The Commissioner meets with Prime Minister Steven Harper


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Fax: 867.393.6201

412 Main Street
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 2B7


Order of Yukon

About the Order of Yukon

The Order of Yukon is a new honour we have created that will recognize Yukoners who have demonstrated high achievement and made an outstanding contribution to society.

 It will be the highest honour in the territory similar to orders in other provinces and territories.

  • We are the last jurisdiction in Canada to establish an Order at this level. The Government of Yukon has been working for some time to establish the Order building on the work done by former Commissioner Doug Phillips.
  • The nomination period is open now. The Advisory Council, which will consider the nominations and recommend recipients to the Chancellor of the Order, will meet in early October.
  • The position of Chancellor of the Order is part of the structure of having an Order and is held by the Commissioner of Yukon.
  • Our intention is to make the first appointments to the Order at the Commissioner's Levee on January 1, 2020. Nominations opened up in June 2019 for the public to nominate deserving Yukoners.

Questions and answers

Why do we need a new Order of Yukon when we already have Commissioner’s Awards?

The Order of Yukon will honour outstanding individuals who have demonstrated high achievement and made a significant contribution to society in any area. Some examples might be sports development, the arts, business or academics.

The Order of Yukon is a different sort of award from the existing Commissioner’s Awards. Members of the Order form a community of living people who have made a significant contribution to Yukon. It is a higher honour and we are endeavouring for it to be part of the Canadian Order of Precedence of Orders, Decorations and Medals.

The Government of Yukon passed legislation during the spring sitting that enabled Yukoners to be honoured at this highest level.

Yukon is the last jurisdiction in Canada to have an Order at this level. The Government of Yukon wanted to rectify this so that Yukoners could be recognized for their contributions at this high level, just as citizens in other jurisdictions can.


Does the youth award still exist?

Yes. We will continue to present the Outstanding Youth Achievement Award. We partner with the Government of Yukon’s Youth Directorate on this award. The award recognizes youth who are 18 years old and under who have performed an outstanding or extraordinary service for their community, or have made positive contributions and demonstrated leadership in their activities by volunteering their time, energy and talent for the betterment of their community.

The Commissioner’s Awards for Public Volunteer Service and for Bravery will also continue.


Are there any Commissioner’s Awards that will no longer exist because of the Order of Yukon?

The three Commissioner’s Awards will continue – the Awards for Public Volunteer Service and for Bravery and the Outstanding Youth Achievement Award.


Why are the Commissioner’s Awards continuing if we’re going to have an Order of Yukon?

The short answer is that there are so many outstanding Yukoners who deserve public recognition that I feel we need to continue the Commissioner’s Awards.

The Order of Yukon is a very high honour and there is a limit on how many we award each year. For each of the first two years, there can be a maximum of 10 new members in the Order. After these first two years, there can only be a maximum of three people who are appointed to the Order in any given year. This means the bar will be high, and that is how it is supposed to be. The Order has been established to recognize particularly outstanding contributions.

The first two years provides an opportunity to build up the membership quickly.

Following the first two years, the regular operation will allow for three exceptional Yukoners per year, which is consistent with other provinces and territories.

As the Act says, the Order is for “demonstrated excellence and achievement and outstanding contributions to the social, cultural or economic well-being of Yukon and its residents.”

This means that two of the Commissioner’s Awards are for contributions not specifically covered by the Order of Yukon – bravery and youth. I feel it is very important we continue to make sure we recognize contributions in these areas.

I also feel we must continue to ensure we recognize people who contribute so much to our communities as volunteers – that is the third Commissioner’s Award, the Award for Public Volunteer Service.

The Commissioner’s Awards are not set in legislation like the Order of Yukon is. They continue being presented at the discretion of the person in my position. I very much want to continue these awards and publicly recognize the wonderful contributions at all levels that Yukoners make to the territory.


What are some examples of things people would do to be deserving of the Order?

Contributions will be as diverse as the people making them but some examples of contributions might include work to improve literacy in the community, significant contributions to economic development or significant development in the arts community.


Are the Commissioner’s Awards for Public Volunteer Service and for Bravery awarded every year?

The Award for Public Volunteer Service tends to be awarded every year as Yukoners are such active volunteers and so far there have always been individuals who we absolutely must recognize for their contributions.

There have been years when we haven’t presented an Award for Bravery because, thankfully, there hasn’t been an incident in the territory where a member of the public has been in the position of trying to save another person’s life, often at their own risk.

There are no rules anywhere saying these awards must be presented every year. They are a way to publicly honour the efforts of the many remarkable Yukoners.


Why is the Order of Yukon higher status than the Commissioner’s Awards?

The Order of Yukon is the highest honour in Yukon and equivalent to similar honours across the country.

This is important in particular for the acceptance to the Canadian Order of Precedence, which will allow people who are members of the Order of Yukon and the Order of Canada to wear both insignia side by side.


Can I nominate someone now for the Order of Yukon?


Yes, nominations are open now. Please check our home page for the link.


Will members of the Order of Yukon receive a medal they can wear? What will it look like?

First, it is important to note that the Order is more than a one-time award. People who are appointed to the Order become members of the Order for life. This means only living persons can be nominated to the Order. There are no provisions for posthumous appointments.

The Order of Yukon's design was unveiled on July 10, 2019 at an Open House. The ribbon will be the colours of the Yukon Flag.


How will the Advisory Council for the Order of Yukon be selected?

The members of the Advisory Council are set out in the Order of Yukon Act.

The Chief Justice will be the Chair and the Speaker of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, the President of Yukon College, and the Cabinet Secretary will be members.

The Council of Yukon First Nations will recommend a member and the Commissioner, as the Chancellor of the Order, will choose two other members.

The Advisory Council draws on people from significant social institutions in Yukon and from members of the public and First Nations community. This make-up provides for a broad view of who are deserving Yukoners.