Historic sitting of Yukon Legislative Assembly concludes

The 2020 fall sitting of the Yukon Legislative Assembly concluded today. The 45-day sitting was the longest sitting of the Yukon Legislative Assembly in more than 25 years, and the second longest continuous sitting in the history of the Yukon Legislative Assembly. In total, the Yukon Legislative Assembly sat for 54 days in 2020, the fourth highest number of sitting days of all provinces and territories this year.

Several new pieces of legislation received assent that focus on investing in economic and social supports for Yukoners impacted by COVID-19, protecting and providing support to Yukoners, strengthening Yukon’s waste reduction efforts, and improving Yukon’s democratic processes.

The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Protection Act bans conversion therapy in Yukon, supporting the government’s commitment to inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two-Spirit plus Yukoners (LGBTQ2S+).

Amendments to the Employment Standards Act will provide access to paid and unpaid leave for victims of domestic or sexualized violence in Yukon. The new leave provisions also extend to employees if their child, a person they care for or close friend is a victim of domestic or sexualized violence.

Amendments to the Environment Act allow for a ban on single use products and packaging in Yukon.

Amendments to the Elections Act established fixed dates for territorial elections. Territorial elections will occur on the first Monday in November every four years, starting on November 3, 2025.

Amendments to the Land Titles Act support the registry of Settlement Land by First Nations governments. This innovative Act is part of the Government of Yukon’s broader effort to modernize the land titles system to meet the needs of all Yukoners.

The Second Appropriation Act 2020–21 includes an increase of $95.9 million in Operations & Maintenance (O&M) gross spending, with an offsetting increase of $58 million in O&M recoveries. The additional spending provides economic and social supports as well as expanded health services for Yukoners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also includes funding to begin implementing the Putting People First plan for health and social care.

A motion to establish an all-party committee to review Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA) passed during the fall sitting. The committee, which includes a representative from each of the three parties in the Legislative Assembly, will consider and identify options for modernizing CEMA, as well as make recommendations on possible amendments to the Act. The committee will submit a report to the Legislative Assembly on its findings and recommendations by August 31, 2021.

The fall sitting also saw a record number of witnesses appear before the Legislative Assembly including:

  • members of the Independent Expert Panel that prepared Putting People First, the final report of Yukon’s comprehensive review of health and social programs and services;
  • Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health;
  • the Interim President and Chair of the Board of Governors of Yukon University;
  • the Chair and the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board;
  • the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Yukon Hospital Corporation;
  • the President and Chief Executive Officer and the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Yukon Energy Corporation; and
  • the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Yukon Development Corporation.

As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, our government remains focused on protecting Yukoners and supporting them through these challenging times. This fall we passed budget measures focused on social and economic supports and health care services for Yukoners in response to COVID-19. We are also pleased to pass new laws introducing paid leave for those experiencing domestic violence, strengthening Yukon’s waste reduction efforts, supporting and protecting LGBTQ2S+ Yukoners, and introducing fixed election dates for territorial elections. Our government continues to deliver on commitments that improve the lives of Yukoners.

Premier Sandy Silver

Quick facts 
  • Yukon is the fourth Canadian province or territory to pass legislation banning or criminalizing conversion therapy.

  • The Enduring Power of Attorney Act has not been updated since first being introduced 25 years ago.

  • The 2020 fall sitting was the second longest continuous sitting in the history of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

  • In total, the Yukon Legislative Assembly sat for 54 days in 2020, the fourth highest number of sitting days of all provinces and territories this year.

  • Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health appeared as a witness on December 17, 2020, for the first time in the history of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

  • Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act is more than 50 years old, predating existing Final and Self-Government Agreements.  It was last amended in 1985.

  • Additional legislation that received assent during the fall sitting includes:
     

    • the Act to Amend the Wills Act (2020);
    • the Act of 2020 to Amend the Condominium Act, 2015;
    • the Enduring Powers of Attorney and Related Amendments Act (2020);
    • the Corporate Statutes Amendment Act (2020); and
    • the Fourth Appropriation Act 2019–20.
Contact 

Matthew Cameron
Cabinet Communications
867-393-7136
matthew.cameron@gov.yk.ca

News release #: 
20-389