NEWS RELEASE: Health Authority Act tabled in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Health and Social Services Deputy Minister Ed van Randen, Health and Social Services Deputy Minister Tiffany Boyd, Kwanlin Dün First Nation Citizen and senior official appointed by the Chiefs’ Committee on Health Doris Bill, Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee, Chair of the Chiefs Committee on Health and Chief of Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Pauline Frost and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Citizen and senior official appointed by the Chiefs’ Committee on Health Stephen Mills, pose for a group photo following the press event on the health authority legislation Monday March 11th.

This is a joint news release between the Government of Yukon and the Chiefs Committee on Health.

Today, the Health Authority Act, Bill 38, was tabled in the Yukon Legislative Assembly. The proposed legislation sets the legal framework to create Shäw Kwä’ą/Health and Wellness Yukon/Santé et mieux-être Yukon, the Yukon’s first health authority.

This new legislation sets the framework in which the health authority will govern and operate. It will address essential areas, including: 

  • Inclusive governance: Collaborating with Yukon First Nations to establish foundational governance frameworks and principles to address systemic racism, cultural safety and inclusive care.
  • Equitable care: Involving patients, Yukoners and the workforce in how Shäw Kwä’ą/Health and Wellness Yukon operates.
  • Enhanced accountability: Establishing transparent mechanisms for accountability within Shäw Kwä’ą/Health and Wellness Yukon.
  • Clear responsibilities: Defining program, service and functional responsibilities for both the Department of Health and Social Services and Shäw Kwä’ą/Health and Wellness Yukon.

The proposed Health Authority Act defines guiding principles for cultural safety, patient safety and quality assurance. It prioritizes health promotion, disease and injury prevention, support for health care workers, innovation, continuous quality improvement and better health outcomes for Yukoners.

Budget 2024-25 provides $9.4 million to continue the work to transform the health and social system and establish the health authority.

The Government of Yukon is committed to working collaboratively with Yukon First Nations leadership and other health partners to create an effective, efficient, integrated, and population-centered health and social services system based on equity and respect for all Yukoners. 

While the proposed legislation is a crucial step to enable health system change, significant work to build and operationalize the new health authority, a process that may take up to three years, will begin once the Act is passed.

The health authority is a significant step to creating an effective, efficient, integrated and people focused health care system based on equity and respect. This framework legislation, developed in partnership with Yukon First Nations and input from health system partners is groundbreaking for the Yukon. This legislation sets the stage for creating a collective vision of a modern and responsive healthcare system to serve the needs of all Yukoners.

– Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee

The Chiefs Committee on Health and the Health Transformation Advisory Committee are dedicated to advancing health transformation in the territory, in order to ensure that all Yukoners have better access to healthcare that is culturally safe and person-centred. The collaboration and consultation that occurred between Yukon First Nations and the Government of Yukon in developing this framework legislation showcases the advancements and innovations that are possible when we work together.  We feel this legislation will set an important foundation for the work to come as we continue to collaboratively build Shäw Kwä’ą.

– Chair of the Chiefs Committee on Health and Chief of Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Pauline Frost   

Quick facts 

  • A health authority is an arms-length agency that supports a systemwide perspective that enables better planning, improves efficiency and allows for innovative healthy system delivery methods.  
  • Developing a health authority for the Yukon is a key recommendation from the Putting People First report, informed by engagement with Yukoners.
  • Shäw Kwä’ą is the Yukon First Nations name proposed for health authority which means “it is all well, it is all good” and embodies health and wellness in Southern Tutchone. 
  • The Health Authority Act is the legislative tool used to establish a health authority in the Yukon. It defines the roles and responsibilities, identifies the scope of programs and services and establishes principles for how the health authority conducts its operations and interacts within the health and social services sector.
  • The Health Authority Act was created in collaboration with the Yukon First Nations governments, senior officials, health system partners and providers. The Chiefs Committee on Health provided oversight, and the 2020 Putting People First report’s two phases of public engagement provided further guidance in developing the Act’s framework.
  • The Yukon is one of two Canadian jurisdictions currently operating without a health authority. 

Media contact 

Laura Seeley
Cabinet Communications

Zachary Burke
Communications, Health and Social Services

Related information: 

Health Transformation Advisory Committee

Chiefs Committee on Health

Putting People First