Yukon commits to midwife working group

The Community Association of Midwives Yukon is thrilled that the Yukon government has committed to study the issue of regulating midwifery in the territory.

The Community Association of Midwives Yukon is thrilled that the Yukon government has committed to study the issue of regulating midwifery in the territory.

“This is the most positive feedback that I’ve received,” said midwife Kathleen Cranfield, the group’s president.

Health Minister Mike Nixon presented a motion to the legislature this week about the creation of a working group.

It will involve midwives, doctors, nurses, the Yukon government and other stakeholders, and they will study regulations across Canada and determine the path forward for the Yukon.

The fact that Yukon does not have midwife legislation makes it very hard for midwives to do their jobs, and for women to access their services, Cranfield said.

Cranfield has worked as a registered midwife in Ontario and B.C.

She returned to the Yukon about two years ago to work as a midwife and push for midwife regulation.

“I think it’s really important that people have that choice to get that specialized care from a midwife.”

While Yukoners can have a baby here through a midwife, they have to pay out of pocket.

The cost is typically between $2,500 and $3,000, said Cranfield.

And because of the lack of regulation, there is very little ability for midwives to work collaboratively with the rest of the medical system.

“There’s this sort of divide, and that divide doesn’t need to be there, in this day and age.”

In jurisdictions where the practice is regulated, midwives can order medical tests for their clients and easily access doctor and nurse care when necessary.

Clients can choose to have their birth at home or in the hospital, supervised by their midwife.

If a home birth becomes complicated, the midwife can admit their client to the hospital and continue to lead the birth, with the assistance of doctors as required.

Here in the Yukon, women who choose to hire a midwife don’t have those options.

Only a home birth is possible. If they are moved to hospital, their midwife gets cut out of the equation and a doctor who has potentially never seen them before takes over.

“It makes more sense for midwives to work collaboratively, within the same system as doctors.”

It can also save the government money, since midwife care allows women to avoid expensive hospital and doctor visits.

The Community Association of Midwives Yukon’s mission is to see midwifery regulation for the territory, including public funding so that the service is accessible for all, Cranfield said.

How and when that happens will come out of the working group’s work, she said.

“I think it’s a really big step, that this has happened, I think it’s really positive. It’s such a change from the last time we heard from the government.”

The Yukon government has been talking about writing midwifery legislation since at least 1996.

The Liberal government of the early 2000s promised regulation, but never brought it forward.

In December then-Health minister Doug Graham said that further study of the issue was not high on his department’s priority list. He said that process might start in late 2015 or early 2016.

“There are other priorities that are much higher, in terms of the medical professions in the Yukon, than midwifery.”

Today, by contrast, there seems to be some real momentum, said Cranfield.

Two ministers and a deputy minister showed up for the association’s celebration of the International Day of the Midwife on Tuesday, she said.

“The physicians seem to be ready and supportive. All the stakeholders seem to be supportive – it just seems to be a really good time.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Most Read