Government of Yukon

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Mandate letter for Minister Pillai

Download PDF version of Minister Pillai's mandate letter (104 KB)

January 6, 2017

The Honourable Ranj Pillai
Minister of Economic Development
Minister of Energy Mines and Resources
Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation
Minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation

Dear Minister Pillai:

I am honoured to welcome you to your role as the Minister of Economic Development and of Energy, Mines and Resources and the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation and the Yukon Energy 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.

Your overarching strategic priority is to support the development of a thriving, prosperous and diversified economy that provides well-defined benefits for communities, First Nations and Yukon as a whole and integrates a high level of long-term environmental management. Our economy needs to be better able to absorb downturns. This means working with First Nations, business and industry partners, and the federal and municipal governments to broaden our economic base, build local capacity and competitiveness in new and existing businesses and services. Government investments are to help build sustainable job creation for Yukoners and innovative approaches to existing and new industries, and increased investment opportunities.

More specifically, I expect you to work with your colleagues and other partners in the near term to deliver on these key goals:

As Minister of Economic Development:

  • Encourage economic growth and diversification by aligning program funds and supports to
    • attract new investment to Yukon businesses
    • develop innovation and the knowledge economy 
    • enhance trade opportunities for manufacturing and product development 
    • strengthen entrepreneurial opportunities for Yukon First Nation development corporations
  • Encourage major industrial proponents to have local purchase programs that complement government procurement practices 
  • Work with the Minister of Community Services to identify and work to remove regulatory and service impediments to competitiveness
  • Work with the Minister of Tourism and Culture to increase the benefits to Yukon from research conducted in the territory

As Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources:

  • Increase the availability of renewable energy solutions, while reducing the reliance on non-renewable sources and lessening energy consumption by:
    • developing energy policies and programs that meet future needs from renewable sources
    • providing stable pricing mechanisms for renewable energy projects 
    • developing opportunities for the private sector to create fuel for biomass heating projects 
    • allocating $30 million annually for an energy retrofit program for residential, commercial and government buildings 
  • Promote responsible resource development balanced with environmental management and demonstrable benefits for Yukon by: 
    • encouraging resource industries to establish strong environmental stewardship and community development programs 
    • ensuring a strong environmental assessment process without unnecessary duplication of effort 
    • promoting oil and gas development outside the Whitehorse trough and without fracking 
  • Increase Yukon’s ability to be self-sufficient in food production
  • Work with the Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation to increase affordable housing options across the territory 
  • Work with the Ministers of Environment and Justice on collaborating with First Nations on steps towards accepting the final report of the original Peel Watershed Planning Commission pending the outcome of the Supreme Court decision

As Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation and the Yukon Energy Corporation:

  • Establish a $10 million fund to support economic diversification and innovation
  • Increase the availability of renewable energy solutions, while reducing the reliance on non-renewable sources and lessening energy consumption by: 
    • initiating pilot projects in energy storage 
    • reducing community reliance on diesel energy 
    • converting street lighting to LED

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.

Sincerely,

Sandy Silver
Premier