Monday, November 7, 2016

Yukon Party response to YSWC questions

Thank you for sending us your questionnaire on women’s issues. The issues you have
outlined are of great importance to the Yukon Party and to all our candidates, and we
have addressed them in a number of ways in our campaign platform, which you may
find in full at www.yukonparty.ca.

We are proud of the work that Yukon Party governments have already undertaken
through the years to address these important issues but we acknowledge there is
more work to be done.

Below, we have provided highlights of what a re-elected Yukon Party government has
committed to do.

Question on child care:

Access to childcare is essential to ensure women can return to the workforce and
develop their careers after they have children. The most recent statistics show that
there are only spaces for 29.6% of the children aged 0-12 years available in Yukon,
and that monthly median daycare rates for infants is $739 and $649 for preschoolers,
per child. Even when families qualify for daycare subsidies, the largest available
subsidy falls short of these costs. What will your government do to increase
availability of quality, affordable childcare that works for Yukon families?

Answer:

Yukon families, women and children are top of mind for the Yukon Party. They are the
future of our territory and of our country. Our plan is to make it easier for Yukoners to
care for their children, build their careers and have happy, healthy lives.
The previous Yukon Party government enhanced the Child Care Subsidy Program to
reduce childcare costs for families, in recognition of the struggles that some families
face.

A re-elected Yukon Party government will:

● Implement a base-funding pilot project to help provide stability in staffing and
programming for children in Ross River, Watson Lake and Dawson City.

● Double the amount available to childcare facilities through the direct operating
grant, to $5 million per year, to incentivize increased childcare spaces.

● Review the childcare subsidy program every 5 years to ensure it is keeping pace
with current demand.

In addition, we have committed to implement permanent funding to purchase school
supplies for every Yukon student, building on the new initiative begun this fiscal year.
This will take financial pressure off families who have school-age children and are also
paying for child care. The Yukon Party has decreased taxes 15 times since forming
government. We are committed to keeping taxes low, and will not support new taxes.
We believe this is the best way to keep life affordable for Yukon families.

Question on violence against women:

Yukon continues to have violence against women rates that are three times the
national average. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed. How will your
government take a leadership role in addressing this pervasive issue in a
comprehensive way and what resources will you commit?

Answer:

The Yukon Party wants to ensure our communities are as safe as they can be for all
citizens, and we are deeply concerned about high rates of violence against women.
Our approach is to work collaboratively with citizens and partner organizations to find
a range of ways to address the root causes of crime and more effectively ensure our
communities and our families stay safe.

Yukon Party governments in the past have taken a number of actions, including
creating an advisory committee to guide a comprehensive integrated violence
prevention initiative aimed at addressing violence against women and girls, providing
$4.5 million as well as expertise, land and operational funding to Betty’s Haven,
providing funding for A Safe Place at Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre and
establishing the RCMP Specialized Response Unit for a more effective response to
domestic violence and sexualized assault. We also opened the Yukon Sexual Health
Clinic, offering sexual and reproductive health services.

The Yukon Party also implemented Project Lynx, a child advocacy initiative in Yukon
for child and youth victims and/or witnesses of crime. This service is aligned with
current national best practices for child advocacy centres. We established a new
RCMP 911 Call Centre, and expanded basic 911 service to all Yukon communities.

We have taken a number of significant steps to prevent violence against Aboriginal
women and girls, including:

● Investing $450,000 in Aboriginal women’s groups to address Yukon Aboriginal
Women’s Summit recommendations.

● Providing $222,000 to Yukon Sisters in Spirit and $1.7 million to the Prevention
of Violence Against Aboriginal Women Fund since 2004.

● Working toward the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission’s Call to Action.

● Establishing the Community Safety Committee with the Council for Yukon First
Nations, Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Association of Yukon Communities, Yukon
Women’s Coalition and RCMP to enhance services for children and youth, to
work to reduce violence against women, and to coordinate efforts supporting
vulnerable populations.

● Providing Kwanlin Dün First Nation $1.4 million for the Community Safety
Liaison Officer pilot project.
A re-elected Yukon Party government will:

● Continue to support Yukon families and Aboriginal women’s organizations
participating in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous
Women and Girls.

● Fund and fully participate in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered
Indigenous Women and Girls, while ensuring that Yukon initiatives are guided by
the leadership of Aboriginal women and the families that have been affected.

