6 gaps we found in the Liberal budget

Today’s budget from the Liberal government misses opportunities to help people with costs and improve the services that matter to them. Here’s 6 things we found to do better in the Liberal budget:

Wages. Today’s budget doesn’t mention government’s choice to reject the $1.10 minimum wage increase recommended by both workers and employers on the Employment Standards Board. The current minimum wage is more than $5/hour below the living wage for Whitehorse.

“The pandemic has shown that front line workers are essential,” said White. “Everybody should earn enough to afford to live. We need to deliver better wages for workers.”

Kate White and the Yukon NDP will immediately increase the minimum wage to $15/hour to help more people make ends meet.

Childcare. The Liberals’ new childcare plan includes no new funds to create childcare spaces, or hire and train more educators.

“I’m happy that now all parties agree childcare fees are too high. But I still worry for parents who are having trouble getting their kids into childcare at all,” said Yukon NDP Leader Kate White. “Waitlists are long. And often parents have to settle for fewer days a week, or a facility that’s way too far from home. We need to create new spaces to give parents better options.”

Kate White and the Yukon NDP will train more Early Childhood Educators, invest in professional development and create new childcare spaces to provide real affordable, accessible, quality childcare.

Housing. The Liberal budget’s housing commitments won’t come close to clearing the 350+ person waitlist at Yukon Housing.

“Everyone deserves a stable, affordable place to live,” said White. “Too many people are struggling to find housing or pay their rent. Today’s promises aren’t going to cut it. We should be building more units and do a better job of protecting renters.”

Kate White and the NDP will create new, affordable rental units and cap rent increases against big hikes.

Addictions. The budget speech doesn’t even mention the opioid crisis. There have been 36 opioid overdose-related deaths since 2016.

“Our siblings, parents, and neighbours are dying,” said White. “It’s time for a public health response, not one that treats people struggling with addictions like criminals. We’ve been talking about this for years, it’s time to get it done.”

Kate White and the NDP will put in place a safe supply program to save lives.

Healthcare. The budget speech talks about the Putting People First report, but doesn’t take any of the significant steps required to bring people the care they need when they need it. There is no commitment to make hemodialysis available in the Yukon, to expand homecare, pharmacare or dental care.

“I don’t want anyone to skip a dentist visit or their meds just because they can’t afford it,” said White. “Healthcare is cheaper if we do it together. We’re going to cover dental care and prescription medication to help families save money.”

Kate White and the Yukon NDP will deliver dental and prescription medication coverage.

Climate Change. Clean transportation investments remain a small fraction of overall transportation investment. Much of the energy efficiency and retrofit investments are directly funded by Ottawa. Our Clean Future still does not account for mining emission and only contains measures to reach ¾ of the GHG emission reduction targets it sets for Yukon.

“Yukoners love where they live and want to see it healthy and protected for years to come,” said White. “When we pushed the government to declare a Climate Emergency in 2019, they made a commitment to take action. It’s time to deliver.”

Kate White and the Yukon NDP will invest in renewable energy and make sure we meet 100% of our climate targets.

Watch Kate’s reaction to the budget here.