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Yukon’s Future. Our Priorities. Our Plan.

Engage Yukon

Yukon’s Future. Our Priorities. Our Plan.

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The Yukon government is facing financial challenges. Over the past ten years Yukon government revenue growth of 1.7% per year in real dollars has not kept pace with spending growth of 2.5% per year.

Yukon’s Financial Advisory Panel was tasked to develop a series of DRAFT options to ensure a healthy financial future. The options have been prepared, with consideration of the input received from the early engagement process, and are ready for YOUR INPUT and FEEDBACK.

Below you will find FIVE discussions, pick the discussion(s) you are MOST interested in and contribute your response by answering the following questions:

  • What pros, opportunities and benefits are associated with these options?
  • What cons, challenges and limitations are associated with these options?

There is no limit to the number of discussions you participate in. Thank you for sharing your input on this important topic!

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT?

List of Discussions

  1. Options for SHORT Term financial health
  2. Options for MEDIUM Term financial health
  3. Options for LONG Term financial health
  4. Successfully Implementing Yukon government’s 4 Priorities
  5. Improving Yukon government Efficiency & Effectiveness




Closed

The Government of Yukon anticipates a significant shortfall of money (deficits) in the coming years, where the spending levels are higher than the anticipate revenue. The Panel has developed the following options to improve the currently forecasted budget deficits:

Option 1: Restrain Spending Growth
In order to achieve a balanced budget by 2020, the Yukon government could restrain spending growth by limiting spending increases to 1% per year. Alternatively, a more relaxed approach with spending growth capped at 2% per year would balance the territorial budget by 2022/23.

Option 2: Increase Government Revenue
The Government of Yukon could establish a territorial sales tax. A sales tax would address near-term fiscal challenges and would grow with the territory’s GDP. Each 1% increase in the sales tax would raise an additional $7 million per year in government revenues.

The revenue collected from a territorial sales tax could be redistributed through lowering personal and business tax. Additionally, visitors to the Yukon would contribute a substantial share of the sales tax revenue, perhaps in excess of 25 cents of each dollar collected, and therefore Yukoners overall would pay less tax.

Option 3: Combine New Revenues with Spending Restraint
There is an opportunity to combine both Option 1 and 2 where the outcome of a balanced budget would be achieved sooner as well as the costs of the change are distributed more equitably. The Government of Yukon could combine new revenues and spending growth by:

  • Capping spending growth at 2% and introducing a 4% territorial sales tax in order to balance the territorial budget by 2020/21.
  • Capping spending growth at 1.5% and introducing a 4% territorial sales tax in order to balance the territorial budget by 2019/20.
  • Capping spending growth at 0.5% and introducing a 2% territorial sales tax in order to balance the territorial budget by 2019/20.

Option 4: Do Nothing
Doing nothing, as proposed by the Panel, is the final option that suggests there is an opportunity to accept the status quo and take no deliberate action. The Panel’s draft options highlight the Conference Board of Canada’s Territorial Outlook Economic Forecast which anticipates mining activity to grow and large scale activity to begin – both of which will have positive impacts on increasing revenue from 2018/19.

The Panel also notes the risk of doing nothing. If increasing revenue does not materialize, Yukon’s fiscal situation will become more difficult to manage at a later date.


What do you think?

  • What pros, opportunities and benefits are associated with these options?
  • What cons, challenges and limitations are associated with these options?

Comments

egras's picture

egras
Capping spending growth at 0.5% and introducing a 2% territorial sales tax in order to balance the territorial budget by 2019/20.- I like this one.

monadani's picture

monadani
I was more than happy to find this web site. I need to thank you for your moment due to this unbelievable read!! I definitely savored every bit of it and I have you book-marked to see new things in your web site.

takhininurse's picture

takhininurse
Cap spending growth at 0.5% and introduce a 2% territorial sales tax.

pirh50's picture

pirh50
NO sales tax or debt. Increase business growth and increase revenues. Do not spend if there is no revenue stream to pay for it.

