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Yukon Legislative Assembly=

Whitehorse, Yukon

Wednesday, Novembe= r 7, 2018 — 1:00 p.m.

 

Speaker: I w= ill now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with prayers.=

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Prayers

Daily Routine

Speaker: We = will proceed with the Order Paper.

Introduction of visitors.

Introduction of Visitors

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I hope my colleagues will join me in welcoming a few folks we = have here today for the tribute to Trades and Technology Week. They are here from Skills Canada Yukon. We have Gerry Quarton, Mike Snider, Samantha Hand and Sarah Tomlin. Thank you very much for being here.=

Applause

 

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>We have several planners in the audience here today for the tr= ibute on World Town Planning Day. We have with us today Taylor Zeeg, and back today is Jane Koepke. We also have Ama= nda Taylor, Lesley Cabott, = Zoe Morrison, Ron Cruikshank, Tim Van Hin= te, Simon Lapointe, M&eac= ute;lodie Simard, Adam Humphrey, Hannah McDonald — I need to make sure I didn’t miss anyone, Mr. Speaker — Graham White and Graham “The Hammer” Boyd. Could we please welcome them?

Applause

 

Speaker: Are= there any further introductions of visitors?

Tributes.

TRIBUTES

In recognition of World T= own Planning Day

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>I rise today on behalf of all members of this Legislature to p= ay tribute to town planners and recognize the 11th annual World Town Planning Day, which will be held tomorrow, November 8. As I was thinking ab= out this tribute and as I was preparing for it yesterday, I happened to bump in= to a meeting at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre.

They w= ere planners who were working from across a range of organizations. It got me thinking about the work that they do and how much preparation it takes. I sympathize with them, Mr. Speaker, because at all times, we have to do= a lot of work here to prepare, and it made me think in a very reflective mann= er about what is going on. Last year we marked the 10th anniversary= of World Town Planning Day, and this year we are marking the 60th anniversary of the Planning Institute of British Columbia, which is the professional organization for the planners of BC and the Yukon.

Planne= rs are, by definition, forward-thinking individuals. They work in both the public and private sectors. They are diverse thinkers. Planners work in many different fields, including land use and development, municipal and regional planning, urban design, economic development and more. They work across scales from o= ur little streets to our giant watersheds. They think about day-to-day life and far off into the future. Planners have the awesome responsibility of shaping our communities. They are responsible for the way our city looks and how our streets are laid out. They weave the fabric of our communities. Planners are responsible for creating our new neighbourhoods, like Whistle Bend, and it = is always challenging to get the right mix of family, commercial, affordable units, parks and greenspaces. This can make their jobs challenging. Planners help to integrate the many competing interests in order to prepare regional land use plans for all of us. As we know, this can make their jobs even more challenging.

Across= Canada, the recognition of World Town Planning Day is fuelling appreciation of the unique challenges and contemporary issues facing towns and rural landscapes such as ours. To overcome these challenges, planners work together with communities, organizations and individuals to find solutions and to create spaces that are diverse, liveable and resilient — create futures that sustain our economy and our environment.

In my experience, planners aspire to make our homes, our communities and our territories more inclusive, safe and forward thinking. Planners help to make our world more vibrant, resilient and just plain livable. I am pleased to recognize the creativity, passion and compassion of the Yukon’s professional planners. On behalf of all members of this Legislature, congratulations on 60 years north of 60.

Applause

In recognition of National Skilled Trades and Technology Week

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I rise today on behalf of the Yukon Liberal government in recognition of National Skilled Trades and Technology Week. I also would li= ke to note that I think it is fitting that I will speak now about this topic afte= r we have spoken about planners, because one comes before the other.

In the= first week of November each year, Skills/Compétences<= /span> Canada promotes careers in skilled trades and technology. Careers in trades= and technology are in high demand. They are both challenging, lucrative and mak= e a huge contribution to the vibrancy of our communities and economy.

Last m= onth at our annual apprenticeship awards banquet, I once again had the privilege to meet and celebrate with 46 tradespeople who earned their journeyperson certificate. Several of them were young women embarking on exciting careers= . Of those, 36 received an interprovincial standards red seal endorsement, which= is a nationally recognized credential. Congratulations to all of them. =

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, we are very proud to see so many Yukoners interested in and completing trad= es and technology programs. We have housing, power, water, roads, communicatio= ns, vehicle repairs, esthetics, cooking services and many, many other services, thanks to these tradespeople. Special events this year in celebration of the week include: Skills Canada Yukon participating in a career fair and leading workshops at the Young Women Exploring Trades Conference hosted by Yukon Wo= men in Trades and Technology for girls in grade 8.

It is = very important to note that this year was the 18th annual event. Toni= ght at the Canada Games Centre, Skills Canada Yukon is hosting a hands-on elect= ric circuit card activity booth. Throughout the year, Skills Canada Yukon gives school presentations, hands-on workshops and other activities to help to inspire youth to consider trades as career options. Recent workshops in loc= al high schools included First Nation bannock making, computer coding, a presentation by the Bullet Hole Bagels company a= nd a special effects makeup workshop.

Last m= onth, Skills Canada Yukon travelled to Dawson City, Mayo, Pelly Crossing and Carm= acks to deliver hands-on workshops to students and provide them with new experie= nces and exposure to possible careers. Our government is pleased to partner with Skills Canada Yukon to support Yukoners to experience and pursue trades and technology.

We couldn’t do this work alone. I would like to recognize just a few of = the partners — in particular, Yukon Women in Trades and Technology, which year after year hosts the Young Women Exploring Trades career fair and other very popular activities. Also I would like to thank the Association of Professional Engineers of Yukon, which also year after year hosts the bridge-building competition and the robotics challenge — something I’ve had the pleasure of participating in for the last couple of years — and, of course, Yukon College, which assists with excellent facilit= ies and skilled instructors.

Our pa= rtners encourage interest in trades and technology with our youth and introduce pe= ople of all ages to exciting career options.

I woul= d also like to recognize all of the supportive employers across the Yukon who continue to invest time and money toward training apprentices and providing amazing opportunities to our secondary and post-secondary students. To all of those who promote careers in trades and technology, thank you for your very important work.

Applause

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Ms. White: On behalf of the Yukon NDP caucus and the Yukon Party, I stand to acknowledge = this year’s National Skilled Trades and Technology Week. The world as we k= now it wouldn’t exist without tradespeople. In 2007, some 1.1 million Canadians were employed in trades. In 2016, there were 417,303 registered apprentices in Canada, and 1,158 of them lived in Yukon, Northwest Territor= ies or Nunavut. That’s a number that we should celebrate.

Yukon = is in good shape, because it’s estimated, for example, that 40 percent of tradespeople currently in the workforce will retire over the next five to 10 years. With no less than 56 recognized trades in Canada= , there is a trade for anyone whose brain is wired for this kind of work.

I ofte= n use the 3D test. Can you look at a flat picture — like a shelf, for example — and know what it will look like once it’s built? If your brain allows you think in 3D, the trades may very well be for you. You often hear= the expression, “If you ate today, thank a farmer.” Well, I think t= hat should be expanded: “If you opened a door, flushed a toilet or drove a car today, thank a tradesperson.”

Yukon = has made leaps and bounds in the arena of skilled trades and technology since I was young. Organizations like Skills/Compétences Canada Yukon and Yukon Women in Trades and Technology have sprouted, grown = and expanded.

Throug= h their outreach and hands-on approach, they are opening doors for Yukon youth towa= rd exciting careers. All of this hard work can even continue right here at Yuk= on College where they offer classes for seven ticketed trades and a handful of other trades-related courses. If you need to leave Yukon to pursue your passion, you will get excellent help from the good folks at Advanced Educat= ion.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, in Canada’s future economy, the skilled trades are going to matter mo= re than ever. It is a good thing in Yukon that we have the help of those with = the passion to get us there.

Applause

 

Speaker: Are= there any returns or documents for tabling?

Tabling Returns and Documents

Mr. Hassard: I have an e‑mail for tabling today.

&= nbsp;

Mr. Kent: I have a letter for tabling addressed to the Minister of Education.

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Speaker: Are= there any further returns or documents for tabling?

Are th= ere any reports of committees?

Are th= ere any petitions?

PETITIONS

Petition No. 3

Ms. White: I have for presentation the following petition that reads:

“= ;That mobile home ownership is an integral part of reducing the pressure of the Y= ukon housing crisis, as it offers affordable homeownership;

“= ;That the Yukon Landlord and Tenant Act continues to treat mobile home owners the same as renters in most cases;

“= ;That mobile home owners have been subject to continued pad rental increases R= 12; with no cap on increased amounts; and

“= ;That mobile homeowners are currently susceptible to unreasonable eviction — as landlords are permitted to evict without cause.

“= ;And that 65 per cent of mobile home owners when surveyed by the Yukon Government, sa= id they would not be able to reloc= ate, either because of the age or condition of the home, lack of other locations= , or because of cost.

“= ;Therefore, the undersigned ask the Yukon Legislative Assembly to:

“= ;1) Implement a maximum annual pad rent increase for mobile home owners that is no greater than inflation.

“= ;2) Amend regulations to end ‘evictions without cause’ in mobile home parks.”

This h= as been signed by more than 365 people in each and every one of the mobile home par= ks in the city of Whitehorse.

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Speaker: Are= there any further petitions to be presented?

Are th= ere any bills to be introduced?

Are th= ere any notices of motions?

Notices of Motions

Mr. Hassard: I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House congratulates Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod for successfully convincing the Prime Minister to fulfill his obligations to consult with northerners prior to making decisions regarding offshore oil and gas development; and

THAT t= his House urges the Premier of Yukon to stand up to Ottawa by insisting that the fede= ral Liberal government honour its legal obligations to involve the Yukon govern= ment in decisions regarding offshore oil and gas development as defined in the 1= 993 Canada-Yukon Oil and Gas Accord and the 2008 memorandum of understanding between the federal government and the Yukon government.

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Mr. Kent: I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to introduce an addendum to tender no. 2018/19-3222, entitled “Construct Ice Bridge Yukon River at Dawson Ci= ty Yukon 2018‑19”, to disqualify any bids that will employ spraying water into the air and hoping for ice as an acceptable solution.

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Ms. Van Bibber: I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to meet the demand for land for housing throughout Yukon by developing affordable lots for sale and working to offs= et the land development costs to Yukoners.

&= nbsp;

I also= give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to build thriving communities by recognizing local needs, interests and solutions and using Yukon local developers when developing lots.

&= nbsp;

Mr. Cathers:&= #8195;I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House congratulates NWT Premier Bob McLeod for successfully negotiating a home heating fuel exemption from the Liberal carbon tax and urges the Premier of= the Yukon to phone Premier McLeod to seek advice on how to negotiate a similar exemption for Yukoners.

&= nbsp;

I also= give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Yukon government to end the uncertainty created by the Minister of Education’s two-year delay in providing school bus service to Grizzly Valley residents by announcing that school bus service will be provided to = the Grizzly Valley subdivision and to do so prior to the November 14, 2018, clo= se date of the land lottery for 20 new lots in this subdivision.

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Mr. Istchenko: I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to follow through with its platform commitment to:

(1) support municipalities in the development of community= plans and use those plans to inform the direction of community development;

(2) as= sist communities in developing “mining within municipality” policies that respect the needs of all residents while providing certainty for land users and compensation, where appropriate, for miners;

(3) expand the existing campground infrastructure; =

(4) support necessary investments in basic community infrastructure that are needed to support communities and industry; and

(5) reduce community reliance on diesel energy.

&= nbsp;

I also= give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to follow through with its platform commitment to:

(1) wo= rk with Yukoners, health professionals and stakeholders to find solutions that offer alternatives and transitions between home care and full-time continuing car= e; and

(2) provide community-based services that allow seniors to= age in place to the greatest extent possible.

&= nbsp;

I also= give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Yukon government to work cooperatively with the State of Alaska, = Alaska’s senators and congressman on issues of mutual concern, including securing additional Shakwak funding for the Alaska Highway from the United States government.

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Speaker: Are= there any further notices of motions?

Is the= re a statement by a minister?

This t= hen brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re: Department of Education budget concerns and whistle-blower protection

Mr. Kent: On November 5 during Question Period, we asked the minister about a whistle-bl= ower who revealed that the Liberals are scrutinizing Wood Street Centre School as part of their search for two‑percent cuts in all departments. The minister stated — and I quote: “I hope Yukoners heard me earlier this morning on the public media…”

It tur= ns out that at least one Yukoner did hear the minister’s interview. The CBC reported this morning that in direct response to the minister’s claims that there will be no cuts, another whistle-blower reached out to say that = the minister was wrong. The whistle-blower said that teachers on call have been told that they cannot be called in as often due to the cuts. The examples of the minister’s trouble with the truth are starting to add up. =

Will t= he minister tell us why she failed to mention in her media interview that the = cuts were, in fact, going to impact teachers on call at the Wood Street Centre School?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I failed to mention that cuts would be impacting Wood Street S= chool because they would not. They are not going to do that.

There = are not any cuts. There are not any whistle-blowers. There is information from Yukon citizens that is coming forward and they are perfectly welcome and invited = to do that. If they have questions or concerns, I am very pleased to address t= hem.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, unfortunately, we are hearing more inaccurate information — in this c= ase about substitute teachers. Our government will continue to provide the fund= ing to the Wood Street Centre that they need to deliver the experiential learni= ng programs for Yukon that are so successful.

This i= ncludes funding for substitute teachers. It is true that the Wood Street School did= not previously have adequately budgeted funding for substitute teachers. In previous years, the school’s budget was woefully inadequate. In fact,= in this year, we have increased the budget by 94.4 percent from approximately $5,500 dedicated to substitute teachers at Wood Street School to approximat= ely $100,000 for the same purpose.

Mr. Kent: The Minister of Education is starting to have a real credibility problem. The l= ist of statements that she has made that have later been quickly proven wrong g= rows by the day. The minister assured us that as part of the Liberal’s sea= rch for cuts in each department, programming would not be negatively impacted. Well, I would just like to quote from an e‑mail the CBC received after the minister made that statement on the radio — and I quote: “I= and other [teachers on call] have been told by various teachers at [Wood Street School] that we can expect not to be called in as often because of meeting = the 2% fiscal cutbacks.” It goes on to say, “Will this affect the programming? — of course it will…= 221;

This c= omes on the heels of a Department of Education employee informing parents that Wood Street School was being scrutinized as part of the cutbacks.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, can the minister tell us what other areas of her department are going to be= hit by these cuts?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I truly would hope that the questions subsequent to the first question in this House would listen to the response that I have given and m= aybe be adjusted accordingly, as opposed to just reading what was planned.

Certai= nly, as I have said earlier, the individual the member opposite refers to is entitled= to their opinion. Unfortunately, in this case, their opinion is not correct. T= heir conclusions are not correct. Substitute teachers play a critical role in Wo= od Street programming — in all schools in the territory — but clea= rly, in this case, we are speaking about the programming and the opportunities f= or experiential learning at Wood Street School.

This f= unding for substitute teachers has, in the past, been inadequate because of the unique situation for substitute teachers being used at Wood Street School. As a result, it was increased significantly in this year’s budget by 94.4 percent — not an increase that we can see in many places, quite frank= ly — from just over $5,500 to $100,000 for the Wood Street School programming for this year for substitute teachers.

Mr. Kent: Once again, when the facts don’t align with this minister’s narrativ= e, she claims that it is fake news and she tries to rewrite history.

Last w= eek, when a whistle-blower came out and warned that Wood Street School was being scrutinized as part of the Liberal cuts, the Liberal Cabinet issued a state= ment warning that they would hunt down the whistle-blower. When we asked the minister to end this witch-hunt, her response was, “No, no — don’t worry — we only want to talk to them.”

Well, = we have seen what talking means for whistle-blowers under this government, and publ= ic servants are legitimately afraid to speak out. That is why we are seeing a record number of leaks of sensitive documents, letters from stakeholders, e= ‑mails — you name it, Mr. Speaker. Concerned public servants know that their only way to raise concerns is through the media or through the opposition.

I know= the minister is probably embarrassed by this latest leak, but will she make a f= irm commitment that the Liberals will not start a witch-hunt, searching for this latest whistle-blower?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I am sure — and I have received e‑mails, contact from Yukoners, w= ho were pleased to have the media coverage in the last number of days about th= ese inaccuracies at Wood Street School and other places with respect to enrolme= nt and now to substitute teachers. I have received information that they appreciate the correction of that information. Clearly, Yukoners are listen= ing to that. Unfortunately, the members of the opposition are not listening to that.

As I h= ave noted previously in this House, the characterization of something as a “witch-hunt” or of “whistle-blowers” is purely speculation on behalf of the members opposite. It is actually falsehoods — to be quite frank with you. That is not happening. The e‑mail that was issued from the Cabinet office last week indicated that we didn’t know about the details of the e‑mail that had been sent = and that we were looking into it. That’s the seriousness with which we de= alt with the matter. We were looking into it.

We req= uested the department to find out —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Point of order

Speaker: The= Member for Lake Laberge, on a point of order.

Mr. Cathers: In responding to the question, the Minister of Education certainly seems to be= in contravention of Standing Order 19(h), accusing another member of uttering a deliberate falsehood. The minister even used the word “falsehood̶= 1;, which has always been ruled out of order every time it has been called on a point of order in this House previously.

Speaker: Min= ister of Education, on a point of order.

Hon. Ms. McPhee: The information is false, incorrect, untrue, inaccurate — any of those words in my submission is, in fact, in answer to the question that has been asked of me.

Speaker’s ruling

Speaker: I w= ill review Hansard; however, I did not hear an allegation of utterance of a deliberate falsehood. Like I said, I will review and get back to the House = as required. I don’t believe at this point that there is a point of order and that, in fact, it is a matter of debate or of the characterization of t= he narrative that the government is choosing and that the opposition is choosi= ng. My recollection is that it was a matter of debate and dispute among the fac= ts.

