Jarrett Parker, a manager who was let go by the Department of Health and Social Services after raising concerns about children in government care, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit with the Yukon Supreme Court on April 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Axed whistleblower sues Yukon government

Jarrett Parker alleges he was terminated for suggesting kids were not receiving appropriate care

A manager who was let go by the Department of Health and Social Services after raising concerns about children in government care has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Jarrett Parker filed his statement of claim in Yukon Supreme Court April 18.

In it, the former manager of regional services says he was on extended probation with the government when he was let go April 9, one day before his probation was set to end.

Neither the department nor the assistant deputy minister (ADM) had cause for rejecting Parker from probation, the lawsuit says.

Parker alleges he was terminated in part because of his “ongoing and appropriate efforts to ensure that children at risk or in the care and custody of HSS received the appropriate level of care and services in accordance with its governing legislation and the accepted standards of social work and his profession.”

He also alleges he was terminated because of his efforts to “bring to the attention of the ADM and other senior managers at HSS that children at risk or in the care and custody of HSS were not in fact receiving the appropriate level of care and services.”

None of the allegations has been proven in court. The Yukon government has not filed a statement of defence.

Yukon Department of Justice spokesperson Dan Cable said the government had “no comment.”

Parker says he sent an email to the ADM and the director of child and family services Dec. 22, 2017 where he says he told them about “concerns regarding previous attempts to find emergency placements for youth in the group home system and concerns regarding the system’s ability to support high risk youth.”

Parker alleges there was also a string of emails with the manager of child placements earlier that month “regarding possible openings in the group home system for an adolescent female.”

According to the lawsuit, on or about March 7 Parker phoned the department’s director of human resources, the ADM and the director of child and family services to “inform them of a concern raised by an employee of HSS about racism in the department.”

The next day, Parker says he met with the ADM and the director of child and family services to discuss the racism complaint and the Dec. 22 email. Parker says he re-sent the Dec. 22 email to the ADM on March 28.

Starting near the end of March, reports in the media were coming out “about the same issues described in the Dec. 22 email,” according to the lawsuit.

The CBC has spoken to a number of government whistleblowers, as well children who used to be in government care, who allege mistreatment on the part of government employees.

The issue has dominated this sitting of the Yukon legislative assembly. The government says it’s doing its own internal review. The Yukon’s Child and Youth Advocate has also promised her own independent review.

CBC also first reported on Parker being let go and published portions of what appears to be the same Dec. 22 email.

Last week Deputy Minister Stephen Samis and Leeann Kayseas, acting manager of family services, held a press conference to address some of the concerns that had been raised in the media and denied many of the allegations that have been levelled against the department.

In his lawsuit Parker says the suggestion by officials that the facts alleged in his email are not true and the denial of similar allegations by a former child in care has “inflicted psychological distress upon the plaintiff, thereby increasing the the impact of the rejection on probation and termination of employment.”

Parker says he has a medical condition that makes him “vulnerable to the psychological impacts of stress.”

He alleges the way his termination was handled as well as the statements from officials since then have made it more difficult for him to find a new job.

He is asking, among other things, for damages related to his wrongful dismissal, increased damages because of psychological distress, and moving costs.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com


:


group homesYukon courtsYukon government

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

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP are making an appeal for information in the case of Mary Ann Ollie, who was murdered in Ross River last year and whose case remains unsolved. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read