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Yukon government strikes up advisory group on substance use

Four mayors, four chiefs will make up core of new committee
Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee told reporters at the Yukon legislature on April 19 the substance use health emergency declaration will be the focus for a new committee of mayors and chiefs from across the territory. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

A committee of Yukon mayors and chiefs is forming to advise ministers on the government’s response to the substance use health emergency declaration.

On April 19, Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee told reporters at the Yukon legislature the government will be setting up a ministerial advisory group composed of four mayors and four chiefs.

“We expect that we will invite an Elder and also a youth member to that group,” McPhee said.

McPhee declared a substance use health emergency on Jan. 20 following an increase in overdose-related deaths in the territory.

In an email on April 21, Lisa Wiklund, spokesperson for the department, said the group is being formed “to create a collaborative venue where First Nations and community leaders can directly provide input, guidance and advice” to McPhee and Jeanie McLean, who is the Education minister and the minister responsible for the Women and Gender Equity Directorate, on the substance use health emergency and substance use issues.

It will make space for exchanging experiences, needs and concerns from each leader’s constituents.

The group will also increase awareness about services and supports available to people struggling with substance use.

Their discussions will “shape the way our territory continues to combat this ongoing emergency,” reads the email.

McPhee said the group will meet on occasion throughout the year.

“That’s only one small aspect of that, but it certainly is a good way to reach out to communities or to set priorities,” McPhee said.

McPhee said a meeting will be held “as soon as we can” in early May, after the current legislative sitting ends on April 28.

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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