Monday, November 7, 2016

Yukon Party response to YSWC questions

Thank you for sending us your questionnaire on women’s issues. The issues you have
outlined are of great importance to the Yukon Party and to all our candidates, and we
have addressed them in a number of ways in our campaign platform, which you may
find in full at www.yukonparty.ca.

We are proud of the work that Yukon Party governments have already undertaken
through the years to address these important issues but we acknowledge there is
more work to be done.

Below, we have provided highlights of what a re-elected Yukon Party government has
committed to do.

Question on child care:

Access to childcare is essential to ensure women can return to the workforce and
develop their careers after they have children. The most recent statistics show that
there are only spaces for 29.6% of the children aged 0-12 years available in Yukon,
and that monthly median daycare rates for infants is $739 and $649 for preschoolers,
per child. Even when families qualify for daycare subsidies, the largest available
subsidy falls short of these costs. What will your government do to increase
availability of quality, affordable childcare that works for Yukon families?

Answer:

Yukon families, women and children are top of mind for the Yukon Party. They are the
future of our territory and of our country. Our plan is to make it easier for Yukoners to
care for their children, build their careers and have happy, healthy lives.
The previous Yukon Party government enhanced the Child Care Subsidy Program to
reduce childcare costs for families, in recognition of the struggles that some families
face.

A re-elected Yukon Party government will:

● Implement a base-funding pilot project to help provide stability in staffing and
programming for children in Ross River, Watson Lake and Dawson City.

● Double the amount available to childcare facilities through the direct operating
grant, to $5 million per year, to incentivize increased childcare spaces.

● Review the childcare subsidy program every 5 years to ensure it is keeping pace
with current demand.

In addition, we have committed to implement permanent funding to purchase school
supplies for every Yukon student, building on the new initiative begun this fiscal year.
This will take financial pressure off families who have school-age children and are also
paying for child care. The Yukon Party has decreased taxes 15 times since forming
government. We are committed to keeping taxes low, and will not support new taxes.
We believe this is the best way to keep life affordable for Yukon families.

Question on violence against women:

Yukon continues to have violence against women rates that are three times the
national average. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed. How will your
government take a leadership role in addressing this pervasive issue in a
comprehensive way and what resources will you commit?

Answer:

The Yukon Party wants to ensure our communities are as safe as they can be for all
citizens, and we are deeply concerned about high rates of violence against women.
Our approach is to work collaboratively with citizens and partner organizations to find
a range of ways to address the root causes of crime and more effectively ensure our
communities and our families stay safe.

Yukon Party governments in the past have taken a number of actions, including
creating an advisory committee to guide a comprehensive integrated violence
prevention initiative aimed at addressing violence against women and girls, providing
$4.5 million as well as expertise, land and operational funding to Betty’s Haven,
providing funding for A Safe Place at Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre and
establishing the RCMP Specialized Response Unit for a more effective response to
domestic violence and sexualized assault. We also opened the Yukon Sexual Health
Clinic, offering sexual and reproductive health services.

The Yukon Party also implemented Project Lynx, a child advocacy initiative in Yukon
for child and youth victims and/or witnesses of crime. This service is aligned with
current national best practices for child advocacy centres. We established a new
RCMP 911 Call Centre, and expanded basic 911 service to all Yukon communities.

We have taken a number of significant steps to prevent violence against Aboriginal
women and girls, including:

● Investing $450,000 in Aboriginal women’s groups to address Yukon Aboriginal
Women’s Summit recommendations.

● Providing $222,000 to Yukon Sisters in Spirit and $1.7 million to the Prevention
of Violence Against Aboriginal Women Fund since 2004.

● Working toward the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission’s Call to Action.

● Establishing the Community Safety Committee with the Council for Yukon First
Nations, Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Association of Yukon Communities, Yukon
Women’s Coalition and RCMP to enhance services for children and youth, to
work to reduce violence against women, and to coordinate efforts supporting
vulnerable populations.

● Providing Kwanlin Dün First Nation $1.4 million for the Community Safety
Liaison Officer pilot project.
A re-elected Yukon Party government will:

● Continue to support Yukon families and Aboriginal women’s organizations
participating in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous
Women and Girls.

● Fund and fully participate in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered
Indigenous Women and Girls, while ensuring that Yukon initiatives are guided by
the leadership of Aboriginal women and the families that have been affected.

● Working collaboratively with Yukon First Nations, provide up to $3.5 million to
implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

● Support Yukon First Nations as they identify, design and develop culturally
relevant initiatives for collective action.

● Work with the RCMP to fund and improve community policing initiatives.

● Building on the successful pilot with the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, provide longterm,
stable funding to the Safety Liaison Officer initiative.

● Create a Missing Persons Act in consultation with women’s groups, First Nations,
the RCMP and the legal community to allow police to better respond to missing
persons cases.

● In consultation with women’s groups, increase core funding for women’s
shelters in Yukon.

