Statement from Premier Pillai on downtown Whitehorse community safety progress

Premier Ranj Pillai issued the following statement:

“The Government of Yukon continues to work with community partners to ensure a safe, welcoming environment for everyone in downtown Whitehorse. We are committed to increasing oversight and outreach presence in the area to ensure residents and businesses feel safe and supported.

“405 Alexander provides essential, life-saving services to members of our community. I am heartened to see the collaboration that takes place between the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN), the RCMP, Connective, Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Ta'an Kwäch'än Council and the Government of Yukon. I want to thank all parties involved for their efforts to make our community safe, supportive and welcoming to all.

“Since Connective and CYFN took over the operation of 405 Alexander, they have served over 100,000 meals, hosted nearly 16,000 stays, distributed 11,500 harm reduction items and most importantly, averted 40 overdoses. Our government has been working with Connective, CYFN and other partners to implement report recommendations, improve outcomes for 405 Alexander clients and work with the community to chart a way forward to enhance health, safety and security for everyone in Whitehorse’s downtown core.

“Starting on November 1, 2023, Sirius Security began patrolling the area from Black Street to Strickland Street between 3rd Avenue and 5th Avenue. Patrols will operate Sunday to Thursday from 6 pm to 2 am and Friday and Saturday from 7 pm to 3 am. During these patrol tours, Sirius Security staff will observe, report on incidents and act as a visible deterrent against loitering, vandalism and drug use.

“Patrol guards will be encouraged to interact with individuals during their tours in a friendly manner but not in an enforcement capacity. In addressing any situations involving individuals, patrol guards will respond with non-violent interventions informed by the company’s Social Safety Mandate and specialized non-violent conflict resolution training. Where these interventions are not successful in diffusing situations, RCMP may be called for support where warranted. Businesses in the area were informed of this pilot project earlier this week. This will be an initial two-month pilot project with costs covered by the Government of Yukon.

“This is in addition to our partnership with CYFN, which is launching a Mobile Downtown Outreach Initiative. Staffed by Yukon First Nations outreach workers and operated by CYFN, the Mobile Downtown Outreach Initiative will operate similarly to Winnipeg’s Bear Clan Patrol, meeting individuals where and when they need them. I am proud that our government is able to contribute approximately $300,000 to fund this pilot project through March 31, 2024 and I want to thank CYFN for their leadership on this project.

“In addition to launching the Mobile Downtown Outreach Initiative, CYFN has been identified as a partner to offer food services to Yukon First Nations and Indigenous families at the new CYFN space opening December 1, 2023.

“Colonialism, intergenerational trauma, the Substance Use Health Emergency, the national housing shortage and the impacts of global inflation are bigger than any one of us, but we all have a role to play in helping our fellow citizens. We must not forget that clients of 405 Alexander are our family members, friends, community members and loved ones.

“For Yukoners who are asking themselves, “What can I do to help?”:

  • Connective is seeking donations of winter gear to support individuals accessing 405 Alexander. New or gently used warm winter gear can be dropped off at 405 Alexander from 7am to 4 pm every day.
  • We will continue to work with the City of Whitehorse to identify spaces that can serve as a warming space or medium or high-barrier food service provider, but we are calling on the private sector for their ideas as well.

“We all know someone whose life has been impacted by trauma, substance use, violence or mental illness. Many of us have been at a place in our lives where we were one paycheque away from losing everything. We must show empathy and remember that at the end of the day, we are all our brothers, our sisters’ and siblings’ keepers. While the Yukon is rich in resources, the most valuable resource of all is our community.”


Media contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications

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