Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Health and Social Services minister Pauline Frost and Yukon Party MLA Stacey Hassard

Housing corporation’s pet policy may cause MDs’ evictions

Several Watson Lake health care practitioners are facing eviction from their housing due to the Yukon Housing Corp.’s pet policy, according to the Yukon Party.

By Gabrielle Plonka on October 20, 2020

Several Watson Lake health care practitioners are facing eviction from their housing due to the Yukon Housing Corp.’s pet policy, according to the Yukon Party.

“The government is going to evict the physicians, and they will be forced to leave the community if they cannot find housing,” Yukon Party MLA Stacey Hassard told the legislature Monday during question period.

“Of course, this will exacerbate the shortage of essential health care workers in one of our communities.”

Last Friday, the Yukon Party received a letter from a local physician explaining the situation.

The letter said two physicians and two nurses may be forced to leave Watson Lake because of the lack of housing.

The four health care workers, who were recently recruited to Watson Lake, reside in Yukon Housing Corp. accommodations.

The physician wrote that the four people required government housing because “Watson Lake has a significant housing shortage, and the availability of housing for rent or purchase is dismal.”

The physicians were informed after arriving in Watson Lake that they wouldn’t be able to stay on housing corporation property with more than one pet.

“This couple was never informed of this policy, they have not signed any housing agreement, yet they will be forced to leave the community if they are not able to find housing,” the letter states.

A registered nurse who recently moved across the country to take a position in Watson Lake is experiencing the same issue. So is a second nurse who recently signed a contract at the hospital.

“I am writing this email to plead with each and everyone of you to help in whatever way that you can,” the letter states.

The physician, who addressed the letter to multiple government officials, appealed for a solution to the problem.

The letter asks that the housing corporation consider a different policy for essential workers, implement a damage deposit for multiple pet households or implement a six-month inspection.

“The physician shortage has finally been addressed and this is the best that it has ever been,” the letter said.

“There are years of headaches, heartaches and exhaustion that got us here. I really do not want this to be what derails our efforts.”

The letter notes that Watson Lake Community Hospital still has four full-time nursing vacancies – and can’t afford to lose staff over housing.

Pauline Frost doubles as the minister of Health and Social Services and the minister responsible for the housing corporation. She acknowledged that some of those government policies are “antiquated.”

Frost said the housing corporation is working to update those policies. In the meantime, the corporation has to consider fairness to all of its tenants.

“Some of what we are trying to address is consistencies in how we treat Yukoners, as well as look at the Yukon Hospital Corporation members living in Yukon Housing Corporation-owned units in Watson Lake,” Frost said.

“We want to make sure that we maintain stability, but we have a legal obligation as well to not discriminate against individuals whom we provide housing to in our communities.”

Comments (27)

Up 5 Down 6

Lost In the Yukon on Oct 26, 2020 at 3:43 pm

... is no one wondering what these highly paid professionals are doing in subsidized housing?

Up 12 Down 0

Charlies Aunt on Oct 24, 2020 at 10:49 pm

Some unrealistic comments on here. Groucho is correct, most pets are less problem than some humans; apart from possible adult rowdy parties, kids have been known to scribble on walls. Hotels are wising up to this, although they might add a surcharge for a pet. Just as with adults and children, not all pets are bad news. For some people they are their only family and contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Obviously an unruly or ill cared for pet shouldn't be allowed, but then neighbors have the right to complain, just as they can with a private property owner. Yukon Housing could check the animal and allow a permit for that specific animal, make it non-renewable and each subsequent animal requires it's own permit. No need for this blanket nonsense, especially in isolated communities.

Up 8 Down 6

Walk with the animals talk with the animals on Oct 24, 2020 at 9:01 pm

Why LMAO that is straight up, high-grade, imported RETARDATION. Stuff like this would never have happened prior to the Liberal assault on reason and civility. Everyone should keep their heads up and in the game because there is plenty more RETARDATION to come.

We are just a couple of bongs short of batsh*t crazy but not for long... The Liberals are grinding up some more herbs as we speak... Whoa... Minister dude... I think that we would really blow their minds away if we made like mushrooms available for everyone... Think about it... No more counseling or treatment and sh*t... Just magic mushrooms... Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be all right... Budgets gonna balance themselves so let’s party on...

Interesting that you would bring up RETARDATION as we have been on a long so decline of the general ability to think. In fact thought is now regarded as an irresponsible act and intelligence is the new disability...