● Working collaboratively with Yukon First Nations, provide up to $3.5 million to
implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

● Support Yukon First Nations as they identify, design and develop culturally
relevant initiatives for collective action.

● Work with the RCMP to fund and improve community policing initiatives.

● Building on the successful pilot with the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, provide longterm,
stable funding to the Safety Liaison Officer initiative.

● Create a Missing Persons Act in consultation with women’s groups, First Nations,
the RCMP and the legal community to allow police to better respond to missing
persons cases.

● In consultation with women’s groups, increase core funding for women’s
shelters in Yukon.

● Work closely with the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre to extend funding for
the Safe Places program for five years.

We all want Yukon to be the best place to live, work, play and raise a family – and
part of that is ensuring our communities are as safe as they can be. The Yukon Party is
committed to an integrated approach that combines resources for fighting crime with
support for victims. We believe the best solutions in addressing violence against
women and children come from communities and front line workers. Our job is to help
activate those solutions. We are proud of the work that has been done to date by the
Yukon Party government and commit to continue our work collaboratively with
citizens and partner organizations.

Question on sexual assault centres:

Yukon does not have a designated sexual assault centre, while every other province
does. Given our high rate of sexual assault, one in every four women in the Yukon, the
community has been calling for the creation of a sexual assault crisis centre. Is this a
priority for you, and how and when do you plan to address this?

Answer:

While a designated sexual assault centre is not in our immediate plan, we are taking
several steps to ensure women have a safe place to go, and can access the health
care and justice they need in a crisis situation.

In addition to the commitments already mentioned above, a re-elected Yukon Party
government will:

● Work with the Yukon Support and Distress Line to explore ways to expand
services until 3am or later.

● Modernize the Emergency Department at the Whitehorse General Hospital with
almost $40 million over the next two years to ensure that our doctors and
nurses can provide the very best care to those who need it in a modern, stateof-
the-art emergency care facility.

● Increase operating funds for the new Sarah Steele Facility by $3.5 million per
year to ensure it can provide Yukoners with the alcohol and drug addiction
programs and services they need. This funding will support: 300 additional
detox admissions per year; increased in-patient capacity, from 90 clients per
year to more than 250; 50 beds, or double capacity, so that Yukoners as young
as 13 can access support.

● Continue to provide financial support to the Jackson Lake Healing Centre and
investigate opportunities to work with other First Nation communities to
provide similar healing and aftercare programs.

● Invest $5 million to support ongoing implementation of the Mental Wellness
Strategy, specifically targeting capacity-building initiatives, support in
communities and partnerships with First Nations.

Question on core funding:

Yukon women's groups have been operating much-needed programming on temporary
or project-based funding for decades. Staff of these programs must spend time that
could have been spent delivering programming writing reports or funding applications,
and cannot count on stability of employment. If your government is elected, will you
commit to sufficient core funding for NGOs who deliver these programs, and will you
commit to increasing that funding in pace with inflation, so that the staff may earn a
living wage, have job security, and provide consistency to their vulnerable clients?

Answer:

A re-elected Yukon Party government will:

● Increase core operating funds from $50,000 per year to $100,000 per year for
the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council
and the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle an investment of $1.5 million
over five years).

● In consultation with women’s groups, increase core funding for women’s
shelters in Yukon.

● Work closely with Victoria Faulkner to extend funding for the Safe Places
program for five years.

Question on low-income housing:

"Affordable housing" has been classed as anything that is below or at the median rent
in Whitehorse. With our current lack of affordable housing, median rent is $900 per
month. This is not "affordable" for the most vulnerable in our population, many of
whom are women and children. 73% of lone parent mothers living below the low
income cutoff. Women are forced to endure abusive relationships or leave with no
assurance of a stable roof over their children's heads. Those in the rural communities
outside of Whitehorse have even fewer choices. What will your government do to
ensure that these most vulnerable among us have safe, secure housing that they can
count on?

Answer:

As a society we have an obligation to ensure that we care for our most vulnerable
members. The Yukon Party has made significant investments across the territory in
new housing units for low-income and high-risk groups, has increased the availability
of temporary shelter space and transitional housing and has worked to increase the
availability of land in Whitehorse, and the communities, for development.
Over the past five years, the Yukon Party government has invested millions of dollars
to make affordable housing more available for Yukoners.

