Healthy People, Healthy Communities

Working together for our kids, community well-being, poverty reduction, reconciliation, equality & social justice

We believe fundamental changes are needed to services and programs in order to provide Yukoners with more dignity, opportunity and options, and that they have the supports they need, when they need them, wherever they may live in the territory. Our goal is to create an inclusive society where all Yukoners can participate in meaningful community work and life to build a stronger and better Yukon.

Introducing health care for the 21st century

Yukon’s public health care system is one of our most cherished institutions and New Democrats have a proud history of building medicare. Unfortunately many Yukoners face long wait times for basic primary care that is key to preventative health, wellness management, and reduced acute or emergency health events. A Yukon New Democratic government will work to improve access to primary care providers and that ensure timely, collaborative, community-based and patient-centered care is available to all Yukoners when and where they need it. We recognize that our health care system works best when health providers work closely with patients and their families to find solutions together.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • enter into an informed and meaningful dialogue with Yukoners about health care needs and priorities to help make the hard choices and guide government investments and collective efforts to systematically strengthen our health care institutions, programs and services over the next decade
  • within our first year in office, expand homecare to include evenings and weekends, and strengthen the provision of homecare in our rural communities
  • limit the size of the Whistle Bend Continuing Care facility to 150 beds, and consult with seniors, elders, caregivers and healthcare professionals on the size, location, programming and design of future continuing care infrastructure projects, including in Yukon communities
  • in response to evidence based research and positive initiatives that have been piloted in Whitehorse, work to establish community collaborative care clinics in cooperation with communities and healthcare professionals
  • provide a tax credit equivalent to university tuition fees to Yukon residents who become health care professionals (physicians, nurse practitioners, etc) and return to the territory to stay, serve Yukoners and strengthen community health care services throughout the territory
  • determine the feasibility of providing optical and dental health care services for low income Yukoners
  • provide responsive dental coverage to all Yukon children in cooperation with community and professional partners
  • expect that all health care providers – including doctors, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, audiologists, dieticians, paramedics and midwives – are provided with the opportunity to deliver their full scope of practice and services to Yukoners
  • uphold the reproductive and sexual health rights of all Yukoners, for example by reliably funding the Yukon Sexual Health Clinic
  • work with all relevant parties so each community has ongoing access to at least two community nurses
  • increase the number of mental health and social work processionals, trained support workers and scope of services offered in rural communities, along with cutting Yukon mental health treatment wait-times in half
  • put in place a system so that no patient is discharged from hospitals on their own onto the street without having a discharge plan
  • regulate and publicly fund midwifery.

Reducing poverty

Poverty is consistently linked to poor health, lower literacy, poor school performance for children, more crime, greater public health care costs, increased policing costs, lost productivity and foregone economic opportunities – in short, poverty costs our economy millions. The things that have the greatest influence on our health – including early childhood development, healthy families, housing, nutrition, education, employment, income and reconciliation – need to be addressed.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • building on the good work done by so many, in particular the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition, implement a strategy that has priorities, measurable targets and accountability dealing with housing, food security, child poverty, mental health, addictions, gender, diversity, and the status of individuals with disabilities
  • review and update social assistance rates to better meet the needs of low-income Yukoners
  • develop a guaranteed annual income pilot project for Yukon.

Fairer taxation

All Yukoners including pensioners, the working poor and lower income people earning up to $44,701 annually pay a tax rate of 6.4% on that taxable income, compared with Nunavut’s lowest bracket at 4%, British Columbia at 5.06% and the Northwest Territories at 5.9%. In 2015, a longstanding surtax on higher income earners paying more than $6,000 in taxes was eliminated. Helping Yukoners, in particular the working poor and low income Yukoners, pensioners and their families make ends meet will help improve their standard of living.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • lower the 6.4% tax rate on taxable income benefiting all Yukon individual taxpayers including pensioners, the working poor and low income Yukoners
  • increase the tax rate on higher income earners and apply that revenue in combination with proceeds from a carbon price to lower the 6.4% rate on taxable income.

Delivering on housing for everyone

Affordable housing is an ongoing concern for many Yukoners, especially in the communities. This is hurting our economy too as employers cannot recruit and retain the staff necessary to run their businesses. People who are securely housed are better able to address other issues in their lives as well as participate more fully in society. Right now there are long waiting lists for quality social and staff housing.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • expand the supply of affordable rental, social and staff housing working with the Government of Canada, Yukon communities, Yukon First Nation governments, local landlords and industry
  • work with communities to provide the option for, and to provide access to, or develop land for, tiny houses
  • commit to ending homelessness through a “Housing First” approach to homelessness and housing insecurity
  • develop a home warranty program so that new home purchasers, and home owners who have had renovations, have more protection for addressing building deficiencies
  • recognize the differences between mobile home owners and renters and protect mobile home owners by putting a cap on pad rental increases and ensure all renters have security of tenure by removing evictions without cause.

