Here is a quick look at some highlights from the past week!
Buy Local November and Yukoner Appreciation Week
Yukoner Appreciation Week takes place from November 2- 8, 2020, and Buy Local November is all month long! There are an incredible 82 participating locations this year offering a variety of specials both online and in person. In the Legislative Assembly this week, Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai paid tribute to Yukoner Appreciation Week – it is more important now than ever to buy local and support Yukon businesses. You can read the tribute here: https://yukonassembly.ca/sites/default/files/hansard/34-3-056.pdf
Minister Pillai also put together a quick video talking about the importance of buying local: https://fb.watch/1xEnUlPUS8/
Read all about the month long contest being put on by the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce here: https://whitehorsechamber.ca/buylocalnovember
New Canada-Yukon Housing Benefit helps with rental affordability
We all know that affordable housing is a significant challenge for some Yukoners. Minister Pauline Frost announced a new benefit program this week that will help low and moderate income Yukoners afford rental housing that meets their needs.
The Canada-Yukon Housing Benefit prioritizes households in need by providing additional support to hundreds of households across the territory between now and 2027. Depending on household income and size of family, applicants can receive between $200 and $800 per month. Yukoners can apply for the new benefit at Yukon Housing Corporation offices or online at https://yukon.ca/apply-Canada-Yukon-housing-benefit.
You can read Minister Frost’s statement on this important new housing support here: https://yukonassembly.ca/sitting-day/34-3-058
Xplornet to continue service to rural Yukon
This week Minister Richard Mostyn announced that Xplornet will be continuing their service to rural Yukon beyond December 31, 2020.
We are very pleased to hear this news as this would have potentially meant that hundreds of Yukoners and businesses would have been without access to the internet.
Minister Mostyn has been in regular communication with the company since we first heard about the potential cancellation in August. We want to thank him for his hard work on this file, advocating for Yukoners.
You can read Minister Mostyn’s Ministerial Statement on Xplornet here: https://yukonassembly.ca/sitting-day/34-3-059
Debate in the Legislature
Bill No. 10, Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act (2020) passed Third Reading this week. This Act introduces paid and unpaid leave for victims of domestic and sexualized assault in the territory.
Tune in on Monday, Nov. 10, when Yukon’s Commissioner will be in the Legislative Assembly to Assent to Bill No. 10: https://yukonassembly.ca/house-business/coverage-proceedings
Debate this week was mainly focused around the supplementary estimates (Second Appropriation Act 2020/21). Premier Silver and the MLA from Lake Laberge spent several hours this week going back and forth. Once MLAs pass general debate, members will have the opportunity to ask more specific questions to specific Ministers whose budgets are in the supplementary bill.
During Opposition Private Members Motion Day (Wednesday afternoon), MLAs debated 2 motions – one on health spending during COVID-19 and one about consultation during the development of the Tourism Recovery Plan. The Yukon Liberal Caucus voted in support of both motions.
Minister Frost provided a detailed breakdown of COVID-19 spending by the Department of Health and Social Services, though those details would have been provided during debate of the Second Appropriation Act as well. According to Minister Frost:
“The additional funds needed to respond to COVID-19 tell a bigger story. While opposition members may want to focus on just the funding, it is important to understand the incredible amount of hard work and collaboration by public servants, health care providers, and municipal and First Nation governments in our territory to keep Yukon in a good position. Behind these numbers is a story about everything done to keep Yukoners safe, to keep people in their jobs and in their homes, and to adapt services to ensure that Yukoners have the access they need to mental health supports, doctors, surgeries, and medical travel.”
Liberal MLAs also voiced support for including the Yukon Historical and Museums Association in the COVID-19 tourism recovery plan. According to Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean:
“Yukon non-profit organizations such as the Yukon Historical and Museums Association are critical to the health and vitality of our communities and economic fabric of Yukon. We have made best efforts to be supportive of the non-profit organizations in the face of the pandemic.”
You can read the debate on these two motions here: https://yukonassembly.ca/sites/default/files/hansard/34-3-058.pdf