Whitehorse CRA office returns … sort of

The Yukon Federation of Labour is disappointed with Minister Lebouthillier’s announcement regarding the re-opening of a Canada Revenue Agency office in Whitehorse. The CRA news release (read in full here) states:

“The cornerstone of the initiative is the CRA-supported tax preparation centre, where volunteers from the CVITP (Community Volunteer Income Tax Program) will provide advice to eligible individuals and help them with their taxes. CVITP members will undergo a rigorous and tailored training from CRA officers, and will be supported by CRA to ensure the quality and expertise of the services rendered.  If a volunteer is not available or if a tax situation is complex, clients will be able to use a dedicated phone line at the Elijah Smith Building to contact a CRA agent who specializes in tax questions specific to northern residents.”

A CRA office is needed in Whitehorse, that much is true.  Staffing it with volunteers is ridiculous.  It is also shameful coming from a government that committed to rebuilding public services.

The closure of the Whitehorse CRA office in 2012 was met with concern and condemnation from residents and business owners.  Since that time, Yukoners have had access to a toll-free number to try and address any tax issues they were faced with.  Minister Lebouthillier’s announcement does not amount to a significant change or improvement, it only represents more costs.

Taxpayers will now be paying for office space to house a telephone and a volunteer – when a volunteer is available.  The mention of availability suggests the office may not have regular hours.  This could easily create both cost and inconvenience for people who travel in from the communities only to find the office closed.

If paid staff are already serving Yukoners by phone, why not locate them in Whitehorse?  The value these positions would add to the territory is measurable.  Not to mention dealing with people, face-to-face, in the same time-zone, would help reduce the stress frequently associated with taxes.

Being the public face of CRA means far more than having a few courses.  Taxation is a broad subject and the intricacies of finance can be incredibly complicated.  It is often compounded by emotional situations, such as when a family member dies, bankruptcy or divorce.  Staff need to be able to work with clients who may be distraught, angry or suicidal.  To offload this responsibility to the backs of volunteers is unjust.

YFL would also like to know the answers to these questions:

  • What training will the volunteers need in order to be qualified to advise the public?
  • How will a volunteer know when “a tax situation is (too) complex”?
  • CRA waives fees and penalties when staff provide incorrect advice, will they do the same for volunteers?
  • Could volunteers be personally liable if they provide incorrect advice?

The Yukon Federation of Labour encourages Yukoners to contact Minister Lebouthillier and M.P. Bagnell, and make their opinions known.

Yukon taxpayers deserve to be treated like the valued clients they are.  Servicing our territory with volunteers falls far short of the standard Yukoners are due.

The Push For Change – Whitehorse

Please join The Push For Change, the Whitehorse stop on a cross-country tour.

The Push for Change is a non-profit organization focused on the prevention of youth homelessness.  Mr. Joe Roberts has been raising awareness and fundraising for youth homelessness issues by pushing a shopping cart across Canada.  For more information, please visit: http://www.thepushforchange.com/
Date:          September 7th
Where:      Waterfront Healing Totem            Time: 4:30 p.m.
                     Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre                    5:30 p.m.
This free event starts at the Waterfront Healing Totem, followed by a walk to Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre where dinner will be served.  After dinner, there will be speeches from Yukon youth and Mr. Roberts.
Donations can be made in advance and at the event.  Proceeds from the event will be split between the Boys and Girls Clubs of Yukon and The Push For Change, and be put towards programming to prevent youth homelessness.
Event partners include:
and there’s room for more to join the movement!
If your organization would like to get involved, please contact Mr. Marc Gagne, Business Manager of UA Local 310 at 867-335-6582 or email.

Labour Day BBQ @ Shipyards Park

Yukon Employees’ Union is hosting the annual free Labour Day BBQ in Shipyards Park.

Date: September 4
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

This year, YEU is asking people to join them in building a Mountain of Mac.  This food is often in short supply at the Whitehorse Food Bank and YEU will be donating $1,000.00 of Mac & Cheese to help address this need.  You can join YEU in this effort by:

  • Contacting YEU and making a Mac Pledge (call 867-667-2331 or email contact@yeu.ca)
  • Bring your Mac to Shipyards Park on September 4 and add it to the mountain!
  • Donate directly to Whitehorse Food Bank

Please share this free event (via Facebook) with your family, friends and community.  Come for the food, for the community and for the massive Mountain of Mac.  We hope to see you there on September 4!

Yukon Federation of Labour has moved!

Yukon Federation of Labour has moved!

Our new address is:
Suite 209, 4109 Fourth Avenue
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 1H6

YFL thanks Northern Allied Workers’ Society (NAWS) for being both a landlord and partner in labour.  While our shared location has ended, our partnership remains intact.