Trevor Tombe's picture

Trevor Tombe
Thanks for your comment! A sales tax is but one option, lowering spending growth and finding efficiencies is another very important one. Increasing business growth is also very important, as you note. One option the panel put forward is lowering income taxes, including corporate income taxes. To fund this, though, requires either a switch to other revenue sources (like a sales tax) or less spending on government services. Thank you for participating in the discussion here; it helps identify the pros/cons of each of the many options.

Forest's picture

Forest
My suggestion is to end the subsidization of oil and gas (propane) consumption in the Yukon. Currently we give anywhere between $10 and $20 million dollars worth of subsides to use of oil and propane in the Yukon. And the perversity of this subsidy is 1) we don't produce any of these resources, so no benefit to Yukon; and 2) we have safer, cleaner made-in-Yukon alternative to these fuels for many of the uses (e.g. space heating). Currently we have the lowest fuel tax in Canada and we fully exempt tax on propane! Our fuel tax is HALF of what Alberta charges, and they actually make the stuff. Ending the subsides on fuel alone could cut the projected deficit by almost half. I've started writing this up in a bit more at: http://forestpearson.blogspot.ca/2017/09/an-idea-to-help-balance-yukons-books.html , but if you want more specifics, reply and I can add more details.

Trevor Tombe's picture

Trevor Tombe
Hi Forest, thank you for this detailed comment and for the link to your site for more information. One area the panel highlights -- as you also do quite clearly -- is Yukon's low level of fuel taxation, both in terms of rates and broad exemptions. Taking a look at fuel taxes is indeed an important option to consider. The carbon tax will also increase those taxes in the Yukon, as they will everywhere, and (though many details are still to be worked out by the Federal government) areas currently exempt from fuel taxes may not be exempt from carbon taxes. Of course, this may pose challenges to lower income households and to remote communities. One option to address this would be for cost-of-living credits or other transfers to such groups. I'm curious about your thoughts here and the best way to address these potential challenges.

Forest's picture

Forest
Hello Trevor. Thanks for the reply, however I see you are mixing up a couple of different issues. This is a common mistake and for the benefit of other Yukoners, I'd like to clarify that. What I am talking about is the Fuel Sales Tax. This is a tax. Taxes are used by government to raise funds for the purposes of conducting the affairs of government. This is indeed the topic of discussion for the Financial Advisory Panel: How do we balance our books? What I am suggesting is that we apply the Fuel Sales tax in a more sustainable fashion. What you later referred to was Carbon Pricing, sometimes erroneously referred to as "carbon tax". This is a completely different thing. Carbon pricing, or more accurately, a carbon "fee," is a fee charged for disposal of waste and its associated costs to society, not for raising general revenue for government. This is particularly true in our situation as I understand the current government has said the carbon fee would be "revenue-neutral." This means it does not grow government's operations and therefore does not fund the operations of government. I hope that helps clarifies that these are two separate issues and we should be careful to not confuse them. Best regards,

Trevor Tombe's picture

Trevor Tombe
You make an important point, Forest. Thank you. We certainly shouldn't consider the two taxes as identical tools. I mentioned carbon taxes only in the context of something that also raises fuel prices, which in some areas raises similar equity concerns as fuel taxes do. In terms of what one does with the carbon tax revenue, there are various pros and cons to weigh. An excellent report on this topic is: https://ecofiscal.ca/reports/choose-wisely-options-trade-offs-recycling-carbon-pricing-revenues/ Thank you for the discussion!

John's picture

John
It's great to see these kinds of discussions. These draft options all involve trade-off's, and the more discussion, the more likely we are to make the right choices.

