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Mandate letter for Minister McPhee

Download Minister McPhee's mandate letter  1.5 MB

January 6, 2017

The Honourable Tracy McPhee
Minister of Education
Minister of Justice

Dear Minister McPhee:

I am honoured to welcome you to your role as the Minister of Education and Minister of Justice.
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 Education, your overarching strategic priority is to ensure our education system – at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels – achieves solid outcomes that meet Yukon’s social, economic and community goals. This includes a commitment to lifelong learning and the transition to Yukon University with programming that meets the range of Yukon’s educational needs. It will also involve working with the Minister of Health and Social Services to ensure seamless services related to child care, early childhood development and education between your two departments. You are to work collaboratively with parents, teachers, and other educational partners, including First Nations and communities, to ensure our students are able to realize their aspirations and contribute to a healthy future for Yukon.

In particular, I expect you to work with your colleagues and community partners in the near term to deliver on these key goals:

  • Implement the new student-centred, Yukon version of the revised BC curriculum
  • Review teacher hiring practices in conjunction with the Yukon Teacher’s Association
  • Work with the Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation to initiate a new approach to staff housing that increases opportunities for teachers to remain in communities
  • Complete the planning for a new Francophone secondary school working with the Commission Scolaire Francophone du Yukon, l’Association Franco-Yukonnaise, Yukon Francophone families and Francophone and French immersion schools
  • Explore opportunities to enhance community involvement in school governance
  • Reduce economic and social disparities between Whitehorse and communities through training, education and literacy programs
  • Work with Yukon College and the Minister of Health and Social Services to provide for an annual intake into the College’s licensed practical nursing program
  • Work with the Minister of Tourism to engage Yukon First Nations, Yukon College and community partners in developing an Indigenous fine arts program at the Yukon School of Visual Arts

As Minister of Justice, your overarching priority is to ensure in your work with police, justice stakeholders and First Nations that our justice system provides a balanced approach. It is to protect Yukoners and respond to the needs of victims, while providing rehabilitation that reduces recidivism and addresses issues related to disabilities, mental health and addictions that contribute to incarceration. As the government’s chief legal advisor, you are expected to ensure our laws meet accepted standards for equity, fairness and respect for the rule of law.

In particular, I expect you to work with your colleagues and community partners in the near term to deliver on these key goals:

  • Expand crime prevention through an environmental design approach to all interested rural and remote communities
  • Work with the Minister of Health and Social Services, the Minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate and community partners to improve services for victims of violence and sexual assault in Yukon
  • Develop alternative correctional therapeutic environments for individuals with disabilities, mental health and addictions problems
  • Engage with Yukon First Nations to develop culturally relevant programming for offenders
  • Work with the Yukon Law Society to improve access to legal services and protect the public’s interests by preparing legislation that updates the Legal Professions Act and regulations
  • Work with the Minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate and other colleagues to conduct a review of legislation, policies and practices to ensure the Yukon government meets the rules and social standards for LGBTQ non-discrimination

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 House 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.



Sandy Silver