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HOA Spring 2023
May 11, 2023 - MHA Jim Dinn - Petitions - Affordable and Accessible Dental Care for Seniors
J. DINN: Thank you, Speaker. Speaker, this is a petition regarding access to dental care for seniors. These are the reasons for the petition: The 2016 Liberal budget eliminated the adult dental program for low-income seniors. Oral health has been scientifically proven to have a major impact on overall health, medical costs and the quality of life. The Adult Dental Program for youth and senior only cost government $2.5 million in 2015, and reversing these cuts would save our overstretched public health care system money and resources in the long term. Therefore, we, the undersigned, call upon the House of Assembly to urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to ensure easy, affordable access to dental care for low-income seniors until the federal dental expands this fall. Speaker, really when I look at the processes around the adult dental surgical program there is an awful lot of what I call bureaucratic gatekeeping that probably doesn't have much to do with the actual health of the individual. I know when I was first elected, one of the first things that came across my desk had to do with trying to remove the lifetime cap of 10 intravitreal eye injections for people who suffer from things like diabetic macular edema; without them, these people would go blind. Thankfully it was recognized that it has more to do with gatekeeping and financial caps than about actual care. It probably costs more then to allow dentists to do the work, yet we have – for the surgical program we need dentists to determine if the work needs to be done; a doctor has to confirm that it is actually exacerbating underlying complex medical conditions. I am thinking here that it should be self-evident; we have spoken to doctors who are not comfortable with making that decision and feel it should be self evident that good oral care equates to good health care. We're asking here, and these petitioners, to step up and follow the lead of the federal programs. Stop the suffering now. Make sure we don't have the same number, 21,000 people, over five years or so visiting ER and let's look towards a healthier society for everyone, but for our seniors especially. Thank you.
May 2, 2023 - MHA L. Evans - QP - Mushuau Innu First Nation Support Call for Freight Boat Return
SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains. L. EVANS: Thank you, Speaker. On Thursday in my response to a call for the return of the freight boat, the Minister of Transportation said his consultations with stakeholders in Labrador show great work has been done. I have a letter from the Mushuau Innu First Nation to the Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation, Speaker, supporting my calls for a return of the freight boat service from the Island. I also have a brand new email yesterday sent from Chief Nui stating: Lela, please use the letter as proof that we in Natuashish would love to have the freighter back. So who could we believe? I say to the Premier: Premier, my people have called for a return of the freight boat. Now you have a letter from the Mushuau Innu Nation. I can send you a copy of Chief Nui's email if you want. Will you take action on addressing food insecurity and economic marginalization and return that freight service to the North Coast of Labrador? Thank you. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Labrador Affairs. L. DEMPSTER: Thank you, Speaker. The Member raises very important matters from the area of Northern Labrador when she talks about food insecurity and the high cost. We're experiencing that all across the province and the country and beyond right now, Speaker. I would say that it is exasperating in places that are isolated. I know I experience it in the northern part of my constituency in places like Black Tickle. We're helping them now. I think what the Member is talking about when my colleague, the Minister of Transportation, references the effectiveness of the boat is that we are seeing an increase. For the first time people are able to take their vehicles and go on that boat. They're coming back with vehicles filled with freight, Speaker. We're seeing an increase in the data in the number of vehicles, in the number of passengers travelling. We are actually having a meeting with the leadership on the North Coast in the very near future to have further discussion about how the service is rolling out year over year and how improvements – SPEAKER: The minister's time has expired.
May 3, 2023 - MHA Jordan Brown - Petition - Address School Teacher & Staff Shortage in Labrador West
SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Labrador West. J. BROWN: These are the reasons for this petition: All schools in Labrador West are dealing with a massive substitute teacher shortfall. They need more teachers, IRTs, guidance counsellors, school psychologists, support staff, maintenance workers, bus drivers and custodians. We regularly hear about potential teachers who could fill some of the vacant positions but can't accept the jobs because they cannot find affordable housing in the region. Government assured residents there would be an existing teachers apartments and add units to the empty first floor of the former Labrador School Board building. That work has never been carried out. Potential teachers can't take jobs as there is no affordable housing in the region. The CSFP has an extra challenge as, unlike NLESD, it does not own housing in Labrador West. Labrador West's affordable housing shortages, in recruitments, are a hurdle. Maintenance on all schools has fallen behind and is leading to poor learning environments. Therefore we petition the House of Assembly as follows: We, the undersigned, call upon the House of Assembly to urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to meet with Labrador West teachers and support staff and create a plan to address the issues of staffing, maintenance and teacher housing in Labrador West. Once again, Speaker, I get up to talk about this petition about the need for some communication, some dialogue and to listen to the teachers, the workers, the support staff, the parents of Labrador West when it comes around to the education. They're finding it very challenging, teachers are finding it very challenging right now in the situation. They spend most of their time on internal coverage, kids are missing classes and right now one of the IRTs had to close their walk-in resource room because they had to go and fill internally for another class. Now some students that require that service are now without that service because they had to go do some internal coverage. Right now the students and the teachers in the region are at their wit's end. They are frustrated, it's bothersome that there's no one addressing the issues, no one listening to them and they just want to be able to discuss this directly with the department and find some way forward. But right now they're finding roadblocks and they feel like no one is actually listening to them and their concerns. Yes, I understand my region is unique in some situations when it comes to on one hand we're very lucky to have such a great economic engine of the province in my backyard, but sometimes that economic engine creates other issues. That's where we actually need to have some dialogue and actually discuss some ways forward and not just brush it under the rug. Once again, Speaker, I ask that this government look at this issue, meet with the teachers of Labrador West directly, meet with the support staff, the workers, the bus drivers, the people that actually make a difference in children's lives, listen to what they have to say and come up with a plan. Because they're the ones who know because it's their backyard.
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