The Yukon Territory labour market is changing considerably. To ensure Yukon remains strong economically, Yukon Education developed with stakeholders a comprehensive Labour Market Framework. Its horizontal and scientific approach, as well as its intention to guide the development of the Yukon Labour Force, has made it one of the best examples of effective public consultation in Canada.
A horizontal approach
The 2008 Labour Market Framework for Yukon outlined approaches needed to be developed if Yukon was to take a more strategic approach to addressing labour market issues in the territory.
To more effectively develop these strategies for all Yukon, labour market stakeholders were invited to provide their feedback on the development of the strategies at a symposium held in October 2008. The event brought together individuals representing business, industry, all levels of government (federal, territorial, municipal and First Nations), non-governmental organizations, under-represented labour market groups and employees affected by labour market demands. Following this symposium, stakeholders were invited to develop, on a consensus-based approach, four Labour Market Framework Strategies (labour market information, recruitment and retention, immigration, and comprehensive trades and training).
The uniqueness of the process is located in the core idea that the framework “belongs to all Yukonners.” The impact of such an approach is that the results and the leadership are the responsibility of all the stakeholders, not just the government of Yukon. Even though the territorial government facilitated the process and had a final say on the direction taken by the strategies’ committees, the embedded approach was built on the assumption that the committees belong to the stakeholders and have a legitimacy to recommend to the Yukon government the actions to prioritize and implement effectively the goals and objectives of the framework.
After a few years of ongoing consultations to ensure the implementation of the strategies, a co-chair model of governance has been explored by the committees’ members to increase the ownership of the process by non-Yukon government stakeholders.
A scientific approach
The formulation and endorsement of the Labour Market Framework Goals and Objectives was one of the first steps to articulate a scientific response by the territorial government to the needs expressed by the stakeholders involved in the local economy.
The first results emerging from the Labour Market Framework came from the Labour Market Information (LMI) Strategy. As the cornerstone of the framework, the LMI Strategy provided the rationale to develop many science-based tools and research such as: the business survey on labour supply and demand, a student cohort survey, the Yukon Occupational Modelling System, a talent forecast (developed by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council), a website for job planners with the top 100 NOC occupations in demand in Yukon for the next 20 years, and an LMI synthesis.
As well, with the expectation of having a better understanding of our employment programs’ performance, Yukon government developed an integrated case-management system to be used by service providers and Yukon Education. Recently, the “scientific” activities around LMI resulted in Yukon Education being involved in the Inter-departmental Science Committee of Yukon government.
If the projects developed under the goals and objectives of the framework talk loud and clear about the benefits of a meaningful public consultation process between a government and civil society, it’s mainly because the government saw the stakeholders as “key associates” essential to the success of the process. Yukon Education trained these non-governmental stakeholders on building logic models for their own evaluation purposes. As well, Yukon Education designed the evaluation plan with stakeholders representing First Nations, the francophone and the immigrant communities.
A long-term vision
The past year focused on the implementation of the Labour Market Framework. These strategies will guide the direction of labour market development in Yukon for the next 10 years.
This process was possible because of a real commitment from senior management that generated a huge commitment from organizations participating on a voluntary basis. More than four years after the process started, stakeholders are still engaged in many ways. The outcomes demonstrate that looking at an effective horizontal and scientific process based on ongoing public consultation and consensus works. Yukon proved it.