Jobs & Prosperity

A resilient economy working for all Yukoners

Yukon New Democrats are committed to helping build a resilient, diversified and durable economy – one with jobs and opportunities for all – one that fuels our self-reliance. Yukoners deserve a government with a long-term strategy that builds on our strengths and existing industries, while diversifying our economy through emerging sectors such as cultural and recreational tourism, cultural industries, energy solutions, food and agriculture, and technology.

Our strategy would help to create good jobs and business opportunities in every community and region of the territory, and an economy with a future that is not tied to globally cyclical booms and busts. It would reduce our over-dependence on resource exports and address critical vulnerabilities, like internet and power outages. Our approach will help create and sustain a stable and welcoming climate for business and investors, as we work together with the business community, First Nations, and labour unions. Mining is, and has been, the largest private sector contributor to Yukon’s economy. We recognize mining’s importance to Yukon and A Yukon New Democratic team will support mining as a key pillar of Yukon’s economy.

The Yukon government has an important role in ensuring robust and reliable infrastructure so that businesses can operate successfully including reliable, high-quality and affordable internet infrastructure and services so crucial to a modern economy, day to day commerce and the flow of information, goods and services, and our connectivity with each other and the world.

Our goal is to build a better and more inclusive economy that serves the needs of Yukon families and communities, founded on a strategic approach to long-term economic growth. We recognize the importance of a stable and transparent regulatory regime in boosting investor confidence. A Yukon New Democratic team will respect and honour aboriginal rights and titles and First Nation Final and Self-Government Agreements.

Providing energy solutions for families, businesses, industry & new major developments – reliable, affordable and green

Like water and the air we breathe, energy is an essential element for life and a sustainable northern economy. How energy is supplied and used in the future will be instrumental to tackling climate change. Using strategic investments and transitional measures as part of our green initiative, our goal is to see the next generation of energy consumers become zero-net energy users.

In our first mandate, Yukoners will see and experience the difference that can be achieved through tangible action and making it possible for homes, businesses and industry to take advantage of green energy, while creating good local jobs in the process that will be sustainable and long lasting, so workers and families can plan their future in confidence.

Our goal is a Yukon that is energy self-sufficient through conservation and efficiency and a renewable energy supply that is affordable and reliable. Although Yukon has abundant sources of renewable energy potential, little has been done to properly assess these resources and move viable projects forward. We aim to develop a portfolio of scalable renewable energy projects that can grow to meet Yukon’s energy needs by 2050, based on international best practices, designed transparently.

It’s urgent the territory make the transition to a greener and more diversified economy, and that renewable energy and integrated solutions are developed and put to work for a better future.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • create a Green Energy Investment Fund with a Yukon Government contribution of $50 million over 5 years, with the opportunity to grow to $100 million with other sources of investment, including from the Government of Canada, invitations to Yukon First Nations and Yukoners. The Fund would help finance the transition to a more diversified renewable energy economy, a lower carbon future and meet the growing and future energy requirements of Yukoners, businesses and industry, including new mines and other major developments for effective, reliable and affordable renewable energy alternatives
  • in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, create and pursue a renewable energy development strategy to advance the deployment of renewable and integrated energy technologies including solar, geo-thermal, battery storage, wind, biomass, etc.
  • lead by example to design and construct green buildings, subdivisions, etc. and to upgrade the energy efficiency of existing government buildings and assets, with energy conservation and efficiency, renewable and integrated technologies top of mind
  • establish a Renewable Energy Resource Survey, similar to the existing Yukon Geological Survey to spearhead a multi-year initiative to identify, prospect and assess Yukon’s renewable energy resources for potential development in all communities and regions of the territory – small hydro including storage, wind, geo-thermal, solar, and biomass
  • increase Yukon capacity through energy-related training, research and development, and cold climate technology
  • improve energy-related building code requirements and building/infrastructure design standards, and promote the development of northern-appropriate building science with the goal of advancing toward net-zero energy buildings
  • help energy users make wise decisions and implement integrated energy solutions by strengthening the Energy Solutions Centre. The Centre will work with Yukoners, communities, businesses, institutional and industrial sectors to take advantage of current and emerging energy conservation, efficiency, renewable and integrated technologies supported by sound research, pilot projects, programs, services and initiatives, and energy stewardship across all of sectors of the Yukon economy
  • help commercial and institutional consumers make use of our existing energy resources by revisiting arrangements for use of surplus summer hydro power and promoting the use of biomass (wood chips) as a heating fuel source.
  • support public ownership of Yukon’s electrical power supply system, supported by Yukon First Nation participation and investment consistent with First Nation Final Agreements as the best value for present and future generations
  • explore a clean energy vehicle policy that will consider rebates for the purchase of green vehicles, charging infrastructure and fleet conversions to encourage the adoption of electrical and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in Yukon
  • during the 75th anniversary of the Alaska Highway in 2017 conduct a feasibility study in cooperation with the governments of British Columbia and Alaska on how to make it an “electric highway” serving vehicle transportation.

