The 1978 Yukon general election, held on November 20, 1978, was the first conventional legislative election in the history of Canada's Yukon Territory. Prior elections were held to elect representatives to the Yukon Legislative Council, a non-partisan body that acted in an advisory role to the Commissioner of the Yukon. Following the passage of the Yukon Elections Act in 1977, the 1978 election was the first time that voters in the Yukon elected representatives to the Yukon Legislative Assembly in an election organized along political party lines.
Liberal leader Iain MacKay resigned the party leadership and his seat in the legislature in 1980, and was succeeded in both roles by Ron Veale.
Following Penikett's accession to the leadership of the NDP in 1981, Maurice Byblow, elected as an independent, joined the party.
Jack Hibberd resigned his seat in the legislature on April 15, 1981, after accepting a position as a surgical consultant with a hospital outside of the Yukon. The resulting by-election, held on October 13, was won by New Democrat Roger Kimmerly. Now holding three seats in the legislature, the NDP replaced the Liberals as the Official Opposition.