Caroline Cochrane: Northwest Territories 9-1-1 Program

Delivered on October 19, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to improving access to services and enhancing community wellness and safety through the implementation of a territorial 9-1-1 Program.

I would like to describe some of the key steps the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs has taken to ensure that 9-1-1 becomes a reality for the territory and that the 9-1-1 Program benefits all of our communities.

In May, a 9-1-1 Program Manager was hired to design a culturally respectful, made-in-the-North 9-1-1 Program. The program will be based on best practices and established standards. It will foster community wellness and safety for all communities of the Northwest Territories. Consistent with other Government of the Northwest Territories programming, translation services will be available, and our 9-1-1 service will be offered in the territories’ 11 official languages.

In July, key community stakeholders met to inform the initial stages of legislative development. The feedback received from stakeholders, along with the program design, will be the basis for an appropriate and responsive legislative framework for our territorial 9-1-1 system. I intend to introduce this legislation in 2018.

In August, industry experts were hired to help identify required information technologies and phone systems to be used by the future 9-1-1 Program. We must ensure systems are adequate to handle the services and that robust privacy safeguards are in place.

Mr. Speaker, a communication plan will soon be implemented and information about the Northwest Territories 9-1-1 Program will be made available on the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs website. The 9-1-1 Program page will be updated often as the program design is finalized and key decisions are made.

Mr. Speaker, a great deal of work is underway to validate earlier planning assumptions. This work will be complete in December, at which time we will decide on a final operational model and implementation plan. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a 9-1-1 Program that is representative of the Northwest Territories’ needs and operating environment.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to providing an update to my colleagues on the final design, and, shortly afterwards, a briefing to the Standing Committee on Government Operations. At this time, I am happy to confirm the Northwest Territories 9-1-1 Program is on track to “go live” for every community by summer 2019.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.