Crisis? What crisis?

The territory’s worker and housing shortage is not a crisis, said Premier Dennis Fentie. “I prefer to call it a challenge,” he…

The territory’s worker and housing shortage is not a crisis, said Premier Dennis Fentie.

“I prefer to call it a challenge,” he said, during an Opportunities North media conference on Friday.

Opportunities North is a pan-northern business and investment conference that will be held in Whitehorse September 30th through October 3rd.

It draws together government, industry and the investment community to look at business opportunities in the North, said Fentie.

“We are wishing to further growth and investment.”

And lack of housing and workers isn’t a serious setback, he said.

There are plans in place to deal with the labour market, said Fentie.

There’s a social assistance program to get people working, there’s the older worker’s program, the Yukon nominee program and “we’re continuing to work nationally on issues of immigration,” he said.

“And affordable housing was made available at the college precincts.”

“Before, there were lots of people looking for work, and a depressed market,” added Fentie.

“Now we’re managing growth — we have the lowest unemployment rate in the country.”

While Opportunities North will cover the prospect of a natural gas pipeline running through the Yukon, the conference is “not all about the pipeline,” said Yukon Chamber of Commerce chair Robert McIntyre.

It will focus on everything from tourism to mining, he said.

And when it comes to mining and resource extraction, “the territory’s not void of tools to protect the environment,” said Fentie.

“YESA is our frontline assessment tool, and there’s the water board and quartz mining …”

The fact that the territory’s State of the Environment reports are backdated years, has nothing to do with protecting the environment, added Fentie.

The Yukon government has provided $50,000 in sponsorship for the conference, which is being organized by the chameber.

For more information on Opportunities North, the program and registration visit www.opportunitiesnorth.com

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