&= nbsp;

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will wrap up simply by saying <= span class=3DGramE>that, unfortunately, incorrect information about the W= ood Street programs and the funding for substitute teachers is out there. A gre= at part of my job is to try to correct that both here on the floor of the Hous= e as well as in the media and in other opportunities by speaking with families, speaking with educators and speaking with school communities.

To be = clear, programming at Wood Street is not affected — increased budget for substitute teachers.

Question re: School capacity

Mr. Hassard: You just heard from my colleague that the Minister of Education has a growing credibility problem. He highlighted the latest in a long list, but let’s go back to October 11= when the Minister of Education told us that she wasn’t aware of situations where overcrowding in schools was so bad that children were being wait-list= ed and homeschooled. It didn’t take very long before we found out that n= ot only had the media made her office aware a day earlier, but she had letters= sitting on her desk going back to December of last year warning her about this.

When w= e raised this issue earlier, the minister said that she had a short-term plan to deal with overcrowding. Well, we know what that plan was. In February of this ye= ar, the minister received a letter indicating that kids were now being taught in storage closets and boiler rooms.

Does t= he minister think that is an appropriate short-term plan?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Hassard: As I said, this minister’s credibility is really taking a hit here. The = list of times that she has gotten it wrong is growing by the day.

Let= 217;s go back to April 26, 2017. When we asked the minister why there was a 26-day d= elay in issuing school calendars, her quote at the time was — quote: ̶= 0; … school councils are given the opportunity to review and approve school calendars — and they work on their own schedule, unfortunately — there wa= s a delay as a result of that.” Well, it didn’t take long for the school councils of Porter Creek, Jack Hulland, Elijah Smith and Takhini to point out that, in fact, the minister was not te= lling the truth. They quickly sent a letter pointing out that the minister’s statement — and I’ll quote again: “… is not a correct statement.” They pointed out that they were not given the opportunity to provide input or approve the calendars.

Does t= he minister believe that blaming school councils for her inaction or pretending that she wasn’t aware of overcrowding is appropriate behaviour?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Mr. Speaker, I see that your warning yesterday about personalizing debate has been somewhat ignored — but nonetheless. With respect to school calendars, I’m very pleased to note for Yukoners th= at we have developed school calendars for three years, that they have already = been produced for families and schools to be able to make their long-term plans, that we have committed to doing that on a four-year cycle, and that I anticipate the next calendar to be released in the early part of 2019 ̵= 2; again, to help families, students and schools in their long-term planning.<= /span>

Mr. Hassard: It appears that the Minister of Education is playing a = game of whack-a-mole with the truth here. Every time she tries to shut down one issue, another one pops up as she is quickly called out for not giving corr= ect information.

The mi= nister was wrong when she blamed school councils for delays on school calendars; the minister was wrong when she said that there were no local builders of portables; the minister was wrong when she said that she had only just beco= me aware of overcrowding, and the minister was wrong when she said that the Liberal cuts were not going to impact programming. Will the minister apolog= ize for all of these missteps with the truth?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: The difficulty that I have and that others have sometimes on t= he floor of this Legislative Assembly is, in fact, the personalizing of debate= and the characterization of certain activities or statements as being false or questioning the credibility of one another. I find that disturbing, and the reason I do find that disturbing is that I’ve spent almost 25 years in this territory and in this community working in the courts, primarily as a Crown prosecutor, where, Mr. Speaker, it is very evident to you that y= ou simply cannot say anything in that room that you cannot provide evidence fo= r.

As a C= rown prosecutor, I have represented the public, and you must speak the truth with respect to how you can provide evidence. Your reputation depends on that; y= our credibility with the court relies on that. The truth matters and facts matt= er, and they matter to Yukoners.

Question re: Health and Social Services programs and services review

Ms. White: We’re finally beginning to see some light shed on the long-awaited Health and Soc= ial Services review. This government has refused to answer our questions or make any commitments on issues like medical travel or social assistance rates, saying it would all get looked at as a part of this health care review.

Yester= day’s announcement mostly spoke of the members of the panel who will provide strategic advice and expertise as part of the review. Knowing the people involved is all well and good, but knowing what they will actually do is ev= en more important, and that is why we have been asking the minister to table t= he terms of reference of this review. Now that we know the members of the advi= sory panel for a review that has apparently already started, will the minister finally table the terms of reference for the health care review?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I am very pleased to rise today to speak on the Health = and Social Services comprehensive review. I should note that the review is just conducting — we have just now established the expert panel. I am very pleased about the members of our panel and their commitment to work with the government and to work with Yukoners to look for efficiencies in our overall health care initiatives across the Yukon. When reflecting on the comprehens= ive reviews that have been conducted in the past, we have seen some significant cost drivers in health. We will look at that, and we will look at program efficiencies. Those are things that we have committed to. Those are things = that we have designed into the comprehensive health review, which is separate fr= om government in that they will provide an independent review, consulting with Yukoners, the Hospital Corporation, NGO groups and, of course, our First Na= tion partners. I am very pleased about that.

Ms. White:= 195;The announcement yesterday said that the review includes all programs and servi= ces delivered by Health and Social Services, including the Hospital Corporation= and those programs funded by the department but delivered by non-government organizations. This is a huge undertaking. Every Yukoner receives services = from this department at one point or another, and I don’t think I would be= far off in guessing that the majority of people also receive services through t= he NGOs — daycares, senior supports or others. This means that every Yuk= oner will be affected by this, and such a broad review will take time and cost money.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, how much has this government budgeted for the comprehensive health review?<= /span>

Hon. Ms. Frost: The funding allocated to be directed toward the compreh= ensive health review is 100 percent covered by the federal government through THIF funding. We have allocated approximately $600,000, and that is funded by the federal government. I should note that the reviews conducted in 2008 and ag= ain in 2014 will provide some parameters from which we will branch off, and we = will advance into now reviewing some of the practices that perhaps haven’t been implemented with respect to efficiencies of services.

Ms. White: Even a ballpark number would have been great.

We hav= e heard the minister speak about a people-centred approach to wellness. If this government is serious about people-centred approaches, that would suggest t= hat Yukoners receiving services would be driving this review. Those who depend the most on services from this department will = be most affected by the review. I am talking about individuals receiving suppo= rt through social assistance or patients involved in our health care, whether = in the hospital or through community programs. Too often these individuals are overlooked or given only a token opportunity to have their voices heard.

The mi= nister said that the Health and Social Services review has already started, so let= me ask the minister: Has there been any opportunity for people who receive services from the Health and Social Services department to participate in shaping this review?

Hon. Ms. Frost: With respect to services provided by the Department of Health = and Social Services, we have consulted and will continue to consult with Yukone= rs on every aspect of collaborative care in the Yukon. We are doing that right= now with the aging-in-place concept, the models around efficiencies of home car= e, home care in rural Yukon communities, specialized supports and services tha= t we bring to Yukon. We are consulting with Yukoners. We will continue to do tha= t.

We mee= t very frequently with the health commission from the Council of Yukon First Natio= ns. We are working with our NGO partners. We are working also with the Hospital Corporation and we are working with NGO groups.

As par= t of this review process, the expert panel will provide feedback and strategic advice that they will receive in collaboration with all of our partners.

Question re: Carbon tax

Mr. Cathers: Mr. Speaker, today marks two years since the Liberals were elected, but as we enter year 3 under the Liberal regime they have still provided Yukoners almost no information on how their carbon tax scheme is g= oing to function. The Premier keeps saying that we are waiting for Ottawa. Well, Trevor Tombe, an economist and member of the Premier’s own Financial Advisory Panel, came out this week on CBC and challenged the Premier’s inaction. To quote Mr. Tombe: “The ball is in the Yukon government’s court. They can tailor t= heir rebates to their own unique circumstances.” Can the Premier tell us w= ho Yukoners should believe — the Premier who says we have to wait for Ot= tawa or the University of Calgary economist who says the ball is in the Yukon government’s court?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I think we have been on the floor of the Legislative Assembly = quite a few times talking about all of the work that we have done from the pan-Canadian framework forward as far as the unique circumstances of the Yu= kon and how we have successfully navigated different exemptions and rebates = 212; whether it be for mining or for aviation. Those conversations are ongoing. =

The wa= y we have described it in the past and will continue to is there are only a few diffe= rent small little pieces that are left, and once those pieces of information are completed, we will be able to have those final pieces, including: When does= the cheque appear in Yukoners’ mailboxes?

One of= the concerns that I have always had when dealing with the federal carbon-pricing mechanism is making sure that this government doesn’t grow as we administer that. While we are working with the Chamber of Commerce, while we are working with the private sector, while we are working with Yukoners to = make sure we give 100 percent of the rebate back into their pockets, we have to = make sure, as well, that we are not going to be adversely affected by growing the government.

Should= we have kept our money that we put in for the government’s perspective? Well,= we made a commitment to Yukoners, and we are sticking to that commitment to gi= ve 100 percent of the money collected back to Yukoners.

Mr. Cathers: The Premier is still spinning his wheels on this issue. It is year 3 under the Liberals. Trevor Tombe, an economist and member= of the Premier’s own Financial Advisory Panel, came out this week on the= CBC and challenged the Premier’s inaction and the Premier’s version= of how the carbon tax works. Mr. Tombe said t= hat the ball was in the government’s court. They can tailor their rebates= to their own unique circumstances.

Since = the Premier didn’t answer my first question, I am going to ask him again:= Who should Yukoners believe — the Premier who says he has to wait for Ott= awa or the University of Calgary economist who says the ball is in the Yukon government’s court?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Over and over again, I think Yukoners are going to have less a= nd less belief of the Yukon Party as they compare oranges to apples and put th= ings into the small little boxes that really are a little bit more complicated t= han that. We have explained all of the rebates. I do not think they are listeni= ng. That is why they keep on asking this question; they are not listening.

We have explained the aviation exemption. We have explained the rebates dollar for dollar for placer miners. There are some more conversations going on for qu= artz mining. There are more conversations going on as to how that cheque appears into the mailboxes of Yukoners and businesses. We want to thank the chamber= of commerce for all of the conversations that we have had with them. Again, we have explained the lion’s share of what is going to happen in the Yuk= on about how we are giving back 100 percent of that money.

We kno= w that the Yukon Party did not have a plan. They still don’t have a plan when it comes to dealing with carbon and dealing with man-made climate change. They= say they have a plan, but really their plan was to do nothing.

We are= working with Ottawa on a lot of different issues. This is just one of them. We are working on flexibility for infrastructure spending. We are working with them when it comes to moving up from a college to a university, which is an exci= ting file. We are working with them on cold climate innovation and all of the ot= her things that come with reconciliation as well and a northern perspective.

I am v= ery proud of the work that every single department has done when it comes to working = with any government, including the federal government, when it comes to carbon pricing.

Mr. Cathers: Again, the Premier’s narrative does not line up with the facts. I have to po= int out to the Premier that in listing what he claimed were initiatives of his government in tackling climate change, he read through a list of some of the things that were started under the Yukon Party government. The Liberals have continued initiatives such as the good energy program, microgeneration, Cold Climate Innovation — all are part of our incentive-based approach to dealing with climate change.

The Pr= emier did not answer the very simple first question: Trevor Tomb= e, an economist to members of the Premier’s hand-picked Financial Adviso= ry Panel, challenged the Premier’s inaction this week on the carbon tax = and the Premier’s version of events. Mr. Tombe<= /span> said, “The ball is in the Yukon government’s court. They can ta= ilor their rebates to their own unique circumstances.”

Again,= the Premier has not been forthcoming with Yukoners, so the question is: Who sho= uld Yukoners believe — the Premier, who says he has to wait for Ottawa, or the economist he appointed to his Financial Advisory Panel, who says that t= he ball is in the Yukon government’s court?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I do believe that the Member for Lake Laberge is forgetting wh= ere the Speaker’s Chair is as he keeps on looking over here toward the Speaker’s Chair. It is over here.

I woul= d like to thank the Yukon Party, who signed the Vancouver Declaration that basically started us down the pathway of having carbon pricing in the Yukon. I will g= ive credit where credit is due. Thank you, Yukon Party.

We hav= e been very, very clear in the Legislative Assembly. Just because the Member for L= ake Laberge wants to stick his head in the sand and doesn’t want to liste= n to the answers doesn’t mean that we are not responding to Yukoners. We h= ave been very clear on giving 100 percent of the rebate back. We have been very clear about getting rebates for placer miners, dollar for dollar, for making sure that we rebate not only 100 percent of the money that is collected from individual Yukoners and businesses, but also from the Yukon government R= 12; it will go into that pot.

We als= o have successfully been able to give back the money to First Nation governments a= nd to municipal governments, but I guess the Yukon Party is not hearing any of those things. Those are comprehensive negotiations that have happened, and = we will continue to say that we believe carbon pricing is the most cost-effect= ive way of dealing with man-made climate change. I believe the Mining Associati= on of Canada also has that narrative.

I beli= eve I have listed a bunch of companies, and that list is going on and on, but it’= ;s the Yukon Party that I guess is still stuck in the past and still believes = that they did enough before for the environment. I guess we will see who is goin= g to be on the right side of history when it comes to this, but we are very prou= d of our negotiations with Ottawa on this file.

Question re: French immersion programming

Ms. Van Bibber:<= /span> According to the Canadian Parents for French in BC and = Yukon, the 2017‑18 school year saw 766 students enrolled in French immersion across the Yukon.

This r= epresents 14.3 percent of the entire student body and is the fourth consecutive year = of increase. In response to increased pressure, the previous Minister of Educa= tion Doug Graham introduced French immersion at a second Whitehorse-area school — Selkirk Elementary. The other school that offers French immersion programming is, of course, Whitehorse Elementary.

Does t= he minister have plans to introduce French immersion as an option at any other Whitehorse area schools?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: There are no plans in the works to introduce French immersion = at any other Whitehorse schools. It is critical that we have Whitehorse elementary schools that, firstly, are well-staffed with teachers with respect to French immersion. There are standards to make sure that French immersion is taught= at a level that serves our students well.

As the= members opposite may know, or certainly some Yukoners know, there is a shortage acr= oss Canada for qualified teachers at the French immersion level. We also have a stellar program here, both at Whitehorse Elementary and at two grades at Selkirk Elementary that are serving the public well. We want to make sure t= hat those programs also result in excellent French immersion programming at the high school level too. At this time, those things are all priorities we have with respect to French immersion.

Ms. Van Bibber: According to the numbers released by the Liberals, Whitehorse Elementary is at 87‑percent capacity and Selkirk Elementary is at 83&= #8209;percent capacity. However, neither of these schools is listed in the five-year capi= tal concept despite the seismic concerns with these schools and the potential enrolment pressures.

Will t= he minister ask her colleagues to include these schools in the next capital concept?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Obviously — perhaps not obviously; I should not say obvi= ously — the Department of Education is dedicated to making sure that as we = go forward with planning for school spaces in Whitehorse and in the entire Yuk= on Territory, we take into account all of the pressures, be they enrolment, be they building age, or be they opportunities for instead of a replacement of= a building perhaps renovations. I have spoken about this before in the House,= and it continues to be a top priority for the department and all of those facto= rs are taken into account. Evidence-based decision-making is key.

The li= st that is referred to in the beginning of the question, as I have indicated before, is currently being reviewed with respect to all of those categories and requirements for a plan going forward for capital development, and more information about that will be forthcoming with respect to education in the spring 2019 budget.

Ms. Van Bibber: I’m bringing up the age of the school — as we know, Whitehorse Elementary is one of the oldest schools in the territory.

Can th= e minister tell if any preliminary analysis or work has been done on this specific sch= ool to be replaced?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Whitehorse Elementary is certainly — based on its age al= one, the concept of that is a major factor in determining capital projects for t= he Department of Education. The Whitehorse Elementary School is, of course, be= ing considered in the mix with respect to all of the other pressures I have not= ed.

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Speaker: The= time for Question Period has now elapsed.

We wil= l now proceed to Orders of the Day.

Orders of the Day

Government Private Members’ Business

Motions other than Government Motions

Motion No. 329

Clerk: Motion No. 329, standing in the name of Mr. H= utton.

Speaker: It = is moved by the Member for Mayo-Tatchun:

THAT t= his House supports the renewal of Health Canada’s territorial health investment fund which will invest $25.6 million over four years to support innova= tion in Yukon’s health care system.

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Mr. Hutton: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am happy to rise today to speak to Motion No. = ;329. This August, a new territorial health investment agreement with Health Cana= da was finalized. This agreement will see $25.6 million in renewed funds = over four years to support the well-being of Yukoners and Yukon communities, whi= ch is an increase of $1 million per year over the previous arrangement un= der the Yukon Party government.

The te= rritorial health and investment fund provides funding on behalf of Health Canada to t= hree northern territories. The intent of this funding is to examine system improvements, build capacity and help to implement innovative practices in = the health sector. This financial support helps us to strengthen the delivery of health care services in the north and reduce our reliance on out-of-territo= ry health care systems.

As the= MLA of a rural Yukon community, I’m happy to see our government receive funding that will improve my constituents’ access to in-territory services. T= his funding will also assist with offsetting the financial burdens associated w= ith medical travel for out-of-territory treatments. Through negotiations, our Liberal government has achieved greater flexibility to address the diverse needs of Yukoners through a grant arrangement as well as a larger allotment= for medical travel.

Since = 2003, health-specific federal funding has been an essential source of financial support for medical travel and health reform across the three territories. = Many system reform and innovation initiatives within our health care sector could not have occurred without this funding. Since 2014, funding for medical tra= vel has been reduced by declining amounts each year compared to the previous allotments.

In this agreement, $4.3 million per year will go toward innovations aimed at strengthening health systems and improving health outcomes. An additional $= 2.1 million per year will be allotted to medical travel.

