Why is a life in Haines Junction worth less than elsewhere?

Why is a life in Haines Junction worth less than elsewhere? Thank you, Myles Dolphin for your Feb. 19 article on the cancellation of the Haines Junction ambulance pilot project. What your article missed (because I didn't have the numbers when you interv

Thank you, Myles Dolphin for your Feb. 19 article on the cancellation of the Haines Junction ambulance pilot project.

What your article missed (because I didn’t have the numbers when you interviewed me) is that with the pilot project and 100 per cent summer coverage, the cost per call in Haines Junction is just under $2,100 on average – in the middle of the pack when you compare costs to the rest of Yukon.

In fact, here are the 2015 annual average staffing costs per call for Yukon, using YEMS’ own reporting:

Eagle Plains: $7,944.00

Destruction Bay: $5,361.40

Marsh Lake: $4,692.43

Beaver Creek: $2,975.95

Tagish: $2,487.60

Pelly Crossing: $2,220.48

Haines Junction: $2,088.10

Faro: $1,527.27

Carmacks: $1,162.82

Carcross: $1,090.18

Mayo: $1,009.51

Dawson: $1,000.86

Teslin: $924.63

Ross River: $870.83

Watson Lake: $802.10

Whitehorse: $475.55

Clearly, the decision to cancel the pilot project in Haines Junction was not made just on fiscal grounds – if it were, other ambulance programs would have gone first.

Of course, this raises the question, why is a life in Haines Junction less valuable than a life elsewhere?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this decision should be just about money. I think it makes sense to start with deciding what service level Yukoners can expect. Mandating this service level is a political decision, one made at the cabinet level and included in legislation. From that point, Yukon Emergency Medical Services can determine the most effective, efficient, and fiscally responsible way to provide that service.

Recently, I read about Manitoba’s service standard – 30 minute response time, 90 per cent of the time, province-wide. We don’t need to be the same as Manitoba, but wouldn’t it be great if all Yukoners had a realistic grasp of what they can expect when they call the ambulance?

That would be transparent. That would be accountable. That would be equitable.

Legislating a service standard is common practice across North America. Doing so in Yukon would allow EMS to do what they do best – provide emergency health care to Yukoners – while keeping the politics where it belongs, with the politicians.

Some leadership is called for here.

This is a challenge that begs to be solved by our territorial politicians; it is outside of the grasp of EMS and our civil servants. Unfortunately, so far, all we hear from cabinet is a deafening silence.

Dave Weir

Haines Junction

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ideal conditions for Autumn Classic paddling race

More than a dozen entries race in flatwater paddling season finale

Council contemplates wage freeze for 2021

Hartland brings forward notice of motion

Raises approved for City of Whitehorse management

Deal will begin with 2.6 per cent increase retroactive to 2019

What to expect: Yukon legislature resumes Oct. 1

In March the legislative assembly quickly passed the budget before ending early


Wyatt’s World for Sept. 30, 2020

Trump tweets support for railway concept connecting Alaska and Alberta

Too early to properly evaluate the project ahead of an environmental assessment, Yukon minister says

Men charged after police see suspected crack cocaine during traffic stop

Two men are facing charges after a traffic stop in downtown Whitehorse… Continue reading

CPAWS Yukon, Yukon Conservation Society encouraged by territory’s parks strategy

The conservation manager for CPAWS Yukon and executive director of the Yukon… Continue reading

School council elections taking place the first week of October

There are 30 contested spots on school councils in the territory

Hot Hounds bikejor race serves as lone summer competition

Held in Mount Lorne, the race was organized by the Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon

Whitehorse operations building officially open

Staff are taking phased approach to moving in

North of Ordinary Experience Centre shutting down

COVID-19 has caused bookings for the space to become almost non-existent, owner says

Canada Games Centre could get new playground

Council to vote on contract award

Most Read