Julie Green: Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Governance Transformation

Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Yellowknife — October 25, 2022

Check against delivery


Mr. Speaker. For the past several years, the Health and Social Services system has been undergoing an important transformation. Today I am presenting an update on the ways that system governance has changed and how those changes help empower communities.

The transformation of the governance and management of the health and social services system began in 2016. This change combined the separate regional health and social services boards into one entity; the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority, which works alongside the Tlicho Community Services Agency and the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority.

Mr. Speaker, the NTHSSA was established with a governance model that provides for regional concerns and a territorial board of management that combines and uses this regional knowledge to improve care and outcomes for clients. This integrated model includes:

  • Six regional advisory health and social services bodies, known as Regional Wellness Councils.  Members are nominated by residents or leadership from the regions and appointed by the Minister;
  • It also includes the territorial governance board, the NTHSSA Leadership Council, whose members include:
    • the Chair of each regional Wellness Councils;
    • the Chairperson of the Tłįchǫ Community Services Agency, and;
    • the Chairperson appointed by the Health and Social Services Minister.

The Leadership Council has been instrumental in improving community access to services, supporting local hiring to increase service quality, and focusing on system sustainability. Further, the Regional Wellness Council prioritizes community connections, each holding public meetings several times a year. At these meetings, residents can share their experiences. This information informs our work to improve service delivery and health and social services policies. 

Mr. Speaker, we have achieved many successes over the last six years as an integrated system. In 2019, we reached an important milestone when we received system-wide Accreditation for all three Authorities.  This means we are meeting nationally-recognized service and care standards. The Leadership Council supported this process wholeheartedly. We have also made significant progress in addressing concerns related to cultural safety and anti-racism. We have implemented mandatory staff training and we consistently engage with the Indigenous Advisory Board whose members provide advice and recommendations to ensure our programs and services meet our cultural safety goals.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Mr. Jim Antoine, who served for six years as the inaugural Chairperson on the Leadership Council. I want to thank Mr. Antoine for his dedication to the well-being of Northerners and his commitment to the organization. He will certainly be missed.

The new Chairperson is Gerry Cheezie, who took over in August. Mr. Cheezie has a long history of working with First Nations, Metis Councils, and all levels of government. He has contributed to various for-profit and not-for-profit organizations in various roles, including two terms on the NWT Housing Corporation Board of Directors. I am pleased to welcome him to the role.

This change in Council leadership presents an opportunity to renew focus on the next stage of system transformation. The Leadership Council continues to identifying key areas that will enable the governance structure to meet statutory requirements and improve programs and services for residents.

Mr. Speaker, while we continue to improve efficiency, there is still work to do. We face some challenges that are unique to the Northwest Territories, and others that are shared by health and social services systems across the country. We will continue to address these issues, as we work alongside the executive leadership teams from all three Authorities. We will always work to incorporate the valuable input received from communities and residents.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.