The te= rritorial health investment fund supports our government’s people-centred appro= ach to wellness, which is helping Yukoners thrive. Earlier this week, the Minis= ter of Health and Social Services announced the members of an independent expert panel that will provide strategic advice and expertise as part of a comprehensive review of Health and Social Services. The review will include assessing all programs and services delivered by the Department of Health a= nd Social Services and the Yukon Hospital Corporation, as well as those funded= by the department and delivered by non‑government organizations. =

The pa= nel will look at how services are organized, managed and delivered and will look to = find efficiencies and ways to better deliver programs and services to Yukoners. =

The co= st of delivering top-quality health care to Yukoners through the Department of He= alth and Social Services continues to grow each year. While it is wonderful to receive the additional financial support that the territorial health invest= ment fund provides, the department always requires more money to meet the diverse and growing needs of the territory. As the CEO of the Yukon Hospital Corpor= ation noted in this House last month, health care is an industry of unlimited nee= ds and always limited resources. The Yukon Party continues with the unfounded accusation that our Liberal government is insufficiently funding health car= e. This is simply not accurate. In the past two years alone, we have increased= our health care spending by $55 million — that is a 14‑percent increase.

It is = not only about more money, though it is about getting maximum value for the dollar spent. This comprehensive review panel will assist us in spending these dol= lars smartly and efficiently and allow us to work toward streamlining health care service delivery. As I have said, this independent expert panel review will= be comprehensive, and I would like to speak about that for a minute.

On Oct= ober 3, the MLA for Watson Lake put forth Motion No. 313, which urged the R= 20;… Government of Yukon to follow through on th= e review of the medical travel program that it committed to on March 14, 2018, which= is intended to ensure that it is meeting the needs of all Yukoners by: (1) confirming if work has begun on this review and provide an update on the wo= rk completed to date; (2) committing to public consultations as part of this review; and (3) provide a deadline for completion of the review.”

At the= time this motion was brought forward, the Member for Watson Lake was well aware that = the Department of Health and Social Services was undertaking a comprehensive review. Further, it was clearly communicated that medical travel would be i= ncluded in this comprehensive review — indeed, that was the basis of our cauc= us support for the motion to review medical travel back in March.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, the opposition seems to have a problem with the fact that the current revie= w of medical travel is part of a larger review of the Department of Health and Social Services. I would like to remind people that the Yukon Party governm= ent did a review of our health care system in 2008. It was launched by the Memb= er for Lake Laberge, then-Minister of Health and Social Services. One of the things that it looked at was medical travel. Imagine that — medical travel being included as part of the review of the health care system under Yukon Party government. Another item in the review was to seek efficiencies= in the health care system. So not too long ago, the Yukon Party seemed to think that these were good ideas. Now that they are in opposition, the message th= ey seem to be sending is that these are bad ideas. As with public engagement a= nd the ATIPP act, I think Yukoners can see the inconsistencies in their positi= on.

I am h= appy to put this information out to the public with regard to the motion today. I t= hink we can all agree that the acceptance of these funds is in the best interest= of Yukoners. I would like to thank all members of the House for the opportunit= y to speak to this motion today.

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Ms. McLeod: I am rising today to speak to Motion No. 329, whic= h has been brought forward on behalf of the Liberal government by the Member for Mayo-Tatchun.

The mo= tion is asking us to support continuing funding under the territorial health invest= ment fund, which, of course, comes from Ottawa. I would like to convey the Offic= ial Opposition’s support for any increase of health funding to the territ= ory. The previous government successfully negotiated funding under the territori= al health investment fund with the federal government. There is absolutely not= hing wrong with supporting a continuation of that funding. However, it is import= ant that this government keeps Yukoners informed on just how this money will be spent. The number I heard earlier today was $600,000-plus for the health review. Perhaps we will get back to that in a bit.

Yukone= rs need to know when plans are made for this funding. When plans are made and dollars = are put to work, Yukoners need to know that it is happening. Yukoners need to k= now just how and why those decisions were made and how it is going to roll out.= We have seen this in the past. This government takes pleasure and pride in doi= ng funding announcements and cutting ribbons — for instance, the announcement of federal funding for investments in home and community care = and mental health and addictions last year. This announcement was great news for the Yukon. Unfortunately, when funding announcements were made, Yukoners we= re left to wonder how the funding will make a difference to them. Those announ= cements flatlined when the government was unable to tell Yukoners exactly how this funding made home care better. To this day, there= has been little said on where the increase to home care will be spent.

For tw= o full years, the Minister of Health and Social Services has stated the importance= of this government’s aging-in-place model. However, after bragging about= the government’s aging-in-place model for over a year, the government announced a consultation on the definition of “aging in place” = and what that actually is. It turns out that they didn’t even know what t= he solutions that they were bragging about even meant. So we have yet to see h= ow this is working for Yukoners and yet to hear a consistent definition of the concept. I still hear of concerns by Yukoners that the increase to home care has not made a difference to them personally. Home care nurses and staff ha= ve yet to be provided with additional supports. Clients are told that simple actions, such as dusting for health reasons, are beyond the scope of duties= of a home care worker. Surely the government is able to expand the scope of th= ese duties for those in need who are unable to take on certain tasks for themselves.

To the= minister: How was the previous money allocated to home care spent? What changes have = been made and who is benefiting from those changes? Have rural communities seen = an increase in home care FTEs? How much of this THIF renewal funding will be directed toward home care?

On a r= elated note, under the last THIF agreement, home health monitoring for COPD was pu= t in place as a time-limited trial. How many communities participated in this tr= ial and what were the results? Is there a plan to continue monitoring and is th= at monitoring taking place today? Does the new THIF funding cover any of these chronic disease issues that we were addressing with the last THIF?

We saw= the same with respect to funding announcements for childcare and mental health. To t= his day, Yukoners have received little information as to how these dollars will= be or are being rolled out. These are multi-year funding arrangements, and we = have not heard how these are rolling out, multi-year.

There = is not much chance of us having a fulsome discussion on this topic unless and unti= l we hear what the government’s plan is and how those dollars will be used= to better health care services in the Yukon. I know the Member for Mayo-Tatchun has indicated a couple of things — one piece is with regard to medical travel — but of course, it might be a bit premature to announce them since we’re having a health care review.

We hav= e spoken at length about a number of priorities that this government should be considering, and I believe it’s important to touch on just some of th= ose. We have asked the government to consider making changes to the medical trav= el program. Yes, we asked about it in March; yes, we asked about it in October= and will continue to ask about it even as it goes to review, because we simply don’t believe that Yukoners should wait until the end of 2019 or 2020 before they see any benefit.

The go= vernment was initially in agreement; however, they then chose to roll the medical tr= avel into a comprehensive health review, which they claim they intended all along and which appears to be part of the government’s effort to find cuts = in each department. My question would be: How long do Yukoners have to wait to see = how this health funding will be spent? A review will take time, and there are so many individuals experiencing problems now that could benefit from changes = to medical travel now.

With t= he previous funding, money was allocated to medical travel directly. In fact, = this funding was allocated with the expectation that as health care system needs= are addressed by increasing services in territory, the requirement for medical travel would be reduced in the years to come. Well, that hasn’t worked out so well. As we’ve seen with current wait times for in-territory surgeries and other services, this is proving not to be the case. Will this government consider making increases to medical travel funding with this TH= IF renewal funding?

As the government has heard from the Hospital Corporation, from The Official Opposition and through the media, cataract surgery wait times are at the highest for many years, with over 350 Yukoners waiting for surgery now and = some of them waiting upwards of three years. Has this government given any thoug= ht as to how this THIF renewal funding can help to decrease wait times for cataract surgery, for one? We’ve heard the Minister of Health and Soc= ial Services say that this government is working with their partners to work to= ward an efficient and effective government. Today, as this government enters into their third year of governing, we have yet to see how this will happen.

I do h= ave some questions for the minister regarding the work that the government is doing = with respect to health care in the territory. Who are the partners that the mini= ster alludes to in every speech and every response given with respect to Health = and Social Services? Can the minister confirm whether or not she and her partne= rs have come to any decisions as to how this THIF renewal funding will be spen= t? Can the minister confirm whether or not she and her partners are open to considering such suggestions as medical travel increases and cataract surge= ry wait-time reductions when they are making these decisions?

We are= aware of the funding allocations of the previous THIF money as negotiated by the previous government. Historically, the THIF money was allocated —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Ord= er, please. The Member for Watson Lake has the floor.

Ms. McLeod: Historically, the THIF money was allocated to mental he= alth, chronic disease management and medical travel. It was dedicated to a medical wellness project focused on integrating changes to the Yukon mental health = and addictions system to support mental health and addictions services, to build capacity and increase access to Yukon’s chronic disease management sy= stem and, as I mentioned earlier, to offset the burden associated with medical travel.

Accord= ing to the territorial stream annual report of 2016-17, an overall THIF evaluation was= to have taken place by an Outside contractor in late 2017‑18. My question is: Has that been completed, or has it even been started?

I ask = the minister once again: How will this THIF renewal money be allocated? What elements of Yukon’s health care services and systems have been highlighted to the federal government as requiring additional funding today= ?

I am a= lso interested in hearing from the minister just what the outcome was for our territory in response to the last round of THIF funding. I would be quite interested to hear how that round of funding helped Yukoners, what services were increased and if the minister can provide Yukoners with an accounting = of funds and results.

As I p= reviously stated, we are fully supportive of renewed funding through the territorial health investment fund. Thank you to all of the employees who worked to negotiate this funding for Yukoners. I urge the government to keep Yukoners apprised of what is happening with funding dollars post-announcement. Let people know just what the government is doing for them, as they are the ones who matter the most.

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Hon. Ms. Frost: I want to take the opportunity to change the conversati= on a bit. With respect to performance management, the member opposite speaks a l= ot about performance and performance measures with respect to THIF funding = 212; perhaps indicating that the report card is not sufficient for Yukoners, or perhaps the report card with respect to strategic planning and visioning is= not adequate. It speaks a bit about medical travel, and I would like to highlig= ht again that my colleague from Mayo-Tatchun spoke about the review from 2008 = when the Yukon Party took an approach to reviewing health and health care efficiencies and looking at strategic alignments.

Part o= f that discussion considered medical travel and adjustments to medical travel. We = have seen since that time almost $4 million in increases. We also saw in the 2008 report — the Member for Watson Lake highlights that part of the concern perhaps in regard to deliverables is mental health. Well, let’= ;s speak a bit about that.

The 20= 08 report from the Yukon Party highlighted that one of the deliverables was to look at mental health services, not to shut down secured mental health facilities or not provide services to those who are vulnerable in our population. I do believe that we have taken efforts to address the challenges in providing supports to vulnerable Yukoners where and when they need it in rural Yukon communities. That has not been considered historically.

Let= 217;s talk a little bit about the concept of aging. Apparently the member opposite does not understand what aging means either. I’m asking specifically in the Legislative Assembly: Can the member opposite explain to me: what does an “elder” mean? In the concept of rural Yukon communities with respect to our relationship with Yukon First Nation peoples, the definition= of an “elder” is one who is an esteemed, respected elder or older person within the community. The expanded scope of care for the aging population in Yukon is one that we certainly take pride in, and we take pri= de in ensuring that we provide services, recognizing that every community is unique unto itself.

As we = look at care needs within Yukon communities, we have an aging population. The aging population requires us to expand the scope of care to those members of our society as they age. We want to ensure that they age well in place. =

I rise= today in support of Motion No. 329 brought forward by my colleague, the Member = for Mayo-Tatchun: “THAT this House supports the renewal of Health Canada’s territorial health investment fund which will invest $25.6&n= bsp;million over four years to support innovation in Yukon’s health care system.”

In Aug= ust, alongside Yukon Member of Parliament Larry Bagnell, I was pleased to sign a= new territorial health initiative funding agreement with Canada that will see $= 25.6 million over the course of four years to support the well-being of Yukoners and bui= ld stronger, healthier communities. Through negotiations with our federal counterparts, we agreed to a grant agreement that will allow for greater flexibility when it comes to meeting territorial needs as well as a greater annual allotment for medical travel from previous years.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, the grant is not prescriptive. It provides us with an opportunity to be flexible when we talk about innovation. It comes to us by way of a grant. T= he annual allotment with respect to medical travel — the THIF funding wi= ll provide some offsets for the government. This is great news for Yukoners. We have heard many times in this House about the importance of medical travel = to Yukoners across the territory. As a member from a rural Yukon community, I = know very well the importance of medical travel for rural Yukoners. I am happy to inform my constituents and all Yukoners that we will be receiving more fund= ing for medical travel. With this agreement, $4.3 million per year will go toward the innovation aimed at strengthening health systems and improving health outcomes. An additional $2.1 million per year will be allocated= for medical travel.

There = are four main areas for innovation funding: training and capacity building; collaborative care delivery models; access and technologies; and data and performance measures. When we talk about access and technologies, one of the main pillars and priorities from the 2008 report identified the need for telehealth for bringing specialized services to rural Yukon communities and providing essential services to the communities that don’t otherwise = have these supports.

This i= nnovation funding will be used to strengthen health systems and improve health outcom= es through health system innovation, the use of human resource approaches and increasing access to health care and quality care through the use of technology.

The me= dical travel funding will be used to offset eligible medical transportation costs incurred by the territorial government and may include transportation, accommodation and meals for patients as well as eligible escorts. As Yukone= rs, we know one of our Liberal government’s priorities is the people-cent= red approach to wellness that helps Yukoners thrive, and this new THIF agreement will directly support that priority.

As my = colleague mentioned, I recently announced the members of the independent expert panel= who will conduct a comprehensive review of programs and services delivered by t= he Department of Health and Social Services. This will include medical travel,= as we made that clear during the last session — the session before.

The me= mbers opposite seem to be opposed to including a review of medical travel with th= is comprehensive review. As noted, it’s interesting, because this was included in the 2008 Health and Social Services review under the previous government. It’s not obvious why it’s such a bad idea now when = back then, it was okay — whatever the case, as I said, the new THIF agreem= ent includes more money for medical travel than we have under the previous agreement. A close look at medical travel will be included as part of this comprehensive review.

As Yuk= oners will recall, last fall we created the Financial Advisory Panel to look at our government’s finances, providing options for improvements. We learned that the previous government was spending $1.50 for every $1 that we brought in. We know that Health and Social Services is the major cost driver of this government, and we want to ensure that we’re able to look at long-term sustainability while still providing better services to Yukoners in rural communities. Collaborative care is an essential part of that, and that means that we’ve implemented the mental wellness hubs that were defined in = the 2008 report when we look at innovation and supporting Yukoners.

Not on= ly was spending a little out of control, we have seen that the Yukon Party was not really planning for the future — for future health care costs of Yukoners. Our Liberal government committed to Yukoners that we would fix th= is situation that we find ourselves in, introduce strong fiscal management and= get our territory’s finances back on a sustainable footing.

The Fi= nancial Advisory Panel report identified health care as an important area of govern= ment operations where efficiencies and effectiveness would be improved, and one = of the options that it presented was a comprehensive review of Health and Soci= al Services. We are pursuing this option because we recognize the importance of health care to Yukoners. We want to make sure that it is sustainable going forward.

Yukon,= as noted, has an aging population, which means that ensuring health care costs are sustainable — as we see our population aging, we want to ensure that = we provide adequate services and supports. Every dollar spent out of every $3 spent is on health care. We need to make sure that the delivery of health c= are is responsive to Yukon’s changing demographics and is sustainable in = the long term.

We hav= e just announced the members of the expert panel who will review programs and serv= ices of the Department of Health and Social Services. It is important not to make assumptions or pre-judge the outcome. We know that the Yukon Party is fond = of stirring up anxieties by suggesting that cuts are coming. That is not the c= ase, Mr. Speaker. The objective is to look at efficiencies in spending and ensure that we provide appropriate services and programs to all Yukoners.

As the= Premier has repeated again and again, we need to manage the growth in spending of government departments by finding more efficient ways to deliver programs a= nd services. This is especially important for Health and Social Services, and = it is the responsible thing to do when it comes to taxpayers’ money. We wouldn’t be doing the job that Yukoners elected us to do if we didn’t plan properly for the future of Yukon and ensure that our spen= ding is sustainable.

The 20= 08 review of Health and Social Services included many recommendations on how to impro= ve efficiencies when it comes to health care, including increasing funding for home care and looking at opportunities for co-location of health services to improve service integration. Our Liberal government supports aging in place, which is why we have increased funding for home care since we took office. = This year, the budget includes an enhancement of $1 million for the home ca= re program, following last year’s increase of over $500,000.

These = new funds will further increase front-line services to Yukoners, providing more optio= ns to meet their needs and adding more direct therapy and in-home support. In terms of co-location of services, I am very proud to say that we have opene= d up four mental wellness and substance use hubs in Dawson City, Haines Junction, Carmacks and Watson Lake. These hubs integrated alcohol services, mental he= alth services, child and youth treatment services — bringing them together to provide specialist services in addition to the supports provided by resident workers who live in most communities. We have enhanced and recognized our staff to ensure that we can provide necessary p= re- and post-care for substance use as well as counselling and mental health supports for Yukon communities and their members. This is an important part= of our commitment to support the mental wellness of all Yukoners and provide enhanced health care in rural Yukon.

We loo= k forward to the results of the comprehensive review that we have just launched so th= at we can find more ways to improve service delivery for Yukoners and do it in= a sustainable way.

The ne= w THIF agreement is important, and it provides our territory with more money for health care to meet the needs of Yukoners. It is not just more money, Mr.&n= bsp;Speaker. As I said, it is about planning properly for the future to ensure that serv= ice delivery is sustainable over the long term. This is not the approach that t= he previous government took, but it is about the priorities for our government, and I support the Member for Mayo-Tatchun.