anonyukon1's picture

anonyukon1
I think that a shift from taxing income to taxing consumption is valid. I also think that there are many ways government could be saving money or spending more wisely and looking at reducing subsidies to the wealthy and its own employees. Here are some suggestions: 1. Stop lowering corporate taxes rates. Most corporations in the Yukon are sole proprietorships - lowering this tax rate just puts more money into the pockets of doctors, lawyers and accountants and doesn't do much to generate employment (the supposed goal). 2. End the subsidization of energy consumption. If we really want to incentivize people to use less fossil fuel and save energy, then why are the taxes on fuel so low and why is does government subsidize all of our electricity bills? At the very least, these measures could function as credits and be means-tested. Use the money to encourage people to better insulate their homes, ride the bus, buy more energy efficient cars, etc. 3. Means-test social programs like continuing care - why should rich Yukoners get to grow old at taxpayers expense? Likewise for Pioneer Grant. 4. Amateur athletes who can afford to travel out of the territory to participate in sporting events can apply to Lotteries Yukon for a $200 subsidy for their travels, even adults. Does this really make any sense? Bingo revenues spent on the rich. 5. Stop subsidizing the property taxes of people who live on the outskirts of Whitehorse. Assessed values there were lowered by government by about 25% about 10 years ago - this is lost revenue and unfair to all of us who don't live in this (vote-rich?) zone. 6. A universal home-owner's grant? Really? Our property taxes are already low, compared to many other jurisdictions and we receive 500 bucks a year from Yukon government to make them even lower? Do we really still need to encourage home ownership in the Yukon? Another give-away to the wealthy. If it stays in place, it should be means-tested. 7. Why do we have a mortgage assistance program for those that banks won't qualify for mortgages? Why is government stepping in to assume risks that the banks won't? Shouldn't we leave decisions about credit-worthiness to banks? As a taxpayer, not pleased that government is taking this level of risk with my tax money. Finance dept. does not have a great record when it comes to taking risks - lost millions on asset backed commercial paper not so long ago. 8. The massive subsidy to the placer industry should end. Raise the royalty rates so there is at least some money to address the widespread devastation to Yukon's environment caused by this industry, which seems to attract many Albertans and Alaskans who don't pay income tax in the Yukon in the first place. 9. Implement planning, evaluation and reporting in government. How do we know that any of the money that is being spent is achieving results? And why do we spend millions making plans, then disregard them? Case in point: Alaska Highway corridor plan - high priced consultants and highways staff spent over a year identifying needed improvements to highway in Whitehorse and building is now happening on some of the lowest priority areas. Millions being spent on upgrades like passing lanes and intersections not identified as big problems. 10. Through operation of the TFF, Yukon is penalized for its low effort in sales taxation. This is a cost to Yukoners. Start taxing consumption while lowering the tax on income for lower income brackets. 11. Implement better controls and oversight of government staffing. Too many cases of people hiring their unqualified friends for high-level jobs. And should senior hires be promised that their spouses will receive government jobs as conditions of employment? At the same time, our hospital has had no new hires for many years. 12. Government has very high rates of people on long-term disability - this is very costly. More needs to be done to ensure people don't end up in that situation. Need to train managers in YG in HR management, workplace values and ethics and conflict management. 13. Should government employees get free plug-in parking at taxpayer's expense? City rents out downtown parking spots for 200 bucks a month in its lots behind Main Street, but throughout the downtown area, hundreds of YG employees enjoy that benefit for free as a tax free benefit. Is it any wonder we have "traffic jams" at "rush minute" and nobody rides the bus? These are just a few examples of where some belt-tightening could happen without too much pain. None of these measures on their own will generate millions, but every penny counts. It will take some political fortitude to reduce some of these entitlements, but we will all benefit in the long run.

Trevor Tombe's picture

Trevor Tombe
Thank you for these detailed ideas and feedback; very valuable!

Elizabeth's picture

Elizabeth
The panel suggests a "stop government spending growth" option, but they don't provide an option to decrease spending, and in the long term, decrease government growth. I am a long time Yukoner, I have worked in government and in the private sector. The primary reason that I left the government was that I could not stand the inefficiency and waste of funds. Departments are under the belief that if they don't spend all of their funding each year, it will be clawed back the next year. Whether or not this is true, I don't know, but it gives no incentive whatsoever for departments to be fiscally responsible. Anyone in the private sector who benefits from government spending will agree that March is a great month for getting government contracts as every department is desperately trying to spend what they have on hand before the year end. If there were some sort of incentive for those same departments to come in under budget, maybe the government wouldn't have a spending problem. If someone has a spending problem, the first advice they get is to look at their budget, tighten their belt and curb their spending. I think it is ludicrous that an option is to raise further revenue to feed the out of control spending.