● Work closely with the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre to extend funding for
the Safe Places program for five years.

We all want Yukon to be the best place to live, work, play and raise a family – and
part of that is ensuring our communities are as safe as they can be. The Yukon Party is
committed to an integrated approach that combines resources for fighting crime with
support for victims. We believe the best solutions in addressing violence against
women and children come from communities and front line workers. Our job is to help
activate those solutions. We are proud of the work that has been done to date by the
Yukon Party government and commit to continue our work collaboratively with
citizens and partner organizations.

Question on sexual assault centres:

Yukon does not have a designated sexual assault centre, while every other province
does. Given our high rate of sexual assault, one in every four women in the Yukon, the
community has been calling for the creation of a sexual assault crisis centre. Is this a
priority for you, and how and when do you plan to address this?

Answer:

While a designated sexual assault centre is not in our immediate plan, we are taking
several steps to ensure women have a safe place to go, and can access the health
care and justice they need in a crisis situation.

In addition to the commitments already mentioned above, a re-elected Yukon Party
government will:

● Work with the Yukon Support and Distress Line to explore ways to expand
services until 3am or later.

● Modernize the Emergency Department at the Whitehorse General Hospital with
almost $40 million over the next two years to ensure that our doctors and
nurses can provide the very best care to those who need it in a modern, stateof-
the-art emergency care facility.

● Increase operating funds for the new Sarah Steele Facility by $3.5 million per
year to ensure it can provide Yukoners with the alcohol and drug addiction
programs and services they need. This funding will support: 300 additional
detox admissions per year; increased in-patient capacity, from 90 clients per
year to more than 250; 50 beds, or double capacity, so that Yukoners as young
as 13 can access support.

● Continue to provide financial support to the Jackson Lake Healing Centre and
investigate opportunities to work with other First Nation communities to
provide similar healing and aftercare programs.

● Invest $5 million to support ongoing implementation of the Mental Wellness
Strategy, specifically targeting capacity-building initiatives, support in
communities and partnerships with First Nations.

Question on core funding:

Yukon women's groups have been operating much-needed programming on temporary
or project-based funding for decades. Staff of these programs must spend time that
could have been spent delivering programming writing reports or funding applications,
and cannot count on stability of employment. If your government is elected, will you
commit to sufficient core funding for NGOs who deliver these programs, and will you
commit to increasing that funding in pace with inflation, so that the staff may earn a
living wage, have job security, and provide consistency to their vulnerable clients?

Answer:

A re-elected Yukon Party government will:

● Increase core operating funds from $50,000 per year to $100,000 per year for
the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council
and the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle an investment of $1.5 million
over five years).

● In consultation with women’s groups, increase core funding for women’s
shelters in Yukon.

● Work closely with Victoria Faulkner to extend funding for the Safe Places
program for five years.

Question on low-income housing:

"Affordable housing" has been classed as anything that is below or at the median rent
in Whitehorse. With our current lack of affordable housing, median rent is $900 per
month. This is not "affordable" for the most vulnerable in our population, many of
whom are women and children. 73% of lone parent mothers living below the low
income cutoff. Women are forced to endure abusive relationships or leave with no
assurance of a stable roof over their children's heads. Those in the rural communities
outside of Whitehorse have even fewer choices. What will your government do to
ensure that these most vulnerable among us have safe, secure housing that they can
count on?

Answer:

As a society we have an obligation to ensure that we care for our most vulnerable
members. The Yukon Party has made significant investments across the territory in
new housing units for low-income and high-risk groups, has increased the availability
of temporary shelter space and transitional housing and has worked to increase the
availability of land in Whitehorse, and the communities, for development.
Over the past five years, the Yukon Party government has invested millions of dollars
to make affordable housing more available for Yukoners.

While the number of initiatives we have funded are too numerous to list here, some of the major projects include:

● In 2012, committed five more years of funding to the Whitehorse Affordable
Family Housing project in Riverdale.

● Opened Betty's Haven 10-unit second-stage women’s transitional housing facility.

● In 2014 provided $1.5 million for new housing units in Carmacks and Carcross.

● Allocated $3 million to new Salvation Army housing project

● New 34-unit seniors’ residence opened on Alexander Street in 2014.

● Awarded contract to construct $11.5 million, 48-unit accessible seniors’ housing
complex in Whitehorse.

● In 2015 awarded funding for five new housing initiatives worth $6 million that will
improve quality and accessibility of rental housing.

A re-elected Yukon Party government will:

● Increase private sector participation in the rental market through rent
supplement agreements.

● Provide funding to the Klondike Development Organization to expand
affordable housing options in Dawson City.

● Explore opportunities to partner with First Nations and the private sector on
housing initiatives similar to the Da Daghay Development Corporation initiative.

● Make the necessary legislative and regulatory changes to better enable
construction of tiny homes in communities.

● Support efforts to increase the diversity of lending options available to
homeowners in the Yukon.

Sincerely,
Currie Dixon
Yukon Party Campaign Chair