A spokesperson for the Yukon’s Justice department has offered further details on the timeline for the review of the Safe Communities and Neighborhoods (SCAN) Act. Last month, the News reported that the review is expected to conclude by 2027.
The spokesperson told the News via email that “it is anticipated the review will be completed prior to 2027, however the department is providing adequate time for stakeholder engagement.” Stakeholders listed in the email include First Nations governments and the public.
Additionally, the spokesperson pointed to Section 65.01 of the SCAN Act, which states that within five years of the section coming into force, the minister assigned to the administration of the act “must complete a comprehensive review […] and table a report respecting the review in the legislative assembly.”
The act permits the Yukon government to investigate complaints of illegal activity at rented residential units and, in some cases, issue short-notice evictions without regard for existing agreements between tenants and landlords. Suspected criminal activities that could initiate an investigation are drug trafficking, prostitution, unlawful firearms trafficking and child sexual exploitation, among others.
Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee promised a review of the SCAN Act in the dying days of 2021. At the time, she noted the review would begin in 2023.
“I have committed to that in writing, and I want to make sure that it is on the record here today,” said McPhee during a legislative sitting on Dec. 2, 2021.
In addition to the review, the SCAN Act is also facing a constitutional challenge that should be heard by the Yukon Supreme Court later this year. The challenge was launched by Celia Wright in 2021 after herself, her partner and eight children were evicted with five days’ notice from their rented home near the Carcross Cutoff.
Although the eviction order against Wright and her family was eventually rescinded, her legal challenge of the act has moved ahead. Wright’s petition alleges that the SCAN Act violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically individuals’ right to life, liberty and security of the person.
The Yukon government moved to have the case dismissed in 2021, although Justice Suzanne Duncan denied the government’s application.
A Supreme Court of Yukon document from March 13 states that Wright’s challenge of the SCAN Act will take place Nov. 6 to 10 at 10 a.m. in Whitehorse.
Contact Matthew Bossons at email@example.com