Conclusion

The Yukon Hire Commission worked with business, labour and the public to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations to increase jobs and business opportunities which benefit Yukon people. Using its considerable spending power, the Yukon government is well-placed to promote the use of Yukon workers, services and products. Adopting the recommendations of the Yukon Hire Commission is tangible and meaningful proof of the Yukon government's commitment to ensuring Yukon people are the first to benefit from jobs and other economic activity resulting from public spending.

Legal Implications

For the most part, the Commission's recommendations require amended or new government policies and regulations. The departments responsible for the affected policies are responsible for ensuring these changes are made promptly, following established government procedure. In a few instances amendments to legislation will be required, notably the Employment Standards Act. The Department of Justice will co-ordinate the drafting of the amendment legislation.

Financial Implications

Yukon people made it clear to the Commission that they know Yukon Hire comes at a price. They also made it clear that, as taxpayers, they were prepared to see a little more money spent to support Yukon workers and businesses. The benefits of the multiplier effect, lower unemployment and better working conditions outweigh the costs, they said.

Due to time constraints, the Yukon Hire Commission was not able to fully research the financial implications of those recommendations that are expected to require additional human resources or funding. It is important to distinguish between the one-time cost of implementing the Commission's recommendations (e.g. amending legislation and policy) and the on-going cost for following the Yukon Hire policy itself (e.g. expanding the Business Incentive Policy). Through established government processes, such as the annual budget and public accounts, the public will be informed of any additional costs arising as a consequence of Yukon Hire.

Training Implications

The Yukon Government is currently updating the Yukon Training Strategy to link training programs to the changing needs of the Yukon job market. More training trust funds are to be established. As well, the process for assessing the training requirements of employable Yukon people, including those now receiving social assistance, is to be improved.

These initiatives all are necessary for the effective implementation of those recommendations involving training, such as compulsory certification, hiring more apprentices, and long-term planning for skills development required for major capital projects. Yukon people should have the opportunity to acquire the skills they need to take advantage of employment opportunities close to home.

Evaluation

Public finances are a matter of public trust. Yukon people have instructed the government, through the Yukon Hire Commission, not to pay the lowest price at all times for people, goods and services. They have made it clear that the premium paid for Yukon Hire should lead to positive consequences, however, such as more jobs and business opportunities for Yukoners.

The Yukon Hire Commission was dissolved on December 31, 1997, with the completion of this Final Report. It is important to ensure the impact of the Commission's recommendations is evaluated, however, so that any actions not achieving the intended effect can be corrected or discontinued.

In addition to the scrutiny of the Legislature, the responsibility for evaluating the outcome of the Yukon Hire policy should rest with the new "Labour Unit" or a branch/department designated by Cabinet.

Closing Remarks

This paper represents the results of 13 months of work by the Yukon Hire Commission. It outlines the plan the Commission believes the government should follow to best put the knowledge and skills of Yukon people to work. The policy and organizational changes recommended will help the government meet its goal of playing an active role in fostering economic development.

The Yukon Hire Commission's recommendations in almost every instance reflect the direction given by a majority of people and organizations. Considerable time was spent identifying the interests of a wide variety of business people, workers, and communities so that the most straightforward solutions could be developed. The Commission has dealt with the public openly throughout its existence, especially the members of its two advisory committees: the Yukon Hire Policy Committee (external representatives from labour, industry, business and the public) and the Government Advisory and Implementation Working Group (internal representatives from key government departments and Crown Corporations). The process of seeking consensus should lead to significant public and government support for the recommendations.

There is no question that the Yukon will still need to import specialized skills, that people will still move here to live, that training for many skills will not be available here, and that we will not produce everything for ourselves. But with the implementation of the Yukon Hire recommendations, Yukon people and businesses can be assured of a place at the "front of the line" and fairness in their dealings with government on contracting and hiring.