Pelly-Nisutlin MLA Stacey Hassard is questioning what he describes as “significant gaps in service and supports” for his riding of Faro.
During question period in the legislature Nov. 15, the Yukon Party MLA noted that while services provided to the community immediately following the Oct. 26 shooting are appreciated, permanent services are needed.
First speaking to supports for victims of domestic violence, Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said services are available throughout the territory through Victim Services by calling 1-800-661-0408, ext. 8500.
“Services are available to Yukoners from Victim Services regardless of whether or not an application is being made to court — or any services involving court cases or charges being laid,” she said. “Victim Services is open to all Yukoners who identify themselves as victims and need support and services.”
Hassard, however, went on to highlight an email sent from a community member to the government. The letter noted that staff based in Carmacks are required to cover three other communities including Faro, Pelly Crossing and Ross River.
Carmacks has one of the four mental wellness hubs set up in 2018 to serve rural communities. Others are in Dawson City, Haines Junction and Watson Lake.
“There is no way one person can provide enough support to four communities,” Hassard quoted from the email. “This hub worker is the only counselling support in Faro.”
Hassard also pointed to the impact that the amalgamation of the Faro and Ross River RCMP detachments a number of years ago has had on the community, noting there’s only two members based in Faro, and a scheduling system “reportedly” results in one or even no members on duty.
“As highlighted in the correspondence to the premier and to the deputy premier, this means that, on several occasions, the community of Faro has to wait for an hour for the RCMP to arrive,” Hassard said.
Both McPhee and Premier Sandy Silver emphasized the immediate response to the Oct. 26 shooting with McPhee also continuing to point to Victim Services as being available to anyone in the territory.
“I know that there were specialists sent to help individuals at the school, both students and teachers,” McPhee said. “I know that there were specialists sent to help individuals in the community who felt concern about what had happened and rightly so.”
Silver issued a thanks to RCMP and others in government “who were there on the ground floor during these horrific events and putting extra supports in there on the short term.
“Over the longer term, we will continue to expand the programs that we have already expanded from the Yukon Party when it comes to mental health services, and we will continue to make sure that long-term supports are available for all communities in rural Yukon.”
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