Whitehorse Daily Star

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ASSISTANCE ON THE WAY – Ranj Pillai, the minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, announces the government’s latest measures for helping the business sector on Wednesday afternoon.

Minister unveils events cancellation relief

Businesses facing unrecoverable costs from the cancellations of major events will be reimbursed by the Yukon government.

By Gabrielle Plonka on April 2, 2020

Businesses facing unrecoverable costs from the cancellations of major events will be reimbursed by the Yukon government.

“While the loss of these large gatherings is disappointing to all Yukoners, the negative impact is especially heavy for businesses that invested in these preparations,” Ranj Pillai, the minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, told a news conference Wednesday afternoon. He is also the Economic Development minister.

The Temporary Support for Events Funding Program will help businesses recoup losses from the cancellations of events slated to take place between March 7 and July 31.

Organizers of eligible gatherings must have expected more than 50 people.

The program is intended for losses involving purchased perishable goods such as food, advertising expenses, cancelled accommodations, service bookings, vendor contracts and the hiring of staff.

Expenses must have been incurred before the chief medical officer’s recommendation to cancel events on March 16.

Businesses are required to attempt to return supplies, cancel contracts and limit losses before applying for funding. Eligible recipients will receive up to 100 per cent of their lost investment.

Non-government-organizations (NGOs) are applicable to receive this relief funding.

The fund is not intended to cover anticipated losses, although hotels and Air North will be eligible to recoup cancellation losses.

Earlier this week, a Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce business survey stated that 88 per cent of local businesses are experiencing the impacts of COVID-19.

Pillai acknowledged that this is a difficult time for Yukon entrepreneurs.

“The numbers that are coming in … they’re all very bleak,” Pillai said.

He said his department is planning more support for businesses in the near future, and is working with the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

“Please, before you make any significant decisions, please contemplate the fact that there are more measures coming from the government,” Pillai said.

Members of media pressed him on the two First Nations in the Mayo and Beaver Creek areas that have called for an immediate cessation of all mining activity in the territory.

Pillai responded that some Yukoners are under the false impression that mines employees are exempt from self-isolation and other safety precautions, and that public knowledge is skewed.

“Minto and Victoria Gold have taken this conversation and the measures extremely seriously,” he said.

“Mining doesn’t get a special pass.”

The government has clearly laid out self-isolation rules for all mine workers flying into the Yukon, and those rules are being followed, Pillai said.

He noted that some individuals sidestepping self-isolation rules are skewing public opinion of mine safety.

“I say to them: a small group of people are causing a lot of fear and discomfort in our territory. Follow the rules. They’re very clear.”

He noted that it isn’t possible to entirely cease operations at the Yukon’s larger mines.

“It doesn’t shut down; you don’t just turn the lights off, there is still an obligation to have the people on the ground; there is still an obligation to have other types of work done.

“In any case, there’s gonna be people there. It’s depending on what type of activity they’re going to be undertaking.”

Comments (2)

Up 13 Down 1

Why no help from government for renters and landlords? on Apr 3, 2020 at 2:41 pm

If help is justified for privately owned corporations, it is definitely justified for working poor renters and the local landlords who take a chance renting to them. Social Assistance renters will be okay and their landlords will still be paid (Chilcoot etc); renters who work for the government will be unnaffected, and their landlords will still be paid, but the working poor? They are being told to not pay their landlords, rack up bills, then try to pay them off later. Meanwhile there's a package for hotels accommodating tourists. Here's a comment I like:

"I wonder if the government could be sued for advising people to not pay their rent, while not providing that rent to landlords. They are putting landlords and only landlords in the position of playing social services. They are not telling people to walk out of grocery stores without paying, or to drive away from gas stations after filling up for the next 3 months, but if they did, could those businesses sue the government for damages? People need to eat, people need a place to live. But you do not ask one small group of small business owners to give thousands of dollars out of pocket while not providing guarantees that they will get that money back. If people do not have money, they should be getting that money from emergency welfare, not from their landlords." - comment on facebook

Up 20 Down 3

Friends with Big Business on Apr 3, 2020 at 11:50 am

NVD gets money for people canceling hotel rooms, while this same government not only offers zero compensation for landlords who are providing residential homes (not tourist accommodations), but they actively counsel renters to not pay landlords while forcing landlords to continue providing accommodations for free. The renters are still supposed to pay this rent back. My demand is that the renters pay THE GOVERNMENT back, and the government provides the rent to the landlords.

Funny how the Liberals have money for local hotels, both to replace their lost income from tourists and also to pay them to put up people who need to isolate, but they do not have money for renters who need help, or for people providing residential rentals to Yukoners, who aren't being paid. This is utter BS!

I'd like to see this government telling people to walk out the door of grocery stores with carts of food and 'don't pay for three months, but the grocery store can pursue you for the money 90 days from now and not before then.' If people can't buy food, you give them food money or give them food. You do not ask the grocery stores to do the job of social services and the government. Yet you demand this of landlords! And you do not demand that people in need of food pay back that food money. Yet you demand this of renters in need!

I am incredibly angry about this announcement. Ranj and Sandy must be listening to their new business advisory council, headed by the CEO of Northern Vision Development. How about listening to Yukoners, renters, and landlords?!

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