Yukon midwives still without regulations

After decades of planning and government promises, Yukon midwives are still not funded or regulated.

Yukon one of four jurisdictions without midwife legislation

Midwives Joanna Nemrava, Kathleen Cranfield and Gisela Becker. Yukon women pay up to $3,000 for midwifery services.

Almost two decades after legislation governing midwives in Yukon was promised, there are still no regulations in place.

Members of the medical community, politicians and midwifery experts met in Whitehorse Sunday to talk about the challenges and benefits of regulated midwife services in the Yukon.

It's the latest step in moving toward legislation governing the profession.

Last May, the Yukon government set up a working group to study the issue. Midwives, doctors, nurses, government officials and other stakeholders were asked to study regulations across Canada and come up with a strategy for the Yukon.

"We've been working a long time so hopefully this isn't the beginning. Hopefully it's nearing the end." said Kathleen Cranfield, President of the Community Association of Midwives Yukon.

"Hopefully it's nearing the beginning of a regulated service and I don't know when that will be."

The territory's midwives and the women who use their services may have an even longer wait before those regulations are in place. Yukon voters go to the polls this year and that could mean a change in government.

However, Kathleen Cranfield doesn't believe that the work that's been done will be lost.

"I think across the board there is interest and I think there is a lot of movement towards making this happen." she said.

"Thankfully, I'm not worried about that".

The issue of midwife regulations isn't new in the territory. The Yukon Party began looking at midwifery legislation in the late 1990s.

In the early 2000s, the Liberal government promised to introduce legislation governing midwives, but did not bring it forward.