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WHITEHORSE – In April 2021, the Liberal government put an abrupt end to midwifery services by banning unlicensed midwives from offering care in the Yukon. The announcement, made just ahead of a snap election call by the Premier, came even though the government was not ready to offer midwifery services themselves.
The Liberals promised a gap in care of a few months but missed their own start dates through the fall and winter leaving pregnant women and families without this care option for well over a year.
After repeatedly missing their own timelines for providing publicly funded midwifery services, the Liberals finally announced that they are accepting patients – but only if you are in the first 20 weeks (about 4 and a half months) of pregnancy and live in Whitehorse.
“While this announcement that publicly funded midwifery services will finally be made available to some women is good news, the mishandling of this file by the Liberal government is disappointing,” said Yvonne Clarke, MLA for Porter Creek Centre. “Yukon women have been completely without the option of midwifery services for well over a year because the Liberals put making a pre-election announcement ahead of the needs of pregnant women and families.”
“The Liberal government has repeatedly missed their timelines and is delivering publicly funded midwifery almost four years later than they promised,” added Brad Cathers, Official Opposition Critic for Health and Social Services. “They have also failed to create a structure that allows midwives to operate in private practice and receive public funding for their services, needlessly excluding midwives who are not government employees from offering their services.”
The Yukon Party Official Opposition is again calling on the government to allow midwives to operate a private practice and receive appropriate payment for those services. The payment method could be modeled after how doctors in private practice are paid for eligible services based on a negotiated agreement with the Yukon Government.