Yukon gov't extends wage top-up program for low income essential workers

·1 min read

The Yukon government has announced that it will extend its wage top-up program for low-income essential workers until Feb. 15, 2021, in a Tuesday afternoon press release.

The program, which was announced in May, was originally supposed to run between Mar. 15 and Oct. 3. Employees using the program must not have received the federal government's Canada Recovery Benefit during the same period of time.

"To date more than 100 businesses have received more than $1.2 million in funding, benefiting more than 1,300 employees," the release states.

The program provides essential workers making less than $20 per hour with a wage top-up of up to $4 per hour for 16 weeks. The release states that essential workers who received the benefit during the initial period, will be eligible to apply again for the second round.

Minister of Economic Development Ranj Pillai is quoted in the release as encouraging employers to apply for the program.

"Yukon workers providing essential services have continued to come to work despite the stresses and risk of interacting with the public, and we thank them for supporting all Yukoners through these challenging times," Pillai said.

NDP Leader Kate White welcomed the announcement on Tuesday. She also said it's important that essential workers are able to make a living wage all the time, not just during a pandemic.

"These workers are doing essential work now, and they were doing it before, and they'll do it after," White said.

"I think this program should run until we have a vaccine, and then we can talk about living wages."