Yukon NDP celebrates passage of education Bill

WHITEHORSE, YT – The Yukon NDP is celebrating the passage of party leader Kate White’s private member’s bill on education.

White’s Bill 307, An Act to Amend the Yukon Education Act, cleared the Yukon Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, April 17, with unanimous support from MLAs.

“Today’s vote is a win for high school students across the Yukon,” White said Wednesday afternoon.

The bill updates the Education Act by repealing part of the legislation that limited students’ options to take locally developed courses. It also brings the Act in line with British Columbia’s policies on school curricula already followed by the Yukon’s education ministry. 

The repealed portion of the Act states that locally developed courses can’t account for more than 20 per cent of student courseloads per year or per semester. This had stopped many high school students from taking locally developed courses at all, because most Yukon high schools offer four courses per semester.

“Students are much more likely to stay in school when they can learn skills that are relevant in their communities,” White continued, adding that, “Many of these locally developed courses cover things like youth leadership, local knowledge keeping, and climate change.”

White’s bill received letters of support from the Yukon First Nation School Board (FNSB) and First Nation Education Directorate (YFNED) as well as the territory’s French-language school authority, Le Commission Scolaire Francophone du Yukon.

Ted Hupé, President of the Yukon Association of Education Professionals, emailed all three territorial parties in support of the bill.

FNSB director Melissa Flynn noted that, “[Yukon students] are here, on this land, right now – that is a part of who they are, and their story.

“Because of this, they have a responsibility and a privilege to learn the history and culture of this place.”

Melanie Bennett, Executive Director at YFNED, wrote that the directorate “wholeheartedly supports” repealing the cap on locally developed courses.

“Not only does this fail Indigenous students who want to take culturally relevant coursework, but it also deprives non-First Nations students from taking courses that teach them about subjects relevant to their home: courses on land claims, leadership, traditional technologies, etc.,” Bennet explained.  

Longtime Yukon educator Bob Sharp, who consulted with the Yukon NDP Caucus on White’s Bill, watched Wednesday afternoon’s House debate from the public viewing gallery.

“It was touch and go for a while, but in the end, MLAs made the right call,” Sharp said. 


  • Section 43 (2) of the Yukon Education Act states that, “Locally developed courses may constitute up to 20 per cent of the educational program offered to any student in a semester or a school year.”
  • Kate White’s private member’s bill removes Section 43 (2) from the Act.
  • Bob Sharp is a retired Yukon teacher and education programmer.