Up 10 Down 2

Walk with the animals talk with the animals on Oct 24, 2020 at 8:44 pm

Dr. Dolittle filed a Human Rights complaint however it was rejected after it was pointed out to him that he was a Caucasian male and so therefore he could be discriminated against without recourse because he had white privilege. However, he was told that he could take his concern to the Humane Society and they could rally on behalf of the animal’s cause as Spot and Daisy should have access to a good home.

As the good doctor left the office the radio played, Ironic... Isn’t it ironic don’t you think... It’s funny though after all these years I have come to believe that “don’t you think” was an embedded sarcasm and that is the irony - People don’t think anymore... They react because that is what they are allowed...

Up 13 Down 9

Max Mack on Oct 23, 2020 at 4:56 pm

I can pretty much guarantee that the folks demanding that YHC change their rules have never had the "privilege" of renting to a dog or cat owner.

There is a reason that landlords don't like renters with pets: damage to rental units because of scratching and biting, lawns ruined, pee and poo destroying flooring (not to mention the smells), potential health hazards (e.g. allergies) to other occupants or visitors, barking, and the ever-present risk that an animal will attack someone.

Why should YHC (the public purse) absorb these liabilities?
Also, if YHC makes an exemption for these select individuals ("professionals"), then it will have to allow all renters to have pets - or face the ire of the YHRC.

Up 24 Down 3

Groucho d'North on Oct 22, 2020 at 4:18 pm

I suspect that if you examined the history of damages to YHC properties, you would find that humans account for way more damage and other problems than their pets do. When was the last time your husky came home drunk and kicked a door in? Sure dogs may bark, but not as loud or as long as some parties go on for. The pet policy is ever-changing as approved by the YHC Board of Directors (not the politcians). Time for some more changes I guess.

Up 26 Down 2

SH on Oct 22, 2020 at 1:52 pm

I feel bad for Housing. This really is a lose-lose for them.

If Housing evicts these professionals, then everybody is going to complain.
If Housing makes an exception for professionals, then Housing will need to make exceptions for everybody. Otherwise Housing will be seen as discriminatory, and everyone will complain.

If Housing updates its rules and allows for pets, you can bet that tax payers are going to have to pay for the damages caused by pets. And of course, everybody is going to complain.
You simply can't make everybody happy.

Up 10 Down 17

Moose on Oct 21, 2020 at 9:00 pm

I agree. I mean yes this is an issue, but it should be dealt with through email. The Liberals can't be doing too bad of a job if this is what the Yukon Party thinks is top of the list to bring forward in the house. Holy man.

Up 25 Down 14

Dianne on Oct 21, 2020 at 8:02 pm

What is the difference of one or two dogs. These people moved away from their families and friends, across the country and are filling positions that are urgently needed. That is like saying you may move into the rental but are only allowed one child so leave your others. People are either responsible or not, they are not responsible for one animal but not the other.

Up 20 Down 21

Nathan Living on Oct 21, 2020 at 6:09 pm

They should be evicted that's how the rules are applied with no bias.
If you are a doctor with all that medical dogma there is no reason for preferential treatment.

Up 31 Down 21

Anie on Oct 21, 2020 at 2:41 pm

Yes, Mike, I believe that even medical employees should comply with rules that have been established to provide quiet enjoyment for all residents, regardless of occupation.

Up 41 Down 14

Michelle on Oct 21, 2020 at 9:36 am

I moved into Yukon Staff housing in Watson lake and they made me choose between my dog or my fish! Of course I chose my dog. I can understand they don't want to many animals because of the damage it can cause but why not charge a higher rate for a damage deposit.

Up 40 Down 16

Button Walters on Oct 21, 2020 at 9:31 am

Yukon housing really needs to get rid of that clause!!! Pets are part of families and health wise great stress relievers to people who live alone. Who writes these rules?

Up 68 Down 5

Yukoner ‘71 on Oct 21, 2020 at 9:09 am

I believe these policies were put in place back in the day due to public housing units being completely destroyed by people’s multiple pets. Taxpayers were on the hook for full renovations due to things like urine ruined floors, walls and doors scratched through and gnawed, and houses that stank so bad due to accumulated uncleaned animal waste that they basically had to be gutted when the tenants moved out or were finally evicted. So while not popular the pet restrictions are there for a reason, if you’re living in public housing courtesy of the tax payer and government you have to accept a few curbs on your privileges.
Now why medical staff are living in these units that are intended for low income people is another issue altogether. Staff housing and low income housing should be two completely separate entities.