Trevor Tombe's picture

Trevor Tombe
Hi Elizabeth, thank you for the comment -- very helpful. There are many important questions about the appropriate scale and scope of government that we did not look at since it goes beyond the panel's mandate. Our mandate is to explore options to address the projected fiscal challenges and ensure sustainable finances going forward. Option 1 notes that restraining spending growth is sufficient to close the current budget imbalance in a relatively short period of time. Thank you again for the feedback; we've heard similar sentiment in many of our meetings.

David Trick's picture

David Trick
I hope the Panel will continue to push strongly for YG to adopt consolidated accounting. The current mix of consolidated and unconsolidated figures gives the YG an impossible communications task. No government can pursue two different deficit targets at the same time. YG needs to pick one deficit target and mobilize its energies to meet the target. As the panel shows on pages 27-29, the deficit problem described in the government’s Budget documents is much smaller when expressed as a consolidated deficit. In discussing this issue, the panel might answer two questions: Which presentation (consolidated or unconsolidated) complies with the standards set by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Public Sector Accounting and Auditing Board? Which presentation gives the best measure of how quickly YG is approaching the $400 million debt limit set by the Government of Canada?

David Trick's picture

David Trick
I hope the Panel will continue to push strongly for YG to adopt consolidated accounting. The current mix of consolidated and unconsolidated figures gives the YG an impossible communications task. No government can pursue two different deficit targets at the same time. YG needs to pick one deficit target and mobilize its energies to meet the target. As the panel shows on pages 27-29, the deficit problem described in the government’s Budget documents is much smaller when expressed as a consolidated deficit. In discussing this issue, the panel might answer two questions: Which presentation (consolidated or unconsolidated) complies with the standards set by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Public Sector Accounting and Auditing Board? Which presentation gives the best measure of how quickly YG is approaching the $400 million debt limit set by the Government of Canada?
Closed

The following highlight challenges, opportunities and possible policy options for the medium-term.

Option 1: Index the Borrowing Limit to GDP
The Government of Yukon could negotiate with Canada to tie its borrowing limit to the Yukon economy. As the economy grows, so too does the territory's ability to manage debt and therefore so too should its borrowing limit increase. For example, a borrowing limit of 15% of GDP (gross domestic product) would be roughly equivalent to the current limit of $400 million in 2015 but would potentially increase to $485 million by 2020.


What do you think?

  • What pros, opportunities and benefits are associated with this option?
  • What cons, challenges and limitations are associated with this option?

Comments

egras's picture

egras
There is risk if the GDP is tied to resource sector and the Companies have not invested in future proofing i.e. the cleanup and refurbishment of the site . Guarantees need to be in place at the OUTSET to mitigate unexpected shut downs and or complications associated with the industry. Take the mess that Curra Resources left the taxpayers after they were given exemptions to resource extraction liabilities. it is costing far more than any revenues the Yukon ever received from the mining. Lets not do that again!

takhininurse's picture

takhininurse
Cap the borrowing limit to $400 million and when annual revenue excedes annual costs then start paying down the 400 million debt.
Closed

Option 1: Shifting Taxes Away From Income & Towards Consumption

The Government of Yukon could consider a broad reform that shifts taxes away from income and productivity and towards consumption. Primarily, this would result from the introduction of a territorial sales tax and re-distributing this revenue through lowering personal and business tax.

Visitors to Yukon would contribute a substantial share of the HST revenue, perhaps in excess of 25 cents of each dollar collected, and therefore Yukoners overall would pay less tax. This will improve the efficiency of Yukon’s economy, provide funds to enlarge the cost-of-living credit recommended under the carbon tax plan, dampen the volatility of government revenue, lower its reliance on mining sector activity, improve the predictability of future government revenue, enhance the incentive to work, to save, and to invest, and better extract value from visitors to the Yukon.

