Yukon bans residential evictions, offers paid sick leave during COVID-19 pandemic

The Yukon government announced a series of new measures on Thursday that it says will support businesses, workers, and residential tenants through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Landlords are now unable to evict residential tenants over the next 90 days, if those tenants are self-isolating and unable to pay rent because of lost work. They also cannot evict tenants if anyone in the household is subject to a health protection measure. The new regulations were passed Thursday under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.

In a statement, Community Services Minister John Streicker said the government also recognizes that landlords need support right now.

"Now that these regulations are in place, we will reach out to work with them immediately," the statement reads in part.

Also on Thursday, the government introduced a paid sick leave program to allow self-employed Yukoners or those without sick leave to stay home or self-isolate if they're sick, without giving up their income.

The rebate is paid to employers or self-employed Yukoners to cover up to 10 days of an employee's wages, or 10 days of average daily earnings for self-employed people. It's meant to allow for a 14-day quarantine period.

Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai also eased some regulations for laid-off workers under the Yukon Nominee Program. Nominees who are laid off, or see their work hours reduced, will not be given the standard 90-day notice to find a new job.

Aviation fees waived

The territorial government is also taking steps to help the aviation industry, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting April 1, all airport landing fees, aircraft parking fees and loading fees in Yukon will be waived for the rest of the year.

Mike Rudyk/CBC

According to a government news release, that will save about $210,000 for businesses and tourism in Yukon, "and incentivize carriers of all sizes to visit and stay in Yukon."

This week, Yukon-based Air North said it's taking a major hit from the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread travel restrictions. The airline expects to temporarily lay off more than half of its workforce.