Yukon Employees' Union calls on the Government of Yukon to address the chronic, ongoing, dangerously low staffing levels within the Department of Health and Social Services. To continue ignoring this issue will only serve to further endanger the health and well-being of clients, staff, and the public.
Bare bones staffing in the Government of Yukon's Department of Health and Social Services negatively impacts members of the public and clients attempting to access a broad range of services. When public-facing government programs are chronically understaffed, the negative impacts on over-burdened workers can take the form of psychological, emotional, and physical harm.
Staffers within Health & Social Services’ many workplaces tell us they report for duty even when they could reasonably refuse unsafe work. They put themselves on the line because if they do not, they know their clients will suffer. They continue to do this despite the challenges because their dedication to their clients comes first.
H&SS offers support in the areas of mental wellness and substance use, social work, family care, social assistance, community nursing, continuing care, elder supports, hearing services, chronic condition and pharmaceutical programs, environmental health and so much more. We are impacted by the work of the Health & Social Services branch in nearly every aspect of our lives, and the health of the department is critical to the wellness of the territory's residents.
Our work at the Union brings us into contact with members who provide many of these services, and we know that many are struggling under an increased workload due to the lack of adequate staffing resources.
Yukoners are long overdue for meaningful action. Our government leaders must address the staffing challenges within their own department before sidestepping the problems and handing them over to a new health authority.