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Legislative Assembly briefs
MLA wants new health services regulated

Danielle Sachs
Northern News Services
Published Friday, June 15, 2012

It's high time that massage and chiropractic therapy services should be regulated in the NWT, says Yellowknife Centre MLA Robert Hawkins.

Practising massage therapists and chiropractors want clear regulations to protect the public and themselves, said Hawkins in the legislative assembly on Tuesday. He said regulations would define professional standards and a code of ethics.

"Legislation could come in and we could develop some regulations to provide some public assurance that the government is watching and making sure the citizens are protected," said Hawkins.

Health Minister Tom Beaulieu said the Department of Health and Social Services is currently working on legislation that would serve a number of health professions, such as naturopaths, psychologists, licensed practical nurses and medical service providers.

"There could be quite a few of them under one umbrella," said Beaulieu.

"We have hired some legal people to look at it. We have a contract with them throughout this year and next year to make sure we are doing this right and that we are not infringing on anybody's legal rights."

Students seeking life skills need not apply: MLA

The territorial government doesn't do enough to support special needs students in their post-secondary school years, said Wendy Bisaro, MLA for Frame Lake.

Bisaro raised the issue in the legislative assembly Wednesday, saying transitional vocational programs are not considered academic. Because of that, they are not approved by Student Financial Assistance for funding. Under the assistance program, full-time students can claim up to $8,000 each year as long they are registered in an academic program.

"Transitional vocational training is not an academic program," said Bisaro.

"It is about advancement, ensuring people learn the skills they need to transition from a supported environment to living on their own."

Education Minister Jackson Lafferty said there are other grants and funds students can access if they are ineligible for Student Financial Assistance.

Lafferty said the Labour Market Agreement, Income Assistance and the Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategy are some of the venues that can help students even if they aren't looking for a job.

"There is an opportunity here for a hardworking NWT resident to advance from a dependent to an independent person; to become an involved, contributing member of NWT society, someone who is not in need of ongoing financial support from the government," said Bisaro.

"Yet our Student Financial Assistance policy will not recognize the extent of this young person's abilities, will not provide the funding needed to get the schooling and training necessary to advance them to the next stage in their life."

Lafferty said after consultations with students, parents and the public on the Student Financial Assistance review, there are changes coming and they will be highlighted in the fall.

Giant Mine upkeep is forever

Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley highlighted the need for an independent oversight committee for the Giant Mine remediation project on Wednesday.

He said Environment Minister Michael Miltenberger has been left with a legacy of insufficient public oversight, and everything must be done to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

Bromley is concerned about environmental care after devolution, when powers are transferred from the federal government to the territorial government.

He asked Miltenberger to make sure the final devolution agreement contains provisions for long-term funding from the federal government for the perpetual care of the mine.

Miltenberger said as one of the biggest clean-up projects in Canada, the Giant Mine Remediation Project has its own section in the devolution agreement-in-principle.

"It is a site that will be maintained in the inventory of the federal government," said Miltenberger.

"We will be working closely, as we have been and continue to do so, with all the interested and affected parties to ensure that the federal government complies with their obligations."

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