YT Government: Development of public health agency underway as Putting People First implementation continues

Press Release

The Government of Yukon is working to establish a new public health agency for the Yukon as part of the ongoing implementation of the Putting People First recommendations. Premier Sandy Silver has appointed Michael Hale as an additional Deputy Minister with the Department of Health and Social Services to oversee the development of the new public health agency.

Deputy Minister Stephen Samis will focus on the delivery of social services and oversee the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in the Yukon in coordination with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Mr. Hale will focus on the delivery of healthcare services and the integration of the territory’s medical services into a new public health agency.

The Putting People First report lays out how to transform Yukon’s health and social services system into a more integrated, collaborative and person-centred system that will better meet the needs of Yukoners. The reports 76 recommendations to improve service delivery in the Yukon were endorsed by the Yukon government in August, 2020.

One of the main recommendations is to create a new, arms-length government agency that delivers a people-centred healthcare system in the territory and contracts with NGOs or other providers to deliver specialty services on their behalf. This includes responsibility for the hospitals currently under the Yukon Hospital Corporation and primary care, long-term care and treatment facilities under the Department of Health and Social Services.

Our government is committed to modernizing the Yukon’s health and social service delivery to better meet the needs of Yukoners. We continue to implement the Putting People First recommendations to improve health outcomes for clients, create better value for money and improve the experiences of clients and providers throughout the territory. Stephen Samis has been instrumental in initiating the transformation of our health and social services while managing the Yukon’s strong public health response to COVID-19. Michael Hale’s skills and experience will guide the development of a new public health agency that will provide the comprehensive, people-centred care Yukoners deserve.

Premier Sandy Silver

Putting People First provides a roadmap to transform Yukon’s health and social services system into a national leader when it comes to collaborative, person-centred care. Our government has taken significant steps to make service delivery more sustainable, effective and responsive to the needs of all Yukoners. Creating a new public health agency will improve outcomes and experiences for clients, patients, families and health and social service providers.

Minister of Health Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee

Quick facts

  • In August 2020, the Government of Yukon committed to implementing the 76 recommendations in the Putting People First report.
  • Several of the report’s recommendations have already been completed, including:
    • Creating a new universal, affordable child care program and relocating the Child Care Services Unit within the Department of Education.
    • Doubling the medical travel benefit for Yukoners as part of enhancements to the medical travel program.
    • Expanding access to publicly funded vaccines, including the shingles vaccine (Shingrix), Pneumovax and the Fluzone High Dose vaccine.
    • Expanding palliative and end-of-life programs and supports for Yukoners.
    • Reducing pharmacy markups and fees to a level close to the national average.
    • Hiring additional nurse practitioners to increase access to primary health care providers in Yukon communities.
    • Establishing a by-name list to improve access to housing coordination.
    • Creating a new Care Coordination and Medical Travel Unit to streamline care across programs and providers.

Michael Hale

Michael moved to the Yukon more than 20 years ago, with a career that’s spanned the sectors of journalism, public service and the private sector. His most recent role was Chief Operating Officer for Northern Vision Development, where he helped lead the company through the pandemic. Previously, he’s held numerous roles from Chief of Staff to Yukon’s Premier, to Vice-President of Operations for Yukon Housing Corporation, to Assistant Deputy Minister/Chief Negotiator for Aboriginal Relations. All told, Michael has more than a dozen years of public service and leadership experience. He has two sons, Maddox and Jonah, and a partner, Lacia who remind him daily that work is only one part of life.


Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications


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