Investing in children, youth and families

Supports that promote the well-being, health, and safety of all Yukon children, youth and their families are a key component for a healthy society.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • within the first year in office, work with First Nations governments and community partners to address the over-representation of First Nations children and youth in care, and develop recommendations to transform child welfare services
  • work so all Yukon youth have access to safe and engaging youth programming
  • support equality, dignity, and respect for trans and gender non-conforming Yukoners, and amend the Human Rights Act and the Vital Statistics Act to reflect this.

Expanding child care and early childhood development services

Yukon New Democrats will act on the overwhelming evidence that shows universal childcare helps families, supports the economy and reduces both income and gender inequality and will pay off for future generations. Investments in early childhood education upfront improves futures.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • create a ministerial task force including all relevant stakeholders within our first year in office to review child care needs and challenges, existing programs and levels of funding to develop implementable recommendations for a made-in-Yukon solution to make child care universal, affordable and accessible. Recommendations will be phased with Government of Canada support and include:
    • accreditation of child care workers
    • improving compensation of qualified and accredited child care workers
    • maintaining and increasing child care spaces to meet requirements
    • operator grants to sustain child care operations and stabilize or reduce parent fees
    • other measures to make child care affordable for Yukon families
    • addressing the unique challenges faced in rural communities, and
    • facility related requirements for safe, quality child care services.
  • work with the Government of Canada’s new National Early Learning and Child Care Framework and Social Infrastructure Fund to reflect the needs of Yukon families and northern communities.

Honouring seniors and elders

Seniors and Elders are a valued, growing part of our Yukon community. We need to improve access to seniors programs and services so that they may age in place safely and with dignity. A continuum of health and housing options – such as kinship and informal care, home care, assisted living, and continuing care – is better for seniors’ and Elders, their family and friends, and more affordable for Yukon’s health system.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • create a seniors’ navigator service to help individual seniors and Elders and their families access available programs and services across the territory
  • provide support to the Vimy Heritage Housing Society’s efforts to build and operate a proposed supported independent living facility
  • work with Yukoners, NGOs, caregivers and healthcare professionals to identify options for supporting seniors and Elders aging in place
  • explore the need to create assisted living spaces across the territory.

Supporting kinship and informal care

A Yukon New Democrat government believes that kinship and informal care are important options for supporting families and communities. This is a key to maintaining family, cultural and community ties and are the oldest form of family preservation, self-sufficiency and well-being.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • develop a coherent kinship and informal care policy and program that reflects the importance of the role these networks play in strengthening our communities and supporting families and children
  • work together with Yukoners to enhance and develop options for increasing supports to those providing kinship and informal caregiver services.

Addressing mental health and addictions

Mental health and addictions are two of the biggest challenges facing the Yukon health care system. From diagnosis to management, from community-based mental health treatment to aftercare, a New Democratic government will support the rights, dignity and well-being of those in need. Where possible, we will undertake prevention strategies to address root causes of mental ill health and addictions, such as historical trauma, poverty, inadequate housing and lack of economic opportunity. Substance use is a health issue, not a justice issue.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • adopt harm reduction as a guiding principle for public health programs and services
  • work with Yukon First Nation governments to address complex issues of trauma, addictions, suicide, healing, and youth mental ill health
  • develop and enact presumptive post-traumatic stress disorder legislation for all workers covered by Yukon workers’ compensation
  • work to reduce wait time for alcohol and drug counselling and mental health services
  • work with communities to strengthen supports for people living with mental ill health or addictions.

Building community supports for individuals with disabilities

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • work together with individuals, families, and their communities to help Yukoners living with disabilities participate in all aspects of public and community life, including a review of relevant government programs and services with the objective of reflecting and accommodating their diverse needs and abilities appropriately
  • as a guiding principle, support individuals with disabilities to determine their own experience be it health, employment, housing and education
  • in collaboration with Yukoners with disabilities, their families, caregivers and associated community organizations establish a mechanism to monitor the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and develop a Yukon plan during a first mandate to progressively implement the provisions of the UNCRPD
  • work with individuals, NGOs and other governments to explore, and if feasible, establish an assured income for persons with lifetime cognitive disabilities
  • secure a new location to provide community-based living for the current tenants of Takhini Haven group home.

Tackling fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

Yukoners with FASD across all ages face a number of challenges and their needs cover a broad spectrum of services. In our community, organizations like the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Society of Yukon (FASSY) have done an extraordinary amount of positive work but more support is needed. New Democrats will support prevention efforts while ensuring support is available for individuals and address their over-representation in the correctional system.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • partner with the Government of Canada, Yukon First Nation governments and NGOs like FASSY to increase the number of FASD assessments across the Yukon
  • work to put in place appropriate supports, as determined by an assessment, for individuals with FASD
  • amend the Corrections Act to accommodate the needs of individuals with FASD as a disability in the Yukon corrections system and advocate at the national level for legislative solutions to address the over-representation of individuals with FASD in the criminal justice system.

