Education minister Tracy-Anne McPhee at a press conference in Whitehorse on July 9, 2019. The Yukon government announced in a statement Feb. 17 that Nikki Yee will lead an independent review of inclusive and special education in the territory. McPhee said in that same statement that Yukon is striving to have an all-inclusive education system. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon government announces review on inclusive and special education in the territory

Review, led by a B.C. educator, stems from 2019 auditor general report on Yukon’s education system

The Yukon government has announced Nikki Yee will lead the independent review of inclusive and special education in the territory.

The announcement was made Feb. 17 and highlighted Yee’s experience as an educator and current doctoral candidate in special education at the University of British Columbia.

Yee has worked for more than 12 years in education teaching everything from pre-Kindergarten to university as well as providing special education supports to schools.

Her research work has focused largely on decolonization in the classroom to support Indigenous and all students in inclusive learning environments.

The territory’s review comes out of a recommendation from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada’s report on the education system in the Yukon published in June 2019.

Yee’s work will include an in-depth review of the Department of Education’s approach to delivering inclusive and special education programs and services. It will provide initial recommendations identifying challenges and looking at where improvements can be made, it was highlighted in a Yukon government statement.

That work will begin with an internal phase focused on reviewing current practices, procedures, legislated responsibilities and speaking with administrative and school staff.

A second phase will follow focused on gathering external input from students, families, First Nations, school communities and others involved in education around the territory. That phase is expected to happen sometime in the spring.

“In this review, I want to listen to people’s experiences with inclusive and special education and draw these stories together to establish a common understanding of what is happening, and how this impacts students’ experiences of school in Yukon,” Yee said in the government’s statement. “From that point, I can bring in promising practices to help leverage the strengths already present throughout the system so that processes and procedures become more effective and students consistently experience education as positive and uplifting.”

It’s expected initial recommendations from the report will come forward in June. They will be looked at by the Advisory Committee for Yukon Education and Yukon First Nations with short, medium and long-term actions developed from that.

“Yukon is striving to have an inclusive education system that enables all students to feel confident as learners, and that learning environments in all Yukon schools are providing effective and timely supports to meet students’ learning needs,” education minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said in the statement.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Yukon Department of Education

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