Diane Thom: Health and Social Services System Overview

Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Yellowknife — December 11, 2019

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to share with the Members of this Legislative Assembly my reflections as a new Minister of Health and Social Services.


I have spent my first few weeks as Minister receiving a series of comprehensive briefings from both the Department of Health and Social Services and the Health and Social Services Authorities.  I have had the opportunity to meet with the Leadership Council, senior management, as well as staff.


One of my first thoughts after starting these briefings was how passionate and dedicated the staff and leadership are in the health and social services system. Everyone who I spoke with was there because they truly wanted to make a difference for the residents of the Northwest Territories.  There is a deep rooted, heartfelt belief across the system that we all play an important role in improving the lives of clients and patients.  I am encouraged and inspired by having seen this and believe if we harness this passion and dedication we can make significant progress in tackling the health and social issues our territory faces today.


As Members newly elected to this Legislative Assembly, we have all heard from our constituents about the health and social issues that our families and communities are experiencing.  Many of us know first-hand what these issues look like and can draw from our own lived experiences.  As Minister, I have been briefed on many of these issues and am learning more about the challenges and about the work currently being done to address the issues.  I am also seeing the strengths and opportunities that we have, to make progress on these issues over the life of this Assembly together.


As we work with Members to finalize the mandate in the coming weeks, we will be confirming how the government will address the Assembly’s priorities and supporting all our people, including children and elders, and those struggling with mental health and addictions. These are also priorities for the department and I am confident they share our commitment to deliver positive outcomes for all NWT residents.  


Mr. Speaker, seeing what I have of the people working within the health and social services system, and learning what I have about the work currently being done and the opportunities and strengths we have available, I do believe that our health and social services system is well positioned to make progress on our shared priorities.  I look forward to providing strong leadership over the next four years, reaching across the floor to work with my fellow Members, and with our Indigenous and community partners, on the important health and social services challenges facing our territory today, to make the Northwest Territories a better place for all residents in the future.


Thank you, Mr. Speaker.