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Community Government Web-Based Training

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Delivered in the Legislative Assembly of the NWT by MACA Minister Caroline Cochrane on February 27, 2018.

Mr. Speaker, one of our government’s mandate commitments is to implement online delivery of a community government training curriculum to build the capacity of community governments. I would like to inform Members about the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs’ progress in the development and implementation of web-based training opportunities for community governments.

Web-based training enables community governments to access training at a reduced cost, lessening both travel expenses and time away for staff. The Department’s new training opportunities aim to meet the diverse needs of community government learners by offering a variety of ways to learn. There remains a core group of courses delivered in the traditional face-to-face learning environment. However, we now have virtual classrooms where instructor-led, full-length courses are offered. As well, we now offer shorter, self-directed online workshops on a variety of topics that meet the training needs of community governments and their elected officials.

Mr. Speaker, we regularly reach out to community government staff in every region to determine if we should offer additional opportunities to update staff knowledge and skills. Based on this input, we design short webinars, which are broadcast, recorded and saved online for unlimited future access, as well as video conferences broadcast between our distance training facility in Yellowknife and similar facilities in the regions.  These webinars allow us to respond to particular issues in a timely manner.  For example, we can deliver a webinar on how to complete a report for a specific federal infrastructure program.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to report that the Department, through the School of Community Government, now has two web-based training programs on the topic of community governance; six workshops for municipal councillors; and six more for Indigenous government councillors. In addition, we now offer full-length courses in bylaw enforcement, basic emergency management and climate change. The climate change course is helping us meet another mandate commitment, which is to assist community governments as they develop innovative strategies to address the effects of climate change.

I would like to share one student success story. It is about a young Inuvialuit man living in Yellowknife, who had career hopes of one day becoming a Municipal Bylaw Officer. He completed the Department’s online bylaw enforcement training. The certificate he received, together with other qualifications and his interview skills, helped him secure his current employment as a Bylaw Officer with one of our municipalities.

Mr. Speaker, our virtual classrooms have been busy this winter, with groups of students taking courses in the areas of community government management and recreation programming. Some of those students have successfully completed their courses, and others will be finished shortly. Prior to the end of the fiscal year, the Department expects to bring the total number of online training opportunities available to community governments to 23.

I would like to offer another example of the benefit of this new virtual classroom delivery. A community government staff member needed just one more course to complete her 10-course Community Finance Program. Unable to travel to take the course face-to-face, she began the course online.  Thanks to additional one-on-one support she received from her online instructor, she was able to complete her course and has now received full certification in the School of Community Government’s Finance Program.

Mr. Speaker, the Department is also receiving enquiries from other departments and governments about our self-directed online programming. For example, we are working with the Minister for the Status of Women in the redesign of the Campaign School for Women to promote women running for municipal and Aboriginal Governments. As well, the School of Community Government staff will be meeting with their counterparts from Nunavut’s Municipal Training Organization in March. The Nunavut officials are travelling here for the second time to explore partnership with the Northwest Territories in online course delivery and to discuss our best practices.

Mr. Speaker, we are confident that the Department’s web-based training will make our courses more accessible and help us build capacity in all of our community governments. These courses and programs also meet the learning needs of individual students and allow them to gain the skills and knowledge to build their future with community governments.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.