Thursday, November 28, 1991 - 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.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Mr. Lang: I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the new leader of the Yukon Party, Mr. John Ostashek, who is in attendance in the gallery today.
I would also like to introduce Ms. Zimich and her French social studies class from the French immersion program at F.H. Collins. They are here to watch the legislative proceedings of the House.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have for tabling a document entitled Agriculture for the 1990s - A Yukon Policy.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have a document for tabling.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I have for tabling a document entitled the Yukon Health and Social Services Annual Report.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers.
NOTICES OF MOTION FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PAPERS.
Mr. Nordling: I give notice of motion
THAT the House do issue an order for the return of all letters, memos, submissions, blueprints, consultants reports, financial analyses and contracts entered into by the Yukon Development Corporation in respect of the Taga Ku Development Project.
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT the following address be forwarded by the Speaker, on behalf of the Members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, to the Minister of Transport Canada:
WHEREAS the Yukon Legislative Assembly has learned that the federal government is considering shutting down the air traffic control tower or reducing services in Whitehorse and further reducing the number of flight service stations in Yukon communities;
WHEREAS the air traffic control tower and community flight service stations are essential to the safety of the travelling public;
WHEREAS safety should not be compromised in the interest of cost-cutting measures;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Yukon Legislative Assembly opposes any action that would reduce or eliminate air traffic control services in the Yukon.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Agriculture for the 1990s - A Yukon Policy
Hon. Mr. Webster: I rise today to present, along with my honourable colleague, the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, this governments agriculture policy.
This policy has been developed by the Departments of Renewable Resources, Economic Development: Mines and Small Business, and Community and Transportation Services, in full consultation with the Yukon public. I thank the many individuals, organizations and First Nations that took the time to review early drafts of the policy and to ensure that all issues have been thoroughly addressed.
The exceptional contribution made by members of the Yukon Agricultural Association and the Agricultural Planning and Advisory Committee, who committed a great deal of time and effort to the development of this policy, deserves special recognition.
The agriculture policy covers two broad subject areas - agricultural development and the sale of land for agricultural purposes. I will be speaking to the first area in this statement.
The specific objectives of the policy are rooted in the principles of the Yukon Economic Strategy, the Yukon Conservation Strategy and the Environment Act.
Both government and industry are committed to the growth of a strong, self-sufficient agricultural industry in the Yukon - one which will substitute locally grown quality products for imports to the maximum extent possible.
The Yukon Conservation Strategy also commits the Yukon to a sustainable agricultural sector. This means an industry that does not destroy the soils on which it depends, does not threaten the genetic diversity of native plants and animals and an industry that makes wise use of other vital resources, such as water.
In a land such as the Yukon, where potential farmland is also a key habitat for wildlife, this policy has sought to respect the interests of trappers and subsistence harvesters in establishing criteria for agricultural land selection.
The criteria laid out in this policy will assist us to identify lands capable of supporting agricultural production with minimal effects on other economic activities and wildlife. This way, land-use conflicts should be minimized.
Yukon farmers are a diverse group - there are individuals who are committed to full-time agricultural enterprise and individuals who want to maintain small-scale, part-time operations. This policy offers support to this full range of agricultural interest and commits the agricultural branch of the Department of Renewable Resources to offer extension services to meet their varying needs.
The branch will support research and coordinate demonstration projects to enhance understanding of agricultural production in the territory.
The emphasis here will be on practical research to overcome problems that limit the production, processing and marketing of Yukon agricultural products.
The establishment of a data base on Yukon agriculture, which will track developments in the industry, such as agricultural trends and the values and costs of production, should assist farmers to make informed decisions about existing and proposed operations.
This policy recognizes the branchs responsibility to promote sound animal husbandry practices and the veterinary support they require. We will look for ways to improve veterinary services to farms and sponsor extension programs and conferences to provide Yukon farmers with practical information on the sound management of healthy livestock.
We are also committed to continue our work with the industry to establish standards and inspection services to ensure safe and healthy Yukon agricultural products.
As I mentioned when I began, this policy pays particular attention to the development of the sustainable agricultural sector. Consequently, in all of its extension work, the branch will emphasize an environmentally sensitive approach to farming. In addition to assisting the design of conservation measures for farms, branch programs will encourage the development and adaptation of management techniques and skills in support of environmentally sustainable agricultural production systems. The sustainable agriculture symposium scheduled for this weekend is an example of our work in this area.
In conclusion, I would simply say that the policy we have tabled today provides a solid framework for a sustainable, self-sufficient agricultural sector, which both government and industry seek to foster.
My colleague, the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, will now elaborate on the details of the policy dealing with land disposition and sales.
Mr. Brewster: I am very pleased to see that the policy that started out in 1990 has arrived at last. I was a little concerned that it might never get here, as the last time it was in the Legislature, the Ministers were disagreeing among themselves. It was quite apparent that their departments were not agreeing. Let us hope that this policy works better. At least we have it back in the Legislature. Rest assured, we will keep following it.
I am very interested in seeing the policy. I will reserve my comments until I have seen it. It is, however, time that the policy was in place and that farmers were encouraged and helped to get land in the Yukon. As to the land situation, I will leave that with my honourable colleague, the Member for Hootalinqua.
Point of Order
Mr. Nordling: On a point of order.
Speaker: Point of order to the Hon. Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek West.
Mr. Nordling: Firstly, that was not, under Standing Order 11(8), a short factual statement of government policy. It was a propaganda speech by the Minister. Secondly, I would like the record to show that as a Member of the Independent Alliance, I stood in this House to comment, which is my right under Standing Order 11(8), and was refused recognition by the Speaker.
Speaker: Order please. I find there is no point of order.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I believe that I will have the opportunity to respond to those remarks. I just wanted to reply that this is indeed a factual statement about a new policy that this government has been working on for a number of years, and I am pleased to bring it forward at this time. I will be looking forward to receiving some comments from the Members opposite.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak. As my colleague, the Minister of Renewable Resources has stated, the policy tabled today is one that incorporates many of the suggestions and comments made by individuals, organizations and First Nations during the review of the draft policy released in February 1990.
At that time we said that the objective of our policy was not to provide for the wholesale alienation of our public lands, nor was it an opportunity to obtain free land under the guise of agriculture. Rather, it is a policy to assist the development of a strong, self-sufficient agricultural industry. It is a policy that will ensure a fair and open process for obtaining land and considers competing land uses - a policy that allows for diversity of opportunity and lifestyle for the individuals who are interested in agriculture - a policy that protects the agricultural land base.
The agricultural policy tabled today provides a fair opportunity for people interested in agriculture in the Yukon. At the same time, it also requires a commitment from those wanting to pursue an agricultural lifestyle on the land.
I would like to highlight some changes that we have made in the final document that was tabled today. This policy will ensure that proposed development is sustainable and conservation oriented. Every applicant for agriculture land will now have the responsibility to produce a farm management plan. Lands that require special soil management will not be leased or sold for agriculture.
In response to industry concerns, the proposed 10-year embargo for a new land application following the sale or assignment of agriculture lands, has been reduced to one year.
Legal surveys will now be required by the applicant before an agreement for sale is issued in order to prevent the problems experienced through the federal governments spot land transfer process.
The Yukon government will now enter into a farm development agreement with the purchaser or lessor of agricultural land to clearly identify the conditions that must be met before title is issued. It will describe the development work done on the land that can be used to offset the cost of the land or lease fee. For every two dollars spent on such development work, farmers can write down the market value of their property by one dollar. Examples of eligible development work include fencing, clearing, construction of farm buildings and irrigation systems.
The entire portion of the land will now be covered under the farm development agreement, but only 20 percent of the cost of a residence, up to a maximum of $10,000, will be eligible as a development cost.
The use of agriculture leases for game farming operations will not change, but the pricing formulas will be changed so that game growers are treated the same as other farmers. Annual lease fees can be reduced by completing approved development work.
The intent of this policy is to avoid the old spot land application process in favour of a more planned approach in accordance with district and local area planning exercises. At the same time, we want to encourage selective development of agriculture to benefit all Yukon people. For example, we will now take into account and even emphasize non-soil-based small holdings when considering future rural residential land dispositions.
We will soon begin to develop regulations that will reflect industry concerns, that more explicitly define penalties for non-compliance with the farm development agreement or simply not completing the work agreed on.
Finally, as I said some time ago, existing applications - those submitted prior to February, 1990 - will be treated as if they were under the old policy unless this new policy is more favorable to the applicant. Applications submitted subsequent to release of the draft policy in February, 1990, will be reviewed in accordance with this new policy.
I believe this policy represents a large step forward for land management in the Yukon, and it provides an excellent base upon which to continue the development of our agricultural industry.
Mr. Phelps: It is about time the government did come to grips with some of the problems they have been experiencing with regard to the old land policies and, in particular, the agricultural land policy.
At first blush, we can support some of the initiatives here. In particular, I am looking at such things as reducing annual lease fees by completing approved development work, and taking into account and emphasizing non-soil-based, small holdings when considering future rural/residential land dispositions. That is something we have been calling for.
My one concern is how some of these things are going to work in practice. I hope there is not too much bureaucracy and red tape thrown up in front of those who are going to be applying in the future for agricultural land, and that there is some common sense utilized by the department.
We are willing to look at it with an open mind, and I hope the net result will be an improvement. Some of the initiatives are certainly welcome.
Point of Order
Mr. Nordling: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: Point of order to the Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek West.
Mr. Nordling: I would like the record to show that, as a Member of the Independent Alliance, I stood to comment on the continuation of the Minister of Renewable Resourcesspeech, and was refused recognition by the Speaker.
Speaker: Order please. I find there is no point of order.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I appreciate the complimentary remarks of the Member for Hootalinqua. We can assure him that the draft policy that was tabled last February underwent considerable consultation, discussion, analysis, review - you name it - with many interested parties, not the least of which was the agricultural community itself, who flagged a number of improvements from the draft policy that you see now in the current policy.
To a large extent, we have addressed and resolved some of the conflicts that were apparent over the years, as well as in portions of the draft policy.
We, too, look forward to this policy as a much more flexible approach and, at the same time, a much more planned and organized approach to eliminate the kind of problems that the random process precipitated in the past.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Architectural design of government buildings
Mr. Lang: I would like to address a problem that was brought up last evening and that is the question of the architectural design for government buildings in the Yukon and how the taxpayers money is being spent. I just want to refresh Members memories about the building in Ross River, which started out as a $500,000 skating rink and wound up to be a $3 million building, which is referred to in Ross River as the big blue thing. The Government Leader, at that time, stated, It is exactly the kind of building we do not want to see and it is exactly the kind of building that our government does not want to make any more of.
A resident of Ross River just came into town and he saw the new Workers Compensation building. He said, I see the big blue thing has moved into Whitehorse.
I want to ask the Minister of Government Services; how does the government determine the final design of a building such as the Workers Compensation building?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The final design of the Workers Compensation building was approved by the Workers Compensation Board. This is, of course, their facility. The Department of Government Services is acting as a contracting agent for the Workers Compensation Board, to see to it that the work actually gets completed, given that the Workers Compensation Board does not have the expertise to review the building procedures.