Up 31 Down 24

BnR on Oct 21, 2020 at 8:43 am

Hassard needs to learn to stay out of the weeds. Micromanaging day to day YG operations isn't what politicians are good at. There are rules for reasons, if you make an exemption for one, you must make an exemption for all. I'd rather see a no pet policy for YHC units. You want pets? Buy your own house and you can do what you want.

Up 57 Down 6

Christopher Sugden on Oct 21, 2020 at 8:14 am

I live next door to the doctors in question....I have never had an issue with their pets. Only time I hear anything out of them is when "mommy" or "daddy" comes home from work. I am happy to call them my neighbors. They should be allowed to go through the same process I went through to have numerous pets....I had to go door to door of all my neighbors in a 100 meter radius and ask them to sign a form giving me their ok to have extra pets. They are clean people so the feces issue is not a problem...we need these doctors in our community and I think the YHC should be doing everything they can to keep them here.....

Up 42 Down 8

Matthew on Oct 21, 2020 at 7:18 am

Huh? News flash, dogs are kids these days.. especially to people who are so busy working, helping the community..

Up 56 Down 6

wlma on Oct 21, 2020 at 7:08 am

This is crazy! So there is a shortage of healthcare workers and we are going to let 4 of them go because they have 2 pets!? It's not like people have tons of other housing options! This is just unbelievably stupid on the YT government part!

Up 29 Down 16

Bertrand K. on Oct 21, 2020 at 4:41 am

I think we have a case of the Yukon Party tripping over it's own feet yet again.

Up 47 Down 6

Mike on Oct 20, 2020 at 8:12 pm

@Annie - You believe that losing two doctors and two nurses is a reasonable sacrifice over a dog or cat? These are our frontline workers saving peoples lives and answering the call of help every single time but oh by the way you can't have a couple pets you've had for years. Get a friggen grip. Watson Lake and the Yukon Government has crapped the bed on this matter and somebody better fix it. This community cannot afford to lose a janitor let alone two doctors and two nurses. Rules are meant to be looked at and if the rule doesn't make sense then change it. And to all you dog haters or cat haters move somewhere where pets are not allowed, oh yeah there is no such place how bout working on acceptance. We are in mid pandemic and these people are appreciated here in Watson Lake and everywhere in the Yukon.

Up 21 Down 36

Gringo on Oct 20, 2020 at 8:08 pm

Dogs dogs everywhere dogs. If it’s a rental, which it is, the landlord (YG) sets the rules. The fact of the matter is animals are costly because of allergies and the like and a pile of tax payer monies go into cleaning and repairing. If you want an army of pets find another place to rent or another place to work.

Up 33 Down 6

Moses X. Happenstance on Oct 20, 2020 at 7:36 pm

Oh, poo. Let them have whatever pets they want. Never mind the Yukon Party bullsh**tery--this is just politics, and they really could care less--Watson Lake needs these docs and nurses, and the policy should be adjustable anyhow.

Up 41 Down 9

Lmao on Oct 20, 2020 at 7:33 pm

Your telling me someone moved across the country and you want to evict them because of a dog? LMAO WHAT KIND OF RETARDATION DID I JUST READ?

Up 33 Down 3

drum on Oct 20, 2020 at 7:31 pm

Let's think about transition from Whitehorse Housing units to old age to Senior Housing. It has been proven many times that old people with pets live better and longer lives. Let them keep them.

Up 40 Down 49

Anie on Oct 20, 2020 at 3:33 pm

I know this will get a hostile reaction: in my experience, owners of unmannerly dogs (the chronic barkers) too often think that the solution is to get another dog. Then there are two barkers. So a one pet policy makes sense. And making special rules for some professions makes no sense at all.

Up 57 Down 3

Brian Melanson on Oct 20, 2020 at 3:07 pm

That’s BS.
I had a contract for Maintenance and Repairs on YHC housing in Haines Junction. Staff there have dogs, cats and fish. Even the people in social housing had pets.
Today, right now there are at least 14 of the 52 units with pets.

Up 60 Down 17

Politico on Oct 20, 2020 at 2:26 pm

The pet policy in Yukon Housing units dates back past the Yukon Party into antiquity. Despite all the studies showing that pets are a great comfort to people and have so many benefits YH still persists in this inhumane policy. The crazy part is that the YP is bring this up because they staunchly defended this policy when they were in power. Politicians are nothing if not hypocrites.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.