Yukon Party Amendments to Health Authority Act Force Liberals to Negotiate with Unions

WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition is pleased its proposed amendments to Bill 38, Health Authority Act forced the Liberal government to negotiate an agreement with unions representing health care professionals who will be affected by the development of a Health Authority.

The Yukon Party’s proposed amendments sought to provide strong legal protection for health care workers and to require the government to provide a clear plan and negotiate with unions representing those workers. The amendments resulted in the negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the unions and the Liberal government, which was announced on the floor of the Legislative Assembly during debate on one of the Yukon Party’s proposed amendments.

Bill 38 was introduced in the Legislative Assembly last month and proposes the creation of a new Health Authority to oversee much of the territory’s health care system. As the bill progressed through the assembly, it became clear that the Liberal government had completely sidelined health care professionals, and failed to consult with any of them. In addition, l’association franco-yukonnaise raised concerns that they had not been consulted by the Liberal government, which prompted additional amendments by the government aimed at avoiding potential legal action.

To ensure health care professionals were consulted and protected, the Yukon Party introduced amendments to Bill 38 on April 16 to force the Liberal government to consult with workers and negotiate the details of any transfer with unions. These amendments prompted a halt to debate, sent the Liberals scrambling, and forced the government to negotiate an MOU with unions representing health care workers.

Following a week of negotiations, the unions and the Liberal government agreed to the MOU on April 24. Yukon Federation of Labour President Theresa Acheson acknowledged the Yukon Party’s efforts in a statement and said, “We are grateful to the Yukon Party for initially proposing amendments to the act to ensure workers would be included and protected.”

The Minister of Health even acknowledged in the Legislative Assembly the Yukon Party efforts forced them to the table with unions by stating: ‘I appreciate that the moving of the amendment to Bill No. 38 at section 74 did spur on a conversation.’

“We are relieved that our amendments to Bill 38 forced this out of touch Liberal government to negotiate a deal with unions representing our dedicated health care workers,” said Health and Social Services Critic Brad Cathers. “This minister has an appalling track record and has presided over the deterioration of the territory’s education and health care systems. The lack of consultation with health professionals in planning major changes to the health care system is unacceptable. The last-minute MOU with the unions, and amendments prompted by l’association franco-yukonnaise, all prove that this bill was flawed and not ready.”


Tim Kucharuk
Media Director
(867) 689-7874

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