The final design for other buildings that are built by the government from time to time - for example, schools - are approved by a building advisory committee, which has representation from the Departments of Government Services and Education and parents of children who will be attending the school. If the Member wants to become a little more specific, I will try to focus my answer to meet his question.
Mr. Lang: My concern, and that of many members of the public, is that there does not seem to be much attention paid to the aesthetics of the building and how it blends in with the rest of the community. Millions of dollars are being spent on this building.
Each building seems to be an experiment on its own. We then must bear the results of the comments that are being made. One reference I heard this morning, about the Workers Compensation building, was that it was the Ikea warehouse.
I am wondering if the government should be looking again at the whole area of how architectural designs are approved. I am also wondering if the Minister would undertake to review the procedure for the approval of these designs to see if we can come up with a process that will ensure that we are getting buildings that are more acceptable as far as the general public are concerned.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member has asked for, I believe, some process whereby some blue ribbon committee would decide what is aesthetically pleasing to Yukoners. I think that is a fairly difficult task.
The government has built some buildings that I regard as being aesthetically pleasing. My opinion may not be sympathetic with the Members opposite, but some of the projects I have been associated with, including the Robert Service school, the Watson Lake school, the Granger school, the new North Highway school and Closeleigh Manor are all, in my opinion, aesthetically pleasing. That may not be everybodys taste.
In each case where there is a call for a new design because it is a unique facility, the architect has to work with the project proponents. The project proponents have to decide what kind of public consultation they will employ to approve not only the functional design but also the appearance of the building. It varies from case to case, but in my experience, most of the large projects that we have been associated with very definitely have the public involved in the design phase, and the architect must satisfy that group of people.
Mr. Lang: I think a fine example of a school that is very pleasing architecturally is the one in Dawson City. I do not think there is any question about that.
My question to the Minister is, what happened to this one?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: If the Member is referring to the Workers Compensation Board building, the architect - who is a local architect in this particular case - considered the proposal put forward by the board and presented an option to the board, which the board approved. I cannot speak for the board, but I do understand that they wanted a design appropriate for the theme of the Workers Compensation services and, like it or not, this is what the board feels is consistent with that theme.
Question re: Architectural design of government buildings
Mr. Lang: That is unfortunate because I do not think it is the feeling of the general public.
I would like to turn to another area of concern involving government buildings and the expenses the taxpayer goes to to have these buildings built and made use of by the general public. This is the question of soil testing and the steps taken to ensure these buildings are structurally sound once they are built. I want to refer to Closeleigh Manor, which is probably architecturally the most pleasing building that I can think of downtown; at the same time, it is only about five years old and I understand there are significant problems with the structure as far as the building itself is concerned. In fact, I am told that floors have had to be jacked up and there are problems with the foundation.
Could the Minister of Housing verify that?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Yes, the Member is raising an issue that certainly is of concern to us all. It appears that there were structural flaws in either the design or the construction or some combination thereof of Closeleigh Manor. As the Member says, it is a very pleasing building on the exterior but, as I said, I understand what happened.
The building was constructed recognizing that there would be shrinkage and also, with what has been described to me as a major bathtub under the building. The portion underneath has been properly looked after. From what I am told, the elevator shaft was built of concrete separately from the rest of the building and the floors were attached to the elevator shaft. Of course, when the building began to shrink, as it was expected to do, the floors tilted, with a cumulative effect on the third floor.
The corporation has obtained an independent engineering analysis, which clearly demonstrated a structural flaw. Yukon Housing Corporation has retained legal counsel and initiated legal action to recover the full costs. As well, a contract has been let to correct the problem and the work has been completed.
Mr. Lang: This is unbelievable. It is a five-year old building, and I guess, if you happen to be a senior citizen, you have to begin running as soon as you get out of the elevator just in case the building shifts.
It is not funny; it is a tragedy, both for the residents who live there, and for the taxpayers. I want to ask the Minister the estimated cost of fixing this structural problem in the building?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I am told that the cost of repair was around $100,000. The work has been completed and the lawsuits are taking place. It is my understanding that there will probably be a settlement out of court. I would add that what we are talking about is not funny. I agree. We are talking about something like an inch and a quarter shift in the third floor. There is perhaps, three quarters of an inch on the second floor and a quarter of an inch on the ground floor. It means that the bathtub stayed and the doors did not close properly. As I understand it, everything has been repaired now.
Mr. Lang: I understand that there are other problems with that particular building. Perhaps the Minister can verify that. Is it true that there have been major problems with that buildings air conditioning system? If so, is that included in the $100,000 or is it a separate issue?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The balancing of the air has been looked after, but I would have to bring the precise information back to the Member. I have had considerable discussions about it, and I am pleased that it has been looked after, but I will bring the full information back to the House.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Mr. Phillips: I am going to try and squeak something in here, but I hope it is not considered to be part of my preamble. The grade 10 class from the business education course at F.H. Collins has arrived. They are here today to observe us in the Legislature. I would like you to welcome them and their instructor, Mrs. Tomlinson.
Question re: Architectural design of government buildings
Mr. Phillips: I would like to follow up with some questions on a similar issue as the Member for Porter Creek East.
If there was an annual award for the ugliest building in the Yukon, the new airy-fairy concept of the visitor reception centre would take it. The architects themselves first called it a beached whale, until they discovered there were none in the Southern Yukon. After discovering that whales had not been spotted in the Whitehorse area for some time, the architect decided to described the concept as an overturned canoe, which kind of says it all.
We now have learned that this new, unusual building is costing the taxpayers an extra $400,000, mainly because of the soil conditions. I would like to ask the Minister of Government Services why we would not first determine the suitability of soil conditions, prior to tendering out the facility, to make sure, if we do construct a building like this in the future, that we do not run into the same problem.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will not comment on the Members preamble, either with respect to the business education class or the overturned canoe. I will say that upon some investigation of the matter, after lasts night discussion, I have been able to determine from the Department of Government Services that the soil testing and consequent design changes took place before the tender call was issued but unfortunately, after the site location was chosen. So that was one of the elements that did cause an increase in the earlier projected costs for this facility.
Mr. Phillips: This type of soil testing and the preparatory work must be done prior to tendering and prior to the architectural design of the building. We have two glaring examples of that right now: the Golden Horn school and the problem of the new visitor reception centre, which is costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars now.
Will the Minister give us assurances that in the future this preliminary soil testing work will be done prior to developing the architectural designs and selecting the sites?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Certainly, I think it is appropriate that the soil testing is done prior to the final design of the facility being completed; that is essential. As I indicated last night, on a number of occasions, that was an instruction that was given to the Department of Government Services, to ensure that care and attention was taken on that point. There is not always a great deal of choice, with respect to the site location. There are other criteria that determine site location, other than simply soils. Consequently, we sometimes must live with a site that suits other criteria. Sometimes we have to bear additional costs respecting soils and site preparation. Nevertheless, the point is well taken with respect to ensuring that the geo-technical work is done prior to the final design being completed by the architect and that it is, and has been, done prior to the tender call for construction.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister told us in the House today that, in this particular case, they did the soil testing after the site was selected. As recently as eight or 10 years ago, this particular site was a swamp. In the selection of the site, why was that not identified, so they would have known this area would have been unsuitable for a building? It just had gravel piled on it as a backfill and really did not have a sound foundation in that particular area. Most people who have lived in the Yukon for quite some time, and I am sure many government departments, have information telling us that area is quite boggy. Why did they not identify that before they picked that site?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Department of Tourism and the people with whom they jointly investigated appropriate sites had good reasons, in their view, to provide for a site on the highway.
In the construction of the facility, the site conditions are not so swampy or boggy, as the Member gives us to believe, that a reasonable solution cannot be found, admittedly at some additional cost.
As I have indicated before, there are considerations beyond simply soil conditions that determine the location of various facilities. If there is a foundation that technically can be constructed to hold a building, and if there can be reasonable trade-offs between the cost of that construction and interest in keeping the total building cost at a reasonable level, then there can be cases like this where there are overriding considerations to just preferring to deal with sites that are perfect for construction.
In this particular case, the site was less than optimal from a soils perspective, but there were other concerns and issues that were addressed by the Department of Tourism and others that led them to come to the conclusion that this was the best site for this facility.
Question re: Carcross infrastructure
Mr. Phelps: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services with respect to the lack of adequate infrastructure in Carcross and the need for a community-based planning process.
The Minister attended a lengthy meeting in Carcross a couple of weeks ago. He witnessed firsthand the frustration of residents about the government inaction on such issues as land development, water and sewer facilities and the new garbage dump. The meeting ended without any solutions being agreed to. In order to build on the momentum that was generated during the last meeting, many of us feel that another public meeting should be held soon.
Does the Minister intend on holding a public meeting in Carcross in the near future?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I certainly do, if I am requested to hold such a meeting. That has been my general view to inquiries on the same question by members of the community since the last public meeting, at which the Member described the degree of frustration felt by people in their attempts to improve the level of services and infrastructure.
I would not characterize the degree of frustration as being caused by government inaction. The government has been attempting quite vigorously to put in place the necessary infrastructure components, such as land, places where lagoons can be put and where sewage disposals can be placed, as well as addressing the question of water supply. While we have been working very hard to try to meet the expectations of the community, it has been difficult. We are quite prepared to pursue that route.
Mr. Phelps: How soon does the Minister see another meeting taking place? Could the Minister be more precise about how he sees such a meeting being initiated?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is my understanding that there was a meeting last night in the community, presided over by the municipal advisor from my department responsible for the region.
My understanding is that the meeting was quite productive in terms of extending the discussion about how to resolve the issues facing the community that were so clearly articulated in the previous public meeting. My understanding is that, as a result of last nights meeting, there has been a steering committee struck that will be pursuing, on an issue-by-issue basis, some of the questions that are facing the community in terms of infrastructure, services and land issues.
Mr. Phelps: Can the Minister then give us some idea of how he sees the next meeting that he will attend, taking place, and can he also at the same time advise whether or not the band has indicated a willingness to attend such a meeting?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am sure that the Member will appreciate that I cannot predict precisely what will occur in terms of another public meeting or even when it will occur. I have indicated my willingness to participate in such an exercise. I left that commitment with the community, and at the same time I made it very clear at the public meeting - that the Member from Hootalinqua in fact chaired - that this government is not desirous of forcing any decision on the community, especially in light of the community wanting to take charge of its own affairs, deal with its own issues and make decisions on its own behalf.
I would conclude by saying to the Member that I am most willing to participate in any kind of community exercise to resolve some the issues facing the community, but I would, by obligation, feel the need to be invited.
Question re: Kaska Resources timber harvesting agreement
Mr. Devries: I have a question for the Minister of Renewable Resources.
In the Level I Environmental Screening Report, of which I know the Minister has a copy, Yukon Forest Service officials recommend to the Minister of Northern Affairs that a maximum allowable raw log export of 70,000 cubic metres or 67 percent of the total cut be established in the Liard timber harvesting area as a compromise toward the Kaska Resources business plan.