Mining our world-class resources

Yukon is blessed with abundant mineral wealth. We are home to world-class geologists and geoscientists who are on the forefront of their fields. We recognize the important role mining has played in the development of the territory and that it can provide major economic benefits without risking our environmental integrity.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • work with First Nation governments, industry and the public to take the conflict out of mining projects by developing modern successor mining legislation, that includes a mechanism for royalty sharing with First Nations and meets our commitments set out in Final Agreements
  • ensure the transition to a new mining regime is fair and protects existing investments made under the current laws
  • freeze quartz and placer mining royalty rates for five years
  • together with First Nation governments, industry, and unions, work to increase Yukon hire and purchasing at every stage of the process from exploration to remediation, with the goal of having Yukoners account for at least 75% of the mining workforce
  • ban staking within municipalities, unless authorized by municipal by-law, and let municipalities regulate mining land use within municipal boundaries
  • amend the Miners Lien Act to help Yukon mining suppliers and contractors get paid. The Act currently allows controlling shareholders to lend their company unreasonably large amounts of money that will get repaid in a bankruptcy before local contractors and suppliers get their due
  • support Yukon prospectors and geoscientists to increase geomapping, grow our understanding of Yukon’s mineral endowment and discover the reserves that will become the mines of the next generation
  • respect the role of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board and Yukon Water Board and make regulatory changes only with appropriate consultation beforehand
  • work with resource companies to ensure that they know and follow the rules, respect First Nation governments, hire Yukoners, and clean up when they are done
  • fulfill Yukon commitments respecting land and resource legislation in the Canada-Yukon Devolution Agreement
  • establish a liaison office to help small-scale miners and prospectors navigate the permitting process for mining land use permits and water licenses.

Helping our small businesses grow

 Small businesses are the heart of our economy. Yukon New Democrats support an entrepreneurial economy that is self-reliant, technologically smart and fully able to adapt, innovate and invest. Small businesses have been lost in the shuffle in recent years, and a New Democratic government will work to rectify this. We recognize information technology and internet infrastructure is critical to the movement of goods and services and Yukon’s ability to capture business opportunities outside the territory. Facilitating greater investment in Yukon businesses, including by First Nation governments and corporations is important to our economic future.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • expand programs like the Yukon Small Business Tax Credit which was created by a New Democratic government and successfully used by companies like Air North – Yukon’s Airline to support the development of Yukon job-creating businesses
  • pursue ways to improve access to capital, working with financial institutions, First Nations development corporations, and other parties
  • work with rural communities, Yukon First Nations and partners to create regional development strategies
  • provide easy access to business counselling in rural communities
  • work with communities, commercial carriers and other stakeholders to improve public transportation between communities
  • support Yukon employers to hire Yukoners by continuing to fund YuWin as a local job board as requested by Yukon businesses.

