6 December 2021
What the Numbers Don’t Tell Us
Serious staffing shortages have long plagued the Yukon’s public service. The recent loss of roughly 6% of the workforce to leave without pay has only highlighted the problem. Minister Streicker shared numbers last week and although we don’t dispute their accuracy, we know that numbers alone don’t tell the story. What the numbers don’t show is the fact that some departments, branches, and workplaces are in crisis right now and that has put many Yukoners at risk.
Even before we felt the full effects of COVID-19, this government struggled to recruit and retain staff. Health and social services have been very hard hit, long relying on auxiliary-on-call workers and astronomical overtime to keep facilities safely staffed. With the COVID crisis, cracks in the system became chasms as overtime demands grew and staffing shortages deepened.
With the introduction of the vaccination regulations requiring workers to be fully vaccinated or be placed on leave without pay, we are learning of wholesale emergency hiring in justice, of dangerously low staffing levels in community health centres and remote highway camps.
Yukon Employees’ Union recognizes the importance of protecting our population through a robust vaccination program and we urge our members to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
We must ask this government how they plan to protect Yukoners from un-plowed highways and understaffed healthcare facilities? How does this government plan to support the many exhausted, vaccinated public servants now carrying the workload of so many?
Steve Geick, President
Yukon Employees’ Union