Senator Pat Duncan was one of 13 senators who participated in a study on the federal government’s response to COVID-19 and the only one from the territories. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

North heard ‘very clearly’ in report on Canada’s COVID-19 financial response, Yukon senator says

Canada’s Standing Senate Committee on National Finance has released an interim report on the federal government’s response to COVID-19, calling for more transparency on how financial decisions are made and better support for more Canadians.

COVID-19: Relief in times of crisis contains 16 recommendations including returning to “traditional procedures for approval by Parliament of government spending in order to provide appropriate oversight of government expenditures,” extending the eligibility for businesses that can apply to the Canada Emergency Business Account, modifying the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) so the amount given to applicants is geared to their incomes, and enhancing data collected by Statistics Canada to include more details on region, race, ethnicity and gender.

Yukon senator Pat Duncan was one of 13 senators who participated in the study and the only one from the territories.

She highlighted in an interview July 16 two recommendations that she said would be key to the Yukon, adding that “the North was heard, and very clearly, in this report.”

Recommendation nine, Duncan noted, is a call for the federal government to work with the territories to “ensure that northern airlines have sufficient financial support and access to gateway routes.”

Air North president Joe Sparling was the only Yukoner to make a presentation to the Senate in the lead-up to its report, she said, and “very ably presented the case for the northern air carriers.”

Duncan also took note of recommendation three, which suggests that the federal government, along with provincial, territorial and Indigenous governments, “give full, fair and priority consideration to a basic income guarantee.”

Duncan, separate from the interim report, has been working with other senators to push the federal government to introduce a universal basic income, and said she was “pleased” it also made it into the report.

She added that implementing a basic income was also among the recommendations made by a panel earlier this year that had reviewed the Yukon’s health and social services and programs.

“I’m really interested in this program and the impact it could have and the change it could bring, so I’ll be interested in following that,” she said.

She confirmed that the “haste and trying to deal with emergency situations and provide funding to folks,” resulting in “people falling between the cracks” is an issue that’s affected governments across the country.

“People, businesses, there are situations that fall between the cracks when programs are put forward as quickly as they have been,” she said.

“… And of course there’s also the concern of overseeing the transparency and accountability of government programs.”

She said she supported the recommendation for more in-depth collection of data by Statistics Canada, particularly on who is receiving the different forms of relief being offered by governments as it would help to identify Canadians who aren’t being supported.

“(There’s) this need to ensure our programs are reaching individuals, and again, no one is left out … For example, we’ve heard recently in a number of national news stories and reports that women may be the last to return to the workforce because of the childcare responsibilities and education and home responsibilities. You’re hearing those concerns, that marginalized individuals were not able to access CERB, so to find out … who’s fallen between the cracks and where programs have missed out and people have been forgotten, we’re looking to Stats Can to provide more information,” she explained.

Duncan encouraged Yukoners to read the report and watch other committee hearings.

The full interim report is available online here.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Oct. 21. Elected officials in the Yukon, including all 19 members of the legislature, are backing the right of Mi’kmaq fishers on the East Coast to launch a moderate livelihood fishery. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)
Yukon legislature passes motion to support Mi’kmaw fishery

“It’s not easy, but it’s also necessary for us to have these very difficult conversations”

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Most Read