Local procurement and “buying Yukon” for the home team

We believe Yukon taxpayers’ money should create jobs and business opportunities for Yukon workers, business and industry, not workers, contractors and suppliers from outside the territory. Every dollar we spend and re-circulate in Yukon means more prosperity, stability and potential for Yukon’s workers, businesses throughout the territory and our Yukon economy as a whole. About 25% of annual operating budgets are spent on goods and services. Yukon businesses support reducing economic leakages. Yukon’s government procurement system is viewed as unfair and confusing. We need to leave no stone unturned in our effort to maximize local participation and benefits from Yukon government expenditures.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • stand up for Yukon’s interests: for workers, local suppliers of goods and services and industry in the negotiation of the proposed new Canadian Free Trade Agreement, and if we can’t get what Yukoners expect and deserve, we won’t sign on
  • work with businesses, contractors and service providers on local procurement policies and practices to improve working relationships and enhance government’s ability to purchase locally and support Yukon hire in a cost-effective manner
  • revisit Yukon government contracting directives to improve local contractors confidence in the process.

Investing in information technology and internet infrastructure

While Yukon’s information and technology sector is robust, it has great potential for expansion. When it comes to diversifying our economy, Yukon New Democrats will make this sector a priority, with a focus on strategic investments to foster the industry. When Yukon’s only fibre optic line is cut there are costly and frustrating disruptions to services of all kinds, harming people, local businesses, communities and our economy as a whole.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • build a second fibre optic line through a competitive bidding process to provide a long-term solution to Yukon internet and connectivity requirements
  • work with other jurisdictions to develop ways to hold individuals and corporations responsible for cutting the fibre optic line(s) to/from the Yukon including penalties for negligence
  • work with the Government of Canada so the Yukon gets its fair share of new federal initiatives to extend and enhanced broadband services in rural and remote communities to improve local internet affordability, reliability and coverage
  • invest government IT spending in the industry, with a focus on local suppliers to create local jobs.

Taking tourism to the next level

Tourism is vital to Yukon’s economy and those of our circumpolar neighbours, with room for sustainable growth. It has proven to be a good investment of public funds with a strong economic return to Yukon communities and businesses. Building on the significant contributions of individual businesses and industry associations, a Yukon New Democratic government would support efforts to strengthen and diversify the tourism market and attract more visitors to the territory. We recognize that successful tourism depends on well-developed and up-to-date infrastructure, strong communities and a clean environment for a quality experience.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • create a ten-year strategy with industry to guide collective efforts and government programs and investments supporting the development of new and enhanced tourism attractions, experiences, products and initiatives
  • spearhead an action plan including authentic cultural events to develop cultural tourism, a pivotal segment of rapidly growing potential and significance to Yukon’s tourism future with jobs, business opportunities, national and international market potential at stake
  • support marketing projects that successfully target high-return markets
  • support the further development of Yukon wilderness, recreational and eco-tourism, including through investments in new wilderness viewing opportunities, working with communities to develop recreational/eco-tourism that ties into Yukon’s amazing parks (such as Tombstone Park), and coordinating marketing campaigns with infrastructure and capacity development to take advantage of continuing and forecast growth in this key segment of the tourism industry while protecting the natural environment
  • help capitalize on existing sports infrastructure to attract tournaments, training camps, and other events to Yukon
  • work in consultation with communities, industry and others to develop regional and/or community tourism plans
  • work to improve the collection of data relevant to the industry for planning, development and evaluation purposes.