I want= ed to just make a note with respect to the long wait-list that the Member for Watson L= ake highlighted for cataract surgery. She wanted to know who we have consulted = with and who we are consulting with broadly on the THIF funding.

We are= having detailed discussions, consultation and engagement with Yukoners, with Yukon First Nations, with our health care providers and with NGO groups. We are keeping Yukoners informed, and we look forward to the results of the comprehensive health review. We will look at ensuring that we very effectiv= ely implement the plans that will roll out from the comprehensive health review= .

With r= espect to the comment made regarding making announcements with no results, I can assu= re the member opposite that we have done a lot. We have very successfully implemented the territorial health initiative funding and the contributions from the federal government but with our partners as well. We have now expa= nded our home care program and our home first initiative. We are now working with the Thomson Centre, the health centre and the Hospital Corporation, and we = have expedited beds over to the Thomson Centre. We have 33 participants in the h= ome health monitoring trial. We have expanded HPV immunization. We have looked = at a screening and awareness campaign on colon cancer and increased the number of mental health workers in Yukon communities and suicide intervention trainin= g. We have looked at providing support to all our Yukon communities, updating = the funding allocations to Yukon First Nations when it comes to pre- and post-c= are for substance abuse in our communities. We will continue to look at legisla= tion and updating appropriate equity and rights-based legislation when it comes = to the LGBTQ2S+ community and ensuring that we provide support there. With res= pect to FASD awareness and prevention, we have done significant work there with = our partners.

The li= st goes on, Mr. Speaker, and I will not go through the whole list, but I just = want to demonstrate that we have done significant work with our partners to ensu= re that we provide appropriate and adequate funding to Yukoners. We have done = that in good faith through consultation and engagement with our partners.=

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Ms. Hanson: Mr. Speaker, I have heard a lot of discussion over the last while about citizen-based approaches. I wholeheartedly agree, so I would like to speak from a citizen-based perspective this afternoon and ask the minister and the government opposite: What about today is any different? Why should I as a citizen place any credence in what is being said by this government over wh= at was said by the prior governments over the last 14 years?

I say = that, not to be overly critical of the minister who just spoke, but because as a citi= zen I only need to look back at what has been said by governments over the last= 14 years with respect to health care in this country. I have in front of me a document called A 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Car= e which came out as a federal-provincial-territorial plan that all provinces = and all territories in the federal government agreed to.

This afternoon’s motion is about everybody being happy about another $25&n= bsp;million being spent over the next four years for health care, and I guess the quest= ion comes: To what end? Mr. Speaker, in 2005 the federal government commit= ted to spending in the north through the territorial health system sustainabili= ty initiative — THSSI then — over five years, $150 million, a= nd then they added another $60 million into that in 2012-14. It keeps goi= ng on.

Just so they’re all on the same page here, when we ask for the terms of refer= ence for the latest version of the health care review in the territory, it’= ;s because we have real concerns about — why another study, when, in fac= t, we have made commitments and we have spent an exorbitant amount of money ov= er the last 14 years addressing exactly the same issues that I have heard alre= ady outlined in the debate this afternoon.

In A 10-year Plan to Strengthen Health Ca= re entered into — with commitments made on behalf of territorial, provin= cial and federal governments — those commitments include “Reducing W= ait Times and Improving Access — All jurisdictions have taken concrete steps…” it says. So First Ministers agreed that they would R= 12; there was also a wait-times reduction fund that was set up in 2004. It was = to “… augment the existing provincial and territorial investm= ents and assist the jurisdictions…” Each jurisdiction said that we w= ould agree “… to establish comparable indicators of access to health care professionals, diagnostic and treatment procedures with a repor= t by December 31, 2005.” “Evidence-based benchmarks are…” — we’re starting to sound like the same language of 10 or 14 ye= ars ago — “… for medically acceptable wait times starting with cancer, heart, diagnostic imaging procedures, joint replacements, and sight restoration…” It was 14 years ago, Mr. Speaker. Those benchmarks were to be established by December 31, 2005.

We go = on to that in terms of the other areas: “There is a need to increase the supply = of health care professionals… including doctors, nurses, pharmacists…” There was recognition that these shortages are ac= ute and particularly acute in certain areas of the country.

At tha= t time, 14 years ago: “… First Ministers agree to continue and accele= rate their work…” with respect to finding and ensuring an “… adequate supply and appropriate= mix of health care professionals.” Ironically, given the way that it play= ed out in this territory, a huge commitment was made to working with internati= onal medical graduates to facilitate their transition into the medical community= in this territory.

Anybod= y who was paying attention over the last 14 years will realize how badly that program= was managed in this territory and how we lost some amazing skilled health care professionals who wanted to contribute and wanted to be part of this territ= ory and were not allowed to by the closed nature of the system here.

The fe= deral, territorial and provincial governments talked about “… tar= geted efforts in support of Aboriginal communities and Official Languages of Mino= rity Communities to increase the supply of health care professionals for those communities...”

Home c= are — 14 years ago: “Home care is an essential part of modern, integrated and patient-centred health care. Improving access to home and community services will improve the quality of life for many Canadians by allowing them to be cared for or to recover at home. Services provided in t= he home can be more appropriate and less expensive than acute hospital care.”

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, if we on this side of the House sound like we are getting a little tired of= hearing the same language over and over again, it is because we are and citizens ar= e. We are talking about the same thing, but we are not doing anything differen= tly.

For ye= ars — going back to 2004: “Greater use of home and community care services can reduce wait times for acute hospital beds by making beds avail= able for those who are more acutely ill...” That’s not news. It R= 20;… can provide choices for end-of-life care, and be an effective option for some patients with chronic mental health concerns.” “All governments= …” — in 2004 — “… have recognized the value of ho= me care as a cost-effective means of delivering services and are developing ho= me care services to prevent or follow hospitalization.”

“= ;First Ministers…” — including the territory — “R= 30; agree to provide first dollar coverage by 2006 for certain home care services, ba= sed on assessed need, specifically to include: short-term acute home care for two-week provision of case management, intravenous medications related to t= he discharge diagnosis, nursing and personal care…” — 14 yea= rs ago, Mr. Speaker — “… short-term acute community mental health home care for two-week provision of case management and crisis response services; and end-of-life care for case management, nursing, palliative-specific pharmaceuticals and personal care at the end of life.”

Each jurisdiction agreed to “… develop a plan for the staged implementation of these services…” and report to its citizens on progress in implementing home care services. These commitments were made and the money was provided.

“= ;Primary Care Reform” — we have heard a lot about the language around collaborative care. We are assuming that this is going to be another focus = of the announced health care review. We don’t know, because we havenR= 17;t been provided the terms of reference. But in 2004, provincial, territorial = and federal ministers agreed that “Timely access to family and community = care through primary health care reform is a high priority for all jurisdictions. First Ministers agree to establish a best practices network to share information and find solutions to barriers to progress in primary health ca= re reform such as scope of practice.” How many times have we talked about scope of practice with respect to nurse practitioners and midwifery?

“= ;Electronic health records and telehealth are key to health = care system renewal.” In 2004, 14 years ago, we agreed to this and we began investing our Canadian money — citizens’ money — into thi= s. As a citizen, I have a legitimate ability and right to ask the question: Wh= at is different in 2018 from 2004 in terms of the amount of investment and wha= t is being asked of citizens in terms of credibility of this next review?

In 200= 4, there was recognition that there was a particular challenge in accessing family a= nd community-based health care services in the north, which is why THSSI was s= et up and why the federal government provided an additional $150 million = over five years through the territorial health access fund.

In 200= 4, First Ministers “… direct Health Ministers to establish a Ministerial Task Force to develop and implement…” — 14 ye= ars ago — “… the national pharmaceutical strategy and re= port on progress by…” 2006.

I can = tell you, Mr. Speaker, we went through the list of health care reviews and health care related rev= iews over the last 14 years. It has gone to several pages now — strategies, reviews, clinical studies and best care studies conducted in this territory. I’m not talking about other territories or nationally. I’m talk= ing about studies that were done in this territory using some of those augmented funds that the territorial government received since 2004.

WeR= 17;re saying that if we’re talking about “evidence-based”, why aren’t we reviewing the evidence that has been collected, been prepar= ed by experts, citizens and professionals throughout this territory, drawing on the best practices and expertise across the country? You are saying: “Just trust us. We’re going to spend another $25 million o= ver four years, and we’re going to make it better, because in the last 14= years it didn’t happen.” Well, as citizens, we have the right to ask = what happened to all those millions of dollars.

That s= trategy was going — and I’m curious to see how much this is going to transfer into the new strategy or whatever is going to be the outcome of th= is health care review — to do the following: “… develop, assess and cost options for catastrophic pharmaceutical coverage…R= 21; — we’ve had conversations in this Chamber about the impact of catastrophic pharmaceutical costs for individuals — “…&nb= sp;to establish a common… Drug Formulary for… jurisdictions based on safety and cost effectiveness; accelerate access to breakthrough d= rugs for unmet health needs… strengthen the evaluation of real-world = drug safety and effectiveness; pursue purchasing strategies to obtain best pract= ices for Canadians for drugs and vaccines; enhance action to influence the prescribing behaviour of health care professionals so that drugs are used o= nly when needed and the right drug is used for the right problem; broaden the p= ractice of e‑prescribing through accelerated development and deployment of the Electronic Health Record…” — how many times have we heard about the beginning and the stopping of this whole process in this whole territory? — “… accelerate access to non-patented dr= ugs and achieve international parity on prices for non-patented drugs; and enha= nce analysis of cost drivers and cost-effectiveness, including best practices in drug plan policies.”

A lot = of this and a lot of this data gathering is predicated on Yukon actually actively participating and ensuring that CIHI has the data. = We would like to know, in fact, if all of that information is being transferred because, for many years, physicians weren’t required to do the report= ing that was required in order to have CIHI be able to give us the data that we need — simple data, like the number of people who have diabetes in th= is territory.

Preven= tion and promotion in public health — the recognition by all governments that “… public health efforts on health promotion, disease and injury prevention are critical to achieving better health outcomes…&n= bsp;and contributing to the long-term sustainability of medica= re by reducing pressure on the health care system. In particular, managing chr= onic disease more effectively maintains the health status for individuals and counters a growing trend for increasing disease burden.”

“= ;In recognition of the importance of the healthy development of children, there= has been extensive collaboration by governments, in recent years, through the E= arly Childhood Development initiative…” So the government has commit= ted to working and to accelerate plans on this pan-Canadian public health strat= egy. They said in 2014, “For the first time, governments will set goals and targets for improving the health status of Canadians through a collaborative process with experts.” There are just a co= uple more, Mr. Speaker.

Health innovation was another focus, and it is also a focus that I have heard much spoken about in this Legislative Assembly over the last two years and in the prior — well, not much in the prior years. We tried asking those questions, though.

“= ;Health Innovation — A strong, modern health care = system is a cornerstone of a healthy economy.” We all accept that. “Investments in health system innovation through science, technology = and research help to strengthen health care as well as our competitiveness and productivity.” The federal government made commitments to continued investments to sustain activities in support of this — good. “All governments agree to report to their residents on health system performance including the elements set out in this communiqué.”= ;

There = is nothing wrong with looking at where we started in terms of this most recent modern infusion of money in 2004, because that was when there was a significant and massive infusion of federal money into the provincial and territorial system — and particularly in the north, with the recognition that the north = had unique circumstances. If the government is unwilling or unable to release t= he basis of what it is going forward on, then we risk reinventing the wheel, we risk going backward, and assuming that no work has been done over the last = 14 years and assuming that no studies have been done and no recommendations ha= ve been made to government — it is one thing if all of these studies were done. The government can blame the previous government and say that they didn’t listen and they didn’t do anything, but it is a whole ot= her thing to be ignorant of the fact that those reports and those studies do ex= ist and should inform and should be the starting point for the basis of going forward as opposed to being on a shelf, sitting there gathering dust.

I woul= d suggest, Mr. Speaker, that there is nothing that would gather the ire of citize= ns more than to say, “Okay, you guys are going to launch on yet another expensive study, some high-priced help, and then you are going to ignore it just like the previous guys did because you have ignored all of the other studies.” That, Mr. Speaker, would be unacceptable.

So far= in the 34th session of this Legislative Assembly, we have heard similar kinds of answer= s to the questions that we have raised on the broad range of health care measure= s as we heard in the 33rd. We are hopeful that we are going to start = to get some focus here. We have heard a lot of talk over the last two years ab= out wanting to work in collaboration. Well, collaboration means sharing what yo= ur objectives are and sharing where you want to get to. We are prepared to work with government, but we will be incredibly critical if we perceive that we = are going backward to the same kind of same old, same old. It is time to walk t= he talk.

 

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>I just wanted to add a few comments to this debate. Let me beg= in by saying that whenever you get involved in government or this Legislature and= you are trying to effect change and see yet another approach or another study, = it is good to ask yourself: Is this going to be effective? Will it really crea= te change or not? I do worry about — I will just refer to it as “s= tudy fatigue”. However, as soon as I start to look at any of the systems t= hat I am working on or that all of us here in this Legislature are working on, it becomes clear that you really do need to do tho= se reviews from time to time.

For ex= ample, when we bring legislation in here — especially when it is important legislation — we often put in place that we are going to review it ev= ery five years. The studies that the Member for Mayo-Tatchun and others have be= en talking about here have been initiated in 2008 and 2013. That is five years ago, and so even from that perspective, I think all of our departments shou= ld have a deeper look occasionally to understand how they are working and try = to improve them as much as possible — especially Health and Social Servi= ces, which is such an important and large component of our budget and an importa= nt piece of our lives here.

I agre= e with the Leader of the Third Party that we definitely need to build on the existing work, and I appreciate that. At least I heard the Minister of Health and So= cial Services reference the importance of building on that. I also want to point out, though, that I don’t think that things are exactly the same toda= y as they were five years ago. Is it the same? No, I don’t think so. I thi= nk that, while we still have challenges in front of us — and I am sure we always will — I do think that some things are different. In particula= r, our whole circumstance is changing. We know that the demographics of the territory are changing, so it is really important that we have this look.

I was = so encouraged to attend the first aging-in-place seminar. It was at the High Country Inn, and I think they got two or three times the number of people t= hat they were anticipating. I saw the Health and Social Services’ staff running off their feet to try to accommodate so many folks who wanted to express their views on how important aging in place is. I don’t remem= ber that conversation five years ago. I certainly don’t remember it ̵= 2;

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Streicker= : Well, I might not have been at all of them, and that is= true, Mr. Speaker. I acknowledge that I wouldn’t have made it to all of them, but I do think that there is a deeper conversation happening today.

We did= n’t have mental wellness hubs five years ago. While I appreciate that there has been an interest in innovation previously, I have never seen any action on = that innovation, and so I am encouraged by that piece.

We did= n’t have Housing First five years ago —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>Well, yes —

Sorry,= Mr. Speaker. We do have the first Housing First unit being built across the street from = my place in town. I get to watch it. I watched the windows go in yesterday. It= was great to see. These are real differences. Palliative care, Safe at Home = 212; partnerships on Safe at Home that extend to First Nation governments, munic= ipal government and the NGOs; those are differences.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Streicker= : Well, Mr. Speaker, you may well ask why we’re doing a review. I would respond to that question that it’s important,= as I stated at the outset of my remarks —

Speaker’s statement

Speaker: Ord= er, please. Order.

Member= s may very well have some very useful and fruitful conversations that they may wish to engage in outside of the Chamber, and that may lead to great developments or great agreements going forward, but the general principle within the Chambe= r is that one member speaks when he or she has the floor. It’s not an environment where one can have a conversation back and forth. While certain= ly the members will have noted that the Chair has provided some latitude for off-mic commentary, it’s certainly not the forum to have any sort of question-and-answer commentary occurring.

Like I= said, there may be some very fruitful conversations that can occur outside of the Chamb= er between the members, and I certainly would encourage that if there is a des= ire to do so. In any event, that’s it.

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Hon. Mr. Streicker= : I do think that it is important that we do these review= s, because I think all systems need us to be looking at them from time to time. While I appreciate that there is an opportunity here, I think that it is important on an ongoing basis to do these reviews on occasion. In particular here, I think that the Minister of Health and Social Services has identified some real interest and need to get at the situations that we have here with respect to Health and Social Services.

There = are some things that I think are evident to us — and by “us”, I’m speaking about all Yukoners. We have an aging population, and it’s important to try to move as much as possible from acute care tow= ard wellness. In that respect, we increased the funding to home care by $1.6&nb= sp;million this year. Is it enough? Well, that’s a great reason to have a review= , to understand whether we should put more emphasis that way.

I know= that, for many years, there has been an interest to move from sort of a health care deliverer-centric perspective to a client-centric or a patient-centric noti= on — a citizen-centric notion — so that the he= alth care professionals would collaborate around that citizen to provide = the best health care. I don’t think that’s an easy thing to achieve= . I think that the work toward it, if you move any distance, is going to be an improvement. There is room for improvement.

I also appreciate that there were some suggestions in the Leader of the Third Party’s comments about, for example, a national look at pharmaceutica= ls and pharmacare. My understanding is that some of this work is underway nationally and we should be part of that conversation.

What I= wanted to say is that reviewing health care is important. It is important to build of= f of the previous work and to account for what has been achieved and what has not been achieved. It is important to continue to try to move forward with improving health care for our citizens while at the same time making sure t= hat we are being effective with the health care investment that we have here in= the territory.

 

Ms. White: I am actually going to take an entirely different appro= ach to this conversation, mostly because I really like the idea of innovations in health care.

I was = taking a look at what that could mean. It talks about how innovation can be a small change that simplifies everyday tasks, or it can be a big change that completely transforms the way we do something. It’s defined by the Council of Canadian Academies as “new or better ways of doing valued things”. Innovating health care means introducing new ideas, methods = or technologies that promote fast or more efficient care and improve patient outcomes.

