Yukon gov't offers relief money to businesses hurt by pandemic
Businesses can apply for up to $30K per month for two months to cover fixed business costs
The Yukon government says it's looking to keep local businesses afloat through the COVID-19 pandemic, with a new relief program worth up to $10 million.
Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai announced the funding at a news conference on Thursday.
"This is the most comprehensive business relief program that I've seen in the country, to date," Pillai said.
It's aimed at businesses that have seen a reduction in revenue of at least 30 per cent due to lost business during the pandemic. Pillai said the funding — up to $30,000 per month for a business — is meant to cover fixed costs, including rent, water, sewer, electricity, internet, or insurance.
The grant is available to cover a two-month period from March 23 — when the territorial government ordered many businesses to close — to May 22.
"What the next three, four, five months look like, we don't know. But we think at this time, this is the most appropriate thing to do," Pillai said.
"We've built a program to support people."
Pillai said the program is based on input from a new business advisory council set up last month.
He expects there could be up to 4,000 applications under the program.
Pillai said applications would be accepted until June 1, but a spokesperson for the Department of Economic Development said later in an email that the deadline has been extended to June 30 at 4:30 p.m.
Pillai also said the application process is still being worked out, and that he expects the "finishing touches" will be done over the next week. However, the same department spokesperson later said applications are being accepted now.
At his news conference, Pillai said it was important to announce the program now.
"We will do our absolute best to move this as absolute quickly as possible, understanding that the end of the month is coming as we get to this, and how important it is for individuals to receive this money quickly," he said.
"Going into this weekend, and Easter weekend, we wanted people to have that information to know that there is something that's very substantial that's coming."