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Yukon extends and expands business relief program

The Yukon government announced Thursday that its business relief program will run through the end of March 2021.

Money-losing businesses can get up to $100K to cover some operating costs

Yukon Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai announced Thursday that the government is extending a relief program for businesses until the end of March 2021. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

With many Yukon businesses facing an uncertain winter, the government is extending a relief program that covers fixed costs such as rent and utilities.

The program was originally scheduled to expire this past August, but will now be extended through next March.

Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai said the government will also ease eligibility requirements. Previously, businesses had to show that their revenue dropped by at least 30 per cent. Now businesses will simply have to show that they're losing money.

"We're really just trying to get people to a point where they're at break-even," Pillai told reporters Thursday. "We want them to be able to pay their bills and sustain themselves to get through this [pandemic]."

Eligible businesses can receive up to $100,000 from the territorial government and up to another $100,000 through a similar federal program.

The government has also expanded the list of eligible costs. It now includes expenses such as property taxes, animal feed and aviation insurance.

Pillai said more than 430 businesses have used the program at a cost to the Yukon government of $5.1 million. He added that the government does not yet know how many businesses have failed during the pandemic, but expects those figures to be available soon.

The minister acknowledged the tourism industry in particular is struggling, but said mining and the public sector have largely kept the economy afloat. Pillai said he expects Yukon's GDP will grow in 2020.

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