New deputy ministers for Environment and Justice

New deputy ministers have been appointed in the departments of Justice and Environment.

John Bailey will be the deputy minister of the Department of Environment, effective December 13. Assistant deputy minister Ed Van Randen has been acting as deputy minister since July 2018.

John Phelps will be deputy minister for the Department of Justice effective January 1, 2019. Assistant deputy minister Lesley McCullough has been acting as deputy minister since December 2016.

John Phelps and John Bailey are experts and leaders in their respective fields and have many years of experience working in Yukon and the North. I welcome their perspectives and experience to the senior leadership team of the Yukon government public service.

I would like to thank Lesley and Ed for all of their hard work while they have been acting as deputy ministers. Their leadership and guidance has been much appreciated.

Premier Sandy Silver

Quick Facts 
  • Deputy ministers are the most senior public servants in Government of Yukon departments. They are responsible for the department’s budget, day-to-day operations and program development.

  • Deputy ministers serve at the pleasure of the Premier and take direction from the Minister responsible for their department.



John Bailey

John Bailey began his resource management career in the late 1970s with the Ontario government, working as a technician, biologist and conservation officer. He moved to the Northwest Territories in 1982 to work for the Department of Renewable Resources in Talayoak, Iqaluit, Yellowknife and Inuvik. He was the regional superintendent for the Inuvik Region before moving to Whitehorse in 1989, where he contracted to First Nation governments, territorial and federal agencies and industry on issues ranging from land claim negotiation and implementation to administration of justice and renewable resource management. Bailey served as a member of the Porcupine Caribou Management Board and the Yukon Water Board and was a member and chair of the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (NWT) established under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. He also served five years as a Judge on the Ta’an Kwäch’än Judicial Council. Bailey left the Yukon temporarily in 2011 to work as a senior researcher and adjunct professor of biology for the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change at the Laurentian University Living with Lakes Centre. Since November 2016, he has been the assistant deputy minister of the client service and partnerships division with the Government of Yukon’s Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. Bailey completed a bachelor of science with honours in zoology from the University of Guelph and PhD in biology from the University of Western Ontario.

John Phelps

John Phelps began his legal career as a summer law student with the Government of Yukon in 1995. He is a fourth generation Yukoner who obtained a bachelor of laws from the University of Saskatchewan in 1997 and returned to the Yukon to article, becoming a member of the Law Societies of B.C. and the Yukon in 1998.  He worked in private practice in Yukon until January 2003. He then joined the Department of Justice Canada as a prosecutor where he has held successive senior positions with the department, and most recently was the chief federal prosecutor with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada for the Yukon Region. He was a member of the Executive of the Yukon Branch of the Canadian Bar Association from 2001 through 2005, sitting on the National Board in 2004-2005.  Since 2006 Phelps has been a member of the executive of the Law Society of Yukon. He was the president of the Law Society of Yukon from 2012 to 2015 and recently finished his term on the executive as the past-president and representative for the Yukon on the Federation of Law Societies Council. He recently chaired the Federation of Law Societies Litigation Committee, and the Yukon Capability and Consent Board, which hears matters under the Mental Health Act and the Care Consent Act. He has instructed in criminology at the Yukon College and was also on the college’s Board of Governors.


Pamela Muir
Public Service Commission

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