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NWT’s Deputy Minister of Health, Social Services on hot seat

Yellowknife, NWT – The NWT’s Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services on the hot seat at the Legislative Assembly.

Debbie DeLancey testified in front of the Government Operations Committee on Wednesday.

She says senior bureaucrats were well aware of major problems in the Child and Family Services Department for years.

The glaring issues were highlighted in a federal auditor general’s report that was tabled in March.

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They include child abuse cases ignored and not investigated, and when they were looked into, case files were often prematurely closed.

Range Lake MLA Daryl Dolynny and DeLancey had this exchange:

Dolynny: Can a department stand before this committee and stand before the people of the Northwest Territories and say, with a doubt, that we have got handle of this and don’t worry.

DeLancey: Probably a question better answered at a political level but I would say no. We absolutely have to agree with the auditor general’s conclusions and your concerns that there has been substantial failure.

We asked Frame Lake MLA Wendy Bisaro if this is the worst case of government mismanagement she’s ever seen.

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“I would say yes, of the auditor reports that I have seen they have certainly drilled down and provided information on noncompliance of any number of different things, but this whole report indicates that the system is non-compliant. There is very little that is positive in this report and most reports will have maybe 50/50 for what is good and bad but this one has very little that’s good.”

DeLancey continued her testimony Thursday morning as MLA’s tried to find out why these problems were allowed to persist for years and what’s being done to try and fix them.

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