the higher outside recruitments during the 1989-90 fiscal year.

Mr. Lang: How much is budgeted here for moving people in and out of the territory?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Under this area, we have house hunting budgeted for $45,000. We are budgeting $375,000 for removal, which includes the cost of moving transfers of employees here. That would pay for the travel costs and relocation for individuals coming to the Yukon, and it includes travel costs for transfers and promotions.

We have another item of $126,000 for interview costs.

I can give you a list of things. The advertising cost for the competitions is $152,000.

Mr. Lang: Are there any other dollars in other departments or corporations that pay for the removal of employees, or for house hunting efforts, or is all the money in this budget?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Our information is that it is all included in this line item.

Mr. Lang: How much do we actually pay for people to move out of the territory? When are we responsible for moving someone out of the territory? Are we locked into some contract with deputy ministers where if employment ceases, we have to pay their way out?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Is the Member asking for the cost if an individual has been terminated? If that is the kind of information he is asking for, I will have to provide it to him tomorrow or Monday.

Mr. Lang: I am asking for that, but on the policy side, where do we pay for somebody who has severed their working relationship with YTG and moves from Whitehorse to Vancouver or Edmonton? Do we have certain obligations? If so, in what cases do we have those obligations?

Hon. Ms. Joe: If it is a term position and that person has been hired from outside, their costs to return to that place would be paid for. For other terminations, it depends upon negotiations or settlement that has been decided between the individual and the PSC.

Mr. Lang: One example could be of a principal in a school who is on probation for a year. Things do not work out. Is it the obligation of the PSC to pay for the move back out to where that person was hired?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Anything in regard to teachers is done by the Department of Education so it does not come out of this department.

Mr. Lang: Does that policy apply strictly within the Department of Education or within the Public Service as well?

Hon. Ms. Joe: If somebody has been hired for the civil service, excluding teachers, and if that person has been terminated during the probation period, we would pay for the cost for that person to return to where they came from. With regard to teachers, I understand it is the responsibility of the Department of Education.

Mr. Phillips: Have we ever had the case where we may hire somebody from outside for a job, bring them up here; they work for a few months and, for one reason or other, decide they want to quit and they leave? Then, a few months down the road we hire them back again. Do we pay their way back up a second time? I was told that someone in fact worked for the government, left the employ of the government and then, in not too long a time, got hired back on, and I was told that we paid for their goods up twice. I am just wondering if we have a policy stating that there has to be a period of time. Some people, I am sure, work for the government and leave and maybe four or five years down the road apply to come back to the Government of Yukon, very legitimately, and get hired back on and we bring them back up again; but I am just wondering if we have some kind of policy covering a time frame where we would not pay for them to come back up if it was only four, five or six months apart?

Hon. Ms. Joe: We are familiar with the situation mentioned by the Member, where someone was employed with this government and left after a while, then was rehired. When that person was rehired, the individual’s expenses were paid to come back to the Yukon. There is no policy in place that lays out the amount of time that a person has to be gone, as the Member for Riverdale North mentioned. There is nothing that says they have to be gone for six months before we pay their way back. There is nothing like that that guides the amount of time a person has been away from the position and has been hired again.

Mr. Phillips: I wonder if the Minister could give us the information on when the individual was hired; how much it cost us the first time and how long the individual worked for us? I understand the individual quit, left on his own, and then applied again for either the same job or another job and was hired back, and we paid their way back up here again with all their goods. I would like to know how far apart it was. If it was only four or five months, I would be really shocked or surprised. If it was five years, it might be something a little different. I would like to have that information.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I am not aware who that person is. I am not sure if we have his name right now, but we will provide the Member with the details.

Mr. Phillips: I am not interested in the name of the person. I am interested in the policy, first of all. It sounds like we do not have a policy in this case. Secondly, I am interested in the cost of bringing the individual up here the first time. How long was the person employed with the Government of Yukon? How long was it before we brought him up a second time, and paid his way?

Hon. Ms. Joe: I said I would provide the Member with those details.

Recruitment Operations in the amount of $793,000 agreed to

On Training Administration

Training Administration in the amount of $118,000 agreed to

On Training Operations

Training Operations in the amount of $219,000 agreed to

On On-The-Job Training

Hon. Ms. Joe: The $67,000 for this activity provides opportunities for government employees in temporary training and work assignments to acquaint themselves with the job content and skills of positions other than their current position. It allows persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged residents of the Yukon to increase their job skills and employability through training assignments in the public service.

The funding also provides for salaries of casual employees who replace individuals on special work assignments or are trainees with disabilities.

