Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon invest $1.95M to support Yukon tourism sector as it adapts and grows beyond the pandemic

News release

Funding towards the Yukon Elevate Tourism Program, administered by the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon, helps strengthen the dynamic tourism industry

May 27, 2022 — Whitehorse, Yukon — Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Stunning landscapes, rich living-history, diverse Indigenous cultures and languages - the Yukon is unlike any other place in the world. With so much to offer visitors, the tourism industry is central to the identity, economy and spirit of this territory. When the pandemic caused significant disruptions to travel, the Government of Canada responded immediately to support the sector, help businesses adapt and thrive, and support local economies that depend on tourists from across Canada and the world.

Today, as part of National Tourism Week, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister for PrairiesCan and Minister for CanNor, the Honourable Ranj Pillai, Yukon Minister of Economic Development and Minister of Tourism and Culture, and Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon, announced a combined investment of $1.95 million towards the Yukon Elevate Tourism Program (Elevate) with a further investment of $25,000 from the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon. The total cost of the two-year project is $1.975 million.

The purpose of Elevate is to support tourism owners and operators as they adapt and grow beyond the pandemic. The program is administered and managed by the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon (TIA Yukon) and designed and delivered through a unique partnership with Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association (YFNCTA) and the Wilderness Tourism Association of Yukon (WTAY). This approach ensures that the needs of Indigenous and wilderness operators are applied and that the entire sector can access these funds.

As the Government of Canada continues to move towards a sustainable approach to pandemic-related travel requirements, this investment supports product and business adaptations, and so far has allowed over 40 owners and operators to meet these new measures or adjust to changing opportunities. It also supports the sector to better understand challenges and opportunities for the resurgence of travel in the 2022 season and beyond.

This investment demonstrates the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon’s ongoing support of the tourism sector throughout the pandemic, and also ensures businesses get the support they need to adapt, grow and thrive. It exemplifies the strength of partnerships as we work collaboratively between governments and with TIA Yukon, YFNCTA and WWTAY to best support tourism owners and operators across the territory.


“The moment you lay your eyes on the Yukon, you know you’re somewhere beyond the ordinary. Yukon tourism organizations and operators are working hard to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and find new approaches to delivering world-class experiences that tell the stories of this territory and what makes it such a special destination to visit. We are seeing incredible growth potential with the pent up demand to get out and see our beautiful country, from coast-to-coast-to-coast. This investment demonstrates our government’s ongoing collaboration with territorial and Indigenous partners to support these efforts. A resilient tourism sector means that the beauty, experiences, stories and cultures of this incredible land can continue to be shared with Canadians and visitors from abroad for generations to come.”

-    The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister for PrairiesCan and Minister for CanNor

“The Canadian tourism sector continues to be one of the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are fully committed to supporting businesses and organizations through these challenging times, keeping safety as the top priority while ensuring they get support to quickly recover, innovate their products and services, and thrive. The Tourism Relief Fund will help businesses adapt, make improvements, and be ready to welcome back guests. It also feeds into a broader strategy to help the sector survive the pandemic, recover and grow. The Canadian economy will not fully recover until our tourism sector recovers.”

-   The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

“Across the Yukon, tourism owners and operators are an incredible source of pride for communities and a significant contributor to regional economies. Elevate supports the diverse needs of the Yukon’s tourism industry as it evolves in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while encouraging operators to rethink, restructure, and rebuild for new successes. This investment demonstrates our commitment to the recovery and growth of this sector so that it can continue to be progressive, impactful and sustainable in the long-term.”

-    Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon

“Over the past two years, the Yukon’s tourism sector has had to deal with enormous challenges in order to navigate the impacts of COVID-19. As national and international travel resumes, the Yukon Elevate Tourism program will help tourism owners and operators grow and thrive. By working alongside our federal partners, we will continue to work with the Yukon's tourism sector to ensure they are well positioned to succeed, create jobs for Yukoners and continue to grow our strong economy.”

-    The Honourable Ranj Pillai, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Government of Yukon

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the tourism industry and the continuation of the Elevate program was crucial to beginning the industry’s long road to recovery. Without this investment from CanNor, it would not have been possible. Elevate provides Yukon tourism operators with a simple funding path to modernize their businesses and adapt to current realities, which helps maintain the Yukon’s reputation as a world-class destination.”

-    Blake Rogers, Executive Director, Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental impact on the Indigenous tourism industry across the country.  In the Yukon, the development of Indigenous tourism businesses was starting to accelerate when COVID-19 stopped these business owners in their tracks.  However, Indigenous people have always been resilient and this has proven true time and time again throughout the pandemic.  The investment from CanNor towards Elevate has been crucial for enabling Yukon Indigenous tourism businesses to develop and enhance the experiences they offer. These experiences are in high demand from travellers and support for these businesses is crucial as we work towards recovery and establishing the Yukon as a premier destination for Indigenous tourism experiences.  We would like to express our gratitude to CanNor for their support without which programs like Elevate would not be possible.”

-    Charlene Alexander, Executive Director, the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association

“The pandemic pushed the tourism industry’s support organizations to find innovative solutions to an unprecedented challenge. Partnering with TIA Yukon and YFNCTA allowed us to design, develop and implement the Elevate Program. It is an effective and streamlined funding program that supports WTAY operators in enhancing both their product and the destination as they move forward with recovery. The success of the Elevate Program would not be possible without the financial assistance provided by CanNor and we’re grateful for their support.”

-    Sandy Legge, Executive Director, Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon

Quick facts

  • In 2020/21, the Yukon Tourism Industry Association delivered the first iteration of Elevate with financial support from CanNor through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.

  • The first iteration of Elevate supported 105 Yukon-based tourism businesses to adapt their operations to function safely under evolving changing public health guidelines.

  • The latest iteration of Elevate runs from October 2021 to March 2023 and builds on the success of the previous program while addressing new and evolving challenges identified by the tourism industry.

  • The Government of Canada’s investment towards Elevate is through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF).  Administered by Canada’s regional development agencies and Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), the TRF supports tourism businesses and organizations in adapting their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate their future growth.

  • With a budget of $500 million over two years (ending March 31, 2023), including a minimum of $50 million specifically dedicated to Indigenous tourism initiatives, and $15 million for national priorities, this fund will position Canada to be a destination of choice as domestic and international travel rebounds.

Associated links


Kyle Allen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister Responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister Responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Laura Seeley
Communications Advisor, Yukon

Francis Lefebvre
Online Communications and Products Analyst, Tourism and Culture
Government of Yukon

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