Today, Premier and Finance Minister Sandy Silver tabled the Government of Yukon’s 2021–22 Budget. The $1.79 billion budget is focused on improving the lives of Yukoners and includes significant investments in education, housing, community infrastructure and renewable energy projects.
To support Yukon families and make their lives more affordable, the government will invest more than $25 million towards early learning initiatives. This includes $15 million to support a new universal childcare program for the Yukon that will put more disposable income into the hands of families, saving them on average $700 per month per child. A family with two kids will have an additional $1,400 in their pockets every month starting April 1, 2021. This is another step towards the implementation of the Putting People First report to improve Yukon’s health and social services. More than $1.4 million will make medical travel easier and more affordable for Yukoners. On January 1, the medical travel subsidy was doubled to $150 per day for multi-day travel.
More than $50 million will support initiatives in Our Clean Future, Yukon’s strategy for climate change, energy and a green economy. This includes $16 million for community-based renewable energy projects across the territory, and $6.1 million for energy rebates to help Yukon families and businesses adopt renewable sources of heating and make their homes and buildings more energy efficient. Over $1 million in clean transportation rebates will help Yukoners acquire electric vehicles, including ebikes. An additional $500,000 will go towards fast-charging stations to support electric vehicle use throughout the territory. $10 million is also included to advance the Atlin hydro expansion project in partnership with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation to increase renewable energy in the territory.
This year’s budget includes record capital expenditures of $434.3 million, 17 per cent higher than 2020-21. From over $30 million for lot development to $12 million for affordable housing projects and more than $70 million towards transportation infrastructure, this capital spending will provide increased opportunities for Yukon businesses to contribute to community infrastructure projects across the territory. Yukon’s small business tax was also cut to zero per cent on January 1, 2021. The change will support an estimated 2000 Yukon businesses and is expected to save this sector approximately $2 million per year.
This year’s budget was again tabled together with a Fiscal and Economic Outlook for the territory and a Five-Year Capital Plan.
The Outlook shows the territory’s economy is projected to experience strong growth in the coming years. Yukon’s real GDP growth is forecast at 7.9 per cent for 2021, as a result of production from the Eagle Gold mine and the recently restarted operations in the Keno Hill district. Yukon is one of the only jurisdictions in Canada to experience GDP growth in 2020, with growth projected to continue, averaging 4.7 per cent per year out to 2025.
The Five-Year Capital Plan outlines how the Government of Yukon will prioritize the interests and needs of Yukoners through the procurement, management and delivery of capital projects. The plan considers northern construction realities, aligning capital needs with the strengths of local businesses in order to maximize the benefit for Yukon communities. The Government of Yukon’s increased transparency around capital planning has improved coordination with First Nations, municipal and private sector partners and helped make the best use of federal funding to meet the needs of Yukoners in all communities.
This budget builds on the strong foundation we have developed over the past four years and continues on the path toward a brighter future for the Yukon. Having returned the territory’s finances to a sustainable path, we are taking significant steps to build a healthier, more vibrant, sustainable and inclusive territory for the benefit of all Yukoners. Our new universal childcare program will make life more affordable for Yukon families while more than $50 million will help address climate change and grow Yukon’s green economy. We have also included a $15 million COVID contingency to ensure we can continue to support Yukoners and Yukon businesses as we navigate the pandemic. With Yukon’s vaccine rollout well underway, we are forging ahead with investments that will ensure a prosperous future for our territory.
Premier and Minister of Finance Sandy Silver
Yukon’s total budget for 2021–22 is $1.79 billion. Operating and maintenance expenses will be $1.35 billion. Capital spending is $434 million, a record amount that is 17 per cent higher than last year.
In addition to planned economic and social supports, $15 million is included as a COVID-19 contingency in recognition of the potential for emerging costs to continue managing the pandemic. The 2021–22 Main Estimates show a deficit of $12.7 million dollars that is entirely the result of economic and social supports as well as health services for Yukoners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An Interim Supply Bill that will fund operations and maintenance spending for the first two months of the 2021–22 fiscal year while the 2021–22 Main Estimates are debated in the Legislative Assembly was also tabled. Of that amount, $325 million is for operations and maintenance spending and $75 million is for capital expenditures.
A Second Supplementary Estimates for the 2020–21 fiscal year was also tabled, with an additional $33.1 million in spending and an offsetting increase of $37.4 million in recoveries. The Second Supplementary Estimates forecasts a revised deficit of $6.7 million for 2020–21.