As we come to the end of 2021, the Yukon Chamber is reflecting on our past year advocating for you. Another tough year with Covid-19 to navigate our businesses through. I think it is fair to say we've all learned some incredible things about ourselves and what we need to do as entrepreneurs to get through each day. As we have been focused on service to our members, you will discover our newsletters will start to have more internal details about what we are up to on your behalf. If you see something that piques your interest or that you may have a skilled observation to add we would greatly appreciate your feedback. Communication is crucial to ensure we represent our businesses to the best of our ability. Should you wish to get more involved, volunteers are always welcome! This is my sixth year on the board, third year as chair, with this being my last year. The Yukon Chamber will be looking for a new chair as of June 2022. We need someone with vision, patience and energy as we have so much to rebuild in our post-Covid world. I will always be dedicated and involved in supporting roles where needed. This has been an incredibly rewarding experience, mind you a bit stressful through a pandemic! However, with such an amazing team of professionals around our boardroom table we have all found a way to grow and meet what was asked of us. I look forward to 2022 as we discover new economic opportunities, innovations and most of all healthy communities. Happy Holidays to everyone and may 2022 be as bright as we all hope it will be.
Executive Director Message
Normally in this space, I take the opportunity to share the chamber position on a current issue of concern, a government policy, or a regulation that our members think needs attention. But in this message – the final one for 2021 – I want to take the opportunity to shine some light on you, our members.
Since March 27, 2020, when the Yukon Government declared a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the business community, and of course the community as a whole, has done an exceptional job of rising to the occasion. On a regular basis, over the last 20+ months, you’ve been asked to adjust practically every aspect of how you do business and how you serve your clients. Many of you were closed entirely for a time, and many of you continue to have your teams (or some of them) working remotely. Everything has changed, from the number of clients who can enter your business, to how your workspace is laid out, to cleaning protocols, to creating physical barriers between your staff (and between you and your clients) and in recent weeks your supply chains have been drastically impacted. Yukon has led the nation, if not the world in delivering business support programs, but make no mistake, this support has only provided a life line, not sustainability or prosperity. The emergence of yet another variant of concern leaves many businesses just holding on.
The number of visitors to the Yukon has drastically declined which has created dire circumstances for Yukon’s fragile tourism sector. This impact on the tourism sector has affected many of you to varying degrees. In addition, consumer patterns and spending have changed which has elevated the importance and urgency to encourage Yukoners to buy Yukon.
Through all of this, you have continued to manage your way through this crisis, you have done everything in your power to adapt to both public health and economic realities, and you have adjusted, pivoted, and shown exceptional resilience. You have made keeping your clients, your staff, and your community safe a priority. I am so very proud of each and every one of you who has figured out a way to keep going, to keep the doors open, to keep your team employed, and to keep your chin up! 2021 has been the craziest and most difficult year any of you will likely every have to navigate, in your entire business career. Here’s hoping in 2022 we will turn the corner and find some semblance of normalcy and get our businesses back on track and our lives back in order. You have done an amazing job of keeping things going; your perseverance is outstanding.
Early in the New Year, the Yukon Chamber is embarking on the development of Yukon Chamber 2025 which will map out a plan for the Yukon Chamber to play a greater role in shaping the future of the Yukon business community. We are inviting our members to accompany us on the journey to develop Yukon Chamber 2025. Working with our members and community chambers of commerce from across the Yukon, the primary objective of Yukon Chamber 2025 is to position the Yukon Chamber as the undisputed champion and catalyst for business success. We look forward to working with our members and other stakeholders on this strategic initiative!
Wishing you and yours a safe and joyous holiday season!
Meets the first Monday of the Month
What have they been doing?
Delivered letter to Premier Silver and Minister Streicker in regards to several issues with energy in the Yukon and specific concerns with the targets of the Our Clean Future Plan and the creation of the Climate Leadership Council. Met with Andrew Hall and his team from Yukon Energy to review the items raised in our letter to the Premier. Outcome: Commitment to regular meetings between YCC and Yukon Energy. Action being taken on the issues with alignment with the Our Clean Future Plan and a referral on the overearning by ATCO which is not an issue Yukon Energy would deal with.
Response from letter sent to Minister Streicker re challenges with the Aishihik Water License Renewal YESAB recommendations. Scheduling a meeting with department Director to discuss the recommendations.
YCC issued letters of support for Hector Campbell and Myles Thorpe who have applied to sit on the Yukon Climate Change Council – Hector was subsequently appointed to the Council.
Takeaway: The government values what the committee has to say!!
Food, Beverage and Cannabis Committee
What have they been doing?
Rich Thompson has stepped up to chair the committee to provide senior leadership on the liquor pricing and privatization of liquor sales.
YG announced that the 25% discount to licensees is ending and introduced a new lower discount structure. They have not addressed the request to create a wholesale pricing structure.
Other issues outstanding are a pricing structure for cannabis that is more realistic and business friendly and dealing with the room-and-board allowance attached to Employment Standards Act that has an impact on many food-and-beverage businesses.
Executive Director will work with Rich to provide a response to the Minister.
