WHITEHORSE – Premier Dennis Fentie reports there were good discussions on a variety of topics at the annual Council of the Federation (COF) meeting in Winnipeg on August 5 and 6.
“Premiers addressed a number of national issues at this COF meeting. Of particular interest to Yukon were the discussions and outcomes on health care, water and the economy,” Fentie said.
The premier led discussions on health care, focusing on the importance of providing Canadians with quality services while managing growing costs.
“All premiers agreed that provinces and territories must find more sustainable ways to manage health care while remaining firmly committed to the principles of a publicly funded system,” Fentie added. “In Yukon we have the additional challenge of providing health care in some remote, sparsely populated areas.”
Fentie brought forward several examples of Yukon innovation in health care including: Yukon’s wellness strategy, a holistic approach to healthy living; telehealth, a broadband technology allowing delivery of services ranging from diabetes education to counselling; and Yukon’s new Licensed Practical Nurse program.
Innovation, education and relationships with the U.S. and Europe were also on the COF agenda. Yukon issues continue to figure prominently in premiers’ discussions as they also did at the 2010 Western Premiers’ Conference in Vancouver in June and the 2010 Northern Premiers’ Forum hosted by the Government of Yukon in May.
“At the Northern Premiers’ Forum, we agreed to collaborate on water issues and ensure a northern perspective was highlighted at COF water discussions,” Fentie said. “Yukon, along with the other territories, is acutely aware of downstream effects on watersheds and, as a result, the territories will be involved in developing the implementation plan for the newly endorsed COF water strategy.”
Water strategy goals are to reduce consumption, increase efficiency, protect quality and adapt to the effects of climate change on water.
“At this COF meeting premiers were looking for ways to share best practices and capture benefits on common interests,” Fentie added.
For example during environmental assessment discussions, Fentie highlighted the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA) as an example of Canada’s only single assessment regime.
“Participating at this annual meeting is an excellent opportunity to build meaningful partnerships and strengthen working relationships with our provincial and territorial colleagues,” Fentie said.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Eleanor Millard, Yukon’s 2010 recipient of the Council of the Federation Literacy Award. Her work exemplifies the purpose of this national award to provide Canadians with opportunities to participate in a vibrant economy and society," Fentie added.
The Council of the Federation comprises all 13 provincial and territorial premiers. It enables premiers to work collaboratively to strengthen the Canadian federation by enhancing relationships among provinces and territories with the federal government.
Communications, Executive Council Office