Introduction

The Yukon Government is committed to jobs and economic diversity based on local hire, support for communities and small business, effective training, sound education, and opportunities for people who need assistance. The Yukon's economic health depends on a diverse economy that provides opportunities for Yukon people of all backgrounds and skills. By ensuring that Yukon Government spending creates as many good jobs as possible and provides opportunities for business, all Yukon people benefit.

The Yukon Hire Commission was created in late 1996 to develop--through meaningful consultation with workers, businesses, and the public--the basis for revising policies and regulations affecting government hiring and contracting. Using existing resources, the three-person team assessed past and present hiring and contracting practices in the Yukon, as well as in other Canadian jurisdictions. Over 13 months, Commission members met with hundreds of people to examine problems and develop solutions. A Consultation Paper was released for public review in June, 1997. The dozens of suggested solutions it presented formed the basis for the final round of public consultation in October, 1997.

The Final Report of the Yukon Hire Commission contains 40 recommendations that, when implemented, will improve the hiring and contracting practices of many Yukon organizations. (See Appendix B for a list of recommendations.) The recommendations put into action the government's commitment to putting Yukon people first and putting Yukon businesses first. Relying mostly on incentives and organizational changes to bring about positive change, the Yukon Hire Commission has tried to reflect the advice and concerns of Yukon people in its recommendations.

Mission and Mandate

The mission of the Yukon Hire Commission is to contribute to the development and diversification of the Yukon economy by:

The Yukon Hire Commission's mandate called for active consultation with all interested parties and anyone affected by government decisions. (Appendix A lists most people and organizations consulted.) The Commission was to strive to build consensus on the issues and policy recommendations, and include government staff involved in implementing contracting and hiring practices in that process.

The Yukon Hire Commission regularly briefed the public and the Legislative Assembly about its work. In addition to the Consultation Paper, the Commission met with individuals and groups upon request, issued several newsletters, and provided--through Commissioner's Statements in the Legislature--information to MLAs.

Policy Goals

The purpose of Yukon Hire is not to exclude non-Yukon people from working here. The goal is to ensure Yukon people have preference when it comes to hiring and contracting; a useful analogy is to think of Yukon people going to the front of the line. Most people consulted felt no one from outside the Yukon ("Outside") should be excluded from participating in our economy. They also felt Yukon people should not be put at a competitive disadvantage because of the territory's higher wages, better working conditions, or costs they have no control over, such as energy.

The Commission was told the government's seeming lack of knowledge about the skills and abilities of Yukon people was also of concern. The Yukon will need to continue importing specialized skills. New people bring new talents we can all benefit from. It makes sense, however, for the Yukon government to provide incentives to ensure qualified Yukon people are hired first, especially on projects involving government funds. Employers can always choose to ignore the incentive; there are no walls around the Yukon.

The policy recommendations contained in this final report meet the following goals:

Next Steps

The Yukon Government has an active role to play in fostering economic development. Working together, we need to use every tool we have to ensure a decent living for Yukon people. We are all well aware of the diminishing financial resources of the Yukon Government. We need to spend smarter. Government spending must create as many good jobs as possible, as well as encourage the creation of new industries and nurture existing ones.

The recommendations contained in this Final Report are subject to review and approval by the Cabinet of the Yukon Government. The Commission anticipates up to a year will be required to implement some of its recommendations, although many can be achieved much more quickly.