Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 18: Health (18-24)

Government of Canada signs agreements with Yukon delivering nearly $86 million to improve health care

March 12, 2024

From: Health Canada

NationTalk: Health Canada – Canadians deserve a health care system that provides them with timely access to health services whenever and wherever they are needed, as well as the ability to age with dignity closer to home.

Today, the Honourable Mark Holland, Canada’s Minister of Health and the Honourable Tracy-Anne McPhee, Minister of Health and Social Services of the Yukon, announced three agreements to invest a total amount of nearly $86 million to improve health care access and services in the Yukon.

Through the Working Together Agreement, the Government of Canada will provide more than $23.8 million to support the Yukon’s three-year action plan to deliver improvements to its health care system by 2026, including to:

  • Improve access to family health services.
    • Establish a new walk-in primary care clinic in Whitehorse to provide accessible and essential non-urgent health care services.
  • Expand the delivery of mental health and addiction services and specialized care.
    • Introduce the Icelandic Prevention Model (IPM), an approach which aims to prevent youth substance use through community-driven initiatives.
    • Support communities across the Yukon to develop their own tailored community wellness plans.
    • Expand access to opioid treatment services, including safer supply, through a new Mobile Opioid Treatment Services Clinic that will provide treatment options and basic medical care.
    • Develop land-based mental health and substance use treatment projects, in collaboration with the Council of Yukon First Nations. This will help empower Yukon First Nations to develop solutions appropriate to their own community contexts, preserve traditional knowledge, promote healing from historical injustices, and support community-driven programs.
    • Create the Yukon’s first residential managed alcohol withdrawal program in Whitehorse with a capacity of 10 beds by 2025 – 2026.
    • Ensure Whitehorse’s Supervised Consumption Site is available 365 days per year, through increased staffing that will enhance access to mental wellness and substance use supports.

Through the Aging with Dignity Agreement, the Government of Canada will provide close to $12 million to support the Yukon’s five-year action plan to help people living in the territory age with dignity close to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care facility, including to:

  • Support home care and client supports programs.
    • Continue to provide support for Yukon’s Home First and Complex Client Supports programs, which provide community-based services that enable Yukon residents to stay in their homes, return home from hospital, navigate the health care system, and support continuity of care.
  • Expand rural community home care to the entire territory.
    • Improve rural community home care by promoting aging in place through in-home respite, rural end-of-life care. This funding will also provide access to new satellite phones for communication and access to health records in areas without cell service, ensuring safety and scheduling support for home workers.
  • Hire personal support workers and nursing staff for nursing homes.
    • Support workforce stability by providing funding for additional nursing home attendants to help meet the objective of 3.5 hours of direct care per resident each day.
  • Improve the quality of long-term care in the territory.
    • Enhance supports for the education, health and wellness of long-term care staff to improve infection prevention and control and adherence to long-term care standards.

Progress on these initiatives and broader commitments will be measured against targets which the Yukon will publicly report on annually.

Through these new agreements, the Yukon will improve how health information is collected, shared, used and reported to Canadians; streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals; facilitate the mobility of key health professionals within Canada; and fulfill shared responsibilities to uphold the Canada Health Act to protect Canadians’ access to health care that is based on need, not the ability to pay.

Recognizing the significant disparities in Indigenous People’s health outcomes, the Government of Canada and Yukon also commit to meaningfully engage and work together with Indigenous partners to support improved access to quality and culturally appropriate health care services. The Yukon’s action plans are informed by continued engagement with its Indigenous partners and recent trilateral discussions involving the federal government. All levels of government will approach health decisions in their respective jurisdictions through a lens that promotes respect and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Finally, the Yukon will receive additional support through the renewal of the Territorial Health Investment Fund (THIF), with a new grant agreement providing $50 million over five years. With this funding, the Yukon will make investments in innovative health care projects, including to:

  • Implement Putting People First, including the creation of a new health authority
    • The Putting People First report is the Yukon’s roadmap to a future high-performing, integrated health and social system that is collaborative, culturally safe, anti-racist and puts Yukoners at the centre. A core recommendation from the report is to establish a new health authority.
  • Recruit and retain health workers, and improving health workforce planning
    • These initiatives will be implementation as part of the Yukon’s Health Human Resource Strategy. A rural family medicine residency program will be developed as part of this strategy initiatives.
  • Support Yukoners by continuing to improve Digital Health solutions
    • THIF funding will be used to continue advancing progress on establishing a digital health strategy for the Yukon.