While the number of initiatives we have funded are too numerous to list here, some of the major projects include:

● In 2012, committed five more years of funding to the Whitehorse Affordable
Family Housing project in Riverdale.

● Opened Betty's Haven 10-unit second-stage women’s transitional housing facility.

● In 2014 provided $1.5 million for new housing units in Carmacks and Carcross.

● Allocated $3 million to new Salvation Army housing project

● New 34-unit seniors’ residence opened on Alexander Street in 2014.

● Awarded contract to construct $11.5 million, 48-unit accessible seniors’ housing
complex in Whitehorse.

● In 2015 awarded funding for five new housing initiatives worth $6 million that will
improve quality and accessibility of rental housing.

A re-elected Yukon Party government will:

● Increase private sector participation in the rental market through rent
supplement agreements.

● Provide funding to the Klondike Development Organization to expand
affordable housing options in Dawson City.

● Explore opportunities to partner with First Nations and the private sector on
housing initiatives similar to the Da Daghay Development Corporation initiative.

● Make the necessary legislative and regulatory changes to better enable
construction of tiny homes in communities.

● Support efforts to increase the diversity of lending options available to
homeowners in the Yukon.

Sincerely,
Currie Dixon
Yukon Party Campaign Chair

Friday, November 4, 2016

Liberal Party response to YSWC questions

Thank you for your letter regarding the Yukon Liberals’ platform on issues important to Yukoners.  I apologize for the lateness of our response – as you can imagine, it has been incredibly busy with requests from many stakeholders. It is very encouraging to see so many Yukoners and organizations engaged in getting the various Parties’ platform positions on issues that are important to them.
In our platform, “Be Heard”, we understand that child care, development and education from birth to age eight must be co-ordinated to maximize the benefits to our children.

A Yukon Liberal Government will:
·         research, develop and implement a Yukon Early Childhood Strategy (childcare, development and education), in consultation with early childhood education and health care professionals, parents and First Nation governments, in order to improve developmental and educational outcomes, and
·         create structures that close the gap in responsibility between the Departments of Health and Social Services and Education.
The strategy will be comprehensive and will include funding and availability of child care.
The issue of violence against women and girls is a top priority for the Yukon Liberals and our candidates; especially those who work or have worked in the justice system, like Jeanie Dendys.
A Yukon Liberal Government will:
  • participate fully with Canada’s Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls;
  • restructure the Prevention of Violence Against Aboriginal Women Fund to make funding more readily available to communities;
  • work with RCMP, First Nations, the Yukon Police Council and communities to identify ongoing policing priorities and the funding required to implement them;
  • expand crime prevention through an environmental design approach to all interested rural and remote communities;
  • develop alternative correctional therapeutic environments for individuals with disabilities, mental health or addictions problems, and
  • develop programs to assist victims of violent crime and sexual assault in Yukon.
The request for a sexual assault centre will be reviewed as part of the development of programs to assist victims of sexual assault. We plan to consult with stakeholders on these programs, will definitely include the sexual assault centre as part of that review and look forward to working more with your organization on finding the best solutions.
Affordable and accessible housing remains an issue in the Territory and the Yukon Liberals will take crucial steps to address housing security, housing for vulnerable Yukoners, initial purchase requirements and the ongoing costs associated with home ownership through enhanced low income housing options across the Territory.
A Yukon Liberal government will:
·         implement a community-based housing retrofit program to upgrade existing housing stock;
·         modernize the Government’s approach to the provision of social housing and collaborate with the private sector to develop strategies for program delivery which support community economic growth;
·         work with communities to create available developed land banks to keep land prices affordable;
·         prioritize federal funding towards the creation of affordable housing;
  • work with municipalities and First Nations governments to implement the Housing Action Plan, and
·         adopt a Housing First Strategy for vulnerable populations such as those affected by poverty, addictions or mental health problems.

