Check against delivery
Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to equitable levels of supported living services. We want to help them live as independently as possible in their own homes, or in accommodations provided by a supported living service provider.
To advance our commitment, we conducted a comprehensive territorial review of supported living services to identify gaps in service, future demand, and best practices. The goal is a renewed person and family centered, culturally safe, and inclusive model for delivering supported living services right here in the NWT. Later today, I will be tabling the Supported Living Review Report. It provides recommendations for improving supported living services, as well as the GNWT’s response to the report.
Mr. Speaker, supported living services provide 24-hour support and supervision for individuals unable to live independently due to physical, cognitive, and/or mental health disabilities. These services are provided in Inuvik, Hay River, Katl’odeeche First Nation, and Yellowknife. When there is limited capacity within the NWT to provide the necessary supports for more complex needs, residents are provided with supported living services outside the territory.
The NWT Supported Living Review responds to a commitment made following public engagement for the 2017 Disability Program Review and Renewal Project. The Review revealed inadequate access to equitable and supportive housing and support services for adults with disabilities across the NWT. A critical piece of the Supported Living Review was to hear and understand the needs of residents, so we conducted extensive engagement. The list included supported living clients and families, persons with disabilities, Indigenous governments, and service providers. Engagement also included interviews, a survey, and both virtual and in-person public sessions in all regional centers. An Advisory Group of persons with disabilities or their caregivers was also established to gather knowledge, advice, and feedback from persons with lived experience.
Mr. Speaker, findings from the Review show that the current system is complex to access, lacks community-based service options, and is under-resourced to meet the range of needs in-territory. The Review provides 33 recommendations for improving the scope of services; standards and oversight; workforce development; and client focused services.
The GNWT has accepted 12 recommendations where work can begin with existing resources and has accepted in principle the remaining 21 recommendations, pending additional resources to implement.
The Department of Health and Social Services and the NWT Health and Social Services Authority have established a working group which will advance work on the accepted recommendations. They will also help identify the additional resources required to implement the recommendations accepted in principle.
By advancing the recommendations, the scope of supported living services will be brought in-line with the objectives and goals of the NWT Disability Strategic Framework and the best practices for supporting adults with disabilities and their caregivers. It will also provide the framework for the GNWT to monitor the outcomes, efficiency, and effectiveness of supported living services.
Mr. Speaker, supported living services are essential supports needed by adults with disabilities and their caregivers. This Review has provided a comprehensive understanding of current services and we will action the recommendations to make meaningful change in the lives of NWT residents.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.