I would like to ask the Minister if YTG has decided whether or not it is supporting this recommendation?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I can inform the Member that the government does not support the notion that 70,000 cubic metres of large logs can be exported as stated in this business plan; it is not at all acceptable, as it does not permit a sustainable practice of forestry in the area.
Mr. Devries: In the socioeconomic concern section of the screening report, YTG is quoted as being in favour of a conditional minor log component on a short term. I would like to ask the Minister what percentage would be considered a minor component.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The position, again, of the Yukon Government is that we have always been opposed to the export of raw logs. That is stated very clearly in our Yukon Economic Strategy and our Yukon Conservation Strategy, and we put that position again to the federal government as recently as last week.
Mr. Devries: Is YTG putting forward a submission in answer to their recommendations prior to December 4, and would the Minister be prepared to table the YTG response as it becomes available?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Government of the Yukon submitted its position in writing prior to the established deadline of last Friday.
Question re: Correctional facility in Teslin
Mrs. Firth: My question is to the Minister of Justice. Last week, the Minister made an announcement about a new 25-bed correctional facility to be built in Teslin. She did that in the form of a ministerial statement, which we were not recognized to respond to, so I would like to ask her some questions about it now.
The new correctional facility is going to be built in Teslin. Could the Minister tell us exactly where in Teslin it is going to be built, and whether it is going to built on First Nations land?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The facility will be built in the same location as the work camp was, two years ago. I believe the area in question is land that has been set aside for the First Nations.
Mrs. Firth: If I could, I would like to direct my supplementary to the Government Leader. Exactly what is the policy of this government with respect to Yukon government structures being built on First Nations settlement land?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There is not a blanket policy. The Member may know that an addition to the Teslin school, which was built prior to our coming into office, was built on land set aside for the Teslin First Nation. It is not a situation without precedent. With the advent of First Nation self-government, it will be incumbent upon the territory to negotiate arrangements with First Nations in a number of situations, I imagine. The obvious questions about the ownership of the land and jurisdiction on the land in question, especially if there are public facilities there, will be one of the matters that will have to be joint.
Mrs. Firth: I think, in the best interests of all Yukoners, it would be wise for this government to have a written policy, because we are going run into difficulties with purchasing, rental and so on. It is a very strong commitment to put Yukon government structures, which may cost millions of dollars, on First Nations settlement lands. I would like to ask the Government Leader if they are going to develop a policy or if they are just going to continue to let it carry on in this loosey-goosey way, and if they are going to develop one, will he give us a copy of it?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Loosey-goosey, nor any other kind of bird, would describe our policy. We are certainly not going to repeat the situation of the previous government, where they put a building that I know of on land set aside, without even knowing that it was land set aside. We are in the course of negotiating final agreements on land claims and self-government agreements, and it is exactly this kind of possibility that we are trying to anticipate in those agreements.
As to the question about whether or not there is a policy framework, the approach we are taking at the self-government table and in the negotiations that will follow an implementation will be to anticipate, as much as possible, those kinds of problems and deal with them in a broad framework.
Question re: Correctional facility in Teslin
Mr. Nordling: I would like to ask the Minister of Justice a question about the correctional facility itself. The Minister, in her ministerial statement announcing the construction of the Teslin correctional facility, indicated that the focus would be on programming. I would like to ask the Minister who will be planning and providing the programming envisioned for the inmates at the Teslin facility?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We are a long way from putting together the programs we will be putting in place once the facility has been constructed and inmates have moved in.
There are ongoing discussions with the community of Teslin with regard to the programs. A definite method as to how we are going to do it has not yet been established, but we are looking at putting together programs that will be effective, such as some of the ones we now have in our facility. We will be looking at the expertise of some of those individuals in the community who have worked toward crime prevention in the justice system, whereby the crime rate has been reduced to half of what it was one year ago. I really believe that this has resulted from the input of the Teslin group, working in cooperation with the courts in regard to sentencing.
Mr. Nordling: I would expect inmates to be moving from the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, which is a secure facility, to the minimum security Teslin facility. I would like to ask the Minister if there will be more programs introduced at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre? Will that programming be coordinated with the Teslin facility? Will the Teslin facility be restricted to aboriginal offenders, or will it be open to all offenders at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre that may be eligible for minimum security?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member for Porter Creek West has asked me a couple of questions. In regard to the inmates who will be eligible to be placed in that facility, it will not be restricted to aboriginal people. We cannot do that; it is a government facility. It will be open to those individuals who do meet the criteria and minimum security standards.
In regard to his first questions, to a small degree we already have some programs in our facility that are provided through contract with the Council for Yukon Indians. It is our intention to expand upon those in the next year or so within the existing facility. We hope a lot of that expertise will be valuable when it comes to programming in the new facility in Teslin.
Mr. Nordling: Without dealing with the overcrowding problem at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, that facility is old, inadequate and, some say, potentially dangerous. Can the Minister tell us what the plans are to replace the Whitehorse Correctional Centre?
Hon. Ms. Joe: We have done an overall plan looking at the cost of planning new facilities and how they would fit into the situation we now have. Whatever we do will have to be done in phases, and this is the first phase. We are looking at the problem of overcrowding in our facility right now. We know it is bad, and it has been bad for years. However, I only now have plans for the existing facility and the home electronic monitoring system that will be in effect very shortly to deal with that situation.
Some time down the road we will be looking at a new facility of some kind to replace the one we now have.
Question re: Buffalo in accident on Jarvis Creek
Mr. Brewster: The Minister of Renewable Resources should have learned from his colleague, the Minister of Education, who likened me to a bulldog getting his teeth into their ankles and never giving up. I have my teeth in the ankles of the Minister of Renewable Resources regarding the death of a buffalo.
Is the Minister now prepared to admit that a bison was killed? If he is not, would he like the name of the elder and his son who skinned and butchered the buffalo?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I did not dispute the fact that a bison was killed this past summer. The Member asked me if I was aware of an accident that took place sometime this summer, at Jarvis River, between a bison and a vehicle driven by a woman and her two children. I told the Member that I was not aware of that accident, but that I would get back to the Member once I had done some investigation.
Mr. Brewster: That is the way politicians are. They twist words. I admitted that I made a mistake in the gender of who was driving, but they play politics all of the time. Would the Minister also confirm that a second buffalo was killed in early November?
Hon. Mr. Webster: A bison was killed on August 14, at the Bear Creek summit, by an American tourist. There was not a bison killed this past summer at Jarvis River by a woman driver.
In response to the second part of the Members question, yes, there was a bison killed on November 8, as well.
Mr. Brewster: Thank you. That took a lot of taxpayers money for me to stand here for three weeks to get some answers, but I am finally getting them.
Would the Minister now like to withdraw his previous legislative return on this matter and present the proper information to me that I am sure his department is aware of?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to object to the Members allegations that somehow I am obstructing the information that was specifically requested by the Member. He asked a very specific question, involving a specific person at a specific place, and an accident just did not occur there. Upon further research, there have been two incidents this past summer of bison being killed on the highway. I would only be too pleased to provide that information to the Member and to file a legislative return.
Mr. Lang: I would like to turn the attention of Members to an issue that has been long outstanding and I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services. It has to do with the question of physiotherapy and the service that has been provided in the territory. There are, as we all know, services being provided in the Whitehorse General Hospital and then there are also private services being offered.
Almost one year ago to the day, the previous Minister of Health and Social Services, the Government Leader, made a commitment to this House that one of the first areas that the government was reviewing was the question of physiotherapy and how it could perhaps be incorporated under the medicare system.
I would like to ask the Minister of Health if she can report the results of that particular review.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I am aware that there is a review underway but I have not received the report on it. We are reviewing a number of our health programs. I will undertake to bring the information back to the Member.
Mr. Lang: On December 11, 1990, the then Minister of Health, Mr. Penikett, stated the following: One of the items we will first be looking at in just a few months, not waiting a year, is the question of physiotherapy coverage. We are not putting it off for a year or two. We will be making a decision one way or the other but it will be very soon.
That statement was made just under 12 months ago. I want to ask the Minister why the results of that review have not been released in view of the commitment by the then Minister of Health and the Government Leader, to Members of this House approximately one year ago?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: They may very well have been done and I may not have seen them. As I said earlier, I will bring the information back.
I am unclear as to whether the Member is talking about private physiotherapists, the number of physiotherapists operating within the public health area or hospital physiotherapists. Perhaps the Member could clarify some of that.
Mr. Lang: The Member was part of that debate, as an MLA in the House, during the committee review. We were referring to the question of private physiotherapy and the fact that many of our constituents are in a situation where they are not able to afford the cost associated with private physiotherapy. At the same time, there is a lineup for physiotherapy at the hospital.
The Government Leader committed the government to review the concept of private physiotherapist coming, at least in some part, under the medicare system.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: We are talking about whether or not we want to add additional costs to our medicare program; that is an issue I have been discussing with my department, which involves a variety of programs. A decision has not been made, simply because of the cost, and, as I said before, I will bring the information back to the Member.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order and declare a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 18 - Second Appropriation Act, 1991-92 - continued
Government Services - continued
Chair: We will proceed with line by line.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Normally, I have a critic. If the Member for Porter Creek West would like to ask a question on this particular line item, I would really appreciate it.
Mr. Nordling: I am content to have the Minister make a comment on each line, as we go through them. Perhaps we can clear them in fairly short order.
Chair: They are obviously satisfied with this department.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The $311,00 increase here is partly for the collective agreement settlements of $120,000, and the balance is the transfer of funding within the department to fund salary dollars for positions in finance and administration. That is all this is.
Administration in the amount of $311,000 agreed to
On Systems and Computing
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The $306,000 is for the collective agreement settlement. The balance is a transfer from the other allotment to fund positions for the computer support coordinator and computer support technician.
That is the only reason for this.
Systems and Computing in the amount of $373,000 agreed to
On Supply Services
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The majority of these funds are for the funding of the collective agreement settlement, and $43,000 is required to pay for the retirement pay-out for the director of this branch.
Supply Services in the amount of $373,000 agreed to
On Property Management
Mrs. Firth: Before we start this item I want to ask the Minister if he was able to get me the information regarding the western construction associations that received tender documents, and which tender documents they would be getting.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The associations that have been receiving specifications are the Regina, Saskatoon Construction Association, the B.C. Amalgamated Construction Association in Vancouver, the Edmonton Construction Association, the Calgary Contractors Association and the association in Winnipeg. Projects with values in excess of $500,000 are not only advertised with the associations, but specifications are also provided.
Mrs. Firth: I just want to put on the record that I do not agree with the principle of doing that.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There is $633,000 for the collective agreement settlement; $40,000 was for two half-time person years for the regional services offices, one half-time clerk in Dawson and one half-time clerk in Watson Lake; $220,000 was for an increase in utilities, $170,000 of which is for the full operation of Old Yukon College, and $50,000 is for the startup of the archives building. Finally, there was an increased cost in rental for office space. I will run down the list. There was $63,000 for the Professional Building, which is new space required for the geologists and engineers under the mineral development subagreement of the EDA, $34,000 for rental of space in Carcross, $21,000 for the Lynn Building, $10,000 for the Old Yukon College, and $10,000 for the White Pass building in Carcross.
