Robert C. McLeod: State of Communities

2 octobre 2015
Déclarations et discours de ministres

Mr. Speaker, community governments are critical partners in building a strong and independent North. As we near the end of our term, it is a good time to look back at the work we have done to support community governments and the challenges that still remain.

In 2013, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs launched the Accountability Framework for community governments.  This tool is used to measure the performance of community governments based on 14 defined indicators. MACA is currently collecting and analyzing the 2014-2015 data that will be used to create a unique work plan with each government based on that community’s specific needs.

Mr. Speaker, the importance of MACA working collaboratively with community governments cannot be overstated. In May of this year, the Department was honoured to receive the NWT Association of Communities President’s Award in recognition of the collaborative approach taken in the Formula Funding Review. The Formula Funding Review was undertaken by a working group of Senior Administrative Officers and elected officials from communities across the North, as well as senior staff from MACA.

As a result of the research and discussions carried out by the working group, a new needs-based approach was developed that better addresses community requirements.  This work would not have been possible without the support and engagement of the community government representatives and NWTAC. 

MACA is committed to supporting the communities by offering training and development opportunities for community government representatives. Working with its partners, the Department is administering the Public Service Capacity Initiative, which includes a series of programs designed to enhance community government public service capacity.

The focus of the initiative is to recruit, retain and train senior level community government staff, and a Community Government Training Specialist position has been created in the South Slave Region to provide coaching, mentoring and on-site support. Since the initiative began in 2009, MACA and its partners have supported a total of 22 trainees from 18 communities.

With the improved training and development opportunities being offered to community government representatives, many community governments are thriving.

However Mr. Speaker, despite the very best efforts of many people, we are reminded that some communities still struggle to deliver full services to all residents.  We know that there are some communities that are struggling to meet demands with inadequate resources, some struggle with capacity and having skilled workers, while others face larger challenges with governance and having effective by-laws and policies in place.    

We currently have one community under municipal administration and another under municipal supervision.  These are significant steps and were only necessary due to extreme conditions.   However, while these administrative and supervision orders were necessary, I am pleased to report that both communities appear to be progressing, and we expect them to return to normal in the future. 

Some NWT communities are run by Aboriginal governments under the authority of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada or AANDC. In these communities, the GNWT has a contractual relationship for the administration of municipal like services.  Despite providing funding for these services, and training and development through the School of Community Government, some of these Designated Authorities continue to run deficits and are challenged by governance issues.  MACA is continuing to work with AANDC to support Band Councils and Band Managers to provide more capacity building and improved governance support.

MACA is also responding to new forms of governance, with progress being made toward the implementation of the Délînê Self-Government Agreement in September 2016. The community has hired an implementation team that is working alongside DAAIR and MACA to ensure that all necessary components are in place and ready by next September. The three parties have agreed upon an implementation plan, and meet regularly to discuss objectives, track progress and outline responsibilities.

Mr. Speaker, as you can see there has been some very good work to support and develop community governments, while at the same time we also have new and ongoing challenges to address. 

The Department has done good work and I invite all Members to join me in thanking all its staff and management for all of their efforts to improve the quality of living for our residents in their communities.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.