Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on April 1. Pillai announced a $10 million Yukon business relief program for businesses affected by precautions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic on April 9. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

YG announces program to fund fixed costs for Yukon businesses hit by COVID-19

The program could cost up to $10 million

Ranj Pillai, economic development minster for the Yukon, announced new funding for Yukon buinesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 during a press conference on April 9 in Whitehorse.

The Yukon Business Relief Program allows businesses that “have experienced a 30 per cent reduction in revenue and require immediate relief” to apply for up to $30,000 per month to cover fixed costs for the time period of March 23 to May 22.

Pillai said it is still to be determined how applicants will be evaluated to measure the reduction in revenue.

Applications to the program will be accepted until June 1.

“Yukon businesses need support to manage through this difficult time. The measures necessary to protect the health and safety of Yukoners in response to COVID-19 are having a significant impact on Yukon’s businesses,” Pillai is quoted in the press release accompanying the announcement. “This funding provides needed relief to businesses experiencing hardship and enhance their ability to rebound in the future. This is one more way our government can support local businesses as they are truly the backbone of our economy.”

Pillai declined to give a time frame for when business owners should expect to receive money, but clarified that work is still underway on the program and that more information, including what will be involved in applying, will be released in the coming weeks.

Fixed costs covered under the program include commercial rent or lease; water, sewage and waste disposal; electricity and heating fuel; telephone, cable, internet and satellite, data services and susbscriptions; business insurance; and pest control.

Businesses orderd to close by the chief medical officer — like those in the personal services, hospitality and retail industries — will be eligible for up to 100 per cent coverage, while those in other affected industries could receive up to 75 per cent coverage.

Pillai added that staff have been instructed to prioritize applications in the former category.

The government estimates the program will receive up to 4,000 applications and cost up to $10 million.

To start an application, business owners are instructed to contact the Department of Economic Development.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

Yukon government

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