Yukoners challenged to make a difference on social problems

Some consultants say Yukoners have been dealing with symptoms of social issues: it's time to get at the causes.

Consultants calling on innovators and experts to dig into social problems

Barrett Horne (left) and Michael Pealow are two of the three consultants who make up the Northern Forum. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Some Whitehorse consultants say Yukon should be a world leader in almost everything, and they're challenging innovative and creative Yukoners to take on some of the territory's biggest issues. 

Michael Pealow, one of the members of the Northern Forum has joined two other consultants, Barrett Horne and John Glynn-Morris, in issuing a request for proposals on innovative solutions.

"We're not looking for the easy stuff, we want the stuff which seems almost impossible," he said. "It's a really wide range of things we're facing."

He said that could be the justice system in the territory, homelessness and housing issues or education. 

Horne said the Yukon has an advantage in that on any one issue, almost all of the players can fit in one room and have a conversation.

"You have 10 people sitting around a room who have been between them, 100 years of experience. You've got 100 years of wisdom," he said. "But how do you get that into the conversation in a way that's useful, and constructive and allows for solutions to move forward?"

John Glynn-Morris, one of the founders of YuKonstruct, is also one of the members of the Northern Forum hoping to spur social change. (Philippe Morin/CBC)
Horne has worked in dozens of countries around the world helping build organizational development. Pealow facilitates social innovation and Glynn-Morris specializes in public participation.

Pealow said they're not the experts, but they can bring experts to together to find solutions and consensus.

"There are innovative people in government and there are innovative people in not-for-profit organizations," said Pealow.

"Sometimes working within those organizations, it can be hard to make that space for innovation, which is why we just decided to go ahead and make it," he said.  

The consultants said solutions are possible and decided they shouldn't wait for somebody else to take action.

"We know that there are people out there who are hurting, so why wait."

Pealow said the request for proposals period is open until March 9.

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