Skip to content

Ombudsman finds Yukon government policy unfair

Jason Pedlar has found unfairness in Energy, Mines and Resources department’s lot enlargement policy
Government of Yukon sign seen outside the legislative building on May 8. Ombudsman Jason Pedlar has found the Energy, Mines and Resources department has an unfair lot enlargement policy. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

The Energy, Mines and Resources department has an unfair lot enlargement policy, according to the Yukon ombudsman’s findings.

“The policy does not contain sufficient detail or mechanisms to ensure a fair, consistent and transparent process,” ombudsman Jason Pedlar said in a May 10 release.

“For example, it is not clear what criteria would constitute an acceptable need for additional land and the authority does not have an objective method for evaluating the application.”

A Yukoner had complained that the department treated them unfairly by denying their lot enlargement application. Pedlar has issued a report outlining the investigation and recommendations to the department.

In May 2018, the complainant, who is not named in the report, put in an application to the department’s land management branch make their 0.28-hectare lot in Watson Lake bigger to build a permanent garage or house that included temporary storage for boat and utility trailers, according to the report.

Nearly a year later, after plenty of back and forth as part of the process, the complainant received a letter advising them that their application had been denied due to the “lack of demonstrated need” for land as required by the lot enlargement policy.

The complainant appealed the decision to deny the application. The original decision was upheld.

In August 2019, the complainant brought the matter to the attention of the ombudsman’s office.

The ombudsman’s office originally attempted to find a resolution through its informal process, which was not successful. That’s when the office proceeded with a formal investigation and assigned an investigator.

The investigation found that the department’s residential and recreational lot enlargement policy, which outlines the enlargement process, does not lend itself to fairness and the report raises concerns over the fairness of the appeal process.

Pedlar has recommended the department revise its policy in plain language and make similar changes to any related policies, consistent with fairness standards set out across Canada. Specifically, Pedlar has recommended the policy define terms such as “demonstrated need” and include criteria and a weighted scoring system and the department reconsider its appeal process.

According to the release, the department has accepted all recommendations.

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
Read more