Category: Elaine Taylor Letters

Community Challenge

Elaine Taylor, MLA for Whitehorse West

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, Feb 28th, 2014
by Elaine Taylor, Deputy Premier

The following is a letter from Deputy Premier Elaine Taylor, Team Captain for the Cheque Writers to the participants, sponsors and organizers of the Community Challenge:

I wish to formally convey the Cheque Writers’ heartfelt thanks to each of you for your participation and organization in the recent Community Challenge. This great community event allows teams to join in the Rendezvous spirit and face-off in a lively and friendly competition.

YSR - Yukon College Community Challenge

The Cheque Writers: (L-R) Minister Mike Nixon, Robin Boss, Executive Assistant to Minister Taylor, Minister Elaine Taylor, Brigadier-General Greg Loos, Commander Joint Task Force (North), MP Ryan Leef, and Minister Currie Dixon took silver in Yukon College’s Community Challenge at Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous 2014.

I’d like to congratulate the competition winners, Shay-Per Esthetics in their victory over us in the tug-of-war final! As well, I’d like to congratulate third place Wines by Design who we raced once in Smooshboarding and again in the relay. Both our teams won a round, battling to a draw head to head.

The Yukon College organizers and the volunteers who ran the events deserve a huge amount of credit. Your work promoting the event beforehand resulted in a host of teams participating. In addition, I’m sure I speak on behalf of all of the teams saying thank you for braving the chilly temperatures outside for over 3 hours to keep us all competing.

Finally to my team, I would like to thank our Member of Parliament Ryan Leef for stepping up and assisting his territorial counterparts. Ryan’s participation speaks to the importance of inter-governmental collaboration and doing what it takes to get the job done. Likewise, thank you to Brigadier-General Loos who demonstrated his allegiance and that of Joint Task Force North to our territory in an important time of need. Our team benefited from General Loos’ strategic expertise in military tactics and strategy.

Thank you to Minister Dixon for arranging the presence of the Government of Yukon cheque as well as the honorary Yukon government ribbon cutting scissors. I’m sure both had a profound impact on the performance of Mayor Curtis and the City of Whitehorse and, perhaps, that of the host sponsor, Yukon College. Minister Nixon deserves kudos for volunteering to compete in the leg wrestling competition despite having returned from overseas the evening prior and not informing us of his zero leg wrestling experience. And thank you Robin for leading our team when it came to the tug-of-war competitions, as well as helping with our registration.

I would also like to recognize our Speaker David Laxton for his support and guidance throughout the competition.

We look forward to next year’s event and the friendly rivalries we’ve formed. Perhaps next year, Mayor Curtis would consider participating as a competitor on the City of Whitehorse team and meeting us across the tug-of-war rope!

Yukon francophones have access to new health services in French

Elaine Taylor, MLA for Whitehorse West

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, January 31st, 2014
by Elaine Taylor, Deputy Premier, Minister of Education

Three separate health sector sites in Whitehorse are now able to offer French language services to their clients as a result of a pilot project that was recently launched.

The Yukon government, along with the Association franco-yukonnaise and the Yukon Francophone Health Network, recently partnered on a client-centred approach to French language service delivery and interpretation.

Clients who visit the Specialists’ Clinic at the Whitehorse General Hospital or the offices of the Home Care Program and Insured Health Services will be offered French language services through bilingual greetings, signage, and forms and publications.

They will also be offered the opportunity to use telephone interpretation services to communicate in French with health specialists or staff at the pilot sites in the event that personnel there do not speak French. This service will be provided by an independent interpretation firm and in a confidential manner.

The three pilot sites were jointly selected by representatives of the Association franco-yukonnaise, the Yukon Francophone Health Network and officials from the Government of Yukon. The sites were chosen because of their potential for success, their importance to the francophone community and their degree of readiness for project implementation.
The project also involves a third component, which is the development of guidelines to identify and staff bilingual positions within Yukon government.

This project launch constitutes a milestone in the development of a more strategic and cohesive French-language service delivery model within the Yukon government and will serve as a reference for the expansion of further services in other areas of government.

The Department of Health and Social Services has also recently released a bilingual Health Passport booklet that provides translations of common medical words and phrases. The booklet is designed to help francophone patients and anglophone health care providers communicate more effectively with each other and is another tool that will contribute to the active offer of health services in French.

These and other initiatives will contribute to the work currently underway by the Yukon government and the francophone community to develop a four-year strategic plan that will further French and bilingual services in Yukon.

There is much to look forward to as the collaboration between the Yukon Francophonie and the Yukon government continues to grow and produce constructive results.

New rural education delivery models are seeing positive results

Elaine Taylor, MLA for Whitehorse West

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, January 31st, 2014
by Elaine Taylor, Deputy Premier, Minister of Education

In Yukon, as in the rest of Canada, the way we deliver education is changing. Student engagement through new self-directed and experiential learning programs is one of the successes we have been seeing as part of the Rural Education Action Plan.

Education is becoming more varied and less rigid than it was in previous years. One example is a new teaching approach referred to as a “blended learning model” that is being implemented at Watson Lake Secondary School.

This is a model that blends technology and teacher expertise to support students who are progressing through online curricula at their own pace. Face-to-face instruction is combined with online courses to give students more flexibility in their learning journey.

This approach is gaining momentum, as high school students in Watson Lake now have access to 58 different course options, compared to 33 last year. The students are becoming more involved in directing their own learning and they are developing personalized graduation plans with the help of their parents and school staff.