That&#= 8217;s where I am going to leap off because, for me, when we talk about innovation, it’s great that there is $25.6 million over four years — so that is $6.4 million a year. Mr. Speaker, prior to 2011, I would = have told you that was a whole schwack of money. Sin= ce then, now that I have the privilege or the responsibility of going through&= nbsp;billion-dollar budgets, I understand that $6.4 million is not half as much as it seem= ed to be.

I appr= eciated it when the minister talked about the four pillars of innovation. I didn’= ;t quite get them down, but there was training, there was collaboration, there= was access to technology and data measures — just to paraphrase, because = I only got half of them down.

I know= that in the last number of years when we have been talking about communities having conversations around delivery of health care, it was pointed out that in ru= ral communities the people who know where people live and how they are the most= are mail carriers. In a time where we see the pressures on Canada Post or we see the pressures in communities, there is talk about whether there would be a = way to activate community mail carriers so that they could knock on the door an= d see how someone was when they knew that they were unwell. Could they be part of= the health care delivery system? The mail carrier is going to recognize that the mail hasn’t been picked up; they are going to know everyone in town i= n a small community. I’m sure, like the Member for Mayo-Tatchun, the mail carrier for Mayo-Tatchun would know every single person in that community. Maybe that was a thing.

Novemb= er is Diabetes Awareness Month. There is technology out there. For example, the company Medtronic has created the world’s very first artificial pancr= eas for people with type 1 diabetes. That device automatically monitors blood s= ugar and it administers insulin as needed.

Maybe = we could look at some of the innovation with our smaller population. Maybe we could = look at taking part in some of those studies. Maybe some of our type 1 diabetics= in the territory could be trying this out as a pilot project across Canada.

When w= e talk about innovation, what I really want to know is what the new things are.

We hav= e the opportunity of telehealth. I was looking through different health innovatio= ns and they talked about the ability to deliver counselling services electronically. Now that most people are wired with cellphone devices, maybe that would be a way to reach out when s= omeone needed help the most.

I thin= k this is just an opportunity. There is a cornucopia of options out there and there i= s no way that, here in the Assembly, we can come with that. But when we have the opportunity of innovation and we have the opportunity of looking at things — new ideas, methods or technologies that can promote faster, more efficient care and improve patient outcomes — then I think that is an opportunity. Of course, I caution that we don’t want to go down the r= oute that has been taken before. This is by all governments, Mr. Speaker; t= his isn’t just any specific government. You can pilot-project things to death. You can have a good idea, it can have funding and it can be a pilot project, and then, instead of that good idea continuing on, the funding sto= ps. So how is that innovating health care when a recognized good program just s= tops because it was just a pilot project and it didn’t go on?

I appr= eciate that we have had this conversation about what this money could do. I apprec= iate that the minister said that she signed for it this summer. I guess we are supporting our renewal for Health Canada’s territorial health investm= ent fund that the minister said she signed this summer. But when we talk about innovation, why don’t we push the barriers? Why don’t we push it further? Why don’t we look at things that might work in our northern jurisdiction that don’t work in other places — for example, mail carriers in rural communities being able to help out with providing health care? Why don’t we look at making sure that our type 1 diabetics have access to the most up-to-date equipment — that we don’t say that Health is not going to fund them because it is not on our list?

I thin= k that when we talk about innovations in health care, really we should be looking further ahead. We should be looking into the future and then making sure th= at if we have pilot projects that turn out to be great ideas they just donR= 17;t die on the step as a pilot project without going into the future.

I look= forward to hearing the closing arguments, and I look forward to innovations in heal= th care in the Yukon.

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Speaker: Is = there further debate on Motion No. 329?

If the= member now speaks, he will close debate.

Does a= ny other member wish to be heard?

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Mr. Hutton: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all of my colleagues in the House this afternoon for their passionate and eloquent contributions to the debate. I certainly hope that all members of this House will support this motion, because it should = be obvious to all of us that an increase in money from the federal government under this transfer can’t help but benefit all Yukoners.

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Speaker: Are= you prepared for the question?

Some Hon. Members: Division.

Division

Speaker: Div= ision has been called.

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Bells

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Speaker: Mr.=  Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Silver: Agree.

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Agree.

Hon. Ms. Dendys: Agree.

Hon. Ms. Frost: Agree.

Mr. Gallina: Agree.

Mr. Adel: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>Agree.

Mr. Hutton: Agree.

Mr. Hassard: Agree.

Mr. Kent: Agree.

Ms. Van Bibber: Agree.

Mr. Cathers: Agree.

Ms. McLeod: Agree.

Mr. Istchenko: Agree.

Ms. Hanson: Agree.

Ms. White: Agree.

Clerk: Mr.&n= bsp;Speaker, the results are 18 yea, nil nay.

Speaker: The= yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.

Motion No. 329 agreed to

Motion No. 339

Clerk: Motion No. 339, standing in the name of Mr. Gallina.

Speaker: It = is moved by the Member for Porter Creek Centre:

THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to introduce amendments to the Smoke-Free Places= Act to include vaping.

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Mr. Gallina: I am pleased to rise today to speak to Motion No. = 339, that this House urges the government to introduce amendments to the Smoke-Free Places Act to include v= aping. For those members over the age of 30 — and let me assure this House t= hat I meet that designation — vaping is defined as the act of inhaling and exhaling a vapour produced by a vaping product such as an electronic cigare= tte. This vapour is often flavoured and can contain nicotine.

The re= cent rise in the popularity of vaping and the increased access to paraphernalia associated with vaping products, in our view, require = the government to update our legislation related to smoke-free places. We know that if you= are a smoker, quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to improve your hea= lth. There is support available to help you quit. We also know that if you are n= ot a smoker, vaping can exposure your exposure to some harmful substances that c= ould negatively affect your health.

Whethe= r they contain nicotine or not, e‑cigarettes may pose health risks when they= are consumed in large doses or over long periods of time. The health risks of inhaling the common additive used in the flavouring of e‑cigarettes d= eep into the lungs are unknown. Much like the traditional second-hand smoke exposure, bystanders can also be exposed to e‑cigarette vapour. In a = 2016 study, the World Health Organization reported findings that second-hand exposure to e‑cigarette vapour may lead to adverse health effects. The report also concluded that — and I quote: “… second-= hand aerosols from e‑cigarettes are a new air contamination source for hazardous particulate matter.” As a result, the World Health Organiza= tion recommends prohibiting by law the use of e‑cigarettes indoors and in = other locations where smoking is not prohibited.

More a= larming still, a popular chemical compound used in the flavouring of vape juices has been linked to popcorn lung, which is the scarring and obstruction of the lungs’ smallest airways. Furthermore, this past April the American Academy of Pediatrics published a report on the adolescent exposure to toxic volatile organic chemicals for e‑cigarettes. This report found substantially increased levels of five carcinogenic compounds in the urine = of teenagers who vape. Besides the medical effects of e‑cigarettes, anot= her area of concern is the renormalization of cigarette use and the glamorizati= on of cigarette behaviour, particularly among minors.

We kno= w through a Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs survey available through Health Canada that youth between the ages of 15 and 19 years old and adults between the a= ges of 20 and 24 years old have the highest rates of trying vaping compared to adults aged 25 or older. Twenty-three percent of students in grades 7 to 12 have tried vaping. Ten percent reported using them within the last 30 days.= The popularity of e‑cigarette use among minors is of significant concern.= A quick scroll through Instagram and other social media sites shows a constant stream of videos showcasing hovering clouds of smoke rings and promoting flavours like Berry Blast and OG Juice Straight Outta<= /span> Cotton and contributing to a craze many refer to as “#vapelife”.

We can= not ignore that the culture and marketing of the vaping industry is not only highly appealing to youth, but in many ways, also targeting them directly. The unregulated use of e‑cigarettes may act as a gateway to nicotine addiction or even smoking.

In Feb= ruary of this year, a local high school principal raised concerns over the widespread use of e‑cigarettes among students in Whitehorse. This concern reflec= ts a larger trend across North America, which the New York Times has reported as “an explosion of vaping among high school and middle school students across the country.”

We kno= w that most vaping liquids have a higher concentration of nicotine than individual cigarettes. We also know how addictive nicotine is. Beyond concerns around = the use of nicotine, the devices can also be used to smoke cannabis. Currently,= the Yukon’s Smoke-Free Places Act= outlines locations where smoking is and is not permitted. This protects pub= lic health and provides clear exemptions for both smokers and non-smokers. For example, smoking in daycares, health care facilities, community centres, cinemas and bingo halls is not allowed. As a parent, I know where I can and cannot smoke cigarettes and I can choose where I go with my family. This is= not the case with e‑cigarettes, which provides uncertainty for both those= who use e‑cigarettes and those who do not.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, at a recent global vape-friendly conference on nicotine, participants were banned from vaping indoors due to the nuisance that the aerosol clouds have caused. We owe business owners, landlords, teachers, caregivers and members= of the public clarity on where it is appropriate to use e‑cigarettes and where it is not.

Regula= tions around the use of e‑cigarettes are long overdue in Yukon to minimize = harm to minors, to regulate the advertising and sales of this product and to pro= vide clarity to Yukoners around the appropriate use of e‑cigarettes.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, in closing, I know this is a concern to the Member for Takhini-Kopper King,= who has also raised concerns over the use of e‑cigarettes, including vapi= ng where smoking is banned and vaping in indoor public spaces and workplaces. = We are happy to be considering those concerns. For that, and for the benefit of all Yukoners, is why I am proud to rise today and introduce Motion No. = ;339.

 

Mr. Kent: I = would like to thank the Member for Porter Centre for bringing this motion to the floor today. I certainly appreciate the information in the background that = he provided with respect to the risks of vaping. I found it informative, as I = am one of those people who are not that familiar with that practice. As a non-smoker and a non-vaper for life, I appreciate that and I look forward to hearing from other members as well with respect to that practice.

I want= ed to focus on the Smoke-Free Places Act<= /i> portion of the member’s motion because it was something that I had so= me personal involvement with when it was consulted on and introduced after the 2006 election here in the Yukon. I haven’t had the opportunity to spe= ak about this since coming back into the Legislature in 2011. There are some people, I think — Yukoners throughout the territory — who enjoy being able to go into areas where there isn’t any smoking allowed. Th= ey owe a debt of gratitude — I think I would like to start with the late Todd Hardy, former Leader of the NDP here in the Yukon. He led the party in= to the 2006 election. During the 2006 election, I was the Yukon regional manag= er for the Canadian Cancer Society. That was what I was doing at that time. I reached out to the three main political parties that were running in that election and asked about the possibility of introducing some sort of legislation around smoke-free places. I do want to give credit to Mr. = Hardy. The NDP was the only party that got back to me at the time — all part= ies got back to me, but the NDP responded positively to what I had put forward.=

From t= here — one of the NDP members can correct me if I’m wrong — I believe a private members bill was introduced by the late Todd Hardy. That = led to the formation of a select committee that was put together to study this issue throughout the Yukon. The members of the committee, as well — t= he current Member for Lake Laberge was on that committee. Darius Elias, MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin was on the committee representing the Liberal Party, and the late John Edzerza, the MLA for McIntyre-Takhini, which was the riding at the time, was representing the New Democrats. Substitute members — Don Inverarit= y, the MLA for Porter Creek South and Steve Cardiff, the MLA for Mount Lorne.<= /span> Mr. Cardiff was the substitute for Mr. Edzer= za, and Mr. Inverarity was the substitute for = Mr. Elias. I believe she was very new to the territory at the time, but our current De= puty Clerk of the Yukon Legislative Assembly Linda Kolody also provided support = to those members of the committee as they conducted their consultations and th= eir deliberations throughout the territory.

Where = the Canadian Cancer Society was asked to be involved — the Cancer Society, where I was working at the time, was retained as a technical expert to the committee. The CCS at the time asked Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada to = take on that role and support the committee’s work throughout the territor= y. In the acknowledgements of the report, the committee also wanted to thank Cynthia Callard, the director, and Neil Collishaw, the research director from Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, for their work on behalf of the committee as it travelled throughout the territory.

I atte= nded a few of the public meetings with the committee. A lot of the heavy lifting on th= is had been done by a previous Whitehorse City Council, because they had introduced a smoke-free places bylaw. I remember that, at the time, it was quite contentious, and City Hall was full on more than one occasion of concerned business owners and others, but I think we’ve reached a pla= ce where the businesses certainly didn’t collapse and patrons are able — not only patrons, but workers — to enjoy a smoke-free place w= hen they are in those establishments or other areas that are captured by this p= articular legislation.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I talked to the Member for Porter Creek Centre earlier today and I shared a copy with both House Leaders this morning, but I think maybe now is the time for me to move the amendment to the motion that we would like to put forwar= d. I’ll move the amendment, and then during my time to speak to it, I wi= ll give some additional reasons why I believe that this amendment strengthens = the motion brought forward by the Member for Porter Creek Centre.

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Amendment proposed

I move= :

THAT M= otion No. 339 be amended by replacing the word “introduce” with = the word “consider” and inserting the words “following consultations with appropriate experts, stakeholders and Yukon residents= 221; after the word “vaping”.

 

Speaker: I h= ave had an opportunity to review the proposed amendment, and I have also had an opportunity to speak further with Madam Clerk of Committees, who is suggest= ing the addition of one additional word — and consulted with the mover of= the proposed amendment. I believe that this proposal is in order. I know that members are wondering what that word was and you will find out here shortly= .

It has= been moved by the Member for Copperbelt South:

THAT M= otion No. 339 be amended by replacing the word “introduce” with = the words “consider introducing” and inserting the words “following consultations with appropriate experts, stakeholders and Y= ukon residents” after the word “vaping”.

The pr= oposed amended motion would read:

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to consider introducing amendments to the Smoke-Free Places Act to include v= aping following consultations with appropriate experts, stakeholders and Yukon residents.

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Mr. Kent: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am hoping that members will support the proposed amendment and take it for what I hope is seen as an improvement to the orig= inal motion introduced by the Member for Porter Creek Centre.

Again,= I will step back to the initial Smoke-Free Places Act. I don’t believe that another select committee is requ= ired for this or anything like that. That was obviously a significant piece of legislation that was brought forward at the time. As I mentioned, there were public hearings in Mayo, Dawson City, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks, Ross River, Faro, Haines Junction, Destruction Bay, Burwash Landing, Beaver Creek, Wats= on Lake, Teslin, Marsh Lake, Carcross, Old Crow, Tagish and Whitehorse. There = was ample time and ample opportunity for Yukon residents to provide their input= .

Again,= referring to the acknowledgement in the report delivered by the select committee, they wanted to thank the hundreds of Yukoners as well as interested groups who expressed their views to the committee at the committee’s public hear= ings by answering a questionnaire that went out or through written submissions. =

As you= can see, there was quite a bit of input. Some of the expert organizations that provi= ded input at that time included the Canadian Cancer Society, Clean Air Coalition British Columbia and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada; as well, the Yukon Lung Association, the Village of Mayo= and the Yukon Federation of Labour were also important stakeholders that provid= ed input into that process. As I mentioned, hundreds of Yukoners through vario= us means provided input as well.

 I think that any time we are consid= ering legislative changes, it is important to talk to appropriate experts, stakeholders and Yukon residents. I think that again, hopefully the mover of the motion and the government side as well as the New Democrats will support the amendment that I have put forward here today. I think it is a good opportunity to reach out to a number of individuals who may have additional input or ideas with respect to this legislation and how to improve it.

As I m= entioned, I know there was some involvement for me in the original select committee process. One of the recommended amendments that came forward out of the consultations was the prohibition of smoking in vehicles carrying someone u= nder the age of 19. I don’t think that was initially put forward, but it d= id end up in the final legislation.

Another recommendation that came forward from the Canadian Cancer Society was that = the committee should also recommend an increase in cigarette taxes by at least $15.60 per carton to match the rate found in the NWT and Nunavut and to clo= se a tobacco tax loophole that allows roll-your-own tobacco to be taxed at a low= er rate.

I am n= ot exactly sure what tax increase was adopted, but I know the government of the day at that time — from what I understand from colleagues at the Canadian Ca= ncer Society — introduced the largest tobacco tax increase in the history = of Canada; so they did bring it up to a more acceptable level. Those are the t= ypes of things, I think, that came out of involving experts, stakeholders and Yu= kon residents that were positive as we move forward.

Again,= I hope that members will support this amendment. The motion as amended is certainly something that we can get behind.

 

Mr. Gallina: I want to thank the Member for Copperbelt South for bri= nging forward this amendment. The member brought this amendment to my attention earlier this morning, and since then, I have also had the opportunity to ta= lk briefly with the Member for Takhini-Kopper King, along with members of my caucus.

I thin= k this is a good example of members of this House from all caucuses working together = in the best interests of Yukoners. It sees us collaborating on important issues and working toward solutions that have meaning to all citizens across the territory.

Specif= ically on consultation — this is a very important element as we look at conside= ring amendments to legislation and regulations. I know this government takes consultation and engagement with Yukoners very seriously. As this House loo= ks to urge the government to amend the Smoke-Free Places Act, consultation and engagement would have been built into the = plan to introduce amendments. This is evident in the engagements that have taken place in just the past year alone. Since the launch of most reliable soccer prediction site last fall, the governme= nt has hosted over 38 engagements on projects such as the tourism development strategy, talking Yukon parks and cannabis legislation — to name a fe= w.

What t= his amendment would do is show that all members of this House have prioritized engagement with Yukoners and ensure this important element is built into legislative considerations.

In clo= sing, Mr. Speaker, the Liberal caucus is supportive of this amendment. Consultation and engage= ment is important to Yukoners and to this government,= and I thank members for their collaboration on this motion.

