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

Inside the courtroom in Whitehorse, Chief Electoral Officer Max Harvey, Vuntut Gwitchin returning officer Renee Charlie and Supreme Court Judge Suzanne Duncan open the box containing the names of the tied candidates. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Annie Blake elected as MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin after name draw

“I’m still feeling shocked that my name was drawn, I feel overwhelmed.”

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 case confirmed in rural Yukon community

An exposure notification has been issued for Andrea’s Restaurant in Watson Lake

Food trucks gather on Steele Street between Front and Second for the annual Street Eats Festival in Whitehorse on August 12, 2019. (Julien Gignac/Yukon News file)
May 1 could mark the start of the 2021 food truck season

Lottery for downtown sites set for April 28

Wyatt's World

Wyatt’s World for April 16, 2021.… Continue reading

From left to right, Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola departed for Kluane National Park on April 12. The duo is taking on the first all-woman expedition to Mt. Lucania. (Michael Schmidt/Icefield Discovery)
First all-woman team among mountaineers heading to Kluane National Park

One team will be exploring Mt. Logan while a second all-woman team aims for Mt. Lucania summit

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Whitehorse International Airport in Whitehorse on May 6, 2020.
NAV CANADA suspends review for Whitehorse airport traffic control

NAV CANADA announced on April 15 that it is no longer considering… Continue reading

A bulldozer levels piles of garbage at the Whitehorse landfill in January 2012. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Rural dump closures and tipping fees raise concern from small communities

The government has said the measures are a cost-cutting necessity

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Most Read