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Yukon First Nations to guide implementation of Putting People First report

Chiefs committee will help in the transformation of the health and social system in the Yukon
Vuntut Gwitchin Chief Pauline Frost is chair of the Chiefs Committee on Health. (Yukon News file)

A Yukon First Nations Chiefs Committee on Health has been formed to provide direction and oversight on the transformation of the health and social services system in the Yukon, according to a joint statement by the Yukon government and Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN).

The July 19 release said the committee’s role would include advancing and implementing the recommendations in the Putting People First report, including commitments related to integrating cultural safety into the health and social services system. Other recommendations from the report include understanding and addressing Indigenous determinants of health, increasing access to Yukon First Nations cultural and land-based healing and creating a health authority to deliver day-to-day services.

The report resulted from an independent review of the Yukon’s health and social system. It provides a roadmap for transforming the health and social system to better meet the needs of Yukoners. Of the report’s 76 recommendations, 70 per cent are operational or in progress.

A foundational recommendation in the report is to establish a health authority for the territory, called Health and Wellness Yukon, which would deliver most day-to-day health and social services.

“The report envisions a future high-performing, integrated, person-centred health and social system where systemic racism is addressed, Yukoners are connected to a primary care team, services are connected and culturally safe, care is closer to home, prevention is a primary focus and communities and people with lived experiences are involved,” the statement said.

The Chiefs Committee on Health has four members who were appointed by Yukon First Nations leadership, including Chair and Vuntut Gwitchin Chief Pauline Frost, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Chief Barb Joe, Carcross/Tagish First Nation Deputy Chief Darla-Jean Lindstrom and Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation Wolf Councillor Tanya Silverfox.

The newly-formed committee will help ensure Yukon First Nations are within the governance structure for health and social system transformation, the statement read.

“It will help position Yukon First Nations to provide guidance and oversight and help facilitate collaboration with the Yukon government.”

The statement said the creation of the committee helps fulfill Yukon First Nations’ need to lead the transformation of the health and social services system in the territory, noting that “it will support changes needed to improve patient-client responsiveness, experiences and outcomes and create an equitable health system for all Yukoners.”

Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said the committee’s creation formalizes Yukon First Nations’ involvement in strengthening the health and social services across the territory.

“Our work is focused on the establishment of Health and Wellness Yukon, a dedicated health authority for the territory. Recognizing the significance of Yukon First Nations leadership in this transformative work, our government remains committed to working in partnership to help foster culturally inclusive and responsive health and social services for all Yukoners,” she said.

CYFN Grand Chief Peter Johnston said Yukon First Nations are pleased to see the committee as part of the governance structure of the Putting People First report’s implementation.

He said this allows Yukon First Nations a leadership role in facilitating system change that they have been advocating for for many years.

Frost said the committee would provide Yukon First Nations with a high level of involvement and authority that will be key in guiding the successful implementation of the report and health care transformation in the territory.

“Yukon First Nations chiefs have long advocated for these changes and are pleased to see the formation of this committee come to fruition,” she said.

Contact Patrick Egwu at

Patrick Egwu

About the Author: Patrick Egwu

I’m one of the newest additions at Yukon News where I have been writing about a range of issues — politics, sports, health, environment and other developments in the territory.
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