Whitehorse Celebrates New Affordable Housing

Whitehorse Celebrates New Affordable Housing

By: Marketwired, 19 Feb 2014

Accessed on: 20 Feb 2014

Commentary by: Krystal Glowatski

In a show of support and recognition of those living with FASD, a new secure living complex has been opened in Whitehorse, Yukon.  This initiative was led by the Options for Independence Society, and supported/funded by the Canadian Government, the Yukon Government, and many community partners.

“This facility will provide a safe environment for some of our most vulnerable citizens who face real challenges.  I am happy that as a government we are able to assist more people who are in need of this type of support,” said Minister of Health and Social Services, Doug Graham.  “The opening of the new building also demonstrates this government’s commitment to providing services to those in need in this community.”

Many key partners funded this project, and the result is 14 new housing units for individuals affected by FASD.  Once safe and affordable housing is achieved for individuals with FASD, the focus can shift to their more pressing needs (for example connecting to community resources).

Yukon MP plans private member bill on FASD

Yukon MP plans private member bill on FASD

CBC News (November 19th, 2013) (Accessed November 24th, 2013)

Commentary by Krystal Glowatski

Ryan Leef, a Yukon MP, is in the process of writing a private members bill that recognizes FASD as a unique issue within the justice system.  The bill recognizes that although the Conservative government embraces a “tough on crime” mandate, those with FASD require innovative responses in order to address the needs they bring with them into the CJS.  Leef says, “…jail is[n’t] always the best solution…treatment, not jail, might be a better option.”

Leef also recognizes that diagnosis of FASD is complicated.  While FASD is not an excuse from responsibility for one’s actions, such as criminal offences, it is important to find creative and effective ways of addressing the issue of FASD.  This is a big step for practitioners and advocates.  Out of the Consensus Development Conference on FASD and Legal Issues in Edmonton, AB, there was an amazing array of recommendations put forth by the Jury.  After the closing ceremonies where the draft of recommendations was reviewed, there were mixed opinions flowing through the crowd.  While some viewed the consensus statement as the breakthrough they’d been waiting for, others felt this would remain a document of recommendations, not to be re-visited and given the opportunity to instate real change.  Leef’s bill has been called just the opening part of a discussion on FASD and the criminal justice system.  In fact, FASD was a topic of interest “during a recent meeting of federal, territorial, and provincial justice ministers.”

Even if the all of the recommendations from the Consensus Development Conference aren’t implemented, I think it’s safe to say the discussions are happening.  We are moving in the direction of change, and into an environment of fostering proper supports for those offenders who have FASD.

Yukon News: Justice System Fails People with FASD

Yukon News: Justice System Fails People with FASD

By: Vivian Belik (Accessed: August 10, 2013)

The mother of a 19 year old FASD individual discusses the challenges of the justice system when one has FASD. Judge Lilles also discusses FASD as “a direct result of the Yukon’s history of colonization and residential schools.”