The Yukon Deaf Community has been gaining visibility in the territory, with a number of public events this past year showcasing a noticeable addition: an American Sign Language interpreter.
When Amanda Smith was hired by the Yukon Government in 2012, it marked the first publicly funded interpreter service available in Canada. Before that, the Yukon’s Deaf Community relied on expensive private services, family members, and the 2008-2012 non-profit, Northern Institution for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (founded by Whitehorse City Councillor, Sampson Hartland). The consistent issue with interpreting services in the Yukon has been availability and consistency. Members of the Deaf Community were forced to book appointments around the limited availability of the interpreter, leaving little room for anything beyond critical services.