Property Management in the amount of $926,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $1,983,000 agreed to
On Business Incentives Policy
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The rebate to contractors and suppliers for the use of Yukon materials was less than estimated. There simply have not been the number of claims that had been originally anticipated.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could break down exactly how much was paid and whether or not they are keeping track of averages or statistics. That raises the question of whether we need that policy.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There were 71 eligible construction projects, valued at $50 million. The number of building development projects were 31, and there were 40 Community and Transportation Services projects. There is a possible total of 251 claims, for an estimated value of $1.4 million.
At this point, given that completion dates on a number of projects have passed, as of September 30, 143 claims are possible. Fourteen claims have been paid out on seven building development projects. They are as follows: six claims on the Whitehorse student residence, two claims on the Del Van Gorder School, two claims on the Christ the King High School for ventilation upgrade, one claim at the Klondike maintenance camp, one claim on Jack Hulland Elementary School, one claim for a mechanical upgrade on Jack Hulland Elementary School portables addition and one claim on the Whitehorse Elementary School handicap access project. The total rebates paid out so far, as of the period to September, was $53,000.
Mrs. Firth: Did I hear the Minister correctly when he said there was a potential of 251 claims, which translated into $1.4 million? Is that what the government is projecting that it would have to pay out in rebates?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is the total possible claims if every possible claim was made for every possible dollar. Interpreted, that means that if the contractors used maximum Yukon labour, maximum Yukon content and applied for all the claims, there would be 251 claims possible and they would require a rebate of $1,468,000.
The Department of Government Services did not anticipate anything like that, of course. They anticipated $450,000 worth of claims. We have revised that down to $350,000, based on the experience to September 30 and what we project to the end of the year.
Business Incentive Policy in the amount of an under expenditure of $100,000 agreed to
Administration in the amount of an under expenditure of $100,000 agreed to
On Systems and Computing Services
On Systems Development
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is funds revoted from the previous year for uncompleted work on the Health and Social Services information system.
Systems Development in the amount of $22,000 agreed to
On Computer Workstations
Hon. Mr. McDonald: This is a 100 percent recoverable item. It is for purchase of workstations for corporations.
Computer Workstations in the amount of $94,000 agreed to
Systems and Computing Services in the amount of $116,000 agreed to
On Supply Services
On Office Equipment
Office Equipment in the amount of $11,000 agreed to
On Queens Printer Equipment
Queens Printer Equipment in the amount of $2,000 agreed to
Supply Services in the amount of $13,000 agreed to
On Property Management
On Renovations Public Buildings
Renovations Public Buildings in the amount of an under expenditure of $27,000 agreed to
On Energy Conservation
Energy Conservation in the amount of an under expenditure of $23,000 agreed to
On Design and Construction Overhead
Design and Construction Overhead in the amount of $156,000 agreed to
On Office Accommodation Projects
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The largest single project is $125,000 for this rooms new sound system. Sixty-five thousand dollars is required for renovations to this main administration building to accommodate the people who moved into Education space. There is $25,000 for the move by Renewable Resources into space vacated by Education in the Burns Road building, and $25,000 for renovations to the Whitehorse Performance Centre and anticipated renovations to the EM&R building for when Government Services moves from the EM&R building to the Whitehorse Performance Centre and Northern Accord and the arts branch perhaps - it is still under discussion - move into the EM&R building.
Office Accommodation Projects in the amount of $244,000 agreed to
On New Facilities
New Facilities in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
Property Management in the amount of $360,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $389,000 agreed to
On Capital Recoveries
Capital Recoveries in the amount of $124,000 agreed to
Health and Social Services
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The Department of Health and Social Services is requesting $5,796,000 in additional operating funds for 1991-92. This request is offset by $2,865,000 in additional expected recoveries, resulting in a net cost to the government of $2,931,000.
Ninety percent of the requested funds are to be allocated as follows: $1,643,000 of the additional O&M funds requested pertain directly to wage increases resulting from the collective bargaining process; $1,350,000 is directly related to the child care initiative. The government is committed to taking the balanced approach to child care and we are balancing the needs of families and care givers with the types of programs required to meet individual needs.
Of the $1,350,000 requested, $450,000 will be used for increasing parent subsidies. The maximum subsidy was increased from $350 for children over 18 months to $450 per month. For children under 18 months the maximum subsidy was increased from $450 to $500 a month.
There will be $720,000 used for increases to the new direct operating grant. The operating grant formulas are based on services provided, maintaining costs and levels of training. This grant will accommodate wage increases and assist with other operating costs and routine capital expenditures.
Both child care centres and family day homes were consulted during the development of the funding formula, which is expected to provide more flexibility and autonomy in the management of their services.
There are approximately 845 licensed spaces currently available in the Yukon. One hundred and eighty thousand dollars will be used to increase this governments contribution to the Child Development Centre. Of these funds, $150,000 will be used for expansion of its outreach program to support development of service delivery in those communities where a need is identified. Also, $30,000 will be used to fund an evaluation of the services provided through the child development program.
There is $317,000 to support the recent increases introduced for the basic foster-care rates. The new rates were announced in August 1991, and were retroactive to July 1, 1991. The new rates almost doubled the previous rates. Those new rates are, for Whitehorse, $23.25 per day, for Old Crow, $49.70 per day, and for other communities, $26.76 per day. The new rates were reflected in cheques issued for September and retroactive payments for July and August were sent to foster parents in October.
There is $374,000 to be used for the health transfer negotiation process. This amount was negotiated with, and will be fully refunded by, the federal government.
One million, six hundred and fourteen thousand is the base increase required for social assistance client volume, increases that occurred in the previous fiscal year. In 1990-91, the client volume for social assistance increased from 848, in 1989-90 to 1248 in 1990-91, or by approximately 31 percent.
The Yukon, like the rest of Canada, is beginning to experience several phenomena that give rise to social assistance client volume increases. These phenomena include a growing polarization in the job market between the higher-skilled and lower-skilled positions. More jobs are being created that require higher skills, while jobs that require lower skills are being eroded. In 1991, numerous lower-skilled positions disappeared from the economy. While new jobs are being created, these jobs require the higher levels of skills, not suitable to the typical social assistance client.
For example, the new Sa Dena Hes Mine in Watson Lake is a very high-tech operation, using all of the latest computer technology. The workers hired for this mine will require more skills than the average mine worker had previously.
A new group of social assistance clients is developing. We could call them the working poor. These clients consist of families who, while gainfully employed, cannot support their families on the amount earned, and these families require assistance to top up their earnings to the basic subsistence level. Our population is growing. Migration into Yukon has increased by 187 percent, while migration out of the Yukon has decreased substantially. Many people are coming to the Yukon hoping to find employment and then staying, even if they find no permanent work. The economy in the south continues to deteriorate, discouraging those who might have left the Yukon to find work elsewhere from making the attempt.
The proceding was only intended to present you with an overview of the major items included in this supplementary. I am prepared to provide information on the remaining $498,000 as we proceed through the line-by-line debate.
Mr. Lang: I want to thank the Minister for her overview of the supplementary before us. There are a number of areas I want to pursue, although I do not think I will pursue them all during the supplementary debate. Perhaps I could alert the Minister and let her know I intend to follow up on these subjects in the main estimates, so she could ensure she is prepared.
The chronic disease drug list is one area I feel strongly about. I would like to hear where the government is with respect to that. I would like an update on the audio-visual hearing assessment branch and how well we are doing with respect to being able to provide that service.
In some context, I would like to discuss the home care program, which I think is a good program. However, perhaps there are other ideas that could be incorporated within it. I would also like an update on the boarding of patients who come from outside of Whitehorse, and what we are providing for them.
One area I want to pursue at this time is the question of those on social assistance. I find those statistics unacceptable, and it deserves some scrutiny. I would also like to find out what is happening with the drug and alcohol program. Specifically, I would like to discuss what is happening with the wilderness camp in the Old Crow area and the wilderness camp that has been provided through other means.
Another area is the programming for young offenders, which has been under some criticism, as I stated in my opening remarks at the outset of the session. I would like to know what we are doing to revise it to meet the needs of these young offenders. Although all the criticism may not be valid, there must be some validity in observations made by the RCMP and the judiciary, as well as those working within the system on how it is being conducted.
The question of street people has become an issue, largely in Whitehorse. That is an area of concern; what can we do to assist in getting these people away from that lifestyle? In some cases, it seems that some feel that we should be providing accommodation so they may continue this lifestyle.
There seems to be a conflict about what our objective should be in trying to resurrect some hope for a future for these people, and I am assuming that, in most cases, these are very young people. Perhaps there is a chance to give them some direction and some hope for the future rather than just living off the street. I do not think anyone in this House can imagine the problems associated with living on the street and the unhappiness that would accompany it, although that may be the only lifestyle that they know.
There were some questions about the Childrens Act amendment. I wanted to know where that amendment was and what the government was planning.
The question of the Mayo Hospital is another outstanding issue. I would like to have an update of where we are in respect to the question of the alcohol and drug strategy that was committed to this House some time ago.
I would also like to have an update on the situation in Dawson City of the dentist, which is emerging as a problem in that community. I would like to know what the government is doing to try to assist in that situation.
There is a long list of areas of concern that you can see within the department. I know that it is a very difficult department, because I think that sometimes people expect the department to have all of the solutions to problems. They are dealing with problems involving people and when you deal with people each case is differently. I think, to some degree, we should look at redirecting our energies to see what responsibilities we expect those individuals to take on, not just the government, which is the people of the territory, and how we could better redirect some of these dollars in such a manner that they will do more good. I think sometimes when we run across a problem we throw money at it and come away from this room feeling a little better about ourselves because we have set up a program. We may have provided some employment to someone, but in reality we may have compounded the problem because all that we are giving is sympathy and are assuming that they would assume some responsibility for themselves. There comes a time when we have to look at these brown envelopes, as almost an encouragement for people to stay on social assistance. I know that there is validity for social assistance, but sometimes I think that we are encouraging it as a way of life.
Indirectly, it benefits those who are administrating it. This is the easy way out. I think most Members in this room, and I can speak for my riding, have had to combat some adversity at some time. They did not necessarily go to the government for a handout to remedy their situation.
I would like to ask a specific question on the health transfer. Can the Minister give us an update as to where the health transfer stands, and more specifically, what the status is on the new hospital?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: As the Member can appreciate, health transfer changes day by day. I had to get my daily update.
In terms of the health transfer, we are almost at agreement on a class C submission to Treasury Board. This will mean that we will have a negotiators agreement. I expect to have that within the next two to three weeks.
With respect to the status of the new hospital, we now have an architect. As the Member is aware, that planning has been going on separately from the health transfer process. The planning has been separated from the health transfer process in order that the process is not as convoluted.