You asked about core funding for NGOs providing much-needed services. The Yukon Liberals have no plans to discontinue any existing programs or funds.
Thank you again for your interest in our platform and especially for the work you do for Yukoners.
Sincerely,

Sandy Silver                                                                                       
Leader

NDP Responses to YSWC questions

We will be posting responses from the parties as we receive them....have a look!
November 1, 2016
Dear Yukon Status of Women,
Thank you for your inspiring letter raising issues of critical importance to Yukon women. You have very cogent questions, based on your insightful and grounded understanding ofthe circumstances of Yukon women.
Our Yukon New Democratic team shares your vision and objectives. We have been addressing so many of these matters in the Yukon Legislature in hopes of moving things forward. Unfortunately, through most of the last 15 years of successive Yukon Party governments, there has been little real progress. We believe that our Yukon New Democratic team offers the better choice for real change. Consider our full platform @ www.yukonndp.ca.
To your specific questions,
Child care
Access to childcare is essential to ensure women can return to the workforce and develop their careers after they have children. The most recent statistics show that there are only spaces for 29.6% of the children aged 0-12 years available in Yukon, and that monthly median daycare rates for infants is $739 and $649 for preschoolers, per child. Even when families qualify for daycare subsidies, the largest available subsidy falls short of these costs. What will your government do to increase availability of quality, affordable childcare that works for Yukon families?
Under a Yukon New Democratic government, following extensive community consultations, Yukon’s first comprehensive child care strategy was implemented, leading the country. Since then, it is disheartening how things have declined.
Yukon New Democrats will act on the overwhelming evidence that shows universal childcare helps families, supports the economy and reduces both income and gender inequality and will pay off for future generations. Investments in early childhood education upfront improves futures, though not everything requires new resources as leadership and better coordination can do a better job. Under a Yukon Party government the Auditor General has spoken repeatedly to the silos within and between Yukon Government departments. Early childhood development programs and services can do so much better.
As part of our platform commitments to action, your Yukon New Democratic team will:
- create a ministerial task force including all relevant stakeholders within our first year in office to review child care needs and challenges, existing programs and levels of funding to develop implementable recommendations for a made-in-Yukon solution to make child care universal, affordable and accessible.
Recommendations will be phased in with Government of Canada support and include:
- accreditation of child care workers
- improving compensation of qualified and accredited child care workers
- maintaining and increasing child care spaces to meet requirements
- operator grants to sustain child care operations and stabilize or reduce parent fees
- other measures to make child care affordable for Yukon families
- addressing the unique challenges faced in rural communities, and
- facility related requirements for safe, quality child care services.
- work with the Government of Canada’s new National Early Learning and Child Care Framework and Social Infrastructure Fund to reflect the needs of Yukon families and northern communities.
At the same time, we all know that a lot of resources are being invested in early childhood development, including child care, through a number of Yukon Government departments, hence there are opportunities to ensure efforts and resources are more effective and eliminate gaps and overlaps. A lot of the money is already there, it just needs better focus to achieve the objectives and results we share.
We will support continued implementation of “On the Path Together: A Wellness Plan for Yukon’s Children and Families” for healthy child development beginning at birth and onword. And ensure there are concrete steps ahead along with public accountability reporting.
We also commits to cut costs to families by 25% and deliver better and more services within their first mandate. The Yukon NDP plan will save a Yukon family over $2000 per family per child.
Violence against women
Yukon continues to have violence against women rates that are three times the national average. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed. How will your government take a leadership role in addressing this pervasive issue in a comprehensive way and what resources will you commit?
Family violence remains a pressing concern. This is unacceptable. Yukon New Democrats don’t have all of the answers, but in the past we did substantive research, engaging people and organizations to develop ideas and work collectively on family violence strategies, services and interventions. That led to a ground-breaking family violence strategy.
Under three terms of Yukon Party government there has not been sufficient support and leadership.
Many of our Yukon New Democratic team come from working in education, health and social services. We get it.
It will be a challenge to recover from 15 years of Yukon Party government inaction, but we will do the best we can. Change may not be feasible overnight, but if you’re working with equally committed people, you/we know substantive progress is possible.
Sexual assault centres
Yukon does not have a designated sexual assault centre, while every other province does. Given our high rate of sexual assault, one in every four women in the Yukon, the community has been calling for the creation of a sexual assault crisis centre is this a priority for you and how and when do you plan to address this?
Yukon New Democrats understand the need and the imperative. However, we need to collectively discuss the options to figure out the best way to proceed.
