Premier and Finance Minister Sandy Silver tabled the 2021–22 First Supplementary Estimates in the Yukon Legislative Assembly today. It includes increases of $58.4 million in operations and maintenance and $13.8 million in gross capital expenditures.
Spending increases are largely the result of COVID-19 spending, the unprecedented flood response this past summer and additional support for families accessing early learning and childcare programs, inlcuding:
- nearly $21 million to support the tourism and aviation sectors, as well as public health measures in response to COVID-19;
- more than $11 million to support the response to the recovery of Southern Lakes and Lake Leberge floods; and
- almost $10 million for the Yukon’s univeral Early Learning and Childcare intiatives, an increase that is 100 per cent recoverable from the Government of Canada.
The Government of Yukon also continues to support Yukoners and Yukon businesses by investing:
- $3.7 million to develop rural lots in rural communities such as Haines Junction, Dawson City and Watson Lake;
- $2.4 million to create modular classrooms at the Robert Service School;
- $1.7 million for renovations needed at Copper Ridge Place; and
- $1 million for program increases under the Innovative and Renewable Energy Initiative that will help increase the supply of renewable energy and reduce diesel consumption in the Yukon.
With a total of $72.2 million in new expenditures, the First Supplementary Estimates represent an increase of 4 per cent in additional spending over the 2021–22 Main Estimates. This increase is offset by $49.4 million in recoverable funding from Canada and third-parties.
The First Supplementary Estimates also includes a draw down of $4.5 million from the COVID-19 contingency fund with a total of $10.5 million remaining for emerging costs in response to the pandemic. This contingency in the fiscal plan is a responsible and transparent way to protect and support Yukoners as the Yukon government forges ahead in response to COVID-19 and moves toward recovery.
The 2021–22 Interim Economic and Fiscal Update was also released today. This mid-year update shows that while COVID-19 continues to impact communities around the world, the Yukon anticipates that the territory’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow by 6 per cent in 2021 and 8.1 per cent in 2022.
Our government remains focused on supporting Yukoners, whether that means helping individuals and Yukon businesses, investing in our resilient tourism industry or helping homeowners navigate an historic flooding event in our territory. The updated forecast shows that our economy remains strong as our territory forges ahead on the path to recovery from COVID-19. Thank you to the public health experts who we rely on to stay safe and to Yukoners at all levels that have contributed to strengthening our communities.
Minister of Finance Sandy Silver
Supplementary Estimates are used annually by a government to account for spending that is unforeseen at the time of setting the annual Budget.
The Fiscal and Economic Outlook is tabled in spring during the legislative sitting and an interim update is published in the fall. These provide a snapshot of the Yukon’s economy and government finances as well as updates on several indicators monitored by the Government of Yukon.
The Interim Fiscal and Economic Update shows that the removal of internal border restrictions and loosening of international restrictions support the forecast of a recovery in local tourism activity, with visitations expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023.
In the Update, job growth is forecast at 1.4 per cent in 2021 as employment growth is expected to pick up next year supported by a recovery in the tourism sector.
Despite disruptions in the labour market over the last two years, household income has continued to grow, supported in large part by government income support. Average weekly earnings rose to $1,285 in June 2021, up 1.4 per cent from June 2020.
Growing incomes are translating into higher consumer spending. Retail sales have completely recovered pandemic losses with 2021 on track to post another record level. Retail sales are now forecast at $980 million for 2021, 8.9 per cent higher than the forecast in the March outlook, reflecting stronger-than-expected sales to date.