Whitehorse Daily Star

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Yukon University board welcomes seven new members

Yukon University’s board of governors is growing.

By Whitehorse Star on January 19, 2021

Yukon University’s board of governors is growing.

The Yukon University Act, which came into effect in February 2020, called for an increase from 12 to 17 members to better represent key stakeholder and rights holder groups. Both the board itself and the Yukon government can appoint members to the board.

In November, the government appointed Aan Goosh oo Mark Wedge, Gàndałêch Pearl Callaghan, and Christine Mahar to the Yukon University Board of Governors.

Aan Goosh oo Mark Wedge is a citizen and former Khà Shâde Héni (chief) of the Carcross-Tagish First Nation. He belongs to the Deisheetaan (Beaver) Clan of the Yeitl (Crow) moiety.

A former executive director of the then-Council for Yukon Indians, Wedge has acted as a negotiator for various First Nations in asserting land claims and possesses dispute resolution experience in both Canada and the U.S. He is currently a trustee of Carcross Tagish Dánna Jíli Trust and director of the First Nation Bank of Canada Board and Trust.

Gàndałêch Pearl Callaghan is a citizen of the Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC), member of the Dakl’áweidi (Eagle) Clan of the Gooch (Wolf) moiety and sits on the TTC Elders Council.

In her career, Callaghan has held leadership positions in Yukon First Nations governments and non-government organizations. She practises her culture and heritage and recently graduated with honours from YukonU’s First Nations Arts certificate program.

Christine Mahar is a chartered public accountant who has spent all but eight years of her life in the territory.

Mahar is wrapping up a 32-year career as a public servant with the government, most recently as assistant deputy minister of Finance.

In September 2020, board members elected Jason Bilsky under a provision in the act that empowers it to elect one member who is not a student nor employee of the university.

Bilsky is the CEO of Yukon Hospital Corp. and formerly chief financial officer and vice-president corporate services at Northwestel Inc.

He is a board member of HealthCareCAN and president of Basketball Yukon as well as a former volunteer vice-president sponsorship for the 2012 and 2020 Arctic Winter Games.

The board also welcomed three recently elected senate, faculty and staff representatives—Dr. Joel Cubley, Erica Bourdon and Jennifer Harkes respectively.

Cubley is the chair of the School of Science and a geology instructor in the Earth Sciences program. He is a faculty representative in the YukonU Senate, and co-chairs the academic appeals committee.

Cubley is also a director of the Yukon Stikine Regional Science Fair.

Bourdon is co-department head of the Student Success Division, which oversees most YukonU student facing services, and an instructor with the School of Academic and Skill Development.

She has 14 years’ experience teaching Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language in Poland, Mexico, France, Ontario, B.C. and the Yukon.

Harkes is a co-ordinator with Continuing Studies and a shop steward with the Yukon University Employee’s Union.

She joined Yukon University in 2006, first at the Alice Frost campus in Old Crow and then with the Applied Science and Management Division from 2008 to 2011, when she joined Continuing Studies.

“We welcome our new members and appreciate their willingness to place their experience and perspectives in service of Yukon students as we embark on hearing from Yukoners and developing a new five-year strategic plan for Canada’s first university north of 60,” board chair David Morrison said Friday.

“We are grateful to outgoing members, Julia Salo and Shawn Allen, who both represented the interests of rural communities for many years. Their guidance and wise counsel have served Yukoners well during our transition journey,” added Morrison.

Comments (20)

Up 0 Down 0

Where is the proof on Jan 30, 2021 at 2:49 am

Anie - fair enough. But GY and YukU are 2 different organizations. That doesn’t mean that board members don’t come for 2 different reasons and double up on mileage and per diems, but it wouldn’t be 2 in the same organization ie; 2 different GY branches or organizations paying.

Up 5 Down 1

Anie on Jan 25, 2021 at 12:47 pm

Answer to where's the proof: I worked for a few boards over a period of 15 years, both territorial and federal. Anyone who worked or works with GY finance can confirm that there are no controls.

Up 5 Down 1

TheHammer on Jan 24, 2021 at 10:45 pm

Academic qualifications would be nice. Grade 12 is not enough. Yukon is not good at keeping track of historical records. There's a hidden history associated with people in positions of power. Sitting on a board of directors for a bank is not the same as being a bank manager. Being the chairperson of a financial institution is not the same as being the director. Figure heads and token appointments do not require any talent.

Up 22 Down 1

Matthew Sills on Jan 22, 2021 at 4:28 pm

Thanks for the additional information Ani. It would be interesting to know how many people sit on multiple boards and how many organizations schedule their board meetings at the same time. So you kind of covered off how the people from the communities are getting rich off their political patronage, but how does it work for local board members? They seem to be left out. You also touched on a particular pet peeve of mine which is people who show up for a meeting and are unprepared. What a waste of time. Maybe they should be scheduling these Board meetings via Zoom. Apparently that might save everybody a pot full of dough.

Up 3 Down 19

Where is the proof? on Jan 22, 2021 at 3:06 pm

@Anie - where are you getting your information from about them being able to claim mileage even if they don't drive and per diems even if food is provided? Do you have proof or is this just an assumption?