The cost of setting up a stand alone sexual assault crisis centre would be significant, and not necessarily the best way of meeting needs. If a centre were set up, it would no doubt be in Whitehorse, and have difficulty meeting the needs of rural women, girls and boys.
A better approach might be to continue to embed a trauma informed approach into existing medical, health, social services, and justice approach and resource an existing NGO to develop the expertise, play a lead role in coordinating services, training, etc. across sectors. We could dedicate resources on a model that builds on existing services, uses technology and addresses a decentralized territory serving clients/victims where they are at physically, emotionally, culturally.
Our platform also commits to support mental health initiatives in a big way.
Yukon New Democrats celebrate Anne Williams’ legacy. She was a strong advocate and worked tirelessly across sectors to build relationships and improve sexual assault medical assessments. This same approach could be applied to other aspects of better meeting the needs of sexual assault victims.
As you know, the late Dr. Anne Williams is recognized for her commitment to improving responses for survivors of sexualized violence and young victims or witnesses of crime. Williams was a public advocate for dignity and choice during medical examinations for victims of sexualized violence. She was instrumental in organizing sexual assault nurse examiner training in Yukon.
Core funding
Yukon women’s groups have been operating much-needed programming on temporary or project-based funding for decades. Staff of these programs must spend tie that could have spent delivering programming writing reports or funding applications, and cannot count on stability of employment. If your government is elected, will you commit to increasing that funding in pace with inflation, so that the staff may earn and living wage, have job security and provide consistency to their vulnerable clients?
We recognize these realities. They are shared across the non-profit sector including arts, culture and heritage, recreation, fitness and sport, health and social services and more.
For effective innovative programs and services that meet needs in ways that no other agency or government could, Yukon non-profits and community-based organizations step up to the plate. Yukon New Democrats believe the non-profit sector provides an essential and important part of the glue that helps our Yukon to progress.
We are committed to doing what we can. There are various levers that can be put to work to strengthen the Yukon women’s and non-profit sector.
Low-income housing
“Affordable housing” has been classed as anything that is below or at the median rent in Whitehorse. With our current lack of affordable housing, median rent is $900 per moth. This is not “affordable” for the most vulnerable in our population, many of whom are women and children. 73% of lone parent mothers living below the low income cutoff. Women are forced to endure abusive relationships or leave with no assurance of a stable roof over their children’s heads. Those in the rural communities outside of Whitehorse have even fewer choices. What will our government do to ensure that these most vulnerable among us have safe, secure housing that they can count on?
Our platform includes commitments to healthy people, healthy communities addressing community well-being, poverty reduction, reconciliation, equality and social justice.
Over the past five years, Yukon New Democratic MLAs have heard directly from Yukoners about what is working well, what could be improved, and what is missing. We believe fundamental changes are needed to services and programs in order to provide Yukoners with more dignity, opportunity and options, and that they have the supports they need, when they need them, wherever they may live in the territory. Our goal is to create an inclusive society where all Yukoners can participate in meaningful community work and life to build a stronger and better Yukon.
Poverty is consistently linked to poor health, lower literacy, poor school performance for children, more crime, greater public health care costs, increased policing costs, lost productivity and foregone economic opportunities – in short, poverty costs our economy millions. The things that have the greatest influence on our health – including early childhood development, healthy families, housing, nutrition, education, employment, income and reconciliation – need to be addressed.
Affordable housing is an ongoing concern for many Yukoners, including in the communities. People who are securely housed are better able to address other issues in their lives as well as participate more fully in society. This is hurting our economy too as employers cannot recruit and retain the staff necessary to run their businesses.
Among our platform commitments, Yukon New Democrats will work to
- expand the supply of affordable rental, social and staff housing working with the Government of Canada, Yukon communities, Yukon First Nation governments, local landlords and industry
- work with communities to provide the option for, and to provide access to, or develop land for, tiny houses
- commit to ending homelessness through a “Housing First” approach to homelessness and housing insecurity
- develop a home warranty program so that new home purchasers, and home owners who have had renovations, have more protection for addressing building deficiencies
- recognize the differences between mobile home owners and renters and protect mobile home owners by putting a cap on pad rental increases and ensure all renters have security of tenure by removing evictions without cause.
A note of caution. As a territory, we will need to set priorities to make the important decisions about available resources. The needs are so great in so many areas. For various reasons supported by evidence, we do not have full confidence in the actual health and management of Yukon’s financial affairs under successive Yukon Party governments.
Sincerely,
Liz Hanson
Leader, Yukon New Democrats