Option 2: A Savings Fund

The Government of Yukon could establish a savings fund that would receive deposits in years where tax revenues come in above a set threshold and could withdraw from the fund in years where revenues come in below that threshold. This could dampen volatility of government revenue due to unexpected swings in mining sector activity.


What do you think?

  • What pros, opportunities and benefits are associated with these options?
  • What cons, challenges and limitations are associated with these options?

Comments

egras's picture

egras
A sales tax makes good sense if Yukoners realize income tax benefits . But everyone is responsible for the burden , there should be NO discrimination ,resource companies, tourists regardless of country, and First Nations , should all be required to carry this responsibility. Consumerism is not tied to culture nor should it be exempted from resource extraction.
Closed

Priority 1 Our people-centred approach to wellness helps Yukoners thrive.


Consideration Why do this?

Undertake comprehensive review of the healthcare sector

This review would provide a complete understanding of the factors driving healthcare costs and the quality of outcomes being delivered to Yukoners in the current system. Additionally, this would serve as a basis for future improvements.

Support innovations in healthcare delivery

This consideration aligns with the intention of increasing public sector efficiencies. As a significant portion of the budget is allocated to healthcare, this is an important area to focus on. Examples of such innovation could include development of mobile labs or clinics supporting around the clock diagnostic work or creation of electronic medical records.

Consider “co-pay” arrangements in healthcare

Co-pay refers to implementing income-related cost sharing of healthcare costs. There is an opportunity to examine the potential for low-impact changes to co-pay arrangements in areas like pharmacare (drug costs).

Invest in social spending

There is evidence that incremental investments in housing and other aspects of social spending have a much bigger impact on health outcomes than a marginal dollar spent on health care facilities and personnel. This consideration suggests reallocating tax dollars from traditional health spending (facilitates & personal) to social spending (housing or other key indicators of health & wellness).

Focus on supporting adult functional literacy challenges

The Education Department could assess the outcomes from current approaches to dealing with adult literacy challenges and consider program design changes to improve those outcomes.

Priority 2 Our strategic investments build healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities.


Consideration Why do this?

Use proposed savings fund as source for social infrastructure

Budget surpluses would be stored in this specific fund and could be allocated to support the development of social infrastructure such as spending on community facilities and meetings halls and therefore not compete with economic infrastructure revenue sources.

Introduce working income tax credit

If Yukon government was to proceed with implementing a carbon and/or consumption tax, the revenue could be recycled in several ways. Specifically, Yukon government could implement a working income tax credit instead of a cost-of-living credit as this supports more equitable distribution of benefits.

Priority 3 Our strong government-to-government relationships with First Nations foster reconciliation.


Consideration Why do this?

Assess the educational outcomes for aboriginal students

For economic and social reasons as well for the advancement of reconciliation, it is critical to assess the educational outcomes for aboriginal students and to craft, with the First Nations communities and the federal government, ways to improve those outcomes.

Consider joint ventures, including public-private partnerships, with First Nations governments

For future infrastructure projects, the Government of Yukon could consider joint ventures, including public-private partnerships with First Nations governments. With potential funding from the federal government’s PPP Canada Fund, the cost to the Yukon taxpayers can be lowered for desirable projects.

Priority 4 Our diverse, growing economy provides good jobs for Yukoners in an environmentally responsible way.


Consideration Why do this?

Reduction in business taxes

The reduction of business taxes directly impacts economic growth by encouraging capital investment and improving income distribution by moderating the burden on workers’ compensation.

Consider use of public-private partnerships [P3]

Consider the use of public-private partnerships [P3] using the federal government is a potential funding partner in such joint ventures with the private sector through PPP Canada and/or the new Canada Infrastructure Bank [CIB].

Evaluate business support programs against outcomes

Consider evaluating the cost of business support programs to the revenues generated from business income taxes to determine their effectiveness or need for improvement.

What do you think?

  • What pros, opportunities and benefits are associated with these options?
  • What cons, challenges and limitations are associated with these options?