On-The-Job Training in the amount of $67,000 agreed to

On Human Resource Planning

Hon. Ms. Joe: This is a new activity within the recruitment and training program that accounts for the 100 percent increase. Human Resource Planning breaks down into $45,000 for personnel funding for one full-time person year to come out of surplus. The other includes professional fees, travel costs, costs of employees seconded from other jurisdictions, and training costs for Government of Yukon managers, supervisors and personnel officers.

This activity will focus on a strategic approach to meeting the government’s overall human resource objectives. Specific objectives include reduction in turnover, career development, pro-active recruitment and staff development.

Some preliminary work has been done in past years in Human Resource Planning. I talked about this program before in general debate and explained a little about what the program does.

I will be happy to report back on what is happening with an up-to-date report.

Human Resource Planning in the amount of $345,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $1,984,000 agreed to

On Allotments and Person Year Establishment

Allotments and Person Year Establishment agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on the yellow page?

Recruitment and Training in the amount of $1,984,000 agreed to

On Employee Records and Pensions

On Operation and Maintenance

Hon. Ms. Joe: The $397,000 breaks down into $392,000 for salary and benefit costs for branch staff, increased by 17 percent because of economic increases and approval of two additional person years, one pay and benefits clerk and one assistant pension and insurance administrator; funding for the purchase of federal government forms and information pamphlets used in the administration and documentation of the superannuation insurance and dental plans and extension of benefits to auxiliary employees as a result of their unionization; the production of employee hire change forms used in the employment information system; the printing of information letters to all employees regarding changes in benefits;, TD-1 forms, and Canada savings bond applications for $2,000. The additional $3,000 is for telephone rental charges and long-distance charges incurred by staff in consultation with federal/provincial/territorial or municipal governments concerning reciprocal agreements, the head officers of insurance companies regarding estates, financial institutions and employees, et cetera.

Mr. Lang: I just point out the increase of the two person years. I am sure the paper work warrants it, but it once again reflects the decisions made over the course of the years that ends up with us requiring these additional personnel.

I once again caution the government about the size of the civil service. No wonder we are looking at renovating buildings and renting more space, because we have to put these people somewhere. It is quite alarming, and is becoming more and more alarming to the general public that the public service is getting as large as it is. I say this for the record. I know it is falling on deaf ears.

Administration in the amount of $397,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any other questions?

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $397,000 agreed to

On Allotments and Person Year Establishment

Allotments and Person Year Establishment agreed to

Employee Records and Pensions in the amount of $397,000 agreed to

On Labour Relations

On Operation and Maintenance

On Labour Relations Administration

Hon. Ms. Joe: Would the Member like a breakdown of the $196,000?

There is $189,000 for salary and benefits costs for two full-time branch staff, a term position for a labour relations officer and dollars for an auxiliary secretary. The increase is due to economic and merit increases. There is $1,500 for funding for the preparation of the labour relations portion of the intergovernmental request; compensation; the labour relations conference that is held every year. There is $3,000 for the labour relations branch that is responsible for administering the VDT policy, which specifies that employees who use VDTs or VDUs in 60 percent or more of their job function must undergo an eye examination. There is $2,500 for things like telephone charges and that sort of thing. That is it, for a total of $196,000.

Labour Relations Administration in the amount of $196,000 agreed to

On Yukon Government Employees Union/Public Service Alliance of Canada

Hon. Ms. Joe: The $113,000 is for professional adjudication services for adjudication of grievances and appeals, as required by the Public Service Commission Act and the Public Service Staff Relations Act, as well as public service staff relations board expenses for adjudication of grievances and appeals. Costs include professional adjudicator fees for negotiations of a collective agreement. Costs include the services of a professional negotiator and, if required, the costs of an arbitrator.

The 11 percent decrease results in the over expenditure in 1989-90 because auxiliary bargaining for the first collective agreement was complex and required extensive negotiations and a greater number of grievances than anticipated have been referred to adjudication in 1989-90.

Yukon Government Employees Union/Public Service Alliance of Canada in the amount of $113,000 agreed to

On Yukon Teachers Association

Hon. Ms. Joe: The increase is for the negotiations this year.

