"I am very pleased to announce that for the second year in a row the Government of the Northwest Territories has been chosen as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. This award is presented by Canada’s Top Employers at Mediacorp Canada Inc., which manages the competition in partnership with the Globe and Mail, and recognizes employers across Canada with exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness practices.
Mr. Speaker, diversity is a core value of the NWT public service. It enables us to create a workplace that represents the population we serve, that is open to contributions from all, and where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. As a central goal of the NWT Public Service Strategic Plan, 20/20: A Brilliant North, the GNWT has undertaken many initiatives to develop and encourage a diverse, inclusive workforce.
We have recognized the importance of establishing a culture of understanding and cooperation among our employees through training and communications. I am particularly pleased with the Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training program which was launched last June. Available to all employees, as well as the public, this training enhances employee understanding of Aboriginal cultural and reaffirms the fundamental importance the GNWT places on including Aboriginal values in program design and delivery.
As well last year, we continued our very successful disabilities awareness campaign that highlighted knowledge and acceptance of physical, social and invisible disabilities in the workplace.
Mr. Speaker, diversity and inclusion characterize all of our recruitment and human resource management practices. We work closely with the Aboriginal Employees’ Advisory Committee and the GNWT’s Advisory Committee on Employability - known as GACE - which advise our human resource practitioners on ways to improve the recruitment, retention and advancement of Aboriginal employees and persons with disabilities. The Department of Human Resources has committed positions to assist employees and supervisors with inclusion and workplace accommodation, such as the Diversity Officer and Duty to Accommodate Advisor positions.
We have also implemented a number of initiatives targeted directly at increasing the representation of Aboriginal persons at all levels of the public service. The Aboriginal Management Development Program is intended to enhance and facilitate workforce planning for senior management and management positions by developing qualified Aboriginal persons to fill management roles. Formerly called the Associate Director/Superintendent Program, it has recently been expanded to support up to eight participants at one time and been broadened beyond its original focus on senior management positions to now include manager level positions.
Mr. Speaker, I am also anticipating the results of the Aboriginal Inclusion Survey concluded in December. This survey, conducted in partnership with the Aboriginal Human Resource Council, will assist us by identifying strengths, weaknesses and trends in the way we engage as an employer with Aboriginal people in the NWT. The Department is expecting a detailed report of the results in March, and I look forward to sharing the results when they are ready.
Mr. Speaker, thousands of employers from across Canada, both large and small, are considered each year to be recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. That the GNWT has been chosen for a second time reflects our position as an industry leader and role model for the advancement of diversity in the workplace and the value we have given to a public service that encourages participation by all.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.