The hospital planning is on schedule as far as we can proceed, understanding that there are some restrictions on how far we will go until we are sure that we have at least a class C approval. At the present time, both are moving ahead quite rapidly with the negotiators.
Mr. Lang: A memorandum of understanding was signed between the then Deputy Minister of Health and Human Resources and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health from the federal government that certain things had to be done within a specific period of time - I believe it was 120 days. Has that agreement expired?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The memorandum of understanding stands. All that has been adjusted are the target dates for the transfer, and those have been agreed to.
Mr. Lang: Some reservations have been expressed by members of the Yukon Medical Association - to some degree, it may be becoming a reservation among some members of the public, as well - on the implications of the transfer and the financial implications of the government being able to meet the commitment to provide the same level of care we have had for the past number of years.
What can the Minister tell this House primarily to assure the Yukon Medical Association, but also members of the public, that these negotiations are going to ensure that the financial capabilities of providing the service will be contained within that document so we will not be in a situation down the road where things have to be closed down?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: We have been doing a tremendous amount of financial analyses, and I have made the commitment that I would not accept transfer unless we had sufficient dollars to run the hospital. We have a good negotiator and, without giving away any trade secrets, we seem to be in a reasonably good position. I would be happy to discuss this with the Member, at some point.
To reassure him, the House and the public, the agreement we are negotiating will have a good, healthy operating fund built into it. The problem we see in terms of negotiating is that the longer we wait, or if we back off, the problem is not going to go away.
We are not going to be able to maintain the status quo, because the federal government has been systematically cutting many of the programs to the territory. An example is some of the dental programs. They say they are reshuffling them, but it would appear to be, perhaps, a move toward pulling out some of the dollars around it. That is our concern. We do not believe that the status quo will be maintained forever. It would appear that the federal government is getting out of health delivery, one way or the other. We want the best deal for Yukon people that we can get out of this, so that is where we are.
Mr. Lang: We are very concerned, on this side, about our ability to be able to continue with the service. That has to be the ultimate end because, quite frankly, I do not think the public really cares where the cheque comes from for the hospital, as long as it is open and is providing an up-to-date service to them.
My concern is regarding future demands. It is not just this hospital. Other hospitals may possibly be required as communities expand. One that obviously comes to mind, as time goes on, is Dawson City. There are legitimate concerns being expressed by the community about the service being provided. Eventually Watson Lake, too, will be a concern, as it continues to expand.
Within the context of the negotiations, will there be provisions, through the agreement, to access funds to provide those services that are going to be needed as time goes on?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: We certainly share the concern about maintaining services to this territory. The negotiations have been divided into two phases and the first phase, as the Member is aware, has to do with hospital transfer, primarily. The second phase will be community-by-community transfer, and that is where the various programs in each community will be negotiated.
At that time, the First Nations will be a very major player in the negotiations. We are looking at the long-range needs of our communities for health facilities. We want to have something built into the contract that will meet the needs of those communities.
Mr. Lang: When the Minister mentioned class C, with regard to an application to Treasury Board, what was she referring to? When does she expect a decision. When can we see this document, and when will it be made available to us?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The class C submission is a planning document. It provides planning money, somewhere between $2 million and $3 million, for planning everything from hiring an architect and paying the architect to the drawings and all of the planning. This is for the major planning for the transfer of the hospital and the whole project.
As far as the document is concerned, this is a Treasury Board submission. We are negotiating partners in it, but I do not have the authority to provide it to you.
Mr. Lang: I understand the process the Minister is talking about now.
Can the Minister indicate when a decision will be made by Treasury Board? At that stage, if the decision is in the affirmative, is the government going to be in a position prior to the health transfer to announce the construction of a new hospital?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I am sorry, I neglected to say that we are expecting the class C submission to be completed by the end of December. There will be some decision on it by, probably, about the end of February.
The class C does not release the building funds. It is the preliminary that must be done for a class B to be submitted. We hope that will speed up the process. We have some commitment of that; things seem to be moving along relatively smoothly at the present time. We have to keep negotiating, and hope it will turn out all right.
Mr. Lang: It is of concern. Are there indications from the Government of Canada that it is going to proceed with the hospital, or is it going to be the Government of the Yukon Territory, if the Health transfer does not go through or, conversely, if the health transfer is not agreed to, does that mean we do not get a new hospital?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The advice I have is that, presumably at some point, if we do not have a transfer, the hospital would simply fall down. In all seriousness, we are saying that the federal government is not planning on building a new hospital in the near future, if we do not accept the transfer. That seems to be what is indicated.
The federal government is not interested in staying in health in the north, as far as I can determine.
Mr. Lang: I would like to move on to another area, that of social assistance. The Minister quoted a figure of 1,230 people who have been on social assistance this past year. I was just doing a quick count in the forecast. I may be out, but there seem to be two areas for figures, and it is confusing. Are the ones on page 226 of the main estimates the ones for the -1992-93 estimates for this forthcoming year? In other words, 1,150 and 1,280? Is that the projected number of people on social assistance?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I have it here, if you wanted us to take a bit of time. We could find the main estimates and go back to that. In line-by-line, I have a considerable amount more information on the social assistance: who it is, what the incidence is, and all that sort of thing. If the Member wanted to wait until we go into line-by-line, I can certainly provide more information on that.
Mr. Lang: I would like to ask the Minister a question with respect to foster children and the money in the budget.
I notice that we have a very substantial increase under recoveries in the supplementaries for what is referred to as native social services and native hospital care, in the amount of $1.2 million. If you go to the main estimates, there is a substantial increase in what the government intends to be recovering.
With the announcement of the foster parent increase in monies, how many of those dollars are going to be recovered from the federal government because of the fact that a number of them happen to be of native ancestry?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The Member will have to give me a minute to reply.
Mr. Lang: I do not have a problem waiting for the line-by-line debate for that. I would like to ask one other question and then perhaps we can go into the line-by-line debate. It is not my intention to hold up the supplementaries. I think some of these issues are broad enough that they should be in the general debate with respect to the mains.
There was a review underway last year with respect to the chronic care drug list. I would like the Minister to update me with respect to where we are on it. What were the results as far as the pharmacists were concerned? I understand that the pharmacists were supposed to be consulted as well.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The agreement we were negotiating with the pharmacists has been completed. The Member is quite correct. If memory serves me correctly, it will be sometime in January. We are just checking to see when it comes into effect, whether it is the beginning of the next fiscal year or whether it is January.
As of now, the health services branch has entered into an agreement with the pharmacists on generic drug substitution. There will be a six-month lead time before implementation.
There is no date on it, but this would have been quite recent. We probably would have agreed to provide them with, say, another five-month lead time.
Mr. Lang: The concern expressed from this side of the House was the fact that the ability to apply for drugs seemed to be so wide open; subsequently, over a period of time, we witnessed a significant increase in the programs - not only just the chronic disease drug list but also in the Pharmacare program. I am just going on memory but I recall, for an example, the agreement being so loose that even people who were privately insured just ignored their own insurance plans and came to this particular program.
Could the Minister tell us whether all those things have been tightened up so that there is at least some control of expenditures?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The chronic disease program certainly has been an expensive program, and one we have been discussing with the president and members of the Yukon Medical Association. I suppose it is a question of putting a cap on something once it has been started.
One of the things we have done is have a presentation ready for direction to the Public Service Commission - or, I should say, we are looking at the possibility of asking Cabinet to direct the Public Service Commission to negotiate with GSMIP for coverage on premiums for employees on the chronic disease programs. That would seem to be one of the ways of cutting costs.
The Member is quite accurate. The cost of the program has gone from $473,000 in 1987-88 to $946,700 for 1991; it is a very expensive program and, daily, I receive calls asking for something new to be added to it. We have to review the program continually, but I question how much further we can go in terms of putting additional items on the program.
As the Member will understand, because I am sure he receives the same kind of calls, people want to have everything included in it.
Mr. Lang: I just want to get this clear in my mind. We are dealing with two programs here. One is the chronic disease drug list and one is the Pharmacare program. I want to say that I do not think that anybody here opposes either one of these programs, but I am very concerned that there does not seem to be any attention being given to trying to put together a framework so that some responsibility is put upon the users. The government is assuming all of the responsibility. It seems to me that if people are privately insured, they should not be eligible for the program. I think those sorts of things should be part of the policy.
I guess my concern regards the policy review. I interpret the Minister as saying that it has been looked at and not much can be done, but they cannot add more items to it. I do not think that that is what the Member for Riverdale South requested. She is fairly knowledgeable on the subject of the chronic disease drug list. We need some kind of framework and some way to control some of these expenditures. I am a little disappointed that the Minister has not told us anything new or innovative that could be done to provide the service yet ensure that there are some safeguards.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: We have been looking at options, from user fees to use of generic drugs. The costs will go down considerably with that. We cannot, in my opinion anyway, just pull people off of the list involuntarily, so we have to find other ways of being a little more creative in keeping the costs down. We certainly have been reviewing it and working on that. I would welcome any suggestions that the Member has.
Mrs. Firth: We are talking about the chronic disease list. The Minister is nodding her head. I would like to ask the Minister if they even addressed the issue of the government employees who are now using the chronic disease list, because it compensated them for all of the cost of the medication, as opposed to the health insurance plans that they had, which only gave them partial compensation. That is one way the Minister can get the costs down.
What other provinces do with their pharmacare programs is to have the person who is receiving the medication pay part of the cost. Usually, it is a very small part of that cost. Those are both initiatives the Minister could consider establishing relatively quickly, without causing a lot of financial grief to the people using that service.
In terms of the GSMIP, yes, we are moving on that. I am told there are all sorts of barriers, but my hunch is that they can be overcome if we keep pushing on them.
Mrs. Firth: I am not advocating that people who require life-sustaining medications have them removed because they are not prepared to pay part of the fee. The pharmacare programs or chronic disease programs, or whatever, in other provinces have a system where the people who are using the medication pay a certain amount of the cost, whether it is five percent or ten percent. At least they are paying something. It makes people less inclined to abuse the system, waste the medication or lose it - all the reasons that compound the costs.
The Government Leader, when he was the Minister of Health, was talking about this over a year ago, saying he was going to get a grip on this. I looked at the new budget and the costs are well in excess of $1 million. We were concerned when it went to $1 million. I think if the Minister is going to get this spending under any semblance of control the department is going to have to look at these kinds of initiatives. The two she can look at immediately are those with respect to employees who are taking advantage of the chronic disease program for medication rather than their health plans, which require some sort of contribution on their part.
We should look at the people who are on the chronic disease list also making some kind of contribution. If there are people who are absolutely without the means to pay that amount of money, then that can be addressed. I do not think that we should say we are not going to look at it, because there might be someone who cannot and we have to have a means test for everyone. I do not think that is necessary.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I did not mean to say that we were not going to look at it; in fact, we have looked at the concept of user fees and how it is administered in other jurisdictions. The most common method is that the user pay the dispensing fee and so the person pays a dispensing fee for every prescription. Research has not shown that it has cut down on any of the use, and it seems there is no evidence that it reduces costs substantially, at all. I think that the other area is a much more fruitful area for us to pursue, and we are doing that.