The THIF supports the territories, which face higher costs compared to the provinces in delivering health care, by providing funding for crucial health care system improvements, innovative health care projects and ensuring stable funding for necessary costs, including medical travel.

The Yukon and the federal government will continue working together to improve access to health services and deliver tangible results to all patients across the territory, including responding to the needs of Indigenous and other underserved and disadvantaged populations.


“Canadians want better access to health services, and securing these three agreements with the Yukon is a significant step in transforming the health care system, especially in supporting those who want to age at home. We are working with all provinces and territories to achieve better health outcomes for everyone, including Indigenous Peoples.”

The Honourable Mark Holland

Minister of Health

“Through the Working Together agreement, we aim to support the Yukon’s efforts to integrate mental health and substance use care into universal health care system. This collaboration will strengthen family health providers’ capabilities, with a focus on culturally informed care, to improve access to quality mental health and substance use supports, especially for Indigenous Peoples. Our objective is to ensure all Canadians have access to mental health and substance use services whenever and wherever needed.”

The Honourable Ya’ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“Our government is committed to supporting the health and wellness of all Yukoners, throughout all stages of life. These agreements will significantly advance our efforts in building a health and social system that serves the territory. They will expand primary care, enhance long-term care, home care, and community care, address the substance use health emergency, support health system transformation, and tackle health workforce shortages. These investments will have concrete impacts on  health and wellness for Yukoners.”

The Honourable Tracy-Anne McPhee
The Yukon’s Minister of Health and Social Services

Quick facts

  • The Working Together investment includes $25 billion for tailored bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, a 5% Canada Health Transfer (CHT) guarantee for the next five years and then rolled into the CHT base — amounting to $17.5 billion over ten years – and a one-time CHT $2 billion top-up to address to urgent needs of emergency rooms and paediatric hospitals delivered in June 2023. Combined, these investments provide provinces and territories the flexibility to address the unique needs of their populations and geography, and accelerate health care system improvements.
  • Budget 2023 outlined the Government of Canada’s plan to invest close to $200 billion over 10 years, including $46.2 billion in new funding for provinces and territories, to improve health care for Canadians. Within this funding, $25 billion is allocated through tailored bilateral agreements to address the unique needs of their populations and geography in four shared health priorities:
    • expanding access to family health services, including in rural and remote areas;
    • supporting health workers and reducing backlogs;
    • increasing mental health and substance use support; and
    • modernizing health care systems with health data and digital tools.
  • All provinces and territories are already making considerable investments to advance progress in all four of these priority areas, and the new federal funding is complementing and expanding those efforts.
  • As part of the Working Together bilateral agreements, provinces and territories are developing action plans that outline how funds will be spent and how progress will be measured to demonstrate to Canadians that improvements are occurring in Canada’s health care system. The Yukon’s initial three-year Action Plan can be found here.
  • Budget 2017 committed $11 billion over 10 years in federal funding to provinces and territories to improve access to home and community care, and mental health and addictions services for Canadians. Bilateral agreements were signed with provinces and territories to access the first six years of that funding. The final four years of funding for mental health and addictions are included in the new Working Together bilateral agreements.
  • The Government is also working with provinces and territories to implement a second bilateral agreement focused on helping Canadians age with dignity close to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care facility. This agreement includes the remaining $2.4 billion ($600 million per year for fiscal years 2023-24 to 2026-27) over four years to improve access to home and community care from Budget 2017; and the $3 billion ($600 million per year for fiscal years 2023-24 to 2027-28) over five years for long-term care from Budget 2021 to apply standards of care in long-term care facilities and help support workforce stability. The Yukon’s’ five-year Action Plan can be found here.
  • Budget 2023 also announced $350 million over ten years to renew the Territorial Health Investment Fund (THIF), beginning in 2023-24, to help support medical travel and the higher cost of delivering health care in the territories. Territories use funding delivered through the THIF to develop and implement key health care system improvement projects in areas such as collaborative care, primary care, and health workforce and capacity building.

Associated links


Christopher Aoun
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health

Yuval Daniel
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ya’ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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