Yukon NDP motion to help domestic violence victims access stable housing gets legislative backing

Demonstrated victims of domestic violence should be allowed to end a lease early and remove an abuser’s name from a lease, according to a Yukon NDP motion passed today in the Yukon Legislative Assembly. The motion echoes a similar measure approved unanimously by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta that makes it easier for people fleeing domestic violence to find safe, stable housing.

The motion, as tabled by Yukon NDP Housing Critic Kate White on behalf of the Official Opposition caucus, asks “that this House urges the Government of Yukon to introduce amendments to the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act to allow domestic violence victims to: (1) terminate a lease early and without penalty, and (2) remove an abuser’s name from a lease.”

“Domestic violence victims go through enough personal distress without having to worry about the consequences of breaking their lease,” said White. “Violence against women continues to be a serious problem in our society, and this is one small – but important – way that the government can help victims of domestic violence.”

White’s motion reflects dangerous levels of domestic violence in Yukon. In 2014, the territory’s rate of violent crime against women was four times higher than the national average, and police-reported family violence between Yukoners was 3.7 times greater than federal levels.

Before passing the motion, a Yukon Party government amendment asked that the government consult community interest groups before it enacts the motion’s regulatory changes.

"Yukon's women's advocacy organizations are the experts on the ground,” added White. “We look forward to their voices strengthening any legislation that removes victims of domestic abuse’s barriers to moving on.”