Premier Darrell Pasloski met with provincial and territorial leaders last week to discuss infrastructure, health care and the economy.
Every year, Canada’s premiers meet as members of the Council of the Federation to talk about important issues and strengthen negotiations with the federal government.
Pasloski led the discussions on infrastructure last week.
The Yukon has special needs when it comes to infrastructure development, and a special interest in ensuring that federal funding is appropriate, he said.
“We have a much smaller population, a much larger geographical base, and we have challenges of climate change that affect us a lot more significantly than they do further south.”
The Yukon has recently completed projects under the Building Canada program, where costs were shared between the territorial and federal governments. The main focus of those projects was to build equipment and facilities for drinking water and waste water, although the program also funded roads, bridges and recreation facilities.
Pasloski suggested that the federal government use a “base plus per capita” formula for future investments, meaning that all territories and provinces would receive a certain level of funding, plus an amount based on the population of the jurisdiction.
This would mean that the Yukon would receive a higher level funding per capita than areas with a greater population, and this would partially compensate for the greater land mass that must be covered, and the relatively high cost of building in the North.
The other premiers supported the suggestion, said Pasloski.
The meeting also identified the need to develop a disaster mitigation program to help prevent, and lower costs, of natural events such as fire and flooding.
Right now, there is a federal funding program to help with costs to recover after a natural disaster, but there’s nothing to help pay for programs working to prevent those disasters from occurring in the first place.
Yukon has experienced serious and record-breaking floods this year, with continued flood warnings in effect for the Southern Lakes region.
A disaster reduction plan could, for example, help with the costs for a family to relocate if they live in an area prone to flooding and prefer to move rather than continue to pay to clean up the mess after every flood.
The premiers also discussed how they will deal with rising health care costs.
The meetings focused on ways the regions could invest, for example, in preventative care and generic drugs.
Focusing more on a “team-based model” of health care delivery, where doctors, nurses and pharmacists collaborate to provide care, could help ease the doctor shortage in the Yukon, said Pasloski.
The premier also took time to congratulate Doris Roberts from the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation in Dawson City, who received a Council of the Federation Literacy Award this year.
Contact Jacqueline Ronson at firstname.lastname@example.org