January 6, 2017
The Honourable Pauline Frost
Minister of Environment
Minister of Health and Social Services
Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation
Dear Minister Frost:
I am honoured to welcome you to your role as the Minister of Environment and of Health and Social Services and Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation.
Yukoners have entrusted us with a mandate to govern the territory. In fulfilling this serious responsibility, we must lead with respect, courage and compassion. We must work every day to earn the trust of the people we serve and respond to their needs and aspirations for a better Yukon.
This letter is to provide you with guidance in implementing our commitments to Yukoners looking at both what we do and how we do it.
We are clear about our priorities. Our government will help create jobs, balancing efforts to strengthen and diversify our economy with environmental stewardship. We will work collaboratively with Yukon First Nations for their benefit and the benefit of all Yukoners. We will build thriving Yukon communities recognizing local needs, local interests and local solutions. We will help Yukoners lead healthy, productive, happy lives through accessible, integrated programs and services tailored to their needs.
As we advance these priorities, we will work as a cohesive team respecting the collective nature of Cabinet decision making and recognizing that issues do not exist in silos. They are inter-related and often complex, requiring a ‘one government’ approach. We will also focus on delivering results that improve people’s lives. We will monitor progress on achieving these results and report to, and seek feedback from, Yukon citizens on this progress.
At the same time, we will live within our fiscal means. We must make thoughtful and careful decisions about spending to support meaningful, effective investments in jobs, in people and in communities across the territory.
The limits of financial resources require a measured approach in fulfilling our commitments. Some initiatives will take more time to accomplish and we will need to account for emerging needs during the mandate. In order to deliver results in a paced manner, I want you to work in the near term on specific goals linked to our priorities.
As Minister of Environment, your overarching priority is to ensure strong environmental management is an integral part of our efforts to build a prosperous, diversified economy. Diversifying the economy will require more energy; this need is to be balanced with lessening our carbon footprint through expanded use of renewable energy sources and lowering energy use. The realities of climate change require a good understanding of our emission levels and active mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce impacts on infrastructure and communities. Yukoners see a healthy environment with sustainable wildlife populations and opportunities to enjoy the wilderness as fundamental to the social and economic well-being of communities.
More specifically, I expect you to work with your Ministerial colleagues and community partners in the near term to deliver on key goals:
As Minister of Health and Social Services, your overarching strategic priority is to enhance the long-term well-being and quality of life for Yukoners. This requires a comprehensive and coordinated range of programs and services that provide effective responses at all stages of people’s lives. We need to invest in people, in alternative methods of care, in people’s mental health and the healthiest possible living. We must invest in our children and ensure our actions as government are coordinated to maximize the benefits for children. This will involve working with the Minister of Education to ensure seamless services related to child care, early childhood development and education between your two departments.
In addition, in the near term, you are to work with your colleagues and community partners to:
Safe, adequate housing that meets the needs of families and individuals, particularly vulnerable populations, is a key component of healthy communities. As Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation, you are to work with your colleagues, the Yukon Housing Corporation Board, First Nations and community partners to implement the Housing Action Plan in support of this priority.
In addition, in the near term, you are to:
Through discussions in Cabinet, caucus and in the Yukon Legislative Assembly, we will further define what goals we will advance to deliver on our mandate.
As a member of Cabinet, you are to follow the requirements of governance processes to ensure decisions are well considered, implications well understood and planned outcomes clear.
Your deputy ministers are a key source of non-partisan advice and support. You are to foster an effective, positive and respectful working relationship with your deputies and with the public service generally. The efforts of the dedicated, professional public service in providing research, expertise and evaluation are fundamental to our reaching fair, evidence-based and balanced decisions.
We promised Yukoners we will be inclusive in acting on our public responsibilities. This means listening to and understanding the value of all opinions. It means respecting the diversity and equality of our citizens and how their cultures, heritage and languages contribute to the social fabric of Yukon. We committed to being open and transparent when making decisions, balancing the needs of society and serving the broad public interest. We said we will be accountable for the decisions we make – in other words, we will do what we say we will do.
We want the Yukon Legislative Assembly to be a place of respect, accountability, inclusiveness and transparency, working for the betterment of Yukon. In this regard, you are expected to work cooperatively with all Members of the Assembly towards these objectives. You are to take the business of the Assembly seriously. You are to be prepared to answer questions and to explain decisions in a manner that is responsive to the principle of Ministerial accountability.
You, along with other members of Cabinet, are keepers of the public trust charged with working in the public interest. This responsibility carries with it the expectation that you will meet the highest standards of ethical behavior, consistently demonstrating personal and professional integrity in your actions to serve Yukon.
You are to respect the letter and spirit of the Conflict of Interest (Members and Ministers) Act, including the Code of Ethics for Cabinet Ministers, the Executive Council Code of Conduct and the Ministerial Gift Policy. If questions arise about how your personal interests may affect or appear to affect your public responsibilities, you are to seek guidance from the Yukon Conflict of Interest Commission at the earliest opportunity and abide by the advice given.
I appreciate your commitment in taking on your new Ministerial responsibilities. I expect you to carry them out diligently, with careful deliberation and a strong sense of purpose. I look forward to working with you to make positive change for Yukon.