The fall sitting of the Legislative Assembly has come to an end and our Liberal Caucus is proud of the work we have accomplished on behalf of Yukoners. We brought forward an ambitious legislative agenda, modernizing several laws, updating them to be more inclusive, and making government more open and accountable. Two years after Yukoners elected in a majority Liberal government, we continue to work hard and deliver on the commitments we made during the 2016 election.
Nine new pieces of legislation were introduced this fall:
The new Access to Information and Protection of Privacy [ATIPP] Act will bring government into the digital age of the 21st Century. The new Act allows for the streamlining of e-services- building in opportunities for us to move towards the use of a single government-wide user ID to access government services like buying a hunting license, renewing a vehicle registration, and changing a home address. The Act also reverses changes made under the Yukon Party in 2012, strengthening protection of privacy and making government decision making more transparent, open and accountable. Our Liberal Caucus is proud to deliver on our commitment to amend the ATIPP Act to increase the amount of government information available to Yukoners.
We modernized the Societies Act to better meet the needs of Yukon societies and the many people they serve. The changes reduce red tape for societies and make it easier and more accessible to create, operate and govern a society. Our Liberal Caucus values the contributions made by the hundreds of societies that exist in our territory and will continue to help them help Yukoners.
The Equality of Spouses Statute Law Amendment Act (2018) passed with unanimous support of the Legislative Assembly. This Act updates many pieces of Yukon legislation with language that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, Two-Spirit plus (LGBTQ2S+) Yukoners and repeals the Married Women’s Property Act. Ensuring government legislation, policies and practices meet the rules and social standards of non-discrimination for LGBTQ2S+ Yukoners is a priority of our Liberal Caucus and are pleased to have received the support of all parties for these changes.
The new Coroners Act clarifies the duties and responsibilities of coroners and incorporates best practices and procedures into Yukon’s Coroner’s Service. This was the first major overhaul of the Coroners Act in 60 years and the revisions provide the Coroner’s Service with modern tools and structures to give the best service to Yukoners.
The Act to Amend the Forest Resources Act and the Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act (2018) was introduced in response to recent court cases involving the illegal construction of the 17-kilometre access road in the McGregor Creek area, north of Carmacks. The amendments will contribute to improved protection and management of our lands and forests by strengthening enforcement mechanisms available to the government to address violations of the Forest Resource Act and the Territorial Lands Act.
The Act to Amend the Legislative Assembly Act (2018) makes changes to the pay and benefits of Members of the Legislative Assembly and closes a loophole in MLA severance rules that were exploited by the previous Yukon Party government.
The Technical Amendments Act (No. 2), 2018 fixes practical and policy issues regarding certain laws like the Human Rights Act and the Territorial Court Act that were unforeseen when the original legislation was drafted.
The Second Appropriation Act, 2018–19, a $13.4 million supplementary budget that marked an historically low increase in spending over the 2018-19 budget of less than one per cent.
During the fall session a number of witnesses also appeared in the House to answer questions the elected MLAs.
For the first time in the history of the Legislative Assembly, Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) appeared to answer questions about the new ATIPP Act. Our Liberal Caucus values the feedback the IPC provided on draft legislation that improved and strengthened the new Act. This legislation affects all Yukoners and we felt it was important for them to hear about it directly from the IPC. In 2012, the IPC was critical of changes made under the Yukon Party government that gutted the ATIPP Act and was not allowed to appear in the House.
Senior representatives from the Yukon Hospital Corporation and the Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board appeared once again in the House to answer questions about their respective organizations. This is the second time officials from these crown corporations have appeared since our Liberal Caucus took office in 2016. We will continue to deliver on our commitment to have all Government entities appear before the Legislative Assembly at least once per year.
Mr. David Loukidelis, Q.C., also answered questions about his independent inspection of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, which includes 40 recommendations to improve the delivery of programs and services at the correctional centre and better serve inmates who have mental wellness needs. Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee appointed Mr. Loukidelis to conduct the independent inspection of Yukon’s only correctional centre in the fall of 2017. While in Whitehorse, Mr. Loukidelis met with the final report’s Implementation Working Group, comprised of officials from the Department of Justice, Yukon First Nations and community justice partners.
“It was very satisfying to hear of the work that is being done and has been done since the government’s response to the report was issued in August of this year” – Mr. David Loukidelis