Access to information documents show shallow commitment to continuing care consultation

The Yukon NDP Official Opposition has blasted the Yukon Party government for holding “information sessions” on its planned Whistle Bend facility instead of meaningful consultations about the future of continuing care in Yukon. 

Instead of making a genuine attempt at consulting stakeholders like seniors’ groups, First Nation governments and the public, documents obtained by the Yukon NDP caucus through Yukon’s access to information legislation show that the government’s rapidly organized sessions appear to be a response to the Yukon NDP caucus’ public continuing care town hall.

Sent in August, 2015, the government invited groups to attend the information sessions if they were “interested in hearing more about the planning of this facility”. In a September 9th email laying out the schedule of meetings, the Whistle Bend continuing care facility director lists four sessions, adding that she is “afraid that is the brief list” of meetings planned up to that date.

“These documents confirm what members of the community have been saying all along: the government did not adequately consult Yukoners about the Whistle Bend continuing care facility,” said Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson. “The Yukon Party government quickly cobbled together ‘information sessions’ to try and prove that it was doing some kind of outreach over this contentious facility.”

At the Yukon NDP’s continuing care town hall, which was announced on July 15th – weeks before the government’s olive branch to senior’s groups – members of the public and health care professionals were nearly unanimous in opposing the location of the facility and to the lack of meaningful government consultation. Yukon Party education minister Doug Graham, who was until recently the health minister, participated in the town hall and acknowledged that “the location is not that good”.

“We now know that the Yukon Party government tried to organize ‘information sessions’ in response to the Yukon NDP’s open and public continuing care town hall,” said Yukon NDP health critic Jan Stick. “It’s time for the government to listen to the concerns of Yukoners and put the brakes on its decision to build a continuing care facility in Whistle Bend and ask the community how it sees the future of continuing care in Yukon.”

“Yukoners, both young and old, deserve as much from a government that’s been caught trying to consult on a done deal.”

Click here to read the access to information documents obtained by the Yukon NDP (9 MB PDF).