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Hon. Ms. Frost: I appreciate the opportunity to rise in the House today to spe= ak to this motion. The motion as amended —

Speaker: Is = it the Minister of Health and Social Services’ intention to speak to the amendment or to the main — or do we wish t= o deal with the issue of the amendment first?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I am speaking to the motion as amended.

Speaker: Wha= t is before the House right now is the debate on the proposed amendment.

Does a= ny other member wish to speak on the proposed amendment?

Amendment to Motion No. 339 agreed to

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Speaker: Is = there any further debate on the main motion as amended?

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Hon. Ms. Frost: I am pleased to rise today to speak to the motion as amended. = I am speaking as the Minister of Health and Social Services. In doing so, I would like to move that we accept the amendment. I really just wanted to share so= me important information with respect to safeguarding the health of Yukoners. I know that consultation is an important element of discussions, given that t= here is a lot of inconclusive evidence around vaping and harmful effects of vapi= ng products. But first, I would like to share some important figures that will help illustrate our government’s priorities when addressing these iss= ues.

Accord= ing to the federal data, more than one in 10 Canadians has tried vaping. Youth and you= ng adults between the ages of 15 and 24 are most likely to report having tried vaping at a higher rate than any other age group. Fully a quarter of Canadi= an students in grade 7 to grade 12 report having tried a vaping product at lea= st once, and one in 10 reported doing so within the last 30 days alone.=

We kno= w that for the vast majority of adult smokers, smoking begins in adolescence or young adulthood. We note too that young people who use vaping products are more likely to try cigarettes than those who don’t. This government understands the importance of keeping vaping products out of the hands of Yukon’s youth, and the best way to prevent nicotine addiction and tobacco-related illness is to help ensure that young people don’t ever take the first puff, but it’s also important that we provide relevant information with respect to the harmful effects of the chemicals associated with vaping.

We are= fully committed to taking the steps necessary to ensure that vaping products do n= ot become a gateway to tobacco for young people. Earlier this year our colleagues in Ottawa introduced the Tobacco and V= aping Products Act, a new piece of legislation to regulate the manufacture, s= ale, labelling and promotion of tobacco and vaping products sold in Canada. In addition to further combating the negative impact of tobacco on the health = of Canadians, this legislation creates a new legal framework for regulating va= ping products to protect young people from nicotine addiction and to offer adult= s a less harmful alternative to tobacco.

Under = this new legislation, Yukoners under the age of 18 are prohibited from purchasing va= ping products. Promotion that is appealing to youth, including certain flavourin= gs as well as logos, is banned. Lifestyle advertising, sponsorship and, of cou= rse, celebrity endorsement are also prohibited under the act. This legislation a= lso takes a major step forward in addressing the concerns that many Yukoners ha= ve about vaping, and it is working to protect young people and provide a less harmful alternative to smoking to adults.

The De= partment of Health and Social Services is closely examining this new federal legisla= tion and is working to determine the next steps to amend the Smoke-Free Places Act. Like other jurisdictions, we in the Yukon have an opportunity to create additional protections built on important progress already made.

I want= to state that the legislation that addresses some of the core concerns of the Yukon public is an essential piece of the amendments as we go forward. We have un= ique opportunities in the Yukon to do that, and I look forward to providing furt= her updates through Health and Social Services as we evolve, but also I’m just rising today to say that I support the amendments.

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Ms. Hanson: I just want to reaffirm that the Yukon NDP does support this motion as put forward, but I do want to raise a very strong concern that we have. The use= of the phrase “vaping” has been in the conversation so far this afternoon and only relates to the use of tobacco. There is a distinct difference when we start talking about the use of medicinal marijuana for vaping.

Our co= ncern is that, if we’re talking about the Smoke-Free Places Act, the challenge that we face and that many Yukoners face right now is that the Residential Landlor= d and Tenant Act is — there are two different pieces of legislation = 212; at least — that are affected here. When we’re talking about = 212; if there is a blanket prohibition on vaping, then we may inadvertently be putting up another barrier to those people who need — and absolutely = need — access to medicinal marijuana. Vaping is the safest way for somebod= y to consume cannabis, because otherwise they are forced to combust it, which do= es then introduce the potential for carcinogens into the lungs, which we don&#= 8217;t want. We know that vaping doesn’t raise the temperature to that degre= e, and they do not have to ingest it.

I can = say and affirm that most of us have constituents — but in my riding, I have a number of seniors who currently live in Yukon Housing Corporation units who have been prescribed medicinal marijuana and who do consume it by vaping. T= hey are technically not supposed to be doing that in their buildings. We have u= rged and will continue to urge Health and Social Services and Yukon Housing Corporation to get together in a collaborative effort to avoid the problem = of people having to smoke marijuana outside and causing the problems of odours — but to make vapes available to all of those folks who have a prescription for it.

This i= s just to raise the issue here, and we are looking for ideas as to how we are going to address the challenge that people who have a need for pain relief, inflamma= tion relief — all sorts of different reasons why — and palliative reasons — may need to use a vape to consume various forms of cannabis= . I don’t know what the answer is, Mr. Speaker, but I do know that, = as presently worded, we are going to be creating a problem for a sector of our community that I don’t think is intended. I don’t think the consequences of that were intended by this blanket prohibition.

I can = tell you that it is an issue for anybody who sits on a condo board or whatever. They will realize that this has become a hot topic of discussion for condo associations and corporations throughout the territory. I am not sure, but = I am asking for — we are talking about debate on an issue. How does the me= mber who introduced the motion — and his caucus — want to approach t= his in terms of not putting those folks who really do rely upon accessing canna= bis through vaping for medicinal reasons and who have gone through the whole federally regulated process in terms of accessing that medicinal marijuana?= I throw it out there. We know it is a real and current concern.

&= nbsp;

Hon. Mr. Streicker= : First of all, thank you for the original motion, and th= ank you for the amendment brought forward by the Official Opposition. I would l= ike to thank in particular the Leader of the Third Party for raising the concern that she just raised.

When I= first had considered this motion, I had not thought about the concern that she raised= . In most instances that I understand, those people who are using medical mariju= ana are using it on their private property and that is not going to be of conce= rn here, but the issue that she raises is a real question. I think it’s important to address it, because “most” won’t mean “all”. There will still be a sector there, and I think it is wo= rth looking at. I think the amendment that we just passed — where we put = in the word “consider” — and, in that way, this will give us that opportunity to look at those issues and make sure that we’re not excluding a group here. I’ll leave my comments to that point there. I think it is important.

What I= will say is that, as we’ve introduced legalized cannabis, we’ve made our= two top priorities: (1) to displace the illicit trade, and that is starting to happen and we know that now; (2) to focus on health and wellness and, in particular, to think about our youth and how to educate there to make sure = that they understand the risks that are out there around cannabis. It has been a very fundamental change to the landscape of the Yukon, but I think there we= re a lot of concerns, and now, as we arrive and as we land with legalized cannab= is, we’re starting to see the future, and some of the fears that were originally there are being allayed.

There = are still real things to address, and I think this is one of them — how to deal with the various methods in which people consume cannabis. We know, going forward, that the federal government has already indicated that on October = 17, 2019, there will be new forms as well, so we need to prepare for those. I t= hink that it makes this a pertinent conversation throughout.

By the= way, if I can just give a shout-out — as always, I encourage all Yukoners to mo= ve away from the illicit trade and move to the licit trade, and we’re working toward getting the private sector up and running.

Let= 217;s talk about smoke-free spaces and vaping. One thing that we had gone through in i= ntroducing cannabis — and that we wanted to try to make sure with vaping as well — was that we weren’t promoting vaping, that we were getting aw= ay from flavours and that we were getting away from advertising — those sorts of things. That is, I think, at the heart of this motion. I think it = is very important that we make sure that, once we’ve identified the harm= s of something — like tobacco — we find ways to not enable it with o= ur youth. I’m sure that some young people will begin using tobacco, but = the more that we do not design systems that are going to encourage them to do s= o is very important. We’ve seen the success over time.

I tabl= ed earlier in this session a report on the cost of harms of substance use. Number one = was alcohol, and number two was tobacco. They are very close to each other in t= erms of the overall cost to society — this is Canadian society, but the Yu= kon will not be different in terms of relative weight. I think that number four= was cannabis, down at seven percent, but alcohol and tobacco together represent= ed about 70 percent of the harm. Tobacco is a very important product. It is no= t, by itself, an intoxicant, but it is addictive, so we do need to find ways to address it.

Becaus= e of the changes in technology that come with vaping and the ways, culturally, in how that usage is entering into our society, we need to update our Smoke-Free Places Act. I think it = is important that as we do that, we now consider how to make sure that the legislation is not introducing barriers or harms to citizens who are using medical marijuana.

I than= k the Leader of the Third Party for her comments, and I look forward to working on this issue. We have a tremendous working group that has been focused on cannabis. Currently, they are focused on cannabis retail. We have pulled together people from Health and Social Services, from the RCMP, from Justic= e, from Economic Development and from the Liquor Corporation so that they are = all working together on this. I think that is a good group of people, and I int= end to take the question that was posed and make sure that, as we move forward = on this, we do not introduce side effects that we were not anticipating.

&= nbsp;

Speaker: Is = there any further debate on the motion as amended?

If the= member now speaks, he will close debate.

Does a= ny other member wish to be heard on debate with respect to Motion No. 339 as amended?

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Mr. Gallina: In closing debate on this motion, I am not going to be very long. We have heard about the immense amount of work led by previous members of this House and = the many Yukoners in establishing the S= moke-Free Places Act. We have heard about health risks, glamorization of vaping, considerations within our schools and within our families, which — as= the Member for beautiful Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes has stated — are the primary drivers of this motion. We have also heard about the concerns raise= d by the Leader of the Third Party as it relates to the consumption of medicinal marijuana and ensuring those Yukoners who use medicinal marijuana have certainty.

This m= otion starts the work to consider amendments to one piece of legislation and begi= n to have discussions with appropriate experts, stakeholders and Yukon residents= . I want to thank members for the amendment brought forward by the Member for Copperbelt South and the debate that we have had here today. I look forward= to all members of this House supporting this motion.

Motion No. 339, as amended, agreed to<= /o:p>

 

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Mr. Speaker, I move that the Speaker do now leave = the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Motion agreed to

 

Speaker leaves the Chair

Committee of the Whole

Chair (Mr. Hutton): The matter before the Committee is Vote 15, Department of Heal= th and Social Services in Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑19.

Do mem= bers wish to take a brief recess?

All Hon. Members: Agreed.

Chair: Commi= ttee of the Whole will recess for 15 minutes.

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Recess

 

Chair: Commi= ttee of the Whole will now come to order.

Bill No. 207: Second Appropriation = Act, 2018‑19 — continued

Chair: The matter before the Committee is Vote 15, Department = of Health and Social Services in Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑19.

Is the= re any general debate?

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Department of Heal= th and Social Services

Hon. Ms. Frost: I would like to introduce my staff who are here with me today. I have Stephen Samis,
Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services and Social Services, and Mich= ele Goshulak, assistant deputy minister.

I am h= ere today to introduce the Department of Health and Social Services supplementary bud= get for fiscal year 2018‑19. The department is requesting an overall incr= ease of $6.919 million, bringing the total for the 2018‑19 budget to $437,814,000. This $6.919 million represents an increase of two percen= t in the department’s total budget for fiscal year 2018‑19. This requested increase in O&M is $3,091,000.

Let me= explain what is included in this request. The department is requesting an additional $2.861 million for the Yukon Hospital Corporation to cover additional costs in chemotherapy, medical imaging, lab services and the collective agreement. As part of this request, the department is requesting $1.3 = million to cover the escalating costs of drugs and prescribed treatment for chemotherapy. Chemotherapy treatment that is provided at Whitehorse General Hospital is increasing in cost. The complexity of chemotherapy treatment has increased over the last decade, with treatment having a greater ability to target specific cells and, thus, having fewer toxic effects on the bodyR= 17;s organs, resulting in more positive outcomes.

These = advances in treatment have resulted in increased costs to chemotherapy treatment. Th= is expenditure contributes to positive health outcomes for Yukon citizens who = are going through chemotherapy treatment and enables our health care systems to provide a leading edge treatment option. I’m happy to support this request.

Just o= ne note on the cost of drugs — the Premier and his colleagues at the Council of = the Federation table, as well as my fellow health ministers across the country = and I, are actively working on solutions to address the rising cost of drugs ac= ross Canada. For example, Yukon participates with its provincial and territorial partners in the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance to ensure improved val= ue of money through bulk drug purchasing. Yukon also participates in the provincial-territorial pan-Canadian collaborative on health equipment procurement, which was established in 2017 to advance collaborative procure= ment of basic and specialized medical equipment. Building on the success of collaborative purchasing in other areas like pharmaceuticals, the work of t= he pan-Canadian collaborative on health equipment procurement seeks to achieve efficiencies and procurement practices, more robust evidence-based decision= -making, innovation in technology and procurement practices, greater value for transactions and enhanced patient safety and health outcomes. While in Yuko= n we benefit greatly from these initiatives, we rely to a large extent on our provincial partners’ expertise and specialized knowledge on procureme= nt as well as their ability to keep a pulse on current trends in this field. <= /span>

The de= partment is also requesting funds to address increases for the Hospital Corporation = in the following areas: $398,000 is requested for increases in the cost for medical imaging to cover an increase in complex tests such as CT scan, MRI = and mammography; $554,000 is requested to cover demand-driven costs associated = with lab services; and $609,000 is requested for increased costs associated with= the Yukon Hospital Corporation’s collective agreement, bringing it in line with Yukon government’s.

The fi= nal O&M request is for a four-year, $898,000 agreement between my department and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, or = CPAC. The funding for this fiscal year is $230,000. The goal of this funding is to integrate palliative care services earlier in the patient’s journey as well as to incorporate patient-reported outcomes into the delivery of palliative care and end-of-life care. As we all know, dying is a part of li= fe, and supporting Yukon citizens with improved palliative care and end-of-life care will support individuals, families and loved ones while providing care= and support.

During= this project, health care providers will be trained in the early integration of = the palliative care approach to care and the use of patient-reported outcomes — the patient voice to direct care. This will mean that individuals a= nd their families will have the opportunity to enjoy a better quality of life = throughout palliative care and the end-of-life journey.

As you= can imagine, we are excited about this funding, as it fits in very well with our work on aging in place as well as two of our enduring priorities. Our people-centred approach to wellness helps Yukoners thrive. Our strategic investment builds healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities. These funds= are 100‑percent recoverable.

For pe= ople listening and for members of this House who want to learn more about this organization, I encourage them to visit most reliable soccer prediction site.

Mr.&nb= sp;Chair, as I mentioned, under capital, the department is requesting $3,828,000. This funding request is to do with the newly opened Whistle Bend continuing care= facility, which more than 1,000 Yukon citizens came to tour most recently during the opening. I was very excited about that. We look forward to residents moving into their new home in the Whistle Bend facility in the coming months. These funds are budget-adjusted and involve the timing of funds voted but not use= d in 2017‑18 fiscal year that are now being moved to the 2018‑19 construction completed schedule. That is what I have to report today, Mr.&n= bsp;Chair.

Ms. McLeod: We had a discussion earlier today about the THIF funding during motion debate brought forward by the Member for Mayo-Tatchun.

I was = doing a little bit of research with regard to the THIF. I’m wondering if the minister could provide us with some comments on the outcome for our territo= ry as a result of the last round of THIF funding.

Hon. Ms. Frost: With respect to the previous THIF funding, we have cond= ucted an assessment on the outcomes from the previous funding. The evaluation is completed, so we will have that for submission very shortly — I am assuming in the next week or so.

Ms. McLeod: One of the aspects of the last THIF funding was medical travel and assistance f= or medical travel. The desired outcome was to improve services for Yukoners wh= ere they live in order to reduce the need for medical travel and thereby reduci= ng the financial request to cover that. From what I know and from what I hear, obviously that was not met. I heard the minister put forward again the same concept, the same idea.

The mi= nister recently announced $2 million toward medical travel assistance. That announcement came prior to this announcement on the THIF funding for the upcoming four years. Is the $2 million that the minister previously announced part of this $25 million of new THIF funding?

Hon. Ms. Frost: With the current THIF funding, we are working on improvements — certainly looking at collaborative care in Yukon communities and collaborate care remotely, providing the necessary medical supports via telehealth. Some of the things that we have discussed in the Legislative Assembly around collaborative care include how to bring the services to Yuk= on communities — specialized care, whether it would be through the new specialized services that we bring in from Vancouver on a contract basis, o= n an annual basis or on a monthly basis, for that matter. What can we do in the Yukon to ensure that we provide opportunities to alleviate some of the pressures that we are seeing on medical travel?

Curren= tly, as I indicated in many submissions, we have seen a cost driver in health as one = of the biggest pressures — medical travel. We have seen in excess of $14=  million. As noted, that cost has risen significantly, I believe, since the last repo= rt — something like almost $4 million. I don’t have the number right at the tip of my fingers, but I certainly could get a hold of that. I have it in my notes somewhere. It was quite significant.

So whe= n we look at this last fiscal year, trying to balance off the growing costs of medical travel — how do we do that? We used part of the THIF funding to offset the cost of medical travel as we see it continuing to rise.

We als= o looked at the discussion that we had about the pediatrician. Historically, we were sending a lot of patients and clients outside of the Yukon for those types = of specialized supports. We now have the pediatrician who is here and the specialist who provides hip and knee surgery here in Yukon. That has elimin= ated a lot of the medical travel, so we will see a bit of reduction in overall m= edical travel. We want to be able to continue to address that — bring the services to the people — much like we are occupying the space in rural Yukon communities through our two hospitals that we transferred over to the Yukon Hospital Corporation in 2010. What types of services do we provide ou= t of those hospitals and what types of opportunities are there to look at a collaborative care centre?