Teachers are also benefiting – online blended learning means they can deliver several subjects to multiple students in the same space. Students work independently or in small groups, with teachers serving as both coaches and mentors. This enables teachers to be more creative about how they teach in addition to what they teach.

A tremendous upside of the blended learning approach is that students who haven’t completed their first semester courses will not have to start over when classes resume. Even though the first semester of this school year has just ended, students can continue on from where they left off and complete their courses at their own pace with continued teacher support.

The recent improvement in attendance this year at Watson Lake Secondary School can be attributed to the leadership shown by the school and Yukon Education to make the delivery of education more responsive to the individual needs of Yukon learners.

Another example of the Rural Education Action plan that is delivering results is that of the new Northern Rural Experiential Model.

This innovative brand of program delivery was demonstrated this past September in Dawson City. For one week, 86 Grades 10 to 12 students from seven northern Yukon communities gathered at Robert Service School, completing one of eight experiential courses offered. Students from some of Yukon’s smallest communities had the opportunity to take new courses that are not available in their schools, while at the same time earning credits towards their high school diploma.

The program also gave them the chance to meet fellow students from other similar communities, share their experiences and expand their peer groups.

Watson Lake and other rural schools are achieving success in finding new ways to engage students as part of the Rural Education Action Plan, and there is a high level of interest shown by other communities in these results.

Our government is committed to creating positive learning environments for students and teachers. The more meaningful experiences that we can give students in high school, the more opportunities they will have to find out what their interests are and to remain engaged in lifelong learning, for the betterment of all our communities.

Trades Training Trailer Will Offer Unique Opportunity to Rural Yukoners

Elaine Taylor, MLA for Whitehorse West

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, December 13th, 2013
by Elaine Taylor, Deputy Premier, Minister of Education

This week, the Government of Yukon joined Yukon College to officially launch a new and innovative $1.8 million mobile trades training lab and supply trailer.

This new initiative will help provide more opportunities for Yukoners throughout the territory to gain new skills that will help them succeed in the job market. Its arrival here in the territory is the result of the vision, hard work and collaboration of many partners.

The mobile workshop and classroom will be operated through the Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining (CNIM) at Yukon College to provide professional trades training in communities and at work sites across the territory. The Yukon government provided $1.1 million in funding for the mobile training lab with the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) contributing the remaining $700,000. First Nation governments were key to the success of this project by offering their support and unique perspectives on behalf of their citizens and communities. As well, local industry leaders were instrumental in helping to make this initiative a reality.

The 53-foot-long training lab is outfitted for classes in welding, electrical, millwright and piping, with an onboard diesel generator to provide power for heating, lighting, equipment and wireless Internet. The sides expand to provide 1,048 square feet of instructional space.

The mobile training lab is an important part of the Government of Yukon’s ongoing work to build a successful economy by providing Yukoners with the essential training they need to fill jobs in our mining industry and other sectors.

The skills developed through the trades training lab can be used in a number of industries, including mining, the oil and gas sector, construction, or any other industry where professional tradespeople are needed.

Providing the educational tools needed to succeed in today’s competitive economy is the first step in preparing Yukoners to obtain high quality jobs in their communities, throughout Yukon and beyond.

In January, the trailer will be in Dawson City where adults will be offered pre-employment welding and high school students will have the opportunity to take a dual-credit program. This means, for example, that a student enrolled in a pre-employment course would also earn credit toward graduation on successful completion of coursework.

This training tool will expand the educational options and experiences available to Yukoners and we are looking forward to seeing the positive outcomes that will result for students and for the territory.

Sport Pilot Program offering students an innovative way to learn and develop

Elaine Taylor, MLA for Whitehorse West

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star and Yukon News on Friday, September 20th, 2013
by Elaine Taylor, Minister of Education

Under a new partnership between the Yukon government and Sport Yukon, a pilot sport school program was launched this month which provides Yukon students with an exciting new way to pursue their physical health goals and academic studies.

The sport school program is based on the Canadian Sport School model used in British Columbia. It emphasizes overall physical development, as well as fundamental movement skills (also known as physical literacy) that help prepare students for sport and physical activity. It provides benefits for students who already consider themselves athletes, as well as those who are simply interested in enhancing their physical fitness. This approach has been shown to increase student attendance, improve grades and enhance life skills development and is another effective way of engaging students.

The program is now underway at F.H. Collins High School, where 24 students are spending half of each day on sport training and half on academics. The sport curriculum is also being supplemented with guest trainers and speakers on a variety of fitness and nutrition topics aimed at improving overall student physical literacy.

I had the privilege of meeting with the students and their instructors last week and found their enthusiasm for the program truly inspiring. I was able to observe first hand some of their daily routines, including an impressive circuit training regime. We have also begun to hear from families who are excited about the program and whose feedback will help us assess the program’s success and determine its future.

Another key aspect of this pilot project is the inclusion of schools and community recreation programs throughout Yukon. As part of our partnership with Sport Yukon, a Physical Literacy Coordinator position has been established within that organization to focus on developing and implementing a physical literacy program for students and communities across the territory and, along with that, a greater comfort level and enthusiasm for sport. The goal is to encourage a life-long interest in sport and healthy choices.

The department of education is supporting this pilot by helping with program development and evaluation, and contributing resources, equipment, supplies and funds for facility rentals. Additional contributions and resources are coming from the Economic Development and Community Services departments, as well as Sport Yukon.

I want to extend my thanks to our partners in the project and to the students who are participating.

Giving students greater choice and flexibility while improving their physical health and future opportunities is a valuable goal and our government is pleased to work with Sport Yukon on this important pilot project.