Mrs. Firth: I think that it would cut it down if the government employees used their health coverage instead of the chronic disease program.
If they had to pay the same amount to the chronic disease program as they do to their health coverage, they would come off it and go back on their health coverage, so the cost would be reduced. I do not know how the Minister can say that it is not going to work. If people have to pay more than the dispensing fee, if they have to actually pay for part of those medications, they are going to treat those medications with more respect. They are going to have some ownership in those medications. I take medication every day and I pay for it. I know that because I pay for it I do not let a pill drop on the floor and leave it there, and I do not accidentally drop one down the sink. I think that if people are helping to pay for medication themselves, they are going to treat the whole process with more respect and that is what we are asking the Minister to look at.
I do not think that it is an unreasonable or financially strapping initiative to put on people who are benefactors of the chronic disease program. I think it is very practical and realistic.
Chair: We will now proceed with line-by-line debate.
On Operation and Maintenance
On Policy, Planning and Administration
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The $196,000 increase for this line item is being requested for the policy, planning and administration program. The increase is entirely due to personnel costs associated with the collective agreement settlement.
Policy, Planning and Administration in the amount of $196,000 agreed to
On Family and Childrens Services
Hon. Ms. Hayden: An increase of $1,833,000 is being requested for this program. As discussed my opening statement, $1,350,000 is being requested for the child care initiative; $161,000 is required to fund the basic foster rate increases for those foster homes located within the vicinity of Whitehorse and group home contracts will require an additional $119,000. An accountant has been contracted to assist in a financial review of the programs. Any required adjustments through this process will be reflected in the final payments to group homes prior to year-end.
In 1991-92, group home contracts were changed to allow recovery of unused monies by contracting with operators on a not-for-profit basis - which means we have management contracts - and by funding contractors to a level that would permit operators to adequately pay staff. To reduce the increased funding required, the number of group homes was reduced from five to four. That also fits in with our desire to move from group homes to foster homes.
There is $186,000 required to increase the personnel costs associated with the current collective agreement; and $17,000 is required for increased office rental expenses in this area, which is one of the highly confidential areas. We had people jammed in very close contact with each other.
Mr. Lang: I would like to follow up on the office rental in the amount of $17,000. What exactly did the Minister mean about the highly confidential situation? What exactly are we talking about?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: It is in the child protection area.
Mr. Lang: I am not asking where this is. What are we talking about? Is it a house being rented? What exactly are we speaking about with respect to this type of service for this kind of money?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: We are talking about additional office space adjacent to the current office space.
Mr. Lang: I gather we are not talking about a safe home, so to speak. Are we talking about the civil servant administering this particular area? If so, I do not think it should be that highly confidential. It obviously is not. People have to go to that office for help. What exactly are we speaking about? Are we speaking about additional office space downtown?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: There is no great confidentiality in terms of where the space is. This area is where interviews take place with sexually abused children and other kinds of abuse. That is the reason I talked about the need for some kind of confidentiality. Space is necessary so there can be an office where people could maintain privacy. Previously, there were only dividers separating the areas.
Mr. Lang: Perhaps the Minister could provide me with a breakdown of what the $17,000 includes - the building that we are speaking of, what the capital costs are and the amount of area that is being rented, over and above what is already there.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I am prepared to bring that information back for the Member. I do not have it right here. We are talking about space in the Royal Bank.
Mr. Lang: Another area I wish to discuss is that of group homes. The Minister said that we have gone from five group homes to four and are now going to management contracts. From the Ministers comments, do I take it that the closing down of one particular group home was due to the fact that the clientele has diminished?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I wish. Although some major strides are certainly being taken in terms of treatment, what we are talking about is the increase in foster homes and therapeutic foster homes, moving young people into a home situation to attempt to keep away from institutionalizing kids as they are growing up. We will always have to have one or two group homes, but our hope is to put those who must come into care into a home-type atmosphere.
Family and Childrens Services in the amount of $1,833,000 agreed to
On Social Services
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I promised I would expand on the users of social assistance if that was the wish of Members.
The $1,820,000 increase is being requested for the social services program; of that total, $1,521,000 is required to fund the Whitehorse client volume increases in social assistance.
Approximately 62.5 percent of the client base are single males, many of whom did not complete high school and have not developed the necessary skills to compete in the current job market. I would just note here that we have developed a method of keeping some statistics that will be, I think, of use for us all.
Approximately 16 percent of the client base is unemployable. These people will require assistance on a long-term basis. This group increased by 45 clients in 1990-91. The cost associated with this client group alone, based on the average monthly cost per case of $812.36, would be approximately $450,000.
The employed group increased by 35 clients and this group requires assistance to top up their earnings to the basic subsistence level. A small percentage of these clients are chronic; that is, they will require long-term assistance. The majority will improve their skills and reduce or eliminate their dependency on social assistance. Depending on the length of assistance required, it is estimated that the cost associated with the increase in this client type is approximately $150,000.
Unemployed clients increased by 190. This client category tends to be of a shorter term, requiring assistance until such time as they are able to acquire another position. Additional costs associated with this client category is approximately $650,000. I think we are speaking of the seasonal workers.
The remaining balance of the requested funds of approximately $275,000 is caused by the impact of the 1989-90 and 1990-91 increases to the basic social assistance.
Do you want me to go on or are there questions?
Formal negotiations continue between YTGs Departments of Health and Social Services and Education and the federal governments Departments of Health and Welfare and Employment and Immigration. These negotiations are aimed at developing new programming targeted at enhancing the employability of social assistance recipients.
I have said that we have a very good safety net. What we are now building is a ladder out of the net.
Two hundred and ninety-nine thousand dollars is required for the collective agreement settlement; this is in this whole area. Increased contributions to the non-government agencies include $33,000 in projected higher operating costs for the handibus, a $20,000 increase in the contribution to the Association for Community Living, $6,000 to Challenge, $4,000 to Teegatha OZeh and $20,000 to Kaushees Place. Increased expenditures are offset in a reduction in the expected contract expenditures to Headway House. This reduction is expected to be $53,000 and is caused by direct billing of status clients to the Department of Indian Affairs.
Additional offsets of $30,000 are expected through reductions in personnel support and other contract services.
Mr. Lang: I am not going to belabour the point, but I am really concerned about the number of people on social assistance. In rough terms, it is roughly five percent of the population, if we take a population base of 30,000 people. That is a significant number of people and I do not think it includes a number of people who could also be getting benefits through the Department of Indian Affairs. Is that not correct? Could the Minister verify that this does not include that?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: That is correct. It does not include that figure.
Mr. Lang: Do we have the statistics? If not, could she make the figures available to me of the number of people who are on social assistance through the auspices of the Department of Indian Affairs?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I am told that we can get those statistics for the Member.
Mr. Lang: I do not have any problem with the figures quoted by the Minister for those classified as unemployable. I recognize that there are people in our society who are put in very unfortunate circumstances. This could be due to physical problems and, in some cases, emotional problems and the way things have unfolded for them due to family circumstances. I realize there are chronic unemployables. I understand that side of it. I sometimes question whether we are helping them enough. These are people who really cannot help themselves.
One thing I would like to impress upon the Minister is the figure she gave us about male clients - 67.5 percent or so - as the breakdown between the unemployables and the chronics.
That is another statistic. Whether they be male or female, those who are on social assistance do, for the most part, have some capabilities. I feel strongly that the ladder the Minister referred to for getting out of the social net has to be encouraged and, if necessary, incentives put in place for these people to help themselves. From my perspective, and I think I can speak for society as a whole, we are very much in favour of that approach.
It has to be incentives. I do not have all the answers, but I understand that in some of the States, from some reading I have done, some programs were put into effect with the carrot-and-stick approach to try to encourage people to get out and help themselves.
Many get into the situation where they feel it is hopeless and there is no point in trying. Subsequently, it becomes a way of life, as opposed to having the incentive to try to pull themselves out of their problems with the help of some of the social agencies we have within the government.
I am very concerned about that area, and I think it is something that has to be taken as a high priority. It would be interesting to see if the department could maintain some sort of statistical analysis, perhaps starting this year, of where we are with some of the people, and how successful we have been. If we can even get two out of 10, then the department is doing its job, in my judgment. However, if we are in a situation where few, if any, ever elevate themselves out of this morass of social assistance, then we are not doing our jobs in the House. All we are doing is voting money to maintain a status quo, which I do not think any one of us wishes to see continued.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I share both the Members interest in being able to know what happens to people and concern about the numbers. I am told that many of the employables are on and off, and on and off. It is one of those situations, I suspect, of not enough training, education, or whatever.
The negotiations for the social assistance recipients program is supposed to be completed in a month and we hope to enhance that somewhat. We hope that will help to a certain extent and certainly, some of the Department of Educations training programs will help. I will ask the department whether or not it is possible to do some of the tracking that the Member has asked for, because I think that it could be quite useful for us.
On Social Services
Social Services in the amount of $1,820,000 agreed to
On Health Services
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Health Services requires an additional $924,000. Of that $467,000 is required for personnel costs associated with the collective agreement.
As mentioned in the opening statement, $374,000 is required to fund the health transfer negotiations process. This amount has been negotiated with, and will be recovered from, the federal government.
Forty thousand dollars is required for contribution to the mental health housing project and a number of other non-profit agencies require minor contributions, including the Mayo resource project, $7,000; the crisis line, $2,000; the youth conference, $4,000; and the breast health conference, $2,000.
Three contribution agreements require topping up: the Yukon doctors malpractice insurance, $6,000; Yukon doctors continuing education, $15,000; Child Development Centre contribution agreement, re the audiologists salary, $11,000; and this is offset by a reduction of $4,000 in supplies.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister provide this House with an accounting of exactly how much has been spent in the past three years by the Government of Yukon, whether it be recoverables or otherwise, in the negotiations for the health transfer - the amount that can be applied directly toward the cost for where we are?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I see no reason why not.
Mr. Lang: To follow up on that, with respect to the youth conference for $4,000, how was that money allocated? Was it allocated through a school or was it just to a group of young people who applied to the government?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: It was a non-government organization, a youth group as I recall; we are looking for the name of that person. If we do not find it, I will bring it back for the Member.
Mr. Lang: I would appreciate that because, if there are going to be youth conferences, perhaps a way of doing it would be to make the money available through the schools so that everybody is aware of what is going on. I have received observations by some young people that they did not even know what was taking place. Perhaps the Minister did not obtain the diverse opinions or views of the youth she was looking for. It would seem to me that, if there is going to be this kind of meeting with government funding, then would it not be better to funnel it through the school system so that, first of all, it does not become politicized? Or, perhaps the student councils themselves, the duly elected members of the school councils, should give some direction of what should happen?
Perhaps the Minister could comment on that?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Since I am not able to find the name of the organization the money was given to, I will have to bring that detail back to the Member.
Ordinarily, it is not our policy to fund other government departments, such as the schools; we have a number of non-profit societies that we fund and it is not unusual for an organization like the Red Cross to come to us for an amount of money to run something. I suspect this was not seen as anything out of the ordinary at the time. I note the Members comments.
