Whitehorse: The Yukon Liberal caucus says that the Yukon Party Government needs to do more to ensure that Yukoners are provided with safe living and working conditions, especially in regards to the installation and maintenance of oil burning furnaces.

The concerns with heating safety in the territory are not new; in fact, these legitimate concerns have become as familiar to those in the industry as the pattern of ineptitude, foot dragging and nonchalance with which Yukon Party led governments have addressed them.

At least one expert in the field addressed the issue of oil burner safety several times between 2007 and 2010, noting that almost all Yukon oil furnaces fail to meet National safety standards. The Yukon Party Government knew of these concerns and failed to take meaningful action.

In 2008, the Oil Fired Appliances Advisory Committee was struck, consisting of representatives from the City of Whitehorse, Industry and Government to address the concerns regarding oil burning heating units in the Territory. Under the leadership of Yukon Party Governments, the group has not met in a couple of years.

According to one member, while the group had looked at potential solutions, “unfortunately, they haven’t come back with anything at this point.”

 The issue of boiler safety in government buildings was raised by the Liberals as early as 2007, after one government employee voiced concerns that Yukon Party Government cutbacks had “seriously compromised the safe operation of the majority of public buildings.” This contributed to the Liberal Party’s decision to table Whistleblower Legislation in the Legislative Assembly in 2011. The Yukon Party Government continues to stonewall this legislation.

Klondike MLA Sandy Silver says that the complacency of consecutive Yukon Party Governments is jeopardizing the health and safety of Yukoners.

“Meaningful action in terms of modernized legislation and regulations--tragically--has yet to occur, despite industries urgings,” says Silver.

In terms of what is needed to ensure that both private and public buildings in Yukon are safely heated, Silver supports the recommendations from the experts in this field: more accessibility to mandatory, certified training for oil burner mechanics; strong legislation to regulate the industry; and more frequent furnace and detector inspections by qualified individuals.


Contact: Blake Rogers 667-8942