The co= mpleted 2008 report provided some direction with respect to collaborative care in Y= ukon communities. What we’re doing right now is really looking at a broader description, trying to put those things into action and looking at, most recently, the THIF funding that we received and the opportunities to bring mental wellness to our people and rural Yukon communities and to bring supp= orts like physiotherapy in our communities as opposed to having clients come in = from rural Yukon communities and having to pay the travel. What can we do to all= ow those things to happen?

One of= the things discussed about moving forward was looking at the drivers around emergency medical travel and acute care at the hospitals. We try to provide= a different model, and we’re committed to some shifts around improvemen= ts and how we look at sustainability and the growth with the health care cost. What we focused on was training in collaborative care, looking at remote ca= re and investing in new technologies. We’re doing that by improvements in our health system right now — doing that in collaboration with the Hospital Corporation, quicker access from the health centres into the emerg= ency room at the hospital when we found ourselves in a situation — so tryi= ng to alleviate some of those immediate pressures and providing the essential services and supports to Yukoners in time and as they need it.

Ms. McLeod: The minister mentioned a concerted effort to bring specialized care to communit= ies, and she did use the term “plural”. I’m wondering if the minister meant that she’s bringing that specialized care into Whiteho= rse. I ask that because probably somewhere in that 2008 report, it mentions brin= ging these kinds of care options to the community hospitals to reduce travel.

Just a= little bit of clarification that I’m after — whether or not those specialized doctors are going to be brought out to community hospitals or if it’s just going to be located in Whitehorse?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I’m pleased to have a discussion around what it is we= 217;re doing right now with respect to the specialized care in the hospitals. We k= now that the two rural hospitals have a lot of potential — potential for growth and potential for providing, perhaps, some alternative level of care= to the clients in the respective regions. We are working with the Hospital Corporation, and we’re working with rural hospitals and the physician= s to look at the potential within each one of those regional hubs. We’ve expanded the mental wellness supports and the specialized services with the mental wellness and substance use strategy that we brought in, in the last year. Those have been brought out to the communities.

When w= e speak about rural Yukon communities, we bring the supports to communities, not ju= st to Whitehorse. It is noted that the supports that we have brought in most recently for orthopedic care and pediatric care has eliminated a lot of the pressures from medical travel but also the in-time support to Yukoners, so = we are not having them fly to Whitehorse out of some rural Yukon communities a= nd then from here stop over to get to Vancouver, with the added stresses around that. We are trying to bring the services to the centralized facility that = has the ability to deliver on those specialized supports. But when we can, we l= ook at our partnerships with rural community-based hospitals.

Ms. McLeod: I fully support the department providing specialized services in our rural hospitals, and I know that the people who live in those communities would m= uch prefer to get that kind of care in their home community. I was a little bit unclear still when the minister mentioned, as a for instance, pediatrics and joint care, I thought I heard the minister say she had sent those specialis= ts to rural hospitals. I want a little bit of clarification on that because I = had not heard that this was happening.

Hon. Ms. Frost: No, we have not sent those specialists to the rural hospitals.= We have specialist supports in Whitehorse General Hospital, and we, of course, work very collaboratively with the community-based hospitals. At that point, there is quicker and easier access to the facility in Whitehorse. So that support is not provided out to the communities in those hospitals.

Ms. McLeod: I thank the minister for that clarification. Obviously treating people here in Whitehorse saves a lot of travel money as opposed to sending people out to Vancouver and Edmonton or perhaps further. But I would like the minister to continue to look at providing specialized care in those communities where w= e do have hospitals, because that is what they are designed for, and certainly t= hat is what the people are looking for.

When w= e were speaking a while ago about THIF funding, the minister mentioned mental well= ness funding as part of this THIF money. It is leading me to need to know what is being funded out of the THIF package that was just announced — the pa= rt that is covering the 2018 for the next four years. I am wondering if the minister has a breakdown of how that money is going to be distributed. She = will note that in the last agreement, chronic care, mental health and medical tr= avel were the primary drivers in the last funding.

I̵= 7;m looking to find out where the money is being spent now. Also, can the minis= ter tell me if the $11 million for home care — I can’t remember the other one right now that was announced earlier this year — is par= t of this $25 million that was just announced? I’m looking for a breakdown of what is covered in this new THIF funding.

Hon. Ms. Frost: I will just note that the question with respect to the overall health budget — the discussion today is really about the supplementary submission. I would be happy to have a detailed discussion about the overall health budget with respect to mental wellness, mental wellness hubs, where = the funds are coming from and how the services are being delivered.

At the= moment, what I can say is that when we talk about the innovation stream and we talk about the opportunities for spending resources that we get within Health and Social Services, we look at the supports around collaborative care and supp= orts to rural Yukon communities. We look at competencies with respect to training and supports in our communities. We talked a bit about telehealth and the opportunities to get the supports to Yukon communities — in-time supp= orts — when needed. We also looked at the concept of aging in place and providing more remote care where needed. Historically, we have not really d= one a very efficient job in providing support to our aging population.

When w= e speak about collaborative care, we talk about perhaps palliative care as well. As= we know, rural Yukon communities don’t have opportunities to support collaborative care when we have citizens who are perhaps at the end of life. When we talk about expanding our supports through remote care, we look at training and we look at the upgrade to our Meditech system so that we can have a direct in-time link from our health care centres to t= he hospital and to the physicians.

In fac= t, if you go to my community in Old Crow, you are going to go in, and the information that is contained in there is in filing cabinets that date back to since the health centre opened in 1960. That information is not transmittable via the modernized information technology system. They would still have to photocop= y, print, scan and e‑mail the information, so it is very time-consuming = and not very effective.

Histor= ically, I think the objective is to ensure that, as we look at collaborative care and innovation, those are things that we want to talk about. We want to look at improvements to the data and the performance measures, and we are working w= ith CIHI, as noted in our earlier discussion today during the legislative debat= e on THIF funding. We have not ever historically assessed the data that we colle= ct in Yukon and upload to CIHI, which is the Canadian Institute for Health Information. We have been doing a very good job of collecting information b= ut not of analyzing or looking at what that story tells us. We know that, of course, as you collect data over time, it should tell you a very specific s= tory on some of the key pressure areas.

As we = look at the upgrades, we look at spending resources. I do believe — I might be wrong, but I can verify it — that we have contributed or we are propo= sing to support the Hospital Corporation in excess of $2 million this year.= I think the overall request is in excess of $6 million. We are trying to support them as they modernize, but we are also looking at our health centr= es so that both centres can communicate effectively. As we look at collaborati= ve care and remote care and look at supporting rural Yukon hospitals, we are g= oing to ensure that we get the supports to the hospitals in the two rural centre= s as well as our communities in a very timely and efficient manner using the resources that we have — not just THIF funding, but our overall budge= t.

When w= e talk about the comprehensive review and bringing specialized supports to our communities, we want to look at innovation and the cost drivers but also lo= ok at service delivery models. I am happy to say that when we talk about specialized services to the communities, we have this year Dr. Elwell,= who is a psychiatrist. For the first time in our existence as a government, we = had a psychiatrist actually visit Dawson City and present supports to the communities of Dawson City and the surrounding area. We do that through the mental wellness hubs. I am very pleased to say that the mental wellness cen= tre in Dawson City is situated in the health centre. As well, we have a partner= ship with the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation. We are looking as broadly as = we can around collaborative care, specialized care and ensuring that the communiti= es have input into what that means to them.

Ms. McLeod: Just to be clear, I am not really looking forward to ha= ving a full discussion on the entire health budget. That is not why we are here to= day; I know that. However, there are issues that are of importance to Yukoners t= hat we do need to talk about.

The mi= nister mentioned the comprehensive health review. I have a question regarding the health review in connection with the THIF money. I’m wondering if the allocation of the THIF money — because I gather that has not been done — is tied to the health review and whether or not we will have to wait until the end of 2019 to hear how that money is going to be spent. <= /p>

Hon. Ms. Frost: Just with regard to the THIF funding, we just received that TH= IF funding in the summer and, as we move forward, I think that will roll out o= ver time, but that work has already started.

Ms. McLeod: When would the minister anticipate that work to be done? Will she share that information with the House or with all Yukoners?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I’m not sure if the member opposite is asking about the = health review now or the THIF funding. The health review is proposed to be complet= ed in October 2019, and the THIF funding ends in 2021.

Ms. McLeod: I was referring to the THIF funding. I recognize that the review is not going= to be done for another year, but as the minister had indicated that the review= on how to spend the THIF is being undertaken now, I’m wondering when she might share that information.

Hon. Ms. Frost: If I may ask the Member for Watson Lake to please help me bett= er understand this: Is she asking for the plan specific to THIF from now to 20= 21 or for the overall review of the Health budget as submitted? I’m not clear what she is asking for specifically, so help me understand and I will= try to respond to the question.

Ms. McLeod: Thanks to the minister. What I’m looking for is — as was done with the last agreement, there was a certain set of priorities that were laid out and targeted by that funding. I’m looking for that same idea and dollar v= alue associated out of the THIF money and whether or not there is a plan in plac= e or coming out soon that covers the entire $25 million — or just how= the minister intends to roll the money out over the next four years.

Hon. Ms. Frost: I can retable that information. When I signed off on the THIF funding with the Member of Parliament, we provided at that time a detailed summary of what the THIF funding would be used for. I would be more than pleased to table that for the member opposite.

Ms. McLeod: I thank the minister for that.

As we = know, we have seen some movement on the mental health front in the last year. There were, as we have talked about frequently, the 11 new positions to address t= he mental health wellness needs of Yukoners.

I am w= ondering if the minister can tell us today if all of those 11 positions are staffed = and in place?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I am very pleased to say that currently we have 10 of the 11 positions filled. We have one vacancy, which is in one of our rural Yukon communities and it is supported by one of the hubs. We always ensure that we provide the necessary supports and coverage for all of our communities, and= we will endeavour to do so as we move forward and as we fill that last vacancy. The recruitment is currently in effect for that one vacant position.=

Ms. McLeod: It is certainly good to hear that 10 of them are in place. There are, I presum= e, some of our smaller communities that may not be serviced by having a dedica= ted mental health worker. I am wondering how the needs of those communities are being met?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I am happy to speak to the issue around the mental wellness su= pports for all of our communities. As I have noted, we have provided resources to = all of our communities. That means that we are working with our partners as we = look at committed supports to mental wellness in the Yukon. In the spring of 201= 8, we opened the four mental wellness and substance-use hubs. As noted, Dawson City, Haines Junction, Carmacks and Watson Lake are the four hubs. In each = one of these hubs, we have primary health care nurses, we have mental wellness support counsellors, we have clinical counsellors, we have a mental wellness nurse and we also have supports for children in each one of these support centres. We also look at ensuring that in each one of our communities we ha= ve a social worker, and we have not had that historically.

As not= ed previously, we have 10 of the 11 positions filled. We also look at enhanced supports when we look at substance use and substance supports within our communities — or looking at preventive measures and working with our First Nation partnerships when we look at pre- and post-care supports.

We pro= vided significant resources over the last year — I believe it was $600,000 — to help the communities to design models that better align with the= ir community-based needs. We tie that into the supports under the mental welln= ess hubs. We also, as noted, have some home support workers in our communities. That is designed under this wellness strategy. We are also looking at speci= fic supports to our communities by providing necessary training and wellness pl= ans, so the evolution of pre-imposed care might mean something different for each one of our communities. When we look at the land-based initiative — a= nd we continue, obviously, to fund the Jackson Lake program and supports there= . I hope that answers the question.

Ms. McLeod: My thanks to the minister. Can the minister tell us a little bit about how well the hubs are working, what kind of client load they have and how government= is planning to measure the impact or the success of the hubs in those communit= ies?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I’m happy to report that we are, obviously, recei= ving very positive feedback from the communities, as they have not seen this typ= e of support in their communities historically. They are very pleased that the supports are there.

Given = that it’s a new initiative and that we just recently opened them up, it’s very difficult to give concrete evidence right now, but thatR= 17;s the intent and the objective — to provide necessary analysis and summ= ary around the centres. When we speak about collaborative care, it’s real= ly incumbent on us to look at the whole well-being of the individual, not just their mental well-being — but the health aspect as well. We look at a= ll services that we provide in the communities and ensure that we assess that appropriately and that we evolve according to the measured outcomes and the measured plans.

With r= espect to specific data — I’m not able to give that at the moment, but I = can say that the feedback that we are receiving is very, very positive. =

Ms. McLeod: I’m pleased to hear that it’s going well. I am still curious, though, when the government might expect that information to be available. Are they wait= ing until the hub has been open for a year and then to assess the data over the year, and then how long will that take? When can we be looking for this information?

Just o= ne other thing on that is whether or not the minister is confident that there is eno= ugh space for the mental wellness hubs to serve both the staff and their client= s.

Hon. Ms. Frost: I can say that, in my estimation and from what I’m heari= ng from Yukoners and from the support centres, they do have enough space. I am quite pleased that we have found some significant partners.

With r= egard to the measurable outcomes, it will take some time.

I do w= ant to say that when we talk about the innovation and opportunities to assess data, let’s go back in time. In 2008, the comprehensive health review took = into consideration deliverables and potential outcomes that the recommendations provided or were driving in terms of health outcomes or projected outcomes.=

There = were 27 recommendations, but one of the recommendations was to look at a collaborat= ive model in Yukon communities, to look at mental wellness and collaborative he= alth care models and to look at a compilation of specialized services in our communities. Shortly after that, we saw the transfer of the rural hospitals= to the Yukon Hospital Corporation. When we are saying that we are going back to look at assessing the data that was collected by CIHI over the last 10 year= s, this is an opportunity for us to look at what was collected and what was compiled and then to look at the outcomes.

In the= drivers around health care and the measurable plans, I think it is really important that we look at historical cost drivers and at what happened from that init= ial report — the CIHI assessments — and then look at going forward = with the comprehensive review. The Member for Whitehorse Centre raised earlier t= he need to look at efficiencies — perhaps raising the fact that we have = gone through this exercise historically time and time again. The objective is no= t to reinvent anything, but it is really to look at what happened, what we collected, what are the cost drivers and how do we look for efficiencies. W= hen we look at the strategies for the report cards and results, we really want = to assure Yukoners that we are using the resources available to us.

The fu= nding from THIF will help us to do that. It will help us to look at a comprehensive assessment of what the cost drivers are. It will help us also to look at policies and policy directives. It will help us to assess the types of serv= ices we could perhaps bring to rural Yukon communities more effectively. When we look at the mental wellness hubs, they are not alone unto themselves. It is very difficult for us to sit and assess the outcomes without looking at the whole person — and look at the prevention and preventative measures a= nd at services that we provide within those communities. I am happy to say tha= t it is the direction we are going in.

As we = evolve, we would be happy to provide those summary reports back to Yukoners to show efficiencies.

Ms. McLeod: I appreciate that. Obviously I believe it’s important that we ensure th= at the tax dollars that we’re spending are achieving the goal that they = are laid out for. I think we need to be responsible to Yukoners with those tax dollars. I look forward to seeing those results as soon as they are availab= le.

I have= a few questions about some home care issues. The minister met earlier this year w= ith a group of elders in Watson Lake. Later at a public meeting, she made a com= ment about a seniors care facility. I wonder if the minister could give us a lit= tle more information on that and what it was intended for.

Hon. Ms. Frost: With respect to the meetings that we have had in Watson= Lake and other Yukon communities with our seniors or our older adults — of course, we have an aging population. We are going to see, as time evolves — by 2030, I believe, something like 30 percent of our population wil= l be over the age of 55, so we are seeing some cost drivers. Part of our deliberations and our public engagement around aging in place is really bas= ed on the requests from each one of the communities, given their unique circumstances and their demographic. We have some communities that already = have seniors complexes — they may be through Yu= kon Housing Corporation — but we also want to ensure that we provide appropriate services to those seniors who are residing in these facilities.=

In doi= ng so, we also want to ensure that those citizens who choose to stay at home are at h= ome longer and are supported while they choose to live in their own residence. = The discussions — when we talk about ongoing aging-in-place engagement — are really to get some clear evidence of what Yukoners want and wha= t it means to remain in their own homes within their own communities. We have conducted the aging-in-place summit, and we have another one coming up very shortly. As noted earlier in my submission, we provided an additional $1.6&= nbsp;million to the home care budget in two years. We are looking to enhance seniors hou= sing in Yukon communities.

In som= e of our communities, we do not have seniors complexes, but we also have not had supports and funding in place to ensure that older adults remain in their o= wn homes, which means that we make some adjustments to their homes — some building renovations. So we’re doing that in collaboration with Yukon Housing Corporation. The discussions that are happening throughout the Yukon are done in collaboration with Health and Social Services and Yukon Housing Corporation.

To dat= e, we have approximately 39 percent of our clients living in communities outside of Whitehorse, so we need to ensure that we provide supports to those clients, because, as we know, it’s easier to access the programs in Whitehorse= . We have the home first initiative and, as an opportunity for us to increase the home care services in those communities, we need to expand capacity, but we also need to identify what the service needs are within each one of our communities.

We als= o have some things to consider that we have not ever considered historically when = we talk about our aging population. We talked a little bit earlier about palliative care. As we know, 25 percent of our population is indigenous Yuk= on First Nations, and they choose as customary practice to provide palliative = care to their older or their sick relatives, and they do that generally without support. What we’re really working toward is ensuring that we provide necessary supports to families and their loved ones as they’re going through some very difficult and challenging times. I know that first-hand, because we don’t have any supports other than a health centre in Old Crow, in Pelly Crossing or in some of our other communities that are more remote.

It is = important for us to look at engagement and look at discussions with our older adults,= but we also need to look at providing necessary opportunities and a venue for t= he community at large to have input into what their core community needs are w= hen we talk about an integrated community sustainability plan, for example. Whe= n we look at designing our new health centres, what does that look like? Is ther= e an opportunity for us to provide more cost-effective and efficient services, b= e it through a facility for palliative care or for seniors, as we build and desi= gn health centres in rural Yukon communities?

