Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said in an interview March 8, that the scoring system used by the MacDonald-Laurier Institute for its report card didn’t take into account areas of justice where the Yukon is a national “leader.” (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon justice system a ‘leader’ in areas not accounted for in report card, McPhee says

A justice system report card released earlier this week ranked the Yukon’s as the worst in Canada

A Canadian think tank’s recently-released “report card” on justice systems in Canada that ranked the Yukon’s as the worst in the country doesn’t present a complete picture of what’s happening in the territory, says Yukon’s minister of justice.

However, she added she’s “keen” to have a conversation about justice issues in the territory.

In an interview March 8, Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said that the scoring system used by the MacDonald-Laurier Institute for its report card, which relied on data from Statistics Canada, didn’t take into account areas of justice where the Yukon is a national “leader.”

“The Yukon justice system has been, and continues to be a leader in areas of restorative justice, reconciliation and innovative services,” she said.

“There are lots of examples of Yukon’s justice initiatives that are serving our community that are really not measured in this report.”

Among those initiatives, McPhee said, are the use of circle sentencing, peacemaker and wellness courts, negotiations with Yukon First Nations on administration-of-justice agreements, and victim support services like the Sexualized Assault Response Team (SART) and the child-and-youth focused Project Lynx. The territorial government also recently announced funding for a pilot project to train people to write Gladue reports.

On the criteria that the Yukon was scored and graded, McPhee said that because the data came from Statistics Canada, some portions were missing due to the fact that the federal agency doesn’t collect certain information from territories, and numbers that are available aren’t always adjusted for population.

The report card graded the Yukon poorly on its level of funding for legal aid, but McPhee pointed out that the past two territorial budgets have increased spending for the service. The 2018-19 budget shows a $50,000 spending increase on legal aid compared to the 2017-18 budget, but McPhee said the increase is actually closer to $300,000 “because we’re funding some additional requests from the legal aid department.”

“I have worked in this justice system for more than 25 years — I know exactly, from personal experience, the importance of legal aid to all of our communities,” she said. “It is certainly something that I want to support, not only with funding but in other ways if at all possible.”

McPhee said the justice department has reached out to the Macdonald-Laurier Institute so it can “have conversations about the statistics, about information that we can provide to them that perhaps they can take into account, but almost more importantly, we want to make sure that we learn from their comments.” She and the justice department will also be reviewing the report card more thoroughly to determine if any lessons can be learned.

“Really, it’s about starting a conversation here in Yukon and making sure that our justice issues are being addressed,” she said. “I mean, I don’t think it will have surprised anyone, having worked in the justice system here for 25 years, that these issues are very important to me…. These are conversations and issues that we work on every day, all the time.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Whitehorse’s Dahria Beatty and Emily Nishikawa are ready for the World Cup season

“It is still very exciting and the same kind of feelings you get every year”

Yukon government declares climate emergency

The call was made after a successful amendment by the NDP

Municipal leaders zero in on communication when it comes to the next MP

Yukon communities want more communication with feds

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

New policy would govern how city facilities are booked

The new policy sets out priorities for the use of city recreation spaces

New city policy would keep most roundtable talks with Whitehorse council open

New policy comes after council backed away from a policy that would have closed the meetings

Elite Martial Arts Academy grapplers prepare for return to Alaska State No-Gi Submission Grappling Championships

“We’ve been ramping up practices and getting it more intense because it’s just a whole new level”

Whitehorse city news, briefly

Some of the decisions discussed at the council meeting Oct. 7

YG to spend $2.2M on diesel generators in light of cancelled thermal plant

Now that plans for a new thermal plant have been nixed, the… Continue reading

Bike biathlon timing a bullseye

The event wrapped up just hours before Whitehorse received more than 15 centimetres of snow

COMMENTARY: After a good start, there’s more work to do on Yukon’s wetland policy

We are now lagging behind the initially proposed schedule by about four months

Yukon Schools Mountain Bike Races wrap with Mount McIntyre finale

The third and final Yukon Schools Mountain Bike Race of the fall… Continue reading

Commentary: Change is on our doorstep

Donald Reid Wild species and places offer so much to Yukoners. They… Continue reading

Most Read