Hospital bends safety rules

The company that builds a $16-million residence for Whitehorse General Hospital won't have to meet the Yukon government's health and safety requirements.

The company that builds a $16-million residence for Whitehorse General Hospital won’t have to meet the Yukon government’s health and safety requirements.

As of Monday, contractors who bid on government projects worth more than $500,000 must have a Certificate of Recognition to show the company meets workplace safety standards.

To obtain the certificate, a company must send workers to six days of training, develop a safety plan and successfully pass an audit.

But contractors who build the hospital residence won’t need to have this certificate, because the project is not under direct government control.

Instead, it belongs to the government-owned Yukon Hospital Corp.

The exception had been made because companies have had “some difficulties” obtaining the certification, Health Minister Glenn Hart told the legislature on Monday.

But whoever wins the contract will need to have a safety plan in place, said Craig Tuton, chair of the hospital corporation.

Other safety programs exist other than the Certificate of Recognition, he said.

“Since we’re not government, we’ll recognize all of them,” said Tuton.

These are strange words to come from Tuton, who, as chair of the Yukon Workers’ Health and Safety Board, has promoted the Certificate of Recognition for at least four years.

“With one hand (Tuton is)… raising the safety bar; with the other, he is lowering it,” Liberal Leader Arthur Mitchell told the legislature on Monday.

Not so, said Tuton.

“One way or another, we’re going to be covered at the hospital,” he said.

The project is still in its early days, Tuton added. The territory recently hired a project manager and asked for expressions of interest.

But a request for proposals won’t be ready until next week, said Tuton.

That means a contractor will have to be hired in a hurry if the project is to be kept on schedule. Ground is to be broken in May and doors are expected to open by January of 2011.

The new building will include 32 residential units for visiting doctors and nurses. It will replace an existing residence, which is known to health staff as “the gulag” because of its age and dilapidated state.

The handling of the hospital contract isn’t the only example of the territory bending its contracting rules, Mitchell told the legislature on Tuesday.

He pointed to work on the Carmacks wastewater treatment plant, which was recently awarded to a company that does not have its Certificate of Recognition.

On April 2, Ketza Construction Corp. of Whitehorse won the contract for $1.3 million.

It’s true that the company did not have its certificate at the time of bidding, said Matt King, a spokesman with Community Services.

But it didn’t need it.

At the time of bidding, the company was only required to commit to obtaining the certificate before it starts work. It’s committed to do so.

Stiffer requirements for the certificate will continue to be introduced over the next two years. By January 1, 2010, companies will need the certificate to bid on work worth $100,000 or more. And by January of 2011, companies will need the certificate to bid on any government work.

Contact John Thompson at

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

Just Posted

Mayo-Tatchun MLA Don Hutton sits on the opposition side of the legislative assembly on March 8 after announcing his resignation from the Liberal party earlier that day. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Don Hutton resigns from Liberal caucus; endorses NDP leadership

Hutton said his concerns about alcohol abuse and addictions have gone unaddressed

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read