Times change and needs do too.  As a result of this renewal, YFL is now located on the second floor of the Taku Building, with entrances off Fourth Avenue and Main Street.  The Taku Building is LEED Certified and more about that can be viewed via this link.

Once you’re in the building lobby, you can either take the stairs or elevator to the second floor.  Take the hallway to the left and follow it until you see our sign.  Our office is fully accessible and our business hours are Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed for lunch from noon to 1:00 p.m.).

To all groups who were using the meeting room at the Strickland Street location, please contact Karen Tredger at NAWS to make future arrangements.  Karen can be reached via email at naws@northwestel.net or by phone at 867-456-8254.

NAWS also has office space for rent.  Please contact Marc Gagne at marcgagnelocal310@hotmail.com or by phone at 867-335-6582 to discuss rental options at the Strickland Street location.

Day of Mourning News Release

The Yukon Federation of Labour and Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board have issued a joint news release:

Day of Mourning Ceremony Has a New Home

April 25, 2017

WHITEHORSE: The annual Day of Mourning ceremony will move to its new permanent home at the Workers’ Memorial in Shipyards Park this year.

“The Government of Yukon has graciously permitted the ceremony to take place in its main building for years,” said Justin Lemphers, President of the Yukon Federation of Labour. “We deeply appreciate that, and offer our heartfelt thanks.”

“Now that the Workers’ Memorial is complete, however, it’s time for the ceremony to move there. It’s a permanent, public place that can be used by the community year-round,” Lemphers continued.

2016 saw three workplace-related fatalities. Two were due to occupational disease, the third occurred on the job. There were 1650 workplace incidents reported last year. 454 Yukoners had to spend time away from work to recover from injuries sustained there.

“The Day of Mourning reminds us of our shared responsibility for safety in the workplace,” said Kurt Dieckmann, President/CEO of the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board. “When we pause during the ceremony to reflect on family members, friends, and colleagues lost, we also renew our commitment to keeping ourselves and the people we work with safe and healthy at work every day.”

The Day of Mourning is also about drawing attention to common hazards in today’s workplaces.

“Protecting our minds from harm while at work is a priority in Yukon and across Canada,” said Lemphers. “Whether it’s about preventing trauma, bullying, or some other form of mental injury while at work, many organizations in the territory are making strides to protect their workers.”

This year’s Day of Mourning ceremony will take place at 12:30 on Friday, April 28, at the Workers’ Memorial in Whitehorse’s Shipyards Park. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Media contacts to arrange for an interview and further information
Justin Lemphers
Yukon Federation of Labour
yfl@yukonfed.com
(867) 456-8250

image005

Andrew Robulack
Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board
@YWCHSB_Robulack
andrew.robulack@gov.yk.ca
(867) 335-6040

image006

This notice is also posted at the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board website.

Photo credit – Deborah Turner-Davis of Yukon Employees’ Union

Day of Mourning – Workers’ Memorial, Shipyards Park

Day of Mourning is a day dedicated to remembering Yukon workers injured or killed on the job.

You are invited to come and honour injured and deceased workers and their families.

This is a free event, open to the public.  Come and gather at the tent, near the Workers’ Memorial in Shipyards Park.

Ceremony will begin at 12:30 pm and will be a half hour in duration.  The tent will be open at noon to allow people to assemble and find seats.

Together, you and I will keep each other safe.

Day-of-Mourning-Ykn-Fed-of-Labour-8118854-Apr14-6x14-CB-CX1

Instructor Training Opportunity – March 2017

The Yukon Federation of Labour is pleased to announce Instructor Training the week of March 21st, 2017 (the course is also commonly referred to as Facilitator Training or Train the Trainer).
 
The course will be offered over three days, March 21 to 23 (Tuesday to Thursday) at the YFL office, and the days will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with an hour break for lunch.
 
There will be no enrollment cost to attend this course. However, YFL will not be entertaining loss of salary, travel, accommodation, childcare, or other expenses. Please confer with your labour organization regarding funding support to be able to attend.
 
YEU MEMBERS – YEU’s Education Application must be completed for all external workshops and training requiring funding for tuition and/or loss of salary, travel expenses. Download and print education the application, and submit directly to YEU.
 
A brief description of the course follows:
 
The course designed to facilitate learning of popular and adult instructional techniques which respect and value the knowledge that workers already have while building new skills in a collaborative, supportive environment.
 
The course also states upfront our commitment that labour educators are leaders responsible for breaking down barriers to participating and learning in a labour education environment and within our committees. Participants in this course are challenged to broaden their working class equality analysis as part of their learning. We do this to create a better understanding of oppression – how workers can be divided and how issues like racism, homophobia, and ableism, which are systemic within our unions and communities, must be challenged in order to promote the growth of our movement.
 
