Midwifery Program Closure Failure of Liberal Leadership – Yukon NDP
January 20, 2023
Whitehorse – Last week, Yukoners learned that their midwifery program was shutting down just 6 months after opening.
“In the 2 years since the Liberals took over midwifery, pregnant people have only been able to access midwife services in the Yukon for 6 months – and now there are no midwifery services yet again,” said Annie Blake, MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin.
After the Liberals announced the new midwifery regulations in 2021, pregnant Yukoners could not access a midwife in the territory for over 15 months.
“At every step of the way, this government continues to fail Yukoners who want to give birth with the support of a midwife,” said MLA Blake. “The closure of this program is another failure in the long list of missteps that this government has made in healthcare access. There are many who want to give birth in their home communities, yet they continue to face a major gap in midwifery services from this government.”
Advocates, along with the Yukon NDP, warned the government that their flawed regulations would hurt Yukoners. After the regulations were put in place, Yukon midwives were prevented from delivering babies for at least a year, with no interim solution.
Worse, the Liberals expected midwives to practice in another jurisdiction for a year, then come back to the Yukon only to receive a $40,000 pay cut. Currently, the average pay for Canadian midwives in public healthcare is $125,000 annually while the Yukon’s program offers midwives $85,000 per year.
“It’s been a year since the government promised to review the wages they offer midwives, and we’ve seen no changes. Clearly the Liberals see the midwifery program as a very low priority. It shouldn’t be,” added MLA Blake. “Midwifery care is an ongoing need in our territory, and midwives deserve equal pay that is comparable to other jurisdictions.”
The Yukon NDP is calling on the Liberal government to immediately increase midwifery wages to remain competitive with other jurisdictions.