Procurement & Trade Committee:
What have they been doing?
Denny continues to attend multiple meetings monthly dealing with the YFNPP Working Group, BVR Sub-Working Group, Procurement Business Committee, Yukon Business Definition Sub-Working Group, and starting in October, the YFNPP Monitor and Review Committee.
We have a Private-Sector Working Group that is developing positioning statements and speaking with one business/private-sector voice whenever possible (YCC, WCC, Yukon Contractors Association, and Association of Consulting Engineering Companies - Yukon).
A working group has developed an updated Yukon Business Definition that will be tabled with the Procurement Business Committee in December for discussion.
Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
Meets the first Wednesday of the month.
What have they been doing?
The Committee has been active with regular monthly meetings. Current priority issue being tackled is the multi-port strategy. Meeting was hosted with the Minister of Economic Development, key mining stakeholders, and Skagway on November 19th.
Board members met with US Consul General Brent Hardt and Chief of Political and Economic Affairs Sung Choi to discuss relations concerning US trade with the Yukon, the Shakwak Project, and other trade matters.
Regulatory Affairs Committee
Chair seat is vacant
– Mal Malloch is currently providing leadership and support
What have they been doing?
This committee’s mandate is to improve the experience of businesses with the processes for permits, inspections, and related activities of regulatory agencies. The Committee has half a dozen members who typically meet monthly. They conducted a survey to gather data about experiences and perspectives of businesses in regard to these processes. The Committee has reached out to the City of Whitehorse and to YG Economic Development. In both cases, the response has been positive. Much work remains to be done.
Investigating options to rebuild membership database;
If your membership status is active in our database, you will receive your certificate and seals in the near future
Welcome New Members
Alan Steel Consulting: Alan Steel
BHB Storage and Rentals: Helen Bowie
Elevator Yukon: Jordan Stackhouse
Icefield Tools Corp: Kim Sta Ana
Ishaq Miah: Ishaq Miah
Northern Lights Centre: Corrine Zozula
SLR Consulting: Chelsea Hamilton
Tagish Big Bite Charters: Charles Widrig
Well Bread Culinary: Catherine McInroy
Setplan Engineering: Paul O’Connor
Betty Stokes Burns
Office of the Employer Advisor
YCC’s Employer Advisor, Mal Malloch, continues to assist employers with information, advice, and education about anything related to workers’ compensation. He publishes current developments regarding assessment rates, rebates, policy changes, and other developments. He responds to individual requests for assistance. Mal also provides input and feedback to YWCHSB on policy issues. You can reach Mal: email@example.com.
YCC recently completed a process to enhance the program for next year and the budget for 2022 was approved early in November. We are currently finalising a new, two-year contribution agreement with YWCHSB to take effect 1 January.
Strategic & Transition Planning
Registrar of Societies - We have filed for 2020-2021 under the new rules and we are in good standing.
Yukon Chamber 2025 – Digital Transformation Sub-Working Group - Philip, Tammy and Craig (Chair of the Group) to prepare for digitization and chamber management solutions.
Special General Meeting proposed for Spring 2022 to present updated Bylaws.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Stan Thompson Representative
Craig Hougen – Canadian Chamber of Commerce Board Member term has ended. YCC extends a thank you to him for providing strong Yukon representation on the board over the past several years.
Yukon was successful in tabling and receiving unanimous support at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM for our resolution Rural and Remote Air Access. The recommendations in the resolution call on the Federal government to:
Treat air service to remote & rural communities as an essential service through financial support of rural and regional airports and airlines and by promoting connectivity into the global networks of Canada's major air carriers;
Review other international models of regional air service supports for access to rural and remote communities, such as in the U.S. and Australia, and implement a model that works for Canada;
Extend financial support to regional airports and airlines through the federal government's program for essential air access to remote communities and the Regional Air Transport Initiative with additional funding for 2022 and beyond;
Extend expanded funding for the Airports Capital Assistance Program to $95 million per year indefinitely and review outstanding airport infrastructure gaps that must be addressed through other programs;
Engage with regional airlines, airports, local business, indigenous & non-indigenous communities to determine guidelines, minimum capacity requirements, and cost challenges post Covid-19 for regional airlines operating in remote and rural communities; and
Support regional airports and airlines through other grants or subsidies, where determined necessary.
This resolution provides a clear mandate for the federal government to continue to provide support to regional airlines like Air North and encourages the government to promoting connectivity to the national legacy carriers (Air Canada and West Jet) with regional airlines like Air North. Air North has been advocating for this for years and we now have support from the Canadian Chamber to bolster Air North’s efforts!
Great Yukon Summer Rebate Program ended November 15 and we swing into Great Yukon Summer Freeze Program till March 31, 2022.
Buy Local Gift Card – let’s keep shopping Local! Purchase gift card which is used similar to a prepaid credit card, at participating businesses.
Denny’s term as Executive Director ends March 31, 2022 a job posting is scheduled to be issued in January 2022.
Christmas Office closure December 24, 2021 to January 3, 2022 inclusive.
News from Chamber Benefit Plan – Added Personal Benefit