Mr. Lang: I would like to ask the Minister a number of questions with respect to the AIDS coordinator and what is taking place in that particular area. As you are aware, there has been some controversy in the last little while with respect to condom dispensers in the school. I recognize that this decision must be made by the school council and not by this House. We have delegated that authority.
I do not understand how the AIDS coordinator position works within the government. I understand the position is one that is cost-shared between the federal and territorial governments. I understand that a committee has been struck, which meets on a monthly basis or every two months. An executive was formed from that committee. The coordinator is supposed to meet with the executive on a weekly basis.
Could the Minister tell us how this works and what exactly this committee is? Perhaps the Minister could give us an outline of who is on the committee that the AIDS coordinator reports to.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: My understanding is that this program is jointly funded through a contribution agreement with Skookum Jim Friendship Centre. I will check that to ensure that is correct.
As far as I am aware, we do not designate who the people are on the committee. I do not have a list of the committee members. As with any organization, I suspect they are available to anyone who asks for them but this is not a directly supervised program, although it is funded by government. As far as we can determine, the program has been run very well. There has not been a problem.
We begin to touch very sensitive areas in peoples consciousness when we get into the areas of AIDS awareness and AIDS prevention. It is my understanding that there have been no problems with the program.
Other than a letter asking for some information from one of the Members, we have not had any cause, nor, as far as I am aware, have Skookies, although I could certainly check that.
Mr. Lang: First of all, I would like to know who is on the advisory committee and I would also like her to provide me with who is on the executive and who is representing which particular organization, as far these groups are concerned.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I just need to be clear whether it is the board of Skookum Jim Friendship Centre that you are asking to have the list of, or of the advisory committee to the AIDS program, or both.
Mr. Lang: I guess it is called the advisory committee. I want that list, so I know who is on it. Secondly, I want to know who the executive is. I did make a call to the department the other day and it was unclear just how it worked and who was responsible for what was going on. It seems like the government is paying for the position, yet the position does not necessarily seem responsible to the government. That is the observation that is being made to me. As an MLA, I am getting some calls regarding what exactly is taking place here. It is a very sensitive area. When I read some of the thing that I see reported in the newspaper - and I do not believe everything I read in the newspaper - some of it does cause concern to me as a parent, not just as a MLA. I agree with the Minister that we are in a very, very sensitive area. I just want to say to the Minister that, from my perception as a MLA, we had better tread very carefully here. I know there is a problem out there and I know there is a role that can be played by the government through such a position as this. The question is how that position is being utilized and how that information is being disseminated.
I just want to assure the Minister that it is of concern to a number of people and those people are expressing some concern publicly. I do not think they should be pushed aside as if their point of view is of no consequence. I am here to say that it does have some consequence. There is some compromise within our society, in view of the situation that we face, with the HIV virus and the obvious implications of AIDS and how it can affect society as a whole. I would like that information.
I notice in the family life education program here that there are some things mentioned in the annual report that the Minister tabled the other day. It says, Teen sexuality display at F.H. Collins Secondary School. If the Minister does not have the information, she could provide me with what exactly that is. Also, I would like whatever information that she has on teaching kids about sex. Also, I would like a copy of the Canada youth and AIDS study, and whatever else is made available through that particular program.
I think, too often, we just let these things go by. I can perhaps be faulted on that sometimes myself, as a parent, when I deal with things on a daily basis. Sometimes things are happening of which I am not even aware. The schools do try to communicate to the parents what is taking place. I am beginning to wonder exactly how much responsibility the government is taking over and above what the parents take.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I will deal with the last item first. The Youth and AIDS study may be a very large book. I want to be sure that is what the Member wants, or does he want something that is written about it? He could give me his response afterwards.
To respond to the other question, yes, I will get the list of the members of the advisory committee and the executive. It is my understanding that, for the AIDS coordinator, funding has been provided to the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre and, as with any non-government organization, they are the direct supervisors of this person. They provide the management supervision, if you like. That is not an abnormal situation. We also have a social worker, half-time, over there who Skookum Jims and we jointly supervise. The other thing is that the AIDS coordinator does provide a monthly report to our department.
The other thing the Member mentioned had to do with the family life education program at the school. I do have some notes here that I could share with the Member. It is, of course, part of the Department of Health and Social Services mandate to ensure healthy relationships and encourage healthy human sexuality. We have, for many years, employed the family life coordinator - since 1970, or so.
Sex education has been a controversial issue over the past few years. It seems to me it has been so for more than just the past few years.
It tends to come and go. Some parents do not agree with having the subject dealt with in the classroom, and they would like to see specific moral values taught in the classroom.
In the spring of 1991, a letter was received from a school council member at the Whitehorse Elementary School. This letter mentioned that, at a meeting of the council, some parents had voiced their concerns with regard to the family life education program and its validity. This report was forwarded, and it promoted abstinence only, and only education in schools. I do not think I want to go on setting out the letters from parents, and so on. That is getting into a bit of privacy, but there have been various calls and letters to the school.
The mission statement of the program is to promote healthy attitudes and behaviours in human sexuality and relationships. The program works under the assumption that adolescents can make healthy decisions. I would add that it is my experience that they certainly do make choices. If they have some information to make choices from, it would seem better than to be making them without information at all.
If the Member wants some more information on that, perhaps I could provide it at another time.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister just provide us with a copy of whatever accompanies these programs outlined in the family life education. For example, if the Canada Youth and AIDS Study is a comprehensive thesis, I do not want a copy of that, but perhaps an executive summary of what has taken place could be provided. Some other Members probably would not mind seeing what is being put in writing for the purpose of these programs.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I will try to get an executive summary and bring the actual teaching kit in here some time and, during the break, people can have a look at it.
Chair: The Committee will take a brief recess.
Health Services in the amount of $924,000 agreed to
On Juvenile Justice
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Three hundred and fifty-eight thousand dollars is required by the juvenile justice program; $280,000 can be attributed to the wage increases required under the collective agreement and an additional $156,000 is projected for probation services.
The department is faced with an increasing number of youth court orders requiring us to pay for treatment services for young offenders; in many cases, the program ordered by the court is only available out of the territory.
Offsets to the increased expenses include a $13,000 projected decrease in wilderness program expenses. This reflects actual costs as these programs run in the summer months. Two wilderness camps were contracted for and the terms of the contract completed. One contract was withdrawn due to the contractors inability to develop the program. The two programs that did run included the Kaska Wilderness Camp - eight youths for an average of approximately 45 days - and the Mayo Camp: seven youths from July 1 to August 31.
Decreases of $63,000 for open and secure custody expenditures and $2,000 for supplies are projected.
Mr. Lang: For the main estimates, could the Minister make available to us the average age of the clientele at the young offenders facility? I would like the average, on a monthly basis, or on a per diem basis. I think that would be a better average. We could get some idea of the number of kids that we are dealing with.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Are we looking for the per day trend over a certain number of months, or over the past year?
Juvenile Justice in the amount of $358,000 agreed to
On Regional Services
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The $665,000 is being requested for the regional services program. The amount of $215,000 in additional funding is attributable to the collective agreement; $111,000 is required to fund the increase in basic foster rates in the regional communities; $45,000 is required to fund the increase in basic foster rates administered by the Champagne-Aishihik child welfare project; $147,000 is required to support the base increase requested in the previous fiscal year - this increase was related to an increase of the number of children in care - and $93,000 is required for the adjustment to the regional social assistance base. The region experienced an 11 percent increase in client volume in 1991. The factors impacting on rising social assistance client volumes were discussed.
An additional $25,000 is required for the Champagne-Aishihik child welfare project to cover additional administrative costs incurred, and $31,000 is related to increased costs in the young offenders program. This increase is directly related to one youth being placed in the community. The $12,000 reflects an increase in expected office-rental expenses and a $14,000 offsetting reduction in expenditures for travel, supplies and program materials.
Regional Services in the amount of $665,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $5,796,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Policy, Planning and Administration
On Facility Construction - Integrated Health and Social Services, Mayo
Facility Construction - Integrated Health and Social Services, Mayo in the amount of an under expenditure of $150,000 agreed to
Policy, Planning and Administration in the amount of an under expenditure of $150,000 agreed to
On Family and Childrens Services
On Therapeutic Foster Homes
Mr. Lang: Perhaps the Minister can tell us what took place here.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: In 1992-93, the department intends to implement a residential treatment home for children requiring specialized treatment. Six satellite foster homes will be developed in conjunction with the central facility. The $125,000 requested will permit the planning and facility renovations required for implementation to be completed prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year.
The operation and maintenance costs associated with these new foster homes are incorporated in the 1992-93 mains.
Therapeutic Foster Homes in the amount of $125,000 agreed to
On Group Homes: Renovations
Mr. Lang: Are these group homes owned by the government, or are these private homes that have been renovated?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: These are government-owned buildings.
Group Homes: Renovations in the amount of $121,000 agreed to
On Child Care Services Development
Child Care Services Development in the amount of an under expenditure of $150,000 agreed to
Family and Childrens Services in the amount of $96,000 agreed to
On Social Services
On Alcohol and Drug Services - Facility Construction
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister inform us what did not take place there?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: This is the deferral of building the detox centre until 1992-93. There is a request in the main estimates.
Alcohol and Drug Services - Facility Construction in the amount of an under expenditure of $500,000 agreed to
On Kaushees Place (Transition Home)
Kaushees Place (Transition Home) in the amount of $224,000 agreed to
Social Services in the amount of an under expenditure of $276,000 agreed to
On Health Services
On Macaulay Lodge Renovations
Mr. Phillips: I just have a compliment on Macaulay Lodge, rather than any kind of criticism. I had an opportunity this summer to spend a bit of time down at Macaulay Lodge. The flower boxes and gardens that were put up a year or a year and a half ago have worked out very well. Several of the seniors spend a lot of time down there every day, working in the boxes. It is quite an enjoyment for them and I think it is a good project. It is working well and I commend the government for undertaking that project.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Thank you. I agree with the Member.
Macaulay Lodge Renovations in the amount of $205,000 agreed to
On Macaulay Lodge Equipment Replacement
Macaulay Lodge Equipment Replacement in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
On Whitehorse General Hospital Planning
Mr. Lang: Has all of that money been spent? It just bothers me that we see a half of a million dollars being allocated for planning. We seem to spend a lot of money planning, no matter what we do. Some of it is justified, such as for soil testing, which was a topic raised today, and things of that nature. I am lead to believe, though, that this is not for that; it is strictly for architectural plans. I do know that a number of new hospitals have been built, such as the one in Yellowknife. I do not know if that particular plan would fit in with what we need but it seems to me that in many ways we try to re-invent the wheel and sometimes we come up with things that the public is not expecting. I would like the Minister to tell me where they are now.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The $550,000 is requested to permit the planning phase of the Whitehorse General Hospital to proceed. These funds will be contributed to the interim hospital board who will ensure that the planning of the new hospital incorporates consultation with the major user interest groups. They will, of course, include the usual interest groups. It is expected that the $550,000 will be recovered from the federal government on successful completion of the health transfer negotiations.