Up 23 Down 7

Anie on Jan 22, 2021 at 11:33 am

$200/day sounds reasonable. Here's the problem: For a one day meeting, travel time from just about any community will be two additional days. Then there is the time spent preparing for a meeting (and very few actually read anything in advance just ask people attending who aren't board members) yet another day, Now it's $800. Plus very generous mileage (paid to each even if they travel together in same car) plus expenses, including generous meal allowances even if food is provided at the meeting. And let's not forget the double dipping - sit on a couple of boards, claim twice for coming to Whitehorse once. Board appointments are a payoff to political cronies. Compare this to sick Yukoners who have to travel for medical. They get $150/day. For everything. Some Yukoners are more special than others.

Up 15 Down 0

Matthew Sills on Jan 21, 2021 at 4:02 pm

Hey Jack thanks for the additional information. Did not know about the OIC.I may be wrong, but it appears that the OIC Defines a half day as anything less than four hours and a full day is anything more, and the rates are $100.00 per half day and $ 200.00 for the full day. No idea what the approval process is for the honorarium, but on some level it probably requires that you show up. Reimbursement for expenses could be cause for concern and abuse if not properly monitored. My experience has been with claiming for expenses that you either have to provide receipts or claim on some kind of per diem basis. Once again, thanks for the heads up on the OIC. Sometimes it is difficult to find all the necessary information in one place. I can certainly understand why the Star did not go into all this stuff cuz it is really boring.

Up 14 Down 12

Josey Wales on Jan 21, 2021 at 11:03 am

No patti, Josey is not a "book burner"
I am more the type to toss someone as ewe into some water...to see whether ya float or not.
...back on your broom now nnnnKay?
I encourage all types of participants here, even the idiots that just "feel" smart.
troll fed...

Up 25 Down 2

jack on Jan 21, 2021 at 1:05 am

@ Matthew Sills:

The college is governed under the Yukon University Act. You can check: O.I.C. 2020/31

As you mention $200 a day, but no other guidelines on what constitutes a billable day and how it's approved.
The usual problem is the expenses which is where the real abuse happens.
No monetary limits on expense amounts in the Act how these expenses and daily rates are approved.

Reimbursement of expenses:
3(1) A member of the board is entitled to reimbursement, in accordance with subsection (2), of
(a) expenses that they incur for transportation, meals and accommodation in connection with
the performance of their duties away from their ordinary place of residence; and

(b) child-care expenses that they incur in connection with the performance of their duties.

Up 12 Down 18

Patti Eyre on Jan 20, 2021 at 3:44 pm

Josie why don’t you start burning books as well? You seem like the type!

Up 19 Down 6

Matthew Sills on Jan 20, 2021 at 2:41 pm

So Jacks comment about benefits and expenses piqued my curiosity. From what I can see from the Board of Governors bylaws and the YG general Admin Manual, if you are worried about these governors getting rich, be still your beating heart, because they get an honorarium of $200.00 a day, just like board members of 24 other boards under section A, schedule D 4.4 of GOVERNMENT OF YUKON
On a separate note, 17 board members does seem like a somewhat cumbersome number.

Up 6 Down 10

JSmonk on Jan 20, 2021 at 11:48 am

@JROC BABY - I would like to point out that I am staunchly conservative. But I agree, bringing in some Russian or Chinese Board members may help the economy. Although I was thinking country's more in line with our education programs.

Up 29 Down 5

JROC Baby on Jan 20, 2021 at 11:16 am

@JSmonk I think getting a few members of local First Nations councils is much more diverse than outsourcing to another country. Last I checked higher education board of directors in India are mostly Indians. China's are mostly Chinese. Russia's are mainly Russians. Etc... You've gone too far down the leftist rabbithole if you think out of country applicants should get preferential treatment.

Up 30 Down 9

Dallas on Jan 20, 2021 at 8:38 am

I’m glad to recognize some of the names and I hope the ones I don’t are Yukoners. This liberal government has a habit of hiring from outside the territory and it's pissing people off. Sandy hiring his liberal buddies.

Up 2 Down 12

Buford on Jan 20, 2021 at 12:59 am

It's good to see Yuk U turning into a more complete place of learning all the time. That big metal sprite out front was supposed to turn color as it aged when it was erected at the YVTTC (circa 1970) but it kinda looks the same, conversely the same cannot be said for former alumni.

Up 48 Down 10

jack on Jan 19, 2021 at 11:25 pm

Why doesn't the Star report on the real story here.....the benefits and expenses these board members are now granted.

Up 5 Down 16

Bea,Landry on Jan 19, 2021 at 7:01 pm


Pops and I are so proud of you!

Up 34 Down 5

Joe on Jan 19, 2021 at 5:33 pm

It's always those who work in public sector jobs. Not much on the private self made independent stories. Probably because we/ they don't need public sector pump to measure our success.

Up 30 Down 15

Josey Wales on Jan 19, 2021 at 4:34 pm

Awesome, some more bloat.
Whitehorse needs more bloat, more pandering and more radical leftists.
"Bloat will set you Free"
Remember, monies only desired not any questions.

University eh, what universe are we living in?
It is a Liberal indoctrination center where all diverse politically correct soldiers are taught their political tactics and polish up ones victimhood status.

Up 21 Down 34

JSmonk on Jan 19, 2021 at 1:19 pm

Where is the diversity? Any out of country hires?

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