Government of Yukon launches Inclusive Yukon Families public engagement

Furthering the Government of Yukon’s commitment to inclusivity and building a society where all people are valued and recognized as their true selves, the Yukon government is launching the Inclusive Yukon Families public engagement from February 15 to March 15, 2024. This public engagement will include an online survey and targeted in-person engagement aiming to better reflect parenthood and explore how naming options can be expanded to address barriers, burdens and inequities experienced in the current system. 

The Government of Yukon recognizes that current Yukon laws establishing parentage often rely on biological connections and may be based on binary assumptions of gender and sex. This outdated language does not reflect the reality of many Yukon families, particularly families with parents who are non-binary or not biological or who are members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.  

The Yukon’s laws establishing parentage currently require that a “mother” be registered upon a child’s birth, with “mother” defined as the woman from whom a child is delivered. The law does not currently consider situations of surrogacy, where the individual delivering the child may not intend to act as a parent.

Current laws addressing naming options may not be inclusive of cultural practices, the use of traditional languages or other people who do not use the Roman alphabet. For example, based on current legislation, a name must include both a given name and a surname and cannot be a single name. Names must also be written in the Roman alphabet, and cannot include initials, numbers or other symbols. This is inconsistent with First Nations’ efforts to revitalize the use of Indigenous languages.

Results from this public engagement will help inform future amendments to the Children’s Law Act, Change of Name Act and Vital Statistics Act. This work will include:

  • exploring parentage status for legal purposes and decision making;
  • reflecting the diverse cultural backgrounds and traditional languages of Yukon families; and
  • offering more inclusive naming options to help enable residential school Survivors and their families to reclaim names changed by the residential school system.

This work is consistent with the Government of Yukon’s goal of ending discrimination against 2SLGBTQIA+ people, as outlined in the 2021 LGBTQ2S+ Action Plan, and with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action recommendations regarding parentage and naming options. 

Inclusion is the very spirit of the Yukon territory. We recognize that the Government of Yukon’s current legislation addressing parentage and naming options available to Yukoners would benefit from modernization. Before we propose amendments to the Children’s Law Act, Vital Statistics Act and the Change of Name Act, the Government of Yukon wants to hear from Yukoners who are affected by current legislation to ensure that our territorial laws are inclusive and reflect realities faced by Yukon families. Individual experiences and perspectives can help inform next steps towards attaining this goal.

 

Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee

Quick facts 
  • In-person engagement:  People With Lived Experience who wish to participate in-person (paid, one-on-one interviews, etc.), can contact Shelby Maunder, shelby.maunder@yukon.ca.

  • Survey: Yukoners can take the survey at yukon.ca/inclusive-families from February 21, 2024 to March 15, 2024.

Media contact 

Laura Seeley
Cabinet Communications
867-332-7627
Laura.Seeley@yukon.ca

Zachary Burke
Communications, Health and Social Services
867-334-7986
zachary.burke@yukon.ca

News release #: 
24-068