What I would add to that is that, as we move ahead on the planning process, one cannot go to architects and even have a preliminary plan without having some dollars up front. That is what a considerable amount of this is for.
Mr. Lang: The Minister keeps predicating her statements by saying that this is dependent upon the health transfer. What if it does not go ahead? Is the $550,000 still recoverable?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: No, it is not. That is a risk we are taking.
Mr. Lang: I just want to express some reservation here. If the health transfer does not go ahead, we will be spending a significant amount of money that will not be going anywhere.
What does the Minister see in terms of a time frame for a definitive answer on the health transfer?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: We were previously talking about the class C submission process. That will make it very clear to us, as I understand from my negotiators, whether or not this will all proceed. We will have a negotiators agreement at that time. We will have pretty well everything in place. The class C submission is part of this planning money. If that is approved, we will have this recovered.
Mr. Lang: Who is the negotiator on behalf of the Government of Yukon?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: Mr. John Steeves, a solicitor from Vancouver.
Mr. Phillips: In the planning of the hospital, are we including just the structure of the new hospital or does it also include the roads and infrastructure in and out of the hospital?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The whole infrastructure has been part of the ongoing discussions we have had with the City of Whitehorse and will certainly be part of the general planning of the hospital. Of course, we are looking at sewer and water and roads and everything else; it is all part of the planning, yes.
Mr. Phillips: Is the Minister saying that the Yukon government, then, is prepared to work with the City of Whitehorse in some kind of joint financial agreement to alleviate some of the bottleneck traffic problems we have at the hospital corner now, to allow emergency vehicles to get in and out of the hospital at certain hours of the day?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: It certainly has been part of our discussions with the city and we certainly are prepared to work with them. They have expressed their concern and we have expressed ours about that area, and we hope that jointly we can come to some resolution of that problem.
Mr. Phillips: If the government is prepared to talk to the city about alleviating some of that problem because of the new hospital, there certainly are not going to be a large number of changes and a lot of people working at the hospital. We are building an extended care facility over there now and there are going to be a few more people there.
I wonder if the government is prepared to accelerate that part of the work on that area, at least in negotiations with the city, so that something could be done to that bottleneck as soon as possible. Every night we sit here in the Legislature and hear emergency vehicles tearing back and forth, from five to six oclock at night, and I am sure that one of these days - and it may be sooner than later - we are going to have a major problem down there at the bridge and an emergency vehicle, whether it be a fire truck or an ambulance, is not going to be able to get to or out of Riverdale to the hospital. It will be too late then. This is something that I have been raising in the Legislature for a good number of years now - I think six and one-half years, ever since I have been here. This problem has worsened every year and it is worse now with the other facilities in that area, such as the Department of Education at the corner. Something has to be done, and soon. I am asking the Minister to consider the possibility of accelerating those parts of the discussions to alleviate that problem, sooner rather than later.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I understand the Members concern. The unfortunate part is that the money does not flow for the new infrastructure until the class B submission is approved. I can assure the Member that we are speeding things up as much as we possibly can. I have been pressing and pushing and doing everything I can to speed up the whole process. That is part of it, but it is not possible to separate it out. We simply do not have the money. It also involves other government departments and I have not had the opportunity to discuss that particular area with my colleagues.
Mrs. Firth: I wish to follow up on that. I just heard the Minister say that other departments are involved. I would have expected that the Department of Community and Transportation Services would have been looking at that corner and the traffic flow there. They have done studies and reports for the whole South Access Road. Is the Department of Health and Social Services working in some kind of advisory role in order to have some input? I hope that they are not being required to do much more than that because I do not think that it is their responsibility. I think the responsibility belongs more appropriately within the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The Member is quite right. The Department of Community and Transportation Services has been involved. Some of the discussions have occurred. The original questions asked if Health and Social Services discussed it with the city. The answer is yes. For the whole area surrounding infrastructure, the discussions have been with the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
Mrs. Firth: Is that department also having discussions with the city? Why would Health and Social Services be having separate discussions? I am trying to establish how much of a role Health and Social Services is being asked to play in this whole project. I think the lead role should be taken by Community and Transportation Services, who should be talking to the city. They should be doing their homework and getting that problem solved, and consulting with Health and Social Services to see if they have any other requirement.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The roadwork, in particular, has been the responsibility of Community and Transportation Services. We have specific concerns around safety, fire, sewer and water, because it involves the hospital. Those are the kinds of discussions we have been having with the city, and Community and Transportation Services have been involved in that, because everyone needs to know what everyone else is talking about.
The areas that are specific to Health are what we have been discussing with the city.
Whitehorse General Hospital Planning in the amount of $550,000 agreed to
Health Services in the amount of $773,000 agreed to
On Juvenile Justice
On Young Offenders Facility
Hon. Ms. Hayden: The $367,000 is a revote of funds requested for 1990-91 for renovations of the open and closed young offenders facilities. All renovations at the secure facility are now complete. Work at the open facility is now in progress. Delays in the open facility can be attributed to unrealistic bids being received through the tendering process. New tenders were received, breaking the job down into several components. That was obviously a cost-saving measure.
We were also looking at the fencing for the young offenders facility. The total for fencing for the secure facility was $234,000. Of this, $170,000 was for materials and $64,000 for installation. As you recall, it is called the candy cane fence.
The commissioning of the young offenders facility was $13,000. This was the process of getting it ready. The total actual costs associated with the open facility at 501 Taylor Street will not be known until the process is completed. The costs were estimated at $120,000. For example, a new roof has to go on and insulation has to be put in - those kinds of projects.
Mr. Lang: My first question is to the Minister. Could she provide me with a full, up-to-date cost of the young offenders facility, from the beginning; the total cost from when we initially tendered the building, plus all the renovations that have been done in the last number of years? Can the Minister provide us with that information?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I see no reason why not. We must have it.
Mr. Lang: I would also like the Minister to provide to the House the amount that 501 Taylor has cost the government and the cost of the renovations that have been put into that particular facility since it was purchased. I would also like a breakdown of what is going to be done to that building, for what is required in the supplementary - the other $120,000.
I just want to make this observation: I believe that particular facility cost $150,000 to purchase - if I am not mistaken, for I am going on memory here - and now we are putting $120,000 into the same building, two or three years later. So, if the Minister could provide that information for the main estimates, I would certainly appreciate it.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: I will bring that information back.
Young Offenders Facilities in the amount of $367,000 agreed to
Capital in the total of $810,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on recoveries?
Mr. Lang: I would like the Minister to tell us why we had such a significant increase in the Canada assistance plan? We are looking at an increase of $1.2 million for recoveries.
Hon. Ms. Hayden: This was one of the initiatives we had in attempting to keep costs down and recoveries up. We were fortunate enough to hire someone who had a lot of experience in this area; he explored every possible area of recovery and this is the result. He found a tremendous number of areas where we could make a recovery.
Mr. Lang: Does that mean we were not recovering the full amounts in years past and, if not, are we able to go back to recover those dollars that should rightfully have been ours?
Hon. Ms. Hayden: As I understand it, we cannot go back. I also understand that this is an extremely complex area and it was unusual we were able to obtain the services of this person. He had worked in this field previously and is retired; he just chose to do some work for us.
Health and Social Services in the amount of $810,000 agreed to
Chair: Is there general debate on ther Department of Justice?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The overall operation and maintenance expenditures are projected to total $25.8 million with recoveries of $1.7 million. The major causes of the unfavourable $3.7 million are varying amounts: the YGEU collective agreement for $1.1 million; the police services contract for $1.6 million; outside counsel fees of $293,000; Utilities Board rate hearing, $100,000; legal aid $134,000.
On the capital side, overall expenditures total $414,000 with capital recoveries of $3,000, resulting in a net capital expenditure level of $411,000. An increase of $144,000 from the 1991-92 main estimates results from capital revotes for the mine safety and court services renovation, programs of $18,000 and $6,000 respectively. There was an approval for an additional $120,000 for the facilities planning phase of a rural 25-bed correctional facility.
The revenue amounts remain unchanged from the main estimates level while recoveries have increased by $285,100, to reflect increased expenditure and recoverable areas. Administration in the amount of $99,000 reflects the additional funding for the collective agreement. The other $80,000 is the amount we are asking for victims of crime. These transfer payments represent a statutory obligation to provide awards to qualified applicants to compensate for injuries caused by the criminal action of others. This activity is administered by the Workers Compensation Board, with 75 percent of program expenditures recoverable from the federal government under the victims of crime agreement.
The increase in 1991-92 is as a result of an increase in the number of claims filed under the program and the amount of money expended on the awards. The increase appears to stem from a heightened public awareness of the program through the media and social service agencies. In addition, a number of recent claims relate to sexual assaults that have taken place in prior years. Historically, the pattern of expenditures awards made by the victims of crime board are as follows: 1987-88, $48,000; 1988-89, $82,000; 1989-90, $88,000; 1990-91, $202,000. The total of the awards has doubled.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us what the final figure was for 1991-92? I believe the last one she gave us was for 1990-91, at $202,000. We raised a concern last time about the striking increase. This supplementary should allow the Minister to give a final figure for the year 1991-92.
Hon. Ms. Joe: It would be difficult to do that right now. The 1991-92 figure has not been completed. The initial amount was $120,000. What we are asking for right now is $80,000, for a total of $200,000. I understand that there are a number of other applications that the Workers Compensation Board will be dealing with.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister had indicated, when I raised this as an issue, that the department was going to be looking at the program. She said she had some concerns, too, about the tremendous increase in the number of claims and the awards being paid. I realize it is getting late. Perhaps the Minister could be prepared to come back Monday with exactly what her department has done, what initiatives have they taken and what kind of direction are they going in to perhaps reduce these costs?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I do not have much control over the amount of awards that are given out. I think the Member understands that. There is a board that deals with these applications for compensation for victims of crime. I will come back with the information Monday with regard to the changes that are taking place and what we would like to see happen in the future - things that will be happening within the next fiscal year.
Mr. Nordling: I have a question on which I think the Minister may have to bring back the information on Monday.
Now that the Mental Health Act has being proclaimed, the people who are committed or going to be committed under the act go before an administrative tribunal instead of the courts. Therefore, there is some concern about funding of legal counsel for those people. Previously, people facing a mental health committal were supplied legal counsel through legal aid. My understand is that the new act does not authorize legal aid to fund representation for those people who are facing mental health committals. I would like to hear from the Minister on that issue. Perhaps we can leave that until Monday.
I would now move that Madam Chair report progress on Bill No. 18.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 18, Second Appropriation Act, 1991-92, and directed me to report progress on it.
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 Papers were tabled November 28, 1991:
Agriculture for the 90s - A Yukon Policy (Webster)
Yukon Health and Social Services Council Annual Report 1990-91 (Hayden)
The following Legislative Return was tabled November 28, 1991:
Capital projects advanced to 1991-92 and 1992-93 accumulated surplus forecast (Penikett)