Yukon Teachers Association in the amount of $11,000 agreed to

On Managerial/Confidential Exclusion

Managerial/Confidential Exclusion in the amount of $5,000 agreed to

On Employee Assistance and Health Promotion

Employee Assistance and Health Promotion in the amount of $134,000 agreed to

On Long Service Awards

Long Service Awards in the amount of $39,000 agreed to

On Indemnification

Indemnification in the amount of $10,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $508,000 agreed to

On Allotments and Person Year Establishment

Allotments and Person Year Establishment agreed to

Mrs. Firth: On the yellow page 289, there is a steady increase in the employee grievances. I would like to know if the Minister has made any observations as to why that is happening. It has gone from 88 to 120 predicted for next year.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I guess there was a little more activity in regard to union representatives; because of that, there are further grievances being brought forward.

Mrs. Firth: It is quite a significant increase, about 30 percent. I would ask the Minister if it is attributed it to anything significant. When I look at it and see that more employees are submitting grievances, it indicates to me that there are more employees who are unhappy. Can the Minister comment on that?

Hon. Ms. Joe: There are more grievances that have come to our attention. A lot of them are settled before they get to third level. I cannot say specifically if there is any reason why they are on the increase. I would have to do more research in the department to find out exactly what some of those grievances are and why they are coming to us, in order to give the Member the information she wants.

Mrs. Firth: Perhaps we could get some information from the Public Service Commission on how many grievances came in last year and the year before. If this many are being noted in the statistical information, it would be interesting to know how the grievances are increasing. It gives an indication of the satisfaction of the public service, which can impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of employees’ performance.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I am interested in finding out that information myself. I will attempt to bring back as much as I can.

Mr. Lang: Could we also have the number of grievances designated by department, so we know where they are coming from?

Hon. Ms. Joe: Yes.

Labour Relations in the amount of $508,000 agreed to

On Workers Compensation Fund

On Operation and Maintenance

On Worker’s Compensation Payments

Worker’s Compensation Payments in the amount of $307,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $307,000 agreed to

On Allotments and Person Year Establishment

Allotments and Person Year Establishment agreed to

Workers Compensation Fund in the amount of $307,000 agreed to

On Compensation

On Operation and Maintenance

On Operations

Hon. Ms. Joe: That is broken down by $447,000 for salary and benefits costs for seven permanent full-time branch staff and one part-time term employee. The 16 percent increase results from economic and merit increases.

An auxiliary part-time employee and a $30,000 lapse in funds in 1989-90 were used for the printing of the infamous Margaret Joe book. The $3,500 was for a Yukon tour by classification staff to conduct classification audits, to interview incumbents, to answer questions and address concerns regarding pay and classifications. There was $8,000 funding for telephone rental, long-distance calls and other related areas. There was $5,000 for program materials made up of membership fees, examination fees, and course materials for staff members for the Canadian Compensation Association, and $3,500 for the funding for the preparation of the compensation and classification branch’s portion of the intergovernmental classification and compensation and labour relations conference. This conference is held every 18 months and will be scheduled for June of 1991.

Mr. Lang: Can the Minister undertake to provide me with how many conferences in total the government is going to be hosting this coming year. We had Human Rights under the Justice Department, and now we have one here we are involved in. Can the Minister undertake to find out how many conferences the government is hosting this year, and provide the total amount of money we will be spending on hosting conferences this year? It would be a question of sending memos to every department to find out.

Hon. Ms. Joe: I will make the necessary arrangements to provide that information to the Member. I am not aware of anything in any of my departments requiring a conference in the Yukon. Certainly I will find out.

Operations in the amount of $467,000 agreed to

On Classification Appeals

Classification Appeals in the amount of $44,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on any of the others? The yellow page?

Operation and maintenance in the amount of $511,000 agreed to

On Allotments and Person Year Establishment

Allotments and Person Year Establishment agreed to

Compensation in the amount of $511,000 agreed to

On Positive Employment Program

On Operation and Maintenance

On Administration

Administration in the amount of $158,000 agreed to

On Native Training

Native Training in the amount of $381,000 agreed to

On PEP Training

PEP Training in the amount of $20,000 agreed to

On Disabled Job Entry

Disabled Job Entry in the amount of $45,000 agreed to

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $604,000 agreed to

Positive Employment in the amount of $604,000 agreed to

On Schedule “A”

On Operation and Maintenance

Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $7,866,000 agreed to

Public Service Commission agreed to

Hon. Ms. Joe: Madam Chair, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 19.

Motion agreed to

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

Motion agreed to

Speaker resumes the Chair

Speaker: I will now call the House to order.

May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?

Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 19, First Appropriation Act, 1990-91, and directed me to report progress on same.

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

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Speaker: I declare the report carried.

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

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

Motion agreed to

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

The House adjourned at 5:28 p.m.

The following Sessional Paper was tabled March 1, 1990:


Eleventh Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, 1990 Report (Hayden)