In recognition of International Day of the Midwife

I rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus to also pay tribute to International Day of the Midwife. Each year on May 5, we mark International Day of the Midwife, and this year’s midwife theme is “Midwives: for a better tomorrow.” The theme highlights the role that midwives can play in making the future better for mothers and for children.

Midwives have become an increasingly popular option for birth in Canada in the last 15 years and have also had a strong presence overseas. There’s much work to be done here in the Yukon to support midwives. We remain one of only two jurisdictions in Canada to not have midwife registration.

Furthermore, midwife-supported home births are not recognized in the same way that hospital births are. For example, those who are from the communities who choose to travel to Whitehorse for midwife births are not offered the same support that they would receive if the parent had chosen to have their child in the hospital. Parents in communities still choose to come to Whitehorse because they want to be close to a hospital with maternity professionals, but they would prefer the privacy and the dignity that comes with having their baby in a home.

For over a decade now, there have been calls for regulations on midwifery. A supported and regulated midwife program in the Yukon would open up new and natural options for birthing in Yukon. As mentioned earlier, there are events today in Whitehorse at Arts in the Park at 4:00 p.m., but also in Dawson City at the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Community Midwives Association of Yukon will be hosting a film screening of Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives. The CMAY president — and midwife also — Kathleen Cranfield, will be saying a few words before the screening.

In honour of the International Day of the Midwife, I renew my call for proper regulation of midwifery here in the Yukon, a group of people who do one of the most important jobs in the territory, which is helping to bring life into the world for new Yukoners.