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Territorial Election 2016 questions for candidates

 The Yukon Status of Women wants to know the following of our candidates this year, please feel free to use these questions and share them widely!

Childcare: What will your government do to increase availability of quality, affordable childcare that works for Yukon families?

Access to childcare is essential to ensure women can return to the workforce and develop their careers after they have children. The most recent statistics show that there are only spaces for 29.6% of the children aged 0-12 years available in Yukon, and that monthly median daycare rates for infants is $739 and $649 for preschoolers, per child. Even when families qualify for daycare subsidies, the largest available subsidy falls short of these costs.

Violence against women: How will your government take a leadership role in addressing this pervasive issue in a comprehensive way and what resources will you commit?

Yukon continues to have violence against women rates that are three times the national average. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed.

Sexual assault Centres: Given our high rate of sexual assault, one in every four women in the Yukon, the community has been calling for the creation of a sexual assault crisis centre is this a priority for you and how and when do you plan to address this?

Yukon does not have a designated sexual assault centre, while every other province does.

Core funding: If your government is elected, will you commit to sufficient core funding for NGOs who deliver these programs, and will you commit to increasing that funding in pace with inflation, so that the staff may earn a living wage, have job security, and provide consistency to their vulnerable clients?

Yukon women's groups have been operating much-needed programming on temporary or project-based funding for decades. Staff of these programs must spend time that could have been spent delivering programming writing reports or funding applications, and cannot count on stability of employment.

Low-income housing: What will your government do to ensure that these most vulnerable among us have safe, secure housing that they can count on?

"Affordable housing" has been classed as anything that is below or at the median rent in Whitehorse. With our current lack of affordable housing, median rent is $900 per month. This is not "affordable" for the most vulnerable in our population, many of whom are women and children. 73% of lone parent mothers living below the low income cutoff. Women are forced to endure abusive relationships or leave with no assurance of a stable roof over their children's heads. Those in the rural communities outside of Whitehorse have even fewer choices.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Spread the word for Canada Without Poverty

Did you know that your basic rights like access to housing, food, water, and healthcare may not be safeguarded by Canadian law?

Canada Without Poverty, along with several other NGOs, has put together this letter asking that economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights be protected under the Charter.

"Although I’m an educated professional, I lived most of my life in poverty. It is clear to me that Canada does not connect poverty, homelessness or food insecurity with human rights. Paragraph 3 in Canada’s response to the list of issues is clear, in the Government’s opinion, my right to an adequate standard of living, to adequate housing and food, is not protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They have closed the door on people living in poverty, denying us access to justice. "

Help by sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and email! Spread the word!

You can also help by making a donation.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Crown responds to Court Watch Report

A Whitehorse Star article posted last Tuesday has reported on the Crown's response to our recently released Court Watch Report.


You can read the article by downloading this pdf (don't forget to scroll to the bottom to see the article) or by subscribing to the Whitehorse Star and looking through their online archives.

Any comments? Thoughts? We'd love to hear it!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

COURT WATCH REPORT RELEASED


The Yukon Status of Women Council is pleased to release our much anticipated





The report provides the findings and recommendations of the Court Watch Yukon program from June 2014 to the end of May 2015. Court Watch volunteers observed proceedings with respect to violence against women, spousal violence, and sexualized assault in Whitehorse, Dawson, and Watson Lake. Information in this report focuses on Whitehorse, since limited data was available from the communities at that time. The report has been organized into the following sections: Background, Methodology, What we learned from victims of violence, Demographics, Court environment, Bail hearings, Domestic Violence Treatment Option Court, Trials, Sentencing, Victims’ experience in court, Victim safety, Language, Reflection, Recommendations, and What’s next.   This is followed by a bibliography as well as an appendix.




The Yukon Status of Women Council wishes to thank all the hard-working, enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers from Whitehorse, Dawson City and Watson Lake who sat through many hours of court proceedings, trainings and meetings in order to make this project a success.  We are thankful to the women victims of violence who contributed their experiences with the legal system. We are very grateful to our research advisors, Dr. Kate Rossiter and Dr. Margaret Jackson, for their direction and to the many justice professionals who freely gave of their time to educate us and offer their insights into the workings of the legal system. Finally, we appreciate the support generously given by the members of the women’s community in the Yukon whose valuable perceptions and questions helped inform this project.




Since September 2015, CWY has resumed observing bail hearings, trials, and sentencings in Whitehorse, Dawson City, and Watson Lake. CWY is no longer observing the Domestic Violence Treatment Option court in Whitehorse.

You can also find a copy on our Publications page.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Court Watch Seminar in Brief!

