As we emerge from the latest wave of COVID-19, the health, safety and wellness of all Yukoners is our top priority.
Vaccines remain the best protection against COVID-19. Vaccines are available for all Yukoners ages 5 and up, including boosters. Visit Yukon.ca or contact your local health centre to make an appointment. Thank you to the immunization teams and all the staff that have supported the rollout of vaccines throughout the territory. It has been an amazing success.
A big thank you to all Yukoners, businesses and organizations that continue to practice the safe six, follow public health measures and work to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The Yukon continues to experience strong economic growth despite the impacts of the pandemic.
The territory has the lowest unemployment rate in the country. Residential building construction continues to reach record highs, with major housing projects opening in 2022.
As we look towards spring, here is an update on work underway to support Yukoners and help make life more affordable in the territory.
The government continues to invest in early learning, child care, housing, health care and flood mitigation while taking action to address climate change and grow the economy. We are working every day to help make the lives of Yukoners better.
Improving the lives of Yukoners
Here are some highlights from the past year and work underway to make life better in the Yukon.
- Largest flood mitigation effort in Yukon history to address Southern Lakes and Laberge flooding
- New universal, affordable child-care program saving families up to $700 per month, per child
- Yukon First Nation School Board established
- Ban on single-use plastic bags in the Yukon
- Shingles vaccine available free of charge to Yukoners ages 65 to 79
- COVID-19 vaccines available to all Yukoners ages 5 and up
- Supervised consumption site opened in Whitehorse
- Expanded access to a medically prescribed, safer supply of opioids
- Nurse practitioner supporting Carmacks and Old Crow
- New funding for prenatal and infant supports
- Expanded orthopedic surgery program to increase services and reduce wait times
- New action plan to improve LGBTQ2S+ inclusion in the Yukon
- $19.3 million surplus for 2020–21 shows responsible fiscal management during pandemic
- Updated the Huchá Hudän/Fort Selkirk Historic Site Management Plan
- Paid leave support for victims of domestic and sexualized assault
Helping Yukon families and childhood educators
The Yukon’s first-ever universal, affordable child care program launched in April 2021, making the territory Canada’s new “leader in early learning and child care” according to the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development.
The University of Toronto research centre says the new program “ticked all the boxes to address affordability, quality and accessibility.”
This program saves families up to $700 per child each month. The Yukon government is improving early learning and child care opportunities by:
- creating 110 new early learning and child care spaces over the next five years
- providing nearly $30 per hour to fill and retain quality early learning and childhood educators
- investing $400,000 to support stronger benefit programs for early childhood educators
- investing $800,000 to create early learning programs that focus on Yukon First Nations ways of learning and outdoor learning opportunities.
Better health care for Yukoners
In 2021, the Yukon’s orthopedic care team completed the territory’s first-ever total hip replacement surgery at the Whitehorse General Hospital.
By investing in the territory’s health care system, the Yukon government is increasing access to medical services in the territory while reducing wait times and the need for medical travel.
Last year the Yukon government doubled the medical travel subsidy to $150 per day, and made it available on the first day of travel.
The government also expanded the number of eligible destinations.
These changes have made medical travel more flexible to meet the needs of all Yukoners while reducing the financial burden.
Implementing the recommendations of Putting People First is transforming our Yukon health care system into a national leader for service.
Historic investments in housing across the Yukon
The Yukon government continues to make historic investments to increase housing options for Yukoners.
The government is working together with the private sector and municipalities to increase affordable housing options and make more homes and residential lots available throughout the territory.
Projects scheduled to be complete this year include the following.
- A new affordable, community housing project in Whitehorse to create 47 new homes
- Challenge Disability Resource Group Cornerstone supportive housing project with 53 new homes for vulnerable Yukoners
- 84 new homes for Yukon seniors at Normandy Manor in Takhini
Supporting the Yukon’s film scene
Last fall, the Yukon government gave $35,000 to the Yukon Film Society to help reopen the iconic Yukon Theatre as a community space for screening films, performing arts, lectures and concerts.
The Yukon government also created four new film, television and digital media funding programs to support local media content creators. Funding is available for projects at every stage of development. The Yukon is home to exceptionally talented and unique film and digital creators. These new programs will support this growing sector and help Yukon creators bring their ideas to the screen.
Helping Yukoners make their homes and businesses more energy-efficient
We all need to take action to address climate change and build a strong, sustainable future for the territory.
In 2021 the Yukon government mounted the largest flood mitigation effort in Yukon history to protect against flooding in the Southern Lakes and Lake Laberge.
To support Our Clean Future climate change goals, the Yukon government is working with municipalities to create the Better Buildings Program. This program would provide Yukoners with up to $50,000 to retrofit their homes, and up to $100,000 to retrofit their businesses at the lowest interest rate in the country.
The Better Buildings Program will be available to Yukoners living outside municipal boundaries as well as within the boundaries of participating municipalities.
Making it more affordable for Yukoners to upgrade their homes and businesses will save Yukoners money on heating costs while reducing the territory’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Substance Use Health Emergency
In January, Minister Tracy McPhee declared a Substance Use Health Emergency in the Yukon.
This declaration is a call to action for all levels of governments and all Yukoners to come together for a coordinated, whole-of- community approach.
Initiatives now underway to address the Substance Use Health Emergency include:
- a new public education and awareness campaign about toxic drug supply in the territory
- enhancing the new supervised consumption site to increase access
- expanding drug testing and safer supply programming to rural communities
- increasing on-the-land treatment options
- working to increase access to mobile drug testing and harm reduction supports
- developing a new Opioid Action Plan
Read the Spring 2022 Newsletter as it appeared in mailboxes here: Spring 2022 Newsletter.