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MLAs have approved the Main Estimates for the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget.

The 2021-2022 Budget proposes to spend $2 billion on programs and services in 2021-22, the GNWT said in a news release Wednesday.

The Budget was initially presented on Feb. 4.

Each Minister and senior officials of departments appeared before standing committees and the committee of the whole in the legislative assembly to review department budgets over the last few weeks.

Minister of Finance Caroline Wawzonek and representatives of the standing committee on accountability and oversight also held discussion on several areas where additional resources would benefit residents of the NWT.

Wawzonek has pledged to including additional funding to address those areas and ways to reduce overall spending to help offset these costs.

“In the true spirit of consensus government, the executive council and regular MLAs have worked together to develop a plan for Budget 2021-2022 that addresses these issues in a fiscally responsible way,” Wawzonek said. “The work we’ve done over the past several weeks is a credit to every member of the 19th Legislative Assembly and demonstrates our shared commitment to working together for the benefit of all NWT residents.”

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She committed to $4.278 million in spending to be included in the 2021-2022 Supplementary Appropriation No. 1. It will be further considered in the June 2021 sitting of the legislative assembly.

The appropriation includes:

  • $600,000 in increased funding to move the NWT’s Midwifery Program into phase two of implementation.
  • $1.4 million in increased Addictions and After-care Funding to establish a community-based addictions and after-care fund ($750,000) and other community development resources ($650,000).
  • $935,000 in increased funding to support anti-poverty efforts, including the Anti-Poverty Fund ($750,000), the Round-table Advisory Council ($110,000) and the Hay River Shelter ($75,000).
  • $743,000 in new funding for Indigenous Patient Care to create four new positions to pilot a new approach to supporting Indigenous patients.
  • A $500,000 increase in the Childcare Infrastructure Fund.
  • A $100,000 increase to the Child and Family Services Contribution.

Additional commitments will include:

  • Re-establishing funding needed to complete caribou survey work that was not completed in 2020-2021. Continuing to fund the Economic Development Officer position for the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk.
  • Maintaining the court clerk position in Hay River.
  • Providing resources to the Hay River homeless shelter to support its operating costs.
  • Developing an options paper for standing committee review that discusses the review processes for the Affirmative Action policy (by March 2022) and the Indigenous Recruitment and Retention Framework (prior to the start of 2022-2023 business planning).
  • Examining and measuring the effectiveness of specific program delivery by the NWT Housing Corporation through the Government Renewal process.

Steve Norn, Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA and chair of the standing committee on accountability and oversight also praised the work put into considering the Main Estimates.

“The work undertaken in recent weeks, including the unprecedented commitments on policy, is a shining example of consensus government at work,” he said. “Members are pleased with the positive outcomes for residents of the NWT.”

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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