“…Increased focus on victim safety and minimize re-victimization in the courts, more use of Victim Impact Statements, increased use of testimonial aids, increase the use of analysis of the dynamics of violence against women in trials and sentencings with respect to spousal assaults, more accurate descriptions of violence that include victims’ responses for better picture of incident and deliberateness of the accused’s behaviour, and victims should have access to legal advice and advocacy….”

 These are just a few of the recommendations brought forward by Court Watch Yukon at their seminar, coordinated by the Women’s Coalition,  to the public on August 27, 2015.

 Fully trained CWY volunteers began observing court proceedings in Whitehorse related to violence against women, sexualized assault, and spousal violence. Volunteers have been taking note of court room environment, mutualizing language, respect and dignity shown to the victims, and dual charging.

Observers noted numerous times that it was difficult to hear in the court room and that there were inappropriate comments made before and after proceedings by court workers, members of the legal community, and support workers. 

Of specific interest to CWY was observing if language was used to minimize or mutualize violence. This type of language conceals violence and removes abusers’ accountability and responsibility. Studies have noted that there is a correlation between the use of minimizing and mutualizing violence and lighter sentences. Observers noted that there was more mutualizing language used in the court room than minimizing language. The use of either of this language to describe violence is a concern since it does not give an accurate picture of the incident and the violence that occurred.

Observers noted that in sexualized assault trials consent, dynamics of violence against women, and safety concerns were brought up either by the Crown and/or Judges. This is an improvement since the last CWY program with respect to sexualized violence. However, in spousal assault cases dealt with outside of the Domestic Violence Treatment Option (DVTO), which means that the accused has plead not guilty and has chosen to go trial, it was rare that the dynamics of violence against women were brought forward.

The information presented to the community also included interview findings with women who have had experience in the criminal justice system by the YSWC coordinator. Women interviewed expressed that re-victimization/re-traumatization, negative experiences with the justice system, and court room environment safety were barriers to their participation in the criminal justice system.  If they had support, positive social responses, and their safety concerns respected they felt that their experiences would be better and would engage more with the process.

Court Watch Yukon (CWY) was revived by the Yukon Status of Women Council (YSWC) in April 2014. CWY builds on the 2002-2004 pilot program of the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre. The program aims to improve women’s experience of the criminal justice system by providing oversight to the Yukon courts and practical recommendations. CWY volunteers began observing court proceedings in Watson Lake and Dawson City in December 2014.



Monday, July 13, 2015

Together for Safety Protocol

Together for Safety includes the Whitehorse RCMP and the signatories Les Essentielles, Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre, Whitehorse Aboriginal Women's Circle, Yukon Status of Women Council, Public Service Alliance of Canada Regional Women's Committee and Aboriginal People's Committee, and Yukon Women's Transition Home Society.

Together for Safety was created in order to improve response services to women in Whitehorse. By strengthening relationships between the Whitehorse RCMP and women's advocacy groups they will build mutual understanding and trust. The protocol, Together for Safety was signed on May 29th, 2015.

Click link to view Together for Safety Protocol
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwyeL1eZepd1Y0Jha2MydHpTNGc/view?usp=sharing 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Together for Safety


Following the signing of the Together for Justice Protocol on March 8th, 2013 between Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society and Watson Lake RCMP, Whitehorse women’s groups began working with the Whitehorse RCMP to create a Whitehorse RCMP Division safety Protocol titled Together for Safety.

Together for Safety outlines how Whitehorse RCMP and the signatories will work together to foster a community that is safe for all women. The signatories include Les Essentielles, Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre, Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle, Yukon Status of Women Council, Public Service Alliance of Canada Regional Women’s Committee and Aboriginal People’s Committee, and Yukon Women’s Transition Home Society.
The signatory members and the Whitehorse RCMP share a common goal: to improve response services to women in Whitehorse. By strengthening relationships between the Whitehorse RCMP and women’s advocacy groups they will build mutual understanding and trust. Whitehorse RCMP and Whitehorse Women’s groups signed Together for Safety May 29th, 2015.
Over the past three years, the relationship between the women’s community and the RCMP has improved greatly, as we have strengthened our relationships and understanding of each other. This, in turn, has improved our respective services and ability to collaborate. One objective of Together for Safety is to ensure that the collaborative relationship that was built between Whitehorse women’s groups and Whitehorse RCMP during the creation of the Together for Justice Protocol continues.