Statement from Premier Pillai on downtown Whitehorse community safety

Premier Ranj Pillai has issued the following statement:

“On behalf of the Government of Yukon, I want to thank the City of Whitehorse, the RCMP, Connective, the Council of Yukon First Nations, Kwanlin Dün First Nation, the Government of Yukon Department of Health and Social Services, the Government of Yukon Department of Justice and the Yukon Housing Corporation for participating in the Downtown Whitehorse Community Partners Roundtable Discussion on the evening of Thursday, October 12, 2023.

“We are pleased that the participants came to the meeting with good ideas and productive solutions that they can contribute to improve safety and enjoyment for everyone in downtown Whitehorse.

“Immediately, the Government of Yukon is focused on addressing public safety concerns and supporting downtown business operations by:

  • Discouraging large congregations in one area.
    • We removed benches that block the line of sight along Alexander Street.
    • We are working with partners to decentralize some food support services. This will minimize congregation and provide people who need food but do not wish to use the meal services at 405 Alexander with alternative options for accessing these supports.
    • We are expanding locations where community outreach workers are available to include the Whitehorse Public Library. This will provide an additional alternative location where clients can access services available at 405 Alexander Street.
    • We have extended the hours of the supervised consumption site on 6th Avenue, to provide a hygienic and supervised place for people to consume substances.
  • Increasing oversight and outreach presence in downtown Whitehorse to ensure residents and businesses feel safe and supported.
    • This includes hiring private security services for businesses in proximity to Alexander Street, increasing RCMP foot patrols and working with CYFN to fund and launch a downtown community safety outreach initiative, staffed by outreach workers.
    • We would like to thank the RCMP for increasing foot patrols in the area and working with the community to ensure police presence remains welcome in the downtown core.

“We are looking to create more medium to high barrier options for small groups of individuals to access meal services and continue to look to community partners to identify appropriate warm spaces to host these small-scale operations. Any organizations or businesses that have space in Whitehorse that would be suitable to use in the short term for meal services, please reach out to my office.

“Our government is committed to leading a whole-of-government approach and working with partners to tackle the root causes of poverty, homelessness and addictions. As we have seen across multiple jurisdictions, doing so is a long-term project that requires participation by organizations and individuals across our society, as no one entity can address these complex challenges alone. While the actions discussed above address our commitment to immediately addressing safety concerns in downtown Whitehorse, medium- and long-term plans are underway. I look forward to continued discussions at our next meeting. "

Media contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications

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