Mr. Speaker, throughout the term of the 17th Legislative Assembly and guided by 20/20: A Brilliant North, the NWT Public Service Strategic Plan, this government has made it a priority to ensure that the public service is prepared to meet the needs of Northerners now and in the future.
Residents of the NWT want to share in the benefits of an economically stable, well-governed Territory. They want a healthy, educated population able to participate fully in a diversified, sustainable economy. They want an independent North built on partnerships and responsible stewardship that will sustain present and future generations. The GNWT is committed to helping our residents achieve these aspirations for themselves, their families and their communities by providing the right support, programs and services to the public.
Northerners are now exercising devolved authorities and responsibilities for public lands, water and resources. A public service with the capacity to meet our growing role in our own development is more important now than ever before.
Later today at the appropriate time, I will table the 2014 Public Service Annual Report. This report, the last during the term of the 17th Assembly, provides information on the management, composition and development of the public service, and highlights some significant achievements of the 2014 calendar year.
It was an important year in the political development of the NWT. The GNWT underwent considerable reorganization as we assumed new authorities and responsibilities for the management of public lands, water and resources, and the public service was engaged to meet the challenges. We also saw the successful completion of initiatives to standardize GNWT transactional processes improving consistency and efficiency.
Mr. Speaker, we continue to focus on the recruitment, retention and development of an effective, responsive workforce representative of the people it serves. Human resource management accountability is taking on an increasingly important role as we seek to align personnel management with service outcomes and modern global best practices.
We are developing a home-grown labour force to support our economic development. Through the Regional Recruitment Program, 16 residents have been appointed to trainee positions throughout the NWT in the communities of Inuvik, Fort Simpson, Fort Liard, Fort Providence and Fort Smith.
We are also preparing the next generation of employees by supporting northern youth in their transition from school to the workplace and the beginning of their professional careers. The GNWT had another successful Summer Student Employment Program with departments and agencies hiring 341 students in 2015. Of the 341 summer students hired, 55% were Indigenous Aboriginal and 44% were Indigenous non-Aboriginal. We have also hired 22 northern graduates as interns.
The continued development and prosperity of the NWT depends on educated youth, and our hopes that they return home to the North when their studies are complete to meet our current and future occupational shortages and to become role models for future generations.
Mr. Speaker, we reaffirm learning and development of our employees as an ongoing priority. We work to ensure occupational health and safety in our workplaces. We promote understanding and awareness of diversity and an appreciation of the rich cultures upon which our Territory is founded and which inform our programs and services.
The GNWT’s efforts towards an inclusive and representative workplace and our strong support for youth employment led to our repeat national recognition as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers and Canada’s Top Employers for Young People for 2015.
Mr. Speaker, it has been a busy and productive four years. The members of the public service who work so hard to support the priorities of this House have constantly impressed me. There is still much work to do but I know that, with a stable, engaged public service dedicated to the people of the NWT, future Assemblies will be just as successful.
Marci cho, Mr. Speaker.