Today, Finance Minister Sandy Silver released the Government of Yukon’s 2023-24 Budget.
Budget 2023-24 shows how the Government of Yukon is making life more affordable for Yukoners while continuing to invest building our clean, green future; growing a strong, resilient economy; and moving forward on reconciliation, so that the Yukon can truly be a place everyone can call home.
This budget includes investments in new and expanded health services, including more than $10 million for programs advancing the implementation of the Putting People First report, as well as funding to help respond to the substance-use health emergency and to strengthen the Yukon’s healthcare system.
The government is investing $59.2 million for climate change initiatives which deliver on commitments outlined in Our Clean Future. This funding is critical as the territory works to reduce its emissions, increase its resilience and enhance energy security while building a clean, green future.
Affordability measures also help Yukoners who need support in response to higher inflation in the last two years, including $5.3 million to extend the Inflation Relief Rebate, nearly $1 million in additional payments for Yukon seniors who receive the senior’s income supplement and $300,000 for commercial timber harvesting grants to help reduce the cost for Yukoners heating their homes with firewood. There is also funding for a food in Yukon schools program and a $100 monthly increase to eligible Social Assistance recipients.
Budget 2023-24 invests in buildings and infrastructure that is critical to growing a strong, resilient economy. This includes $52.4 million for repairing, inspecting and replacing bridges, including Nisutlin Bay, $26 million towards improvements at airports in Whitehorse and Watson Lake and $27.8 million for road improvements. A further $25.9 million is included for land development in Whitehorse and in Yukon communities and will ensure that Yukoners have access to housing options across the territory.
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, this government demonstrated its commitment to maintaining a strong and stimulated economy with record investments in capital projects. This kept Yukoners working and helped keep our private sector strong. Now that the immediate need to stimulate the economy has subsided, the Five-Year Capital Plan demonstrates a return to more sustainable budgeting while continuing to meet the ongoing and long-term needs of the territory with $483.8 million in capital spending in 2023-24.
Also included as part of the budget is the Fiscal and Economic Outlook and Five-Year Capital Plan. The Outlook provides an economic snapshot for the year and forecasts real GDP growth of 5.4 per cent in 2023 followed by growth of 3.7 per cent in 2024, driven by continued recovery of the tourism sector and strong mineral production at mining operations in the territory. Strong demand for labour and increased economic activity spurred growth in the labour force and employment, both reaching record highs in 2022.
I’m proud to lead a government that is building our clean, green future; moving forward on reconciliation; and growing a strong, resilient economy so that the Yukon is a place everyone can call home. We are taking significant steps to meet the housing needs of Yukoners by partnering with the private sector and investing in housing partners across the territory. This year’s budget includes significant investments to make housing more available, affordable, and attainable for all Yukoners.
Premier, and Minister of the Executive Council Office, Economic Development, and the Yukon Housing Corporation Ranj Pillai
This government is tabling a Budget that continues to deliver on our commitments outlined in Putting People First and Our Clean Future while also including measures which make life more affordable for Yukoners. Our strategic investments in transportation infrastructure, land development, housing, education, healthcare, as well as community and First Nations infrastructure made in Budget 2023-24 also help meet the needs of a territory which continues to be a top destination for Canadians and individuals choosing to migrate to our territory from abroad.
Minister of Finance Sandy Silver
This budget demonstrates the continued commitment by our government to advance reconciliation with Yukon First Nations, ensure all Yukoners feel safe and included, and to make life more affordable. This budget will support the Yukon First Nations School Board along with additional resources towards education services and programs. This will bring meaningful changes for the betterment of all students throughout the territory. We will see advancements in the Sexualized Assault Response Unit, the LGBTQ2S+ Action Plan and Yukon’s MMIWG2S+ Strategy, helping Yukoners to feel safe and more included. This budget also continues to support the nation-leading early learning and child care programming through the universal child care model. This model is based on the key principles of affordability, quality, and accessibility. I know all Yukoners will be able to see themselves in this budget, and that’s how we know we’re on the right track.
Deputy Premier, Education, and the Women and Gender Equity Directorate Jeanie McLean
Our government’s 2023-24 Budget continues to build on our track record of responsible decision making. It speaks to our commitment to support a greener economy and tackle climate change in tangible, meaningful ways. I am proud to see nearly $60 million will target climate change initiatives, including retrofit funding and a climate vulnerability study of our transportation network. This Budget also ensures critical infrastructure projects move ahead, such as the Nisutlin Bay Bridge, the Dempster Fibre Project and other improvements to our highways and airports. These key investments continue to drive our actions creating a stronger and more sustainable territory for all Yukoners.
Minister of Highways and Public Works, and Environment Nils Clarke
I am proud of the investments that our government is making in both health and social services and justice to better serve Yukoners. We continue to make progress on the recommendations of the Putting People First report, work towards partnerships to reduce the impacts of the Substance Use Health Emergency across the territory, and invest in mental health supports. We are striving to attract and retain talented healthcare professionals who keep our health system strong. We continue to increase access to justice and restorative justice services, while supporting justice-involved individuals to be able to safely reintegrate into our communities.
Minister of Health and Social Services, and Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee
Over successive budgets, our government has built a strong fiscal and economic foundation to ensure we are able to achieve continued success moving forward. We cut taxes for businesses and eliminated small business taxes entirely. Through programs like the continuation of the Paid Sick-Leave Rebate, we will enable businesses and workers alike to benefit from the increased economic activity seen across the territory, which reached record highs in 2022.
Minister of Community Services, and the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Board Richard Mostyn
In Budget 2023-24, we are making significant steps to support renewable energy projects and help Yukoners reduce their energy consumption. While we work to modernize our critical minerals legislation, our government is also advancing land use planning and housing lot development. As our tourism industry rebounds, we are investing in our sustainable tourism sector, parks and campgrounds, creative and cultural industries, and those who make our territory such an incredible place.