Mr. Speaker, developing our employees and ensuring the public service is prepared to provide sustainable, quality programs and effective services to our residents in the future are a priority of this government. In 2009, we started a 10-year journey to develop excellence in the public service through 20/20: A Brilliant North, the NWT Public Service Strategic Plan. We are mid-way through the implementation of 20/20, and now is a good time to review some of our successes.
Our ability to provide sustainable, quality programs and services is strongly linked to recruiting and retaining talented staff who are committed to their professions, their communities, and the people they serve. Employee surveys tell us the Government of the Northwest Territories is an inclusive workplace that recognizes and embraces diversity. They tell us we have good programs to support recruitment and the development of Northerners. They also tell us employees see real advantages to working for the GNWT, with its unlimited range and diversity of work and opportunities for career growth, development and advancement.
Mr. Speaker, we have seen good results in developing future senior managers through the leadership, management and Aboriginal development training programs. We have started implementing competency-based performance management to ensure successful performance in our jobs. We have implemented policies and programs to ensure our employees are treated with fairness, dignity and respect. We have partnered with Aboriginal and community government’s to develop and sustain the public sector at all levels across the NWT.
The Government is focusing on strengthening its occupational health and safety culture. The Department of Human Resources is providing strategic advice on Occupational Health and Safety or OHS activities across the GNWT. Twenty-nine Departments and agencies have developed or are in the process of developing their OHS Programs and have OHS Coordinators in place.
However, we recognize there is more we can do to achieve our goals. It is also important that the public service focus on service delivery outcomes. We can achieve this by providing managers a strong framework for human resource management decision-making.
The Department of Human Resources is preparing an HR Management Accountability Framework to align the GNWT with modern best practices in human resource management. The Framework will establish the supporting structure to set clear roles and responsibilities and reasonable performance expectations based on legislation, policy and regulations for sound human resource management decisions.
Mr. Speaker, we can improve our ability to acquire and retain talent by modernizing the workforce and workplace. Modernization means offering efficient and effective recruitment programs substantiated by cost-benefit analysis and sound return on investment. The Regional Recruitment Program is assisting with increasing regional employment opportunities by linking residents with local jobs. Nine trainees are in positions learning new skills through on-the-job training and providing service to people in their communities of Inuvik, Fort Simpson, Fort Providence and Fort Smith. Two more positions are in the processing of being filled. Work is underway to improve the program so that it is a proactive tool for hiring managers looking to fill positions.
Mr. Speaker, our vacancy numbers have improved, dropping by 188 positions between last April and October. The GNWT is continuing its focus on training the Northern labour force and marketing itself and the jobs available throughout Canada using streamlined recruitment to bring qualified and skilled people into the North to fill hard-to-recruit positions. We will continue to use direct appointments and or recruitment to attract affirmative action candidates to the GNWT and fill our critical vacant jobs.
We continue to invest in our youth by making jobs available through the Summer Student and Internship Programs. While we are making opportunities available to post-secondary students and graduates, they also have a role to play. My advice to them as new job seekers is to be proactive in their search for employment. Research GNWT departments and agencies to find work units related to your field of study. Approach managers in these units to let them know you are interested in working for their Department. Apply now. Hiring is based on the needs of departments and agencies. Managers will contact students directly if an opportunity arises.
Mr. Speaker, implementing a HR Accountability Framework and improving our HR programs continues to move the GNWT towards the goals and objectives of the NWT Public Service Strategic Plan. With these modernization efforts, we ensure a diverse, competent and sustainable workforce, capable of, and committed to, delivering high quality services to the people of the Northwest Territories.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.