National Aboriginal Day officially a statutory holiday in the Yukon

National Aboriginal Day is now officially a statutory holiday in Yukon. On May 8 Yukon’s MLAs unanimously passed a bill amending the Employment Standards Act and declaring June 21 a holiday.

National Aboriginal Day is now officially a statutory holiday in Yukon.

On May 8 Yukon’s MLAs unanimously passed a bill amending the Employment Standards Act and declaring June 21 a holiday.

It’s the first piece of law passed by the Liberal government since it took office last year.

“We have the opportunity to show the provinces of Canada that National Aboriginal Day is a day of celebration, hope and pride,” Premier Sandy Silver said last week.

“It is especially poignant to legislate the statutory holiday this year, as we celebrate 150 years of Confederation. Let us remember that Canada is much older than Confederation. Let us celebrate the First Nation people of this country, the people who were here first.”

Yukon is the second jurisdiction in Canada, after the Northwest Territories, to make National Aboriginal Day a holiday.

The statutory holiday was one of the Liberal Party’s election promises but government has been talking about the idea since at least 2015. That’s when a bill agreeing to look into the idea passed unanimously.

A survey of about 1,400 Yukoners found that most — 83 per cent — were in favour of National Aboriginal Day becoming a statutory holiday. That number got much lower when focusing specifically on employers. There, only 54 per cent of the people surveyed supported the idea.

The Yukon Party voted in favour of the bill but not before reiterating some of its concerns over what impact this could have on local businesses.

MLA Scott Kent suggested deferring the issue until next year.

“That would give these businesses time to prepare and give municipalities time to account for it in their budgets — that type of thing,” he said.

“Perhaps the minister would potentially consider a staggered implementation, where this June 21, the Yukon government would recognize it as a holiday and then bring it in as a full statutory holiday next year.”

Community Services Minister John Streicker said that’s not something the government is considering.

“We did run on a campaign of bringing it in and we think that has helped to inform the business community. We took steps as well to speak with them directly and let them know that we were going to see it early.”

Last Canada Day the Yukon government paid $116,700 in overtime to employees who had to work on that statutory holiday, Streicker said. Payroll on an average day is about $1.6 million, he said.

The collective agreement with the Yukon Employees Union and the Yukon Teachers’ Association have been reviewed and no changes will be required to accommodate for the extra holiday, Streicker said.

For now, federal employees aren’t as lucky. The introduction of a new holiday in the Yukon won’t change things for them, according to a spokesperson for the Treasury Board of Canada.

“Their designated 11 paid holidays are already determined in their collective agreements,” Martin Potvin said in an email. “A change to the current provision would need to be negotiated with the relevant bargaining agents.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

Most Read