Safe Restart Agreement Response Letter: Premier of Yukon

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister:

To protect the health of Canadians, all governments continue to work together effectively to manage the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of these ongoing collaborative efforts, I am pleased to accept additional federal resources to support critical needs over the next six to eight months through the Safe Restart Agreement. These investments will help to protect public health and safety, prepare for potential future waves of the virus, and further support the safe reopening of economies across Canada.

First Ministers recognize that the territories face distinct challenges and circumstances, which will need to be addressed separately. First Ministers also recognize that smaller jurisdictions may require funding adjustments beyond per capita allocations.

This letter outlines the Government of Yukon's funding priorities under the Safe Restart Agreement reached between Canada and Yukon and reflects our understandings on shared objectives and the funding commitments made in the seven priority areas. This letter, and its Appendix, represents the entire Safe Restart Agreement and terms reached between our two governments.

Yukon's specific allocation and other distribution details for each priority area are also set out and confirmed in the Appendix forming part of this correspondence.

Testing, contact tracing, and data management

The goal of this investment is to help provinces and territories reach a collective capacity to test up to 200,000 people per day across Canada, as well as to improve their contact tracing capacities.

The Government of Canada will provide $4.28 billion to support provinces and territories with the costs of increasing their capacity to conduct testing, perform contact tracing, and share appropriate public health data that will help fight the pandemic. Funding and support will also be provided to provinces and territories to improve and modernize data management across Canada, to help all orders of government coordinate their efforts to contain the virus. Yukon will share information and data, including disaggregated data (e.g. race-based and other demographic data), as well as relevant information on testing supplies and procurement.

In Yukon, funding will support the purchase of testing supplies procured by our partners in British Columbia, staffing for clinical and planning needs, contracts for testing services, incremental costs related to additional contact tracing, transportation of tests to out-of-territory lab facilities, and surge capacity planning. With no community transmission within the territory, funds will support Yukon's efforts to maintain its capacity to administer up to 60 tests per day without disruptions to programs and services. Should Yukon see a surge (e.g. an outbreak in a facility, cases in a rural community or community transmission), plans are in place to scale up to 160 tests per day.

Health care system capacity

COVID-19 has increased the demands on health care systems across Canada and placed additional strain on mental health. This investment is intended to support the health care services and mental health supports that Canadians rely on, as each jurisdiction addresses the impacts of COVID-19.

The Government of Canada will provide $700 million to support health care systems capacity to respond to a potential future wave of COVID-19. A further $500 million will address immediate needs and gaps in the support and protection of people experiencing challenges related to mental health, substance use, or homelessness. This investment will help to keep Canadians safe and healthy with the health care supports they need.

In Yukon, health care funding will support additional infection prevention and control activities. It will also be used to secure staffing support for COVID-response and community activities. The mental health stream of funding will cover additional clinical supports for mental health and problematic substance use services. This includes additional funding for clinical supports provided through two community organizations that support mental health delivery in the territory.

Vulnerable populations

Canadians receiving long-term care, home care, and palliative care are at an increased risk of more severe cases of COVID-19. As the economy restarts, it is important to have continued protections and supports in place for seniors, and provide health and social supports to other vulnerable populations.

The Government of Canada will provide $740 million to support costs over the next six to eight months for measures aimed at controlling and preventing infections. This could include addressing staffing issues, in long-term care, home care, and palliative care facilities and services; funding can also be used to support other vulnerable populations.

In Yukon, funding will support individuals experiencing homelessness by securing additional spaces in local hotels. Due to public health measures, the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter requires additional space to support its clients. Funding will also be used to ensure a safe, clean environment at community shelters. Funding will also be used to ensure single site clinician and support services are place at all long term care homes across the territory.

Yukon will continue to participate in the work of Health Ministers on standards for supportive care, including long-term care and home care, building on the Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities and recent studies and reports.

Municipalities and transit

Municipalities are on the front lines of a safe restart of the economy and need to continue to put in place appropriate precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and manage public spaces and critical services, like public transit.

The Government of Canada will contribute up to $2 billion to support municipalities with COVID-19 operating costs for the next six to eight months. Provincial and territorial governments will continue to support municipalities and will cost-match federal supports with investments flowed this fiscal year for operating costs.

In addition, the Government of Canada will also contribute more than $2.3 billion to support any additional contributions by participating provinces or territories for public transit operating costs.

Funds for municipal and transit investments will be cost-shared 50/50. Contributions for municipal supports will recognize provincial and territorial operational investments flowed from April 1, 2020.

Our government will provide a direct and verifiable transfer to municipalities for the appropriate amounts and commit that no claw-backs in other forms will occur.

In Yukon, municipal funding will support operating budget pressures due to COVID-19, such as additional costs for PPE, as well as staffing and operating requirements, particularly for the management of community centres, public spaces and public transit. The Government of Yukon is working directly with municipalities to understand their distinct needs. Once this information is gathered, we intend to allocate funding to municipalities based on an evaluation of their needs.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and non-health workers

COVID-19 has added significant pressure to the procurement and supply of PPE for essential health workers and others. Both orders of government have made significant investments in this area and worked collaboratively to ensure availability of the required equipment at all stage of the pandemic.