Ms. McLeod: Of course I’m fully supportive of home care and expanding those services= . I think our seniors are quite looking forward to seeing some improved service= s.

I thin= k that when I was up last time, I made reference to a seniors care facility and I = get into this labelling issue again that we seem to have. It was actually an elders care facility that the minister had referenced = at that public meeting. I’m just wondering if that is a project that is moving ahead for the community or if it is now off the table. I just want to know where that project is at.

Last f= all there was a survey being done with seniors, and I had asked the minister at the t= ime — I think it was in the spring — about the scope of that discussion, because some of those interviews with seniors were face to face= and then there was a paper survey. Of course, the seniors want to know what happened to that. I did ask the minister for the scope of that discussion — whether or not it happened in every Yukon community or if some communities were targeted. I asked for the rate of return of that paper sur= vey that was handed out to seniors, but I didn’t get that information. I = am wondering if the minister does have that information available because, of course, we would like to know what that initial survey told us. We fully support this current round of discussions going on in communities regarding aging in place, but I think these were different discussions.

Hon. Ms. Frost: Let me maybe put this into a bit of context. As we star= ted this process around aging in place and looking at necessary supports in rur= al Yukon communities, I think it was imperative that we started at a place whe= re we wanted to get a sense of what was currently happening in Yukon communiti= es. The survey that was conducted in the fall triggered a consultation process. First, we had an aging-in-place summit, which Minister Streicker referred to earlier. We had over 200 participants in the session, and I am very pleased= to say that there was so much excitement and enthusiasm in the room from the o= lder adults wanting to engage and giving us some really good advice around what = they saw and what it meant to them to be able to age in place.

As a r= esult of the surveys, we triggered a summit and, to date, we have held engagement sessions in Destruction Bay, Burwash Landing, Beaver Creek, Dawson City, Ma= yo, Watson Lake, Tagish, Marsh Lake, Mount Lorne and Keno. We obviously couldn’t get to Old Crow because of the weather, so we are going to do that very shortly. We also met in Teslin and, most recently, in Haines Junction. I understand that the Member for Kluane was present for those discussions. We have met in Carmacks, Faro and Ross River, so essentially we have met in every one of our Yukon communities to seek feedback from Yukone= rs. Just a week ago I also met with the Seniors Action Yukon association and wi= ll continue to do that and reach out to speak with the older adults to seek in= put.

I want= to make sure that we don’t just stay focused on what the results of the survey reveal, but I think we have a broader story to tell and that is the engagem= ent that we have had with each one of our communities, respectfully acknowledgi= ng their unique circumstances and the demographic group in each one because, of course, the drivers associated with aging in place could be different in ev= ery one of our communities.

The pr= iority for us then, to support aging in place, must be part of a collaborative, broader Yukon-wide effort, and that is what we are working toward. We would be happ= y to release the results of what we heard at the next summit, which will be held this winter. We are compiling all of that information, and we’re real= ly excited about the next aging-in-place summit here in Whitehorse. At that po= int, we will have the results of all of the information that we have acquired to help us then assess each one of the community-based needs. That will obviou= sly be done in collaboration with Community Services when we look at building supports and we look at our partnership with Yukon Housing Corporation and seniors housing and then through Health and Social Services as well.=

Ms. McLeod: I am going to turn a bit to the Pharm= acy and Drug Act that was passed in 2015. Of course, I went to look for the drug act and I couldn’t find it. It is not on the website. I am hoping the minister will update the website and make it so that we can find it. I = do understand that regulations were coming out as a result of that act. My question is: Are those regulations currently out for consultation?

Hon. Ms. Frost: Maybe I can ask the member opposite to elaborate a bit more ar= ound specifically which drug act we are referring to because, as new laws come i= nto effect, then generally that falls on the Minister of Justice or Minister of Community Services. I am not sure which specific act she is referring to. I= s it the Cannabis Act or pharmacare?= What is it that the Member for Watson Lake needs more information on? I would be happy to elaborate once I better understand the question.

Ms. McLeod: I am looking for it. In 2015, there was an updated pharmacy act — I bel= ieve it is called the Pharmacy and Drug = Act — and in 2015 it came into force. There were regulations around pharmacies that were to come out of that piece of legislation. I did hear s= ome rumours that the regulations are out for consultation, and I would like to = have that confirmed. As a result of the regulations, I would like to confirm that the rural permit holders have not been affected adversely.

Hon. Ms. Frost: I would be happy to confer with the Minister of Community Serv= ices, who is responsible for the regulations, and to get back to the member oppos= ite with respect to the specific question that is being asked. As I understand, Health and Social Services is not specifically responsible for the design a= nd development of any act, other than to support the efforts around the design= of the act as it relates specifically to health.

Ms. McLeod: Thank you for that clarification. If you could just nod= if the Pharmacy and Drug Act is not under Health and Social Services — it’s under Community Service= s? That is maybe why I can’t find it on the Health and Social Services website. I’ll check on that.

I know= that my friend across the way here wants to have a couple questions, so I just want= to talk a bit about the opioid issue. We know that we’re handing out the naloxone kits, and I’m wondering how many kits have been distributed = to date and whether or not there are any statistics about how many have actual= ly been used and what their success rate has been.

Hon. Ms. Frost: Certainly, there is a lot to report on opioids and the naloxone kits, because, as we know, Yukon is the third jurisdiction in the country f= or overdoses and deaths associated with fentanyl, which is, of course, very alarming. We do want to ensure, as we look at the position that we’re= in, that we provide the necessary supports to Yukoners and look at supporting o= ur communities. So it is very important that we look at education and we look = at the number of opioid-related deaths and obviously take that incredibly seriously.

We wan= t to look at what we’re doing with our partners on this particular file. We wan= t to create more opportunities for awareness and preventative measures, as oppos= ed to dealing with the overdoses that we’ve seen. So what can we do to p= revent these types of incidents from happening? We’ve worked very collaboratively with the Hospital Corporation, and we’re happy to say that we are in the process of releasing our strategy, and that’s being done with Dr. Hanley, who is the leading expert in the field in Yukon = and has done some amazing work around the strategy. We’ll be doing that v= ery shortly.

With r= espect to the naloxone kits, we have — I do not seem to have that right in fron= t of me, but I can get that. In the meantime, let me talk a little bit about the supports that we currently have in place with the naloxone kits and the drug-testing sites, because I think that is really important as well. What = can we do to prevent overdoses from happening? That means that we obviously hav= e to put a little more effort into drug testing to prevent these things from happening.

We have partnered with Blood Ties Four Directions, and we are happy to say that we = went ahead and worked with the federal government to get an exemption to allow t= hat to happen. We are also working with the hospital, and we know that we have = had significant overdoses. We also have distributed a significant amount of naloxone kits over the course of the last two years. We have over 1,700 kits distributed, and we are working hard with our Yukon communities and our hea= lth centres. We are now working, of course, with our partners through the Department of Education and the Department of Community Services through the emergency medical supports and our partners through the health centres. Kwa= nlin Dün Health Centre is a significant support for us.

I do n= ot know if I have the specific numbers for this year, but we have worked really hard o= ver the course of the last two years to talk a lot about fentanyl, looking at training — training our staff and training citizens to use the naloxo= ne kits. We have, as noted, distributed over 1,700, and we have now provided significant training to individuals across the Yukon and are now focusing m= ore on the younger population as well. We also have the naloxone kits available= at over 45 locations in the Yukon, and we would like to see them distributed m= ore broadly than that. We are always open to working with our partners to ensure that this happens.

Ms. McLeod: I have one final question here. With regard to the $3.8 million allocate= d to the Whistle Bend facility — can the minister provide details on what = that money is for — whether it is for O&M or equipment or past construction costs? I would just like some information on what it is for.

Hon. Ms. Frost: It is for the work that clearly could not be done this winter.= It is for the interior finishing and for landscaping and paving come spring.

Ms. White: I thank my colleague from Watson Lake. Of course, I welcome the officials aga= in to the Assembly.

First,= after the tour of the Whistle Bend facility — and I know that, in the week afte= r I was there, residents were going to start moving in. My question is: How is = it going at Whistle Bend? How many people do we have so far? What is the react= ion? It is a beautiful facility and I know that there was some excitement. Can we just talk a little bit about Whistle Bend, how it is going, how many people= and where they have come from so far and maybe what that schedule looks like? I know that the soft opening was one on one day and one on the next day, and = it was going to be three people a day in the next week. I am looking at what Whistle Bend was doing.

Hon. Ms. Frost: I was at Whistle Bend for the arrival of the first clie= nt there. Obviously the family was really quite happy and pleased. In fact, th= ey were in tears because they were so excited about the space and just having = that service available.

The fo= cus right now is to look at the wait-lists and at clients who are not in one of the facilities now. The first client actually came from a home. The daughter was taking care of the mom. So we are trying to look at that as a key priority.=

We are= working with the hospital as well — so those clients who really shouldn’= ;t be at the hospital and should be in more of a continuing care facility. We = are transitioning those clients over right now. We have 15 clients in place.

WeR= 17;re looking, as I noted earlier, at three to four moving in per day. That just allows the clients and the staff more one-on-one time and just gives them t= he attention that they require and the families the attention that they require to get settled in. I’m really excited about that, and we will start to move = more people in from Macaulay Lodge after we get the clients in from our hospitals and then from the wait-lists. Some of those clients are coming from our communities where they don’t have continuing care facilities. =

By the= end of November, we will have 48 clients in the facility, and then after that, we = will have the move of Macaulay Lodge, which is an additional 40 clients. I’= ;m really excited about the supports available there, as are the families.

Ms. White: I thank the minister for that answer.

So we&= #8217;re expecting to have 48 clients or residents in at the end of November —= and just in the order the minister gave, with the hospital first, people from communities or private homes, and then Macaulay Lodge for December 1. When = do we expect to have the folks out of the hospitals?

The re= ason I ask is that no one wants to be in the hospital, especially in the long term, so I’m just wondering when the last client of the hospital will be a resident of Whistle Bend. When will the hospital be empty and those clients become residents of Whistle Bend?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I am really excited to say that we have been working re= ally quite closely with the hospital to ensure that we provide a safe transition= for the clients who are there. We have been doing that as the first priority. Alleviating the pressures at the hospital was the first thing that we did. = I am happy to say that by next week we will have all of the clients who shouldn’t be at the hospital in a care facility — transferred o= ver to one of our many facilities. I think we tried to provide an opportunity f= or the clients and their families to choose where they want to reside and not direct them to Whistle Bend — but give them the choices and allow the= m to make that decision.

Ms. White: Once we have all of the clients moved from the hospital= to Whistle Bend, how many beds will that free up at the hospital?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I am going to say maybe 10 to 12, but I am also pleased= to note that the 10 beds at the Thomson Centre that are designated as re-enablement beds — those are the beds designated for clients who are transitioning out of the hospital and are perhaps on their way back home but just needed a little bit of extra care and not full-on acute care at the hospital.

We hav= e a transition plan in place so that we are not seeing continued and added pressures at the hospital. The renovation or the opening of the Thomson Centre will be at the beginning of December. I am hoping that we don’t see the pressures th= at we have seen historically at the hospital, with clients supported through t= he hospital when they really shouldn’t be there.

I am j= ust going to say that I have a note in front of me about the change that we have seen — at its highest, the wait-list was 95 and there were 16 alternate-le= vel patients at Whitehorse General Hospital. By next week, we will have zero.

Ms. White: I think that is definitely something that the department should celebrate. It might be sad for the staff at the hospital to say goodbye to the clients who have been there for, in some cases, months — and in some cases many, = many months — but I know that it will be better. I am very excited to hear that. Congratulations to the department for that gargantuan effort, because= it does not go unnoticed.

I have= asked a lot of questions since the Salvation Army Centre of Hope opened, mostly bec= ause I have had concerns. One of the things that the minister made available in = the last Sitting when I asked for it was the contract between the government and the Salvation Army. One of the questions I have right now is: How is the Yu= kon government being sure that the Salvation Army is fulfilling their contract?= I was under the impression that this was the tool where government had the ability to look at the terms of that contract. Can the minister talk a bit about that?

Hon. Ms. Frost: What a great question. I appreciate the question and the oppor= tunity to speak about the Salvation Army and the essential services that are provi= ded. I’m sure the Salvation Army is one that is very much appreciated, but= it is also necessary for the vulnerable populations of Whitehorse.

Actual= ly, when we opened up the Salvation Army and we signed off on the agreement that we provided to Members of the Legislative Assembly, we seconded a staff person= for six months to work directly with the Salvation Army to ensure that the deliverables of the contract that we signed off with them were actually bei= ng met — so looking at designing day programs and at support programs for the transitional support unit and the shelter. We meet with them on a month= ly basis, and we have some checks and balances in place with respect to the contract. That means that by October 17, we required them to have an interim financial report and summary with the deliverables of the program services.= In April every year we require them to have an audited financial statement to = us.

As we = have indicated, there are clearly concerns around the implementation of that pla= n. We continue to work with the Salvation Army on a daily basis and meet with = them to assess the reports. As I noted, October was the target for us — the trigger of when we were assessing the actual deliverables and, as difficult= as it is, we need to ensure that the services are being provided to our citize= ns of Yukon.

We rec= ently met with the Salvation Army senior staff, first in Edmonton, to assess and revi= ew the contract and the deliverables of that contract. I want to just note tha= t we obviously have dedicated staff at Health and Social Services who have worked really hard, spent a lot of time and are dedicated to ensuring that we prov= ide supports to our clients and their case management, ensuring that the transitional support units are fully occupied and that we have the shelter facility also fully occupied as they are needed — also wanting to inc= lude the users in ensuring that we have a good transition plan in place for the clients who occupy the transition units.

There = is a lot of work yet to be done and I look forward to ensuring that Yukoners are provided the supports and services that they need. It’s the only faci= lity that we have in the city, so we want to ensure that it’s fully occupi= ed and used to its full extent.

Ms. White: I thank the minister for that answer. It’s a relief to know that there = is, of course, that oversight.

Is the= HCOS team — the Housing and Community Outreach Services unit — under Heal= th and Social Services? Okay, I just got the affirmative nod from the official= .

The re= ason why I want to talk about HCOS is because it is easily the most fantastic program = to come to the territory probably ever, in my mind. For people who don’t know, HCOS is a very specialized group of people who are doing outreach services for vulnerable populations. We are talking about a nurse on the gr= ound with a backpack who is able to talk to people on= the riverfront. We are talking about people who have the ability to meet people where they are.

I just= want to say right here that I have so much admiration and respect for the people who are on that team, but more than that, the fact that government has taken the risk in trying something different. What we are seeing with this team, I th= ink — and what we will see with this team as they build those foundations — is that we are going to see the vulnerability of people decrease as they have community supports. These workers are able to help with housing, = even as far as going to meet private market landlords, and they are able to help access services where sometimes it is just a matter of being able to have a conversation with another human on a human-to-human basis.

I just= want to congratulate the department for having that bravery, foresight and ability = to look outside of what would be considered in-the-box services, because the H= COS team is something that we desperately needed. There is not really a question about that, but this is kind of the first opportunity that I had to really thank the department. I really believe that team also has the ability to do harm minimization, which will bring me to my next question.

We hav= e seen across the country, especially in jurisdictions like Ontario and British Columbia, the importance of safe injection sites. As we are dealing, as the minister said, with the opioid crisis being the third highest for overdoses — keeping in mind, of course, Mr. Chair, that an overdose doesn’t mean death; an overdose is different. There can be a death ca= used by an overdose or an overdose leading to death, but overdoses don’t necessarily lead to death. Knowing that we have the third highest populatio= n of incidents and especially deaths in the territory, has the department thought about what a safe injection site might look like here? Is it something that= we are looking at opening? I just wanted to know what that might look like.

Hon. Ms. Frost: I am also really pleased with the HCOS team. I think that amaz= ing work has been work has been done by all of the staff and I just wanted to acknowledge all of them. I think they are going above and beyond. It is not= an easy job.

With r= espect to safe injection sites, I have gone out and sat with my community members. I = have sat with members and I have participated in the point-in-time count, but I = have spent a lot of time out there as well. I have spent time at the Salvation A= rmy. I have put myself in positions where I need to know first-hand. I have gone= to safe injection sites in inner cities. As the Minister of Health and Social Services, I wanted to see: How does it work? What does it mean? What does t= hat potentially mean for Yukon? What does a wet shelter look like?

Sittin= g in these shelters is not the most comfortable place to be, but I have done that beca= use I think it’s really important to get first-hand knowledge and not be immune to how and what people’s experiences are.

The fi= rst thing that we did is secure an exemption for drug testing in the Yukon. That has never been done before. That is the first step in ensuring that we take a broader look at safe injection sites in the Yukon.

WeR= 17;re currently looking at the issue as part of our broader care for Yukoners. We’re committed to harm reduction and we’re actively looking at options, most certainly.

Mr.&nb= sp;Chair, seeing the time, I move that you move report progress.

Chair: It ha= s been moved by Ms. Frost that the Chair report progress.

Motion agreed to

 

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Chair: It ha= s been moved by Ms. McPhee that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Motion agreed to

 

Speaker resumes the Chair<= /p>

 

Speaker: I w= ill now call the House to order.

May th= e House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?

Chair’s report

Mr. Hutton: Mr. Speaker, Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑1= 9, and directed me to report progress.

Speaker: You= have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole.

Are yo= u agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Speaker: I d= eclare the report carried.

The ti= me being 5:30 p.m., this House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

&= nbsp;

The House adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

 

 

 

The fo= llowing petition was presented November 7, 2018:

34-2-3

Re: Mo= bile home pad rental increases (White)

 

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