In keeping with the theme of participant-centred education, the course relies heavily on class participation. Class discussion, team assignments, brainstorms, case studies, and evaluations are the main instructional methods employed. Much of the work is done in small groups. In fact, co-instructing is heavily emphasized in planning, preparation, and instruction. This provides for an ideal and realistic sharing of personal experiences, involvement, and practice. The instructors will make every effort to make themselves available when team assignment is occurring.
 
This offering is open to all workers within the Labour/Union movement. Space will be limited to 16 participants, so don’t delay in registering.
 
Members can sign-up for the course by emailing YFL@yukonfed.com with the following details:
“INSTRUCTOR TRAINING” in the subject line (email shortcut here)
their name
work place
a contact number
and a contact email
 
Enrollment preference will be given to affiliate Unions, Locals, Lodges and Branches. Other labour groups which would like to explore affiliating with YFL, please call 867-456-8251 or email YFL@yukonfed.com.

Yukon Liberal Majority Government Elected

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – NOVEMBER 2016

YUKON – Election day on November 7th, 2016 resulted in a majority government for the Yukon Liberal Party.  It also marked the end of a 14 year run for the Yukon Party, which replaced the NDP as the Official Opposition.  The Yukon Federation of Labour (YFL) would like to congratulate Premier-Elect Sandy Silver and all the candidates who ran in the territorial election.

The current distribution of seats in the Yukon is now:
Liberal Party – 11
Yukon Party – 6
NDP – 2

The full results are available here, courtesy of CBC North.

The YFL looks forward to working with the new Territorial Government and will announce details of the swearing in ceremony when they are available.

For more information please contact:
Justin Lemphers, YFL President – 867.667.6682
yfl@yukonfed.com

NEW EXECUTIVE AT THE YUKON FEDERATION OF LABOUR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – NOVEMBER 2016

WHITEHORSE – Delegates at the 10th Convention of the Yukon Federation of Labour (YFL) chose a new leadership team on October 29th. The event, held at the organized Coast High Country Inn, had the highest number of registered delegates to date. In attendance were members from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, UNIFOR, the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Sheet Metal and Hospitality Workers, United Steelworkers, and the Yukon Employees’ Union.

Justin Lemphers, from Local Y010 of Yukon Employees’ Union, was acclaimed as the new YFL President. Justin has a diverse background in the labour movement, having served as an elected member on numerous committees, boards and executives. He is excited to work with the new YFL leadership and looks forward to embracing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The new Executive Board is joined by Richard Wagner, Lee Tanguay, Anton Berger and Sue Christianson. Linda Moen is the Equity Representative and Jamie Webber is the Youth Representative. Mark Bowers, Driss Adrao and Paul Davis take on the role of trustee.

EXECUTIVE BOARD
• President – Justin Lemphers
• 1st Vice-President – Richard Wagner
• 2nd Vice-President – Lee Tanguay
• Secretary – Anton Berger
• Treasurer – Sue Christianson

EQUITY REPRESENTATIVE
• Linda Moen

YOUTH REPRESENTATIVE
• Jamie Webber

TRUSTEES
• Mark Bowers
• Driss Adrao
• Paul Davis

For more information please contact:
Justin Lemphers, YFL President – 867.667.6682
yfl@yukonfed.com

YUKON FEDERATION OF LABOUR TRIENNIAL CONVENTION -OCTOBER 28-29,2016

yfl-10th-triennial-call-for-convention-2016-jpegThe Triennial Convention of the Yukon Federation of Labour is fast approaching. Friday October 28th and October 29th are the dates!

Check to see if you belong to one of the following locals and ask your local executive how you can be a part of the exciting change for the future of labour in the Yukon. Submit resolutions that will guide the direction of labour for the next three years. Cut off for Delegate/Alternate Credentials is October 14th, 2016.

The following are the affiliate membership and are entitled to delegate credentials. Contact your local executive for more information.

PSAC Locals

y010 YEU
y011 YEU
y012 YEU
y013 YEU
y017 YEU
y018 YEU
y022 YEU
y023 YEU
y024 YEU
y025 YEU
y026 YEU
20956 CEIU
Y0030 NHU
Y0102 UNE
Y0105 UNE
Y0720 UEW

CUPW Locals

852

IBEW Locals

1574
993

USW Locals

925
8646

UA Locals

310

Cut offs for submissions for resolutions are as follows:

Constitutional Changes: September 28th, 2016.

Regular Resolutions: October 14th, 2016.