To support the restart of the economy, the Government of Canada will commit $4.05 billion to purchase PPE for national distribution to provinces and territories, $500 million to support the purchase of PPE for the non-health sector, and commit $3 billion directly to provinces and territories for previous and planned PPE investments. To facilitate future procurement, provinces and territories will regularly share relevant PPE-related data with the Government of Canada.

In Yukon, funding will cover the cost of PPE procured through traditional supply chains for both health and non-health sectors, as well as supporting the needs of First Nations to safely deliver services to their members.

Child care for returning workers

The Government of Canada is working with provinces and territories to ensure sufficient child care is available so that parents can gradually return to the workplace.

The Government of Canada will provide $625 million to help the sector adapt to the COVID-19 environment and address the reduced availability of child care spaces and the unique needs stemming from the pandemic.

In Yukon, funding will support additional infection prevention and control measures for child care operators. This includes additional support for cleaning and disinfecting child care facilities to ensure a safe environment for both children and staff. It will also support the sustainability of child care services in two rural communities, providing resources to ensure that child care centres will remain open during COVID-19; this protects spaces for families that need them and supports staff retention. Funding will also be used for enhanced staff training related to COVID-19.

Pan-Canadian sick leave

To safely restart the economy, Canada must ensure that workers do not return to work if they have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms.

To encourage workers to remain at home and seek public health advice if they are showing symptoms, the Government of Canada will fund and deliver a new temporary income support program. The estimated $1.1 billion program will support workers who do not already have access to other paid sick leave. The federal government is responsible for all current and future costs of this program.

Where not already available, provinces and territories will seek to establish job protected sick leave so that workers can take advantage of the temporary new federal program.

In Yukon, Leave (COVID-19) Regulation under the Yukon Employment Standards Act (Order-in­ Council no. 2020/94) provides access to up to 14 days' leave for reasons related to COVID-19 for the duration of the territorial state of emergency. The Yukon government, working with employers, acted swiftly in the early days of the pandemic to establish a COVID-19 paid sick leave program, to ensure that workers can stay home when they are ill without fear of financial hardship. Subject to details with respect to the implementation of the national temporary income support program, the Yukon government's program will wind down in the coming weeks to ensure seamless access to paid sick leave for workers that need it.

First Ministers believe this funding must quickly be put to use to protect the health and safety of our citizens and to truly help restart the economy. In order to do so, the funding for all priorities will be transferred to Yukon through a direct single transfer. This single transfer is in addition to a September transfer for the second tranche of testing funding and is separate from the federal Pan-Canadian Sick Leave program and federal in-kind spending for testing, contact tracing, and data management and PPE.

Each government will continue to publically report on its actions to maintain transparency and accountability to the citizens it serves.

Canadians have been well served by the strong, collaborative efforts demonstrated by First Ministers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. All First Ministers reaffirm their commitment to this approach, while they continue to address their top shared priority, the well-being and safety of all Canadians.

I look forward to the implementation of the Safe Restart Agreement and our continued collaboration,


Sandy Silver
Premier of Yukon

Appendix - Canada-Yukon Safe Restart Agreement Investment Details

  1. Testing, Contact Tracing, and Data Management
    1. Federal Investment ($1000s) - $4,282,000
    2. Allocation Details
      • Per capita allocation;
      • $3,000 000 cash transfer in two installments;
      • $1,282 000 in transfers and federal support
    3. Yukon Allocation ($1000s) - $3,262
  2. Health Care System Capacity
    1. Federal Investment ($1000s) - $1,200,000
    2. Allocation Details - Per capita cash transfer
    3. Yukon Allocation ($1000s) - $1,305
  3. Vulnerable Populations
    1. Federal Investment ($1000s) - $740,000
    2. Allocation Details - Per capita cash transfer
    3. Yukon Allocation ($1000s) - $805
  4. Municipalities and Transit
    1. Federal Investment ($1000s) - $2,000,000 (municipalities) + $2,300,000 (transit)
    2. Allocation Details
      • Municipalities - per capita cash transfer, cost shared at 50/50;
      • Transit - cash transfer as applicable, cost shared at 50/50;
      • Provincial and territorial operational investments flowed from April 1, 2020 are recognized
    3. Yukon Allocation ($1000s) - $2,175 (municipalities)
  5. PPE
    1. Federal Investment ($1000s) - $7,500,000
    2. Allocation Details
      • $3,000,000 per capita cash transfer;
      • $4,550,000 in federally-delivered support
    3. Yukon Allocation ($1000s) - $3,262
  6. Child Care for Returning Workers
    1. Federal Investment ($1000s) - $625,000
    2. Allocation Details - Base ($2M/jurisdiction) plus per capita cash transfer
    3. Yukon Allocation ($1000s) - $2,651
  7. Pan-Canadian Sick Leave
    1. Federal Investment ($1000s) - $1,100,000
    2. Allocation Details - Federal Delivery

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