Our Clean Future actions

People and the environment

Two hands processing harvested meat

Yukoners have a close relationship to the land, water, plants and animals. Yukon First Nations have stressed their cultural identity is inseparable from the land.

Climate change is impacting people and the environment by affecting our ability to:

  • access the land;
  • practise traditional and cultural activities;
  • access country food through hunting and subsistence harvest;
  • improve our food security; and
  • maintain our physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being.

Environmental health is closely linked to human health and wellbeing. We’re taking action to respond to climate change impacts on people and the environment.

Monitoring air quality in the Yukon

Poor air quality can affect the natural environment and public health. We track air quality and pollution to understand possible health impacts on Yukoners. Examples of air pollution sources are:

  • wood stoves;
  • forest fires;
  • vehicles;
  • diesel generators;
  • quarrying;
  • burning garbage or waste; and
  • other commercial and industrial activity.
summer haze in Dawson

We're installing air quality monitors in communities across the Yukon. These monitors provide real-time data on the amount of particulate matter in the air, which is produced from wildfires and wood burning.  We're now monitoring air quality in:

  • Old Crow;
  • Dawson City;
  • Beaver Creek;
  • Mayo;
  • Keno;
  • Faro;
  • Ross River;
  • Destruction Bay/ Burwash Landing;
  • Haines Junction;
  • Pelly Crossing;
  • Carmacks;
  • Whitehorse;
  • Tagish/ Carcross;
  • Teslin; and
  • Watson Lake.

See information on air quality monitoring.

There are currently 14 actions that support people and environment objectives. To learn more about these actions and where we’ve made progress, scroll through the tabs below. 

Complete

  • Action P1: Establish a standardized method to determine the health status of wetland ecosystems and complete a pilot study to measure the baseline conditions of various reference wetlands by 2022 to better understand future changes.
  • Action P7: Work with Yukon First Nations to develop a tailored hunter education program by 2023 that can be adapted and delivered by Yukon First Nations for First Nations citizens.
  • Action P13: Provide financial support to vulnerable Yukoners to install cleaner air spaces in their homes and buildings beginning in 2023 to provide protection from wildfire smoke.

In progress

  • Action P2: Adapt existing surface and groundwater monitoring networks by 2026 to be able to track long-term trends in water quality and quantity in a changing climate.
  • Action P6: Conduct a climate vulnerability assessment to inform an invasive species management strategy for the Yukon, and develop a centralized data repository to track new and invasive species to Yukon by 2027. Revised
  • Action P8: Work collaboratively with First Nations and the Inuvialuit to document information from historic sites and culturally important places on the North Slope that are at risk due to climate change by 2024.
  • Action P9: Provide training to healthcare providers beginning in 2023 to be better able to identify and treat the physical and mental health impacts of climate change.
  • Action P10: Develop a system to enable tracking of climate-related illnesses such as heat stroke, respiratory illness, and vector-borne diseases in the Yukon by 2023. 
  • Action P11: Expand monitoring of concentrations of particulate matter in the air from biomass burning and forest fires to all Yukon communities by 2023.
  • Action P12: Identify existing buildings in communities that can be used as clean air spaces to protect public health during wildfire smoke events and if necessary, improve existing air filtration systems by December 2023
  • Action P14: Analyze existing information on food insecurity in Yukon by 2023 to inform the development of a system to gather food insecurity data into the future.

Ongoing

  • Action P3: Continue to lead and participate in projects that improve our understanding of how climate change is affecting ecosystems, wild species and their habitats.
  • Action P4: Report annually on monitoring of key species that will provide an indication of the impacts of climate change on Yukon ecosystems and expand monitoring to more taxonomic groups. Revised
  • Action P5: Establish a network of protected and managed areas that is ecologically representative and well connected using landscapes conservation science and Indigenous knowledge in order to allow native species, assemblages and ecosystems, to move adapt and survive in the face of climate change. Revised

New in 2023

  • Action P15: By 2027, design remote sensing methods and conduct at least two remote sensing pilot projects for improved forest resources inventory and for forest health monitoring. 
  • Action P16: By 2026, work with First Nations and communities to address a gap in lake-monitoring to capture changes in water in order to support fish habitat protection and community safety. 
  • Action P17: Starting 2024, deliver a series of safety on the land and hunter safety course in communities on an annual basis 
  • Action P18: Undertake geohazard and/or flood risk hazard assessments for Yukon campgrounds and other key public infrastructure in territorial parks by 2030.
  • Action P20: Provision of portable clean air shelters for use in remote locations by 2026 to reduce negative health impacts to firefighters.

Explore what you can do to support people and the environment.