Mr. Speaker, last week was Disability Awareness Week in the NWT, as well as National AccessAbility Week across the country. It is a time to promote inclusion and accessibility in our communities, and to reflect on what we can all do to make sure that everyone is able to contribute to and be a part of community life. With that, I’d like to provide an update on the Government of the Northwest Territories Disability Action Plan 2018/2019 - 2021/2022, which was tabled in October 2018 and is the final deliverable of the Disability Program Review and Renewal Project.
Mr. Speaker, one of this government’s top priorities is the safety and well-being of children and youth receiving Child and Family Services. This includes making sure we maintain a child’s connectedness to family, community and culture.
We have learned from our experiences, through internal and external audits, through engagement with Indigenous governments, and through feedback from stakeholders that we need to better manage, resource, structure and sustain changes implemented under the Building Stronger Families Action Plan.
Mr. Speaker, many northerners continue to be held back by mental health and addictions which is why the 18th Legislative Assembly made it a priority to focus on mental wellness and addictions recovery. Today I would like to update Members on a significant milestone that we have achieved towards making sure that NWT resident who need mental wellness and addictions services can get the help they need locally and through culturally-appropriate methods.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day which is tomorrow, on May 31, 2019. This day provides us with an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts the Government of the Northwest Territories is taking to promote the prevention of tobacco use and its cessation.
Mr. Speaker, June is Senior Citizens’ Month. As the Minister Responsible for Seniors, I want to encourage all Northerners to join me in recognizing and celebrating the valuable contributions that Seniors and Elders make within our families and communities.
With a focus on aging in place, the Government of the Northwest Territories has made it a priority to help Seniors and Elders live in their own homes for as long as possible by ensuring that the right kinds of supports are available to them.
Mr. Speaker, today marks a major milestone for Health Care delivery in the Northwest Territories. On May 26, 2019 we began accepting patients at the new Stanton Territorial Hospital, and implemented a detailed patient move plan to bring patients from the old Stanton hospital to our brand new facility.
Mr. Speaker, to advance our government’s commitment towards community wellness and safety, we are taking steps to improve care for our people by working with the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, to explore the creation of one self-regulatory framework for all nursing professionals in the NWT.
Mr. Speaker, today I would like to speak about foster care and the important role that the Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories has played, and will continue to play, in partnering with Child and Family Services to improve recruitment, training and support for foster families.
Foster families perform a vital service to children that must be placed in care. I want to recognize and thank all foster families from across this territory for the valuable support they provide to our children and youth.
Mr. Speaker, today I would like to provide Members with an update on the draft Child and Family Services Quality Improvement Plan. The Quality Improvement Plan sets out actions that we are taking right now to address issues identified as part of internal reviews, the 2018 Auditor General’s Report, and from staff feedback.
Mr. Speaker, this Legislative Assembly has committed to support early childhood development and today I want to provide Members and the public with an update on our work to provide equitable access to a range of inclusive, culturally informed programs and services for and children under five years of age and expecting parents.