What to say about midwifery in Yukon?

Kathleen Cranfield is flying to Ontario today. The trip is making history. It is the first time the Canadian Association of Midwives has ever had a representative from the Yukon.

Kathleen Cranfield is flying to Ontario today.

The trip is making history.

It is the first time the Canadian Association of Midwives has ever had a representative from the Yukon.

It is also the first time the association’s annual conference will be joined by the Midwives Alliance of North America, which is the mirror organization for the United States.

For midwives, this is a big deal.

But for Cranfield, it’s also a big concern.

She has been asked to give a 10-minute presentation about midwifery in the Yukon.

But she doesn’t know what to say.

The Yukon and PEI are the only two jurisdictions in Canada that have not committed to working towards regulating the industry.

Without such rules, midwives have no hospital rights, meaning they cannot order tests, like blood work and ultrasounds, and they are not covered by the health-care system.

If women in the Yukon want to give birth with a midwife, they have to pay around $3,000 out of their own pockets.

And, despite the fact the territorial government began looking into the issue in 2007 and conducted public consultation in 2010, the Yukon is no closer to deciding whether it will regulate the ancient profession, or not.

Already aware of this weekend’s conference, Cranfield organized a march for midwives in Whitehorse at the end of April, in the hope of pushing the government to make a decision.

The rally was well attended, and within 24 hours Cranfield had 200 signatures on a petition. She attached it to evidence of midwifery’s positive benefits to health care, and hand delivered it to then Health minister Glenn Hart’s office.

“I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Glenn,” she said.

And she never heard whether he received the package.

So she sent him an email in May.

She still hasn’t heard anything.

Even the Canadian Association of Midwives has contacted the department, to no avail, said Cranfield.

Two weeks ago, Cranfield had a brief appointment with Pat Living, the department’s spokesperson.

“The recommendations from the midwifery consultation are with the deputy minister and he has committed to presenting them to the new minister as early as possible,” said Living.

In other words, nothing has changed.

“I can’t do this much longer,” said Cranfield.

Cranfield wants to permanently move to the territory, but money is running out.

For her to keep her registration with the College of Midwives of British Columbia, she has to deliver a minimum number of regulated births per year.

She also must deliver a number of regulated homebirths per year – a highly polarized issue in the territory’s medical community.

To do either of these, she must go Outside.

And Cranfield does not want to lose her college registration, because if the territory does, eventually, regulate the profession, she will probably need it to be considered.

And the prospect of going back and paying for years of school and a practicum that she has already completed is not realistic.

But neither is her current work schedule.

This summer, she flew to Fort Smith, NWT and Nunavik, Quebec, to work for months at a time.

In both places, she was at the forefront of the profession.

For the isolated Inuit in Nunavik, bringing birth back into the communities has been hugely empowering for largely devastated and vulnerable female populations, said Cranfield. Now, 80 per cent of all births in Nunavik are done with midwives, the health centres’ maternity care is led by midwives and the $3,000 that would have been spent to fly women to hospitals in Montreal, is saved.

During her stay there, Cranfield not only worked as a midwife, but helped train midwifery students.

In the Northwest Territories, Cranfield has been hired as a clinical expert to find the best way to expand the industry to make it sustainable within the existing health-care system, she said.

But in Niagara on Sunday, she can’t talk about either of these groundbreaking experiences.

She has to talk about the Yukon.

A place where, after four years, the government sill can’t decide if they will or will not enact regulations.

A place where no new midwives can move because there is no professional mobility to this territory, because there are no job descriptions and because they will most likely go broke if they do, added Cranfield.

Even once the government decides to pass regulations – if it does – it will still take at least two years to write them, she added.

“Meanwhile,” she said. “What am I supposed to do?”

Cranfield is encouraging the public to send letters to the department and the new Minister of Health and Social Services in hopes of pushing work already completed to the top of their lists.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Mobile vaccine team Team Balto practises vaccine clinic set-up and teardown at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Mobile vaccine teams are heading out this week to the communities in order to begin Moderna vaccinations. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mobile vaccine teams begin community vaccinations

“It’s an all-of-government approach”

The now empty lot at 410 Cook Street in Whitehorse on Jan. 19. As developers move forward with plans for a housing development that would feature 16 micro-units, they are asking city council for a zoning change that would reduce the number of required parking spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Developer asks for zoning change

Would reduce the number of required parking spaces

The Liard First Nation is preparing to enter negotiations for self-governance with the territorial and federal governments. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
Liard First Nation preparing to enter self-governance negotiations with Yukon, federal governments

Chief Stephen Charlie seeking an agreement separate from “dead end” UFA

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 20, 2021

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read