Jobs uncertain for Whitehorse shelter workers

About 45 staff at the Salvation Army's Centre of Hope in Whitehorse are still waiting for news about their jobs, as the Yukon government prepares to take over management of the facility later this month.

Centre of Hope workers learned 2 weeks ago that Yukon government will take over facility

It's not clear if current workers will be given any priority as the Yukon government seeks staff for the Centre of Hope shelter. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

About 45 people working at Whitehorse's Centre of Hope shelter have been told their jobs are on the line, as the territorial government prepares to take over the facility. 

Workers learned on Dec. 20 that the Yukon government will take over management of the shelter, from the Salvation Army. The transition is scheduled for Jan. 31. 

Al Hoeft, area commander with the Salvation Army, said the non-unionized employees are waiting to learn whether they'll be retained or given priority under new management. 

"We're trying to piece together a story out of limited information at this point," he said.

"Our goal is to continually advocate for existing staff to ensure that if possible, they would be able to able to retain positions. But if not that, they would be well taken care of in any sort of transition," he said.

'We're trying to piece together a story out of limited information at this point,' said Salvation Army area commander Al Hoeft, seen here with Yukon Social Services Minister Pauline Frost. (Steve Hossack / CBC)

The Yukon government has already posted jobs online for emergency shelter support workers.

Hoeft said most of the current employees are working full-time, while the Yukon government ads seek temporary workers.

Yukon's department of Health and Social Services could not tell CBC how many people the government plans to hire, why the new positions are all temporary, or what will happen to current shelter staff including if they will be given priority in hiring.

Anybody hired to fill the new Yukon government positions advertised would be covered through the Yukon Employees Union. But union president Steve Geick said Wednesday that he did not have information about the transition or plans for hiring.

Hoeft said he would have preferred the announcement about the change in management be made after the holidays.

"It was unfortunate, we had hoped we could defer that," he said.

He says both sides will soon meet to discuss the issue.

'We're still waiting for additional conversations, they have asked us for input," he said. "We will have that opportunity to speak."  


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