Yukon Government announces reconciliation priorities in $2 billion 2024-25 budget

    Finance Minister Sandy Silver speaks with reporters following his budget speech on March 7, 2024 (Photo: S.Bonell)

    Nearly $8 million are going towards reconciliation initiatives, including land-based healing, community safety officer programs, and taking action against missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2S+ people.

    The Government of Yukon has announced its budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year.

    Following in the tradition of territorial politics, the announcement was made on March 7; the first day of the spring sitting at the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

    Finance Minister Sandy Silver delivered the budget speech following question period; outlining the priorities behind this year’s budget of over $2 billion. According to Silver, the priorities include making life more affordable, looking after people and communities, investing in the future, and advancing reconciliation.

    “Reconciliation is an ongoing process and a shared responsibility of all governments and individuals in our society,” said Silver in his address. “It means listening to and working with First Nations to address the harms caused by a long history of inequality and discrimination.”

    “In Budget 2024-25, we continue to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and work collaboratively with Yukon First Nations towards the shared goal of reconciliation.”

    “We continue to work together to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two-spirit+ people. We approach this work in the spirit of reconciliation, in partnership with Yukon First Nations and Indigenous women’s organizations.”

    The 2024-25 budget’s total funding under the reconciliation heading comes to nearly $8 million. Most of that funding will work towards providing culturally appropriate services, such as a land-based healing program and community safety officer programs operated by First Nations governments. Just over one million will contribute to taking action on missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit+ people.

    Silver took an opportunity during his speech to highlight the benefit of the Yukon Forum, where the premier and government ministers meet with First Nations leadership from across the territory discuss concerns that affect everyone in the Yukon.

    “While there was a lengthy pause in Yukon Forum meetings under other governments,” Silver said, “we are proud to report that there have been 28 Yukon Forum meetings since February 2017, most recently just this past February.”

    “Notable accomplishments include a Memorandum of Understanding on mining and work undergoing to co-develop new minerals legislation, the establishment of the Yukon Environmental Socio-Economic Assessment reset oversight group, the creation of a Government of Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy, creating a pathway to a more representative public service through the development of the Breaking Trail Together plan, the establishment of the Yukon First Nations School Board, and co-authored amendments to the Child and Family Services Act, just to name a few.”

    Following the announcement of the budget, Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon, while unimpressed with the budget overall, commended the Yukon Government’s work towards reconciliation. However, both he and Yukon NDP Leader Kate White agreed that whether the budget for reconciliation will be adequate comes down to the judgement of Yukon First Nations.

    The full 2024-25 Yukon budget is available to review online at yukon.ca/en/budget

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