House affordability in Yukon is a significant concern says the author of the 2019 Yukon Living Wage Report
The Yukon Anit-poverty coalition has calculated the 2019 living wage in Whitehorse at $19.07 per hour, and says that substantial action is necessary to improve affordability for low and modest income households. Whitehorse has one of the highest living wage rates in the country, which is calculated as the hourly rate of pay required to meet a household’s basic needs, after accounting for government transfers and deductions from income. Yukon’s hourly minimum wage is just $12.71, which is $6.36/hour less than the living wage.
The report recommends ten measures to improve affordability and reduce poverty for families in the Yukon:
- focus infrastructure investments on building new social or community housing
- develop a low fee transit pass for low and modest income earners Measures to improve affordability by increasing incomes for low and modest income households
- introduce a Basic Annual Income pilot that reflects the cost of living in the territory
- implement the schedule for increasing the minimum wage as recommended by the Employment Standards Board in 2018
- index the Yukon Child Care Benefit to inflation or child care costs
- target the Carbon Tax Rebate to low income earners
- enhance the Yukon Child Benefit up to $1,200 annually per child Measures to enhance data quality to improve our understanding of poverty in the Yukon
- update the Northern Market Basket Measure for Whitehorse
- follow the NWT example of including communities outside of Whitehorse for the Northern Market Basket Measure
- renew and implement a Poverty Reduction Strategy with legislated targets and timelines
But there is another issue at hand: currently there are not enough lots being released by the City of Whitehorse to keep up with demand, and on top of that, these lots are being sold at high prices as a result of inflated development costs. This creates a situation where the final product is simply not affordable for the everyday home buyer. Until the supply meets demand, prices will continue to rise.
Here is the report if you’d like to take a look yourself: https://yapc.ca/assets/files/Living_Wage_Calculation__Considerations_-_2019.pdf