Canadian military doctors, nurses set to work in Yukon hospitals

'This exciting partnership will help boost the health care of all Yukoners,' says minister

Canadian military doctors, nurses set to work in Yukon hospitals

Canadian military doctors and nurses will soon begin working in the Yukon's public health care system.

Under a partnership among the Yukon provincial government, the Yukon Hospital Corporation, and the Department of National Defence’s Canadian Forces, Canadian Forces health services professionals will be deployed to work in critical care, emergency room, operating room, and medical-surgical roles throughout the territory.

The partnership will create new opportunities for Canadian Forces Health Services healthcare providers to maintain and enhance their skills while supporting the Yukon’s healthcare workforce, according to the provincial government.

“This exciting partnership will help boost the health care of all Yukoners. By encouraging short-term education-focused tours of work across our health care system, we can continue to ensure Yukoners have access to quality care,” said Tracy-Anne McPhee, Yukon’s minister of health and social services.

“Canadian Forces Health Services health professionals will be able to maintain existing and learn new clinical skills while helping Yukoners receive high-quality health care. The Yukon will be able to expand the pool of talented health professionals with local experience.  We look forward to welcoming these health care professionals to assist Yukoners in our beautiful territory.”

The partnership will also explore additional opportunities to gain training in primary health care services.

Military staff part of HR health strategy in Yukon

The partnership is part of the effort to implement the Yukon government’s Health Human Resources Strategy, which was released in December 2023. Key pillars of the strategy are to enable a collaborative environment for learning and professional growth and create innovative partnerships that create change.

“Canadian Forces Health Services (CHFS) members are highly skilled health professionals, and their experiences will greatly benefit care provided to Yukoners,” said Bill Blair, minister of national defence.

“A strong understanding of territorial health care service delivery is vital to operations as we increase the Canadian Armed Forces’ presence in the Arctic. This partnership will improve our readiness to deliver quality care in the North.”

Both the Yukon workforce and Canadian Forces Health Services personnel will benefit from sharing and enhancing their professional knowledge and skills in the territory, according to the provincial government.

“We are excited to embark on this learning partnership with the Canadian Forces Health Services. This collaboration not only supports the professional development of CFHS personnel but also enhances our ability to provide exceptional health care services in the Yukon,” said Allan Lucier, chair of the board of trustees Yukon Hospital Corporation.

“This is one of many strategies to maintain a strong, skilled workforce through learning opportunities and innovative approaches such as building pan-national relationships. By working together, we can continue to strengthen our health care system for the benefit of all Yukoners.”

In March, Ottawa released the Canada-Yukon Agreement to Work Together to Improve Health Care for Canadians (2023-24 to 2025-26). Under the agreement, the federal government will provide approximately an additional $17 billion over 10 years in new support to the territory.

Ottawa has also previously announced bilateral agreements with Northwest Territories, Ontario, Manitoba, among others, to help them improve health care staffing. 

Is Yukon 'desperate’ to address health care labour shortage?

Yukon Party MLA Brad Cathers, the opposition health critic, claims the program in Yukon speaks to the Yukon Liberal Party's desperation, according to a CBC report posted on Yahoo! News

"If calling in the military isn't a sign there is a problem, [then] I don't know what is," he said during question period in the legislature.

McPhee disagreed. It was frontline health care workers in the Yukon who came up with the idea, she said, and the program will increase the territory's pool of Canadian health care professionals who have experience in Yukon communities.

"By encouraging short-term education-focused tours of work across our health care system, we can continue to ensure Yukoners have access to quality care," she said, according to the CBC report.

"Canadian Forces Health Services health professionals will be able to maintain existing and learn new clinical skills while helping Yukoners receive high-quality health care.”

In February, the federal government announced it is investing up to $3.65 million in funding in the Yukon government to improve the integration of internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) into the province’s labour market.

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