Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Budget invests in Yukoners’ health, housing and wellbeing to create a place everyone can call home

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On 2nd March, Finance Minister Sandy Silver released the Government of Yukon’s 2023-24 Budget.

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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.

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