Supporting arts, heritage and cultural industries

The Yukon has a rich heritage and culture – history, traditions, languages, inspirational landscapes, creative people, cultural communities and an abiding spirit of mutual respect, cooperation and collaboration. Investments in the arts, culture and heritage foster not only healthy communities but also economic opportunities, part of the glue for long-term, recession-proof economic prosperity and wellness. We are on the cusp of major breakthroughs for artists, cultural workers, cultural tourism and cultural industries including live performing arts, film and media, visual arts and more. Government support has not been keeping pace. Yukon New Democrats recognize that now is the time to invest further in the opportunities and benefits offered by our arts, culture and heritage as pillars for a healthy economy and healthy communities.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • in consultation with representatives of the sectors, partner on developing and support implementation of a cultural industries action plan for every sector of the cultural economy, on a phased basis establish a ten-year arts and cultural initiative for the creation of new, strategic and ground-breaking works that represent the territory and foster collaboration amongst music, theatre, dance, visual arts, film and media, etc. to share and export regionally, nationally and internationally
  • establish a cost-shared arts and cultural infrastructure capital program to assist in the planning, construction and/or renovation of cultural facilities, replacing current ad hoc arrangements and better supporting the growth of cultural tourism
  • support the establishment of post-secondary arts management, administration and cultural development programs through Yukon College, along with paid co-op and internship placements
  • consult and work with First Nations governments, the Government of Canada and other stakeholders to support recognition, retention and revitalization of Yukon’s aboriginal languages
  • work with partners in Yukon arts and cultural community to strengthen key cultural institutions at the heart of Yukon’s arts and cultural leadership and infrastructure in major communities and territory-wide, including for example, the Yukon Arts Centre, Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, the Yukon School of Visual Arts
  • work to preserve and protect significant historic buildings, artifacts and objects
  • work to provide rural communities better access to arts and culture events
  • in cooperation with municipalities, local advisory councils, invitations to Yukon First Nations and others, support initiatives engaging Yukon children, youth and families in arts, cultural and heritage activities and learning opportunities fostering positive lifestyles and healthy communities
  • support community libraries with funding and internet access for patrons.

Growing Yukon food and agriculture

The self-reliance and future sustainability of the Yukon will rely on increasing the local production of our food. Creative Yukon farmers have made significant strides in the production of food crops. But with the lengthening growing season and new cold-hardy varieties, as well as support from Yukon consumers, there is a great potential.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • support Yukon research into improved soils and climate resilient crops
  • develop ways to make more agricultural lands accessible to new farmers
  • lower energy costs for irrigation of food and feed crops
  • work to ensure appropriate infrastructure is in place for animal health monitoring, reliable animal slaughter and local meat inspection
  • find ways to support an expanding and stable market for locally produced food
  • work with the agricultural industry and stakeholders to preclude the use of genetically modified seeds and animals in the territory
  • proceed with agricultural development planning in consultation with industry, First Nations governments and within a regional planning framework.

Developing our labour force

At the post-secondary level, we need to train people to work in a more diverse economy. Respectful working relationships with First Nation governments, Yukon College, employers, building trades, unions and other relevant partners will be key to making the positive changes needed to achieve these goals.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • offer free first-year tuition at Yukon College for Yukon residents
  • support the further development of Yukon trades and apprenticeship opportunities, including investments in community-based apprenticeship in cooperation with Yukon building trades and employers, and have expectations of training returns on investment in government funded construction projects
  • support training and post-secondary education in emerging and expanding sectors such as renewable energy technologies, arts management and administration, cultural tourism, camp operations and environmental remediation
  • support mining industry participation and Yukon College programming for mine-related training and labour force development
  • renew Yukon training strategy, in collaboration with First Nation governments, Yukon College, employers, communities and NGOs
  • work with the Yukon College to establish realistic plans and timelines for the transition toward a Yukon University with the goal of enhancing the programs and degrees offered in the Yukon
  • raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for working people during a first mandate in consultation with stakeholders.

Fairer taxation

All Yukoners including pensioners, the working poor and lower income people earning up to $44,701 annually pay a tax rate of 6.4% on that taxable income, compared with Nunavut’s lowest bracket at 4%, British Columbia at 5.06% and the Northwest Territories at 5.9%. In 2015, a longstanding surtax on higher income earners paying more than $6,000 in taxes was eliminated by the Yukon Party Government. Helping middle and lower income Yukoners save on taxes will help them, families and our economy through local spending.

A YUKON NEW DEMOCRATIC TEAM WILL

  • lower the 6.4% tax rate on taxable income benefiting all Yukon individual taxpayers including pensioners, the working poor and low income Yukoners
  • increase the tax rate on higher income earners and apply that revenue in combination with proceeds from a carbon price to lower the 6.4% rate on taxable income.

LET'S BUILD A BETTER YUKON. IT'S TIME.