Strengthening our education system

Children are our future. We entrust our education system to provide a learning environment that responds to the needs of today’s students, while also setting up Yukon for success in the future. Yukon New Democrats recognize we need to shrink the graduation gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students and have welcoming, inclusive schools. We support the development of evidence-based success criteria for students, teachers, principals and superintendents to maximize learning, including the use of collaborative learning terms and student self-assessment.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, expand Yukon’s K to 12 curriculum and teacher training to include Indigenous history, the legacy of residential schools, land claims and final agreements, as well as address civics, anti-racism and human rights
  • make experiential high school programs in outdoor education and the arts more accessible and more broadly available
  • make our public school programs universally accessible by eliminating program fees
  • work with school councils, schools and community organizations to strengthen nutritious breakfast for learning support for Yukon students
  • put in place procedures to make sure that parents are involved in the development and implementation of Individual Education Plans for their children consistent with the requirements of the Education Act
  • work collaboratively to develop incentives to attract and retain teachers in rural communities, including housing for the first two years of tenure in rural communities to assist in establishing roots
  • review the use, status and treatment of substitute and temporary teachers, and fulfill government’s legal obligation to give temporary Yukon teachers with two years of continuous employment the status of permanent employees
  • work with the Yukon Teachers’ Association, School Councils, administrators and teachers to develop a work and safety program so our teachers and students are free of violence
  • work with Yukon First Nations, Elders, the Yukon Aboriginal Language Centre and others to support the preservation and revitalization of Yukon’s aboriginal languages.

Being prepared for emergencies

Yukon does not have comprehensive disaster planning in place. This is of growing concern to many people given the devastating fire in Fort McMurray and the floods on the Dempster Highway earlier this year.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • develop and share a public, comprehensive emergency preparedness plan for the territory in collaboration with municipalities, First Nation governments and first responders
  • match the federal tax credit for first responders
  • work to expand the organizational capacity and coordination of first responder organizations
  • change the flood protection policy to ensure it is applied in an equitable manner
  • review the discrepancies in the equitable treatment of emergency responders
  • increase protection of our communities by working with local governments, advisory councils and fire departments to increase fire prevention programs and support.

Growing sport and recreation

The Yukon is blessed with great year-round outdoor and indoor sport and recreation facilities, organizations, leadership, volunteers and opportunities supporting individual and organized activities. Parks, campgrounds and trails add to our quality of life. We believe that all Yukoners ought to benefit from an equal opportunity to get involved in recreational activities.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • increase the investment in the Kid’s Recreation Fund to help meet the needs of eligible families
  • invest in government parks and campgrounds to increase the number of sites, improve their accessibility, update aging infrastructure and increase the number of hiking trails and other visitor services at Yukon parks and campgrounds
  • work with municipalities and local advisory councils to identify priorities in terms of recreation infrastructure.

Advancing community safety and restorative justice

Building safe communities in which everyone can live in freedom and with dignity requires getting to the roots of our high rates of violence in the north. With a focus on collaborative efforts toward prevention, rehabilitation, healing and reintegration, it’s time for an overhaul to the way we do justice in the Yukon. Yukon New Democrats believe community-based, culturally appropriate, collaborative efforts are required to move toward genuine justice.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • participate in the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and take action to end gender-based violence
  • in cooperation with women’s groups, Yukon First Nations and the RCMP, follow-up to ensure the principles set out in “Sharing Common Ground” on Yukon’s police force and any outstanding recommendations are being implemented
  • support ongoing efforts to build a consent culture, dealing both with prevention of and effective responses to sexualized assault and domestic violence
  • work with Yukon First Nation governments to develop culturally appropriate sentencing alternatives for Yukon courts
  • work to strengthen support for the Community Wellness Court and on improving access to justice programs in rural Yukon communities, including domestic violence treatment options
  • limit the use of solitary confinement at Whitehorse Correction Centre
  • update the Human Rights Act to address the outstanding recommendations of the last Select Committee on Human Rights and other matters of public interest, including promoting equality for Trans people and ensuring the independence of the Human Rights Commission.

Respecting and working with municipal governments and unincorporated communities

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • establish an open, cooperative and collaborative working relationship with all Yukon communities and the Association of Yukon Communities
  • work with the Association of Yukon Communities and municipalities on a next generation of the “Our Towns, Our Futures” plan to guide collaboration and initiatives supporting sustainable communities
  • address long-term revenue generation and funding challenges for municipalities taking account of capital and operational financing requirements in an equitable and sustainable manner
  • respect the jurisdiction of municipal governments and their planning processes.

LET'S BUILD A BETTER YUKON. IT'S TIME.