YEU Leadership and staff have been working for some time to address health and safety concerns raised by workers at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter. The building and service programming was taken over by the Government of Yukon in January 2019 when the Salvation Army was unable to fulfill the facility's mandate. In the 22 months since that transition of ownership, the situation has become increasingly unstable and staff report inadequate health & safety measures and a lack of training and support. Most workers are AOC, without leave or benefits, afraid to speak out for fear of job loss and concern for the wellbeing of clients and colleagues.
YEU has advocated for safety protocols, crisis intervention training and an increase in the number of permanent staff to aid continuity and to build capacity. With little to no meaningful response from the employer, and in partnership with YEU/PSAC Local Y017, YEU has taken the additional step, of submitting the following letter to Pauline Frost, Minister of Health & Social Services, and Deputy Minister Stephen Samis.
The issue was addressed on the floor of the Legislative Assembly by Kate White, Leader of the NDP, but the Minister's response was non-committal and evasive.