WHITEHORSE – Once again, the Yukon Party’s tired attempts to undermine public confidence in the Yukon’s education system are based on a false hope that Yukoners will forget that Currie Dixon and his conservative caucus already voted against funds for the reforms they now publicly propose.
Budget 2023-24 contains $1 million for recruitment and retention of rural education professionals, over $43.4 million for supporting quality early learning and childcare, with another $515,000 invested in capital to support the development of a data management system, as well as over $27 million in funding for a number of capital projects in the education portfolio, including:
- the Kets’ádań Kų̀ school in Burwash Landing;
- a replacement for École Whitehorse Elementary School;
- the completion of Whistle Bend Elementary School;
- structural upgrades to the school in Ross River;
- modernizing learning spaces, and
- upgrading education equipment across the territory.
While the Yukon Party Caucus is now reversing their position and calling for investment in the recruitment and retention of education professionals, all Yukon Party MLAs voted against funding these initiatives through Budget 2023-24 on April 29, 2023.
“If Currie Dixon and the conservatives in the Yukon Party have had a change of heart about supporting the Liberal government’s budget, we would welcome their endorsement,” said Education Minister Jeanie McLean. “Unfortunately,” the Minister added, “it seems that the Yukon Party is instead trying to get by calling for reforms while hoping that Yukoners will forget that the same MLAs already said ‘no’ to these measures.”
While there is currently a shortage of teaching staff across Canada, the Yukon Liberal government has prioritized ensuring that all Yukon schools provide safe, inclusive, and supporting learning environments that deliver high-quality education to learners of all ages. The Yukon Liberal government continues to work with education partners to recruit and retain staff, and this work has paid off. At the start of the 2022-23 school year, there were significantly fewer teacher vacancies compared to the start of the 2021-22 school year.
The department is rethinking and changing how it helps all students with their learning needs by providing better support and interventions.
With the Reimagining Inclusive and Special Education (RISE) initiative, our government is looking at how we assign Education Assistants (EAs) and other resources. A working group is working to find improved ways of matching funding and staff with what students require.
“When it comes to improving our education system, Currie Dixon, Yukon Party Education Critic Scott Kent, and the rest of the Yukon Party Caucus are trying to take credit for the work of others,” said Minister McLean. “Under the leadership of the Yukon Liberal government, the Department of Education has already been participating in career fairs online and in person, and has advertised vacancies on social media and through job boards run by Canadian universities,” added McLean.
For the 2023-24 school year, the Department of Education has taken action on recruitment factors within its control and continues to work to find staff with the best combination of qualifications, experience and suitability.
The department has participated in online career fairs, and the Yukon University fair, and placed advertising on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, YouTube, and through Canadian universities.
To date, the department’s teacher recruiters have been very active and attended:
- 13 in-person education career fairs in the Yukon, Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick, and
- 6 online job fairs reaching candidates across all jurisdictions in Canada.
The department has also successfully filled 127 vacancies for the 2023/24 school year, excluding educational assistants, as they are currently underway.
The average starting salary for a primary education teacher in Canada is $52,9751. Under the leadership of the Yukon Liberal government, the starting salary for a new teacher in the Yukon is well above the national average, ranging from $57,435 to $84,978, effective July 1, 2021.2
Individuals interested in applying for a teaching job in Yukon can continue to visit https://yukon.ca/en/employment/jobs-schools for more information.