Comments

egras's picture

egras
I believe public Health Care is a sacred trust . Any Co-Pay arrangements would likely become an insidious slope and the burden would eventually lead to a bigger and bigger strain on the users who can pay and these people would eventually subsidise the large cohort of users who could not pay. Any one or group that uses the fear mongering that; a user pay system would save lives ,is probably going to make a huge amount of money from this change . Look at some of the European models of public health care that work , and you will probably find that the Government has restricted the amount of money companies are charging their citizens for health products , and they are still available at a reasonable cost to the Gov. and reducing a vast expence to the Health Care system. I hate to say it but when it comes to public safety , Regulation works!

takhininurse's picture

takhininurse
Lowering the corporate tax doesn't bring new industry. Raise the corporate tax back to its previous value. Increase the number of territorial income tax brackets. with more brackets in the higher taxable income areas. This will increase Yukon government revenue by making higher income Yukoners paying more. Presently Yukoners in high income brackets pay too little income tax.
Closed

These suggestions support the Yukon government in considering how to improve efficiency and effectiveness of its policies especially as they relate to the four categories of current priorities. It should be noted that much more analysis would be necessary to firm up specific recommendations.

Consideration Why do this?

Focus on evaluation of outcomes in government programs and services

Yukon government should, as rigorously as possible, assess the programs it delivers as well as the processes used to do so. Particular attention needs to be paid to policy outcomes rather than to the allocation of inputs that has historically been the bulk of the analysis in program evaluation.

Contracting out services and/or collaborating with other governments

The Territory should consider the potential benefits of either contracting out to or collaborating with other governments on the provision of such things as IT and analytics, on standard processing activities [e.g., payroll and standard HR services] and on common purchases [e.g., drugs, alcohol, hospital equipment]. The purpose would be to lower operating costs and some capital expenditures.

Improve efficiency of YG operations and programs

This would be the start or basis for possible “structural” changes in policy. The following are broad approaches for consideration: Internal operational changes such as:
  • upgrading skills of employees
  • capital investment in systems (IT or data analytics)
  • process/delivery and funding innovations

What do you think?

  • What pros, opportunities and benefits are associated with these options?
  • What cons, challenges and limitations are associated with these options?

Comments

egras's picture

egras
Some contracting out already occurs , look at the Federal employees pay system , outlines some accountability pitfalls . This is a good idea in today's era of social media , and the ease and comfort of electronic or cyber world we are getting comfortable with. But there needs to be a balance of costing vs. service based programs . Programs designed to meet the needs of some people still need to have the personal contact aspect to be fair. YG has a very good system of engagement and education and support network, to access for employees already ,it would be nice if every Yukoner had the opportunity to be supported this way regardless if employed in the private sector.

takhininurse's picture

takhininurse
Eliminate the Yukon Bonus for all part and full time YTG employees. Pass a new law allowing the government to open the presently existing YEU contract and order a 15% salary reduction for all YTG workers. Do the same for all Yukon Hospital Corporation employees.

David Trick's picture

David Trick
The panel’s draft report quite reasonably refrains from proposing how expenditures could be reduced in each government department. But I would encourage the panel to comment on the absence of independent financial watchdogs in the Yukon, compared to those present in most provinces. There is no Yukon Auditor General. The Auditor General of Canada devotes modest resources to reviewing YG expenditures, and follow-up audits are rare. There is no Yukon Parliamentary Budget Officer. The research budgets of the Opposition parties are tiny. We are fortunate to have two good newspapers and a CBC News presence, but it is not possible for a few reporters to do extensive digging about program expenditures and effectiveness. I was pleased to see the Premier’s commitment in the Budget to strengthening the Department of Finance, including creating an evidence-based program evaluation unit. But internal reports will be easily ignored if a government (now or in future) finds it convenient to do so. The government needs to institutionalize a culture of scrutinizing programs to ensure value for money. Yukon should become a model of how a small jurisdiction can have an independent, transparent and nonpartisan program evaluation function.
Closed

Priority 1: Our people-centred approach to wellness helps Yukoners thrive.
Priority 2: Our strategic investments build healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities.
Priority 3: Our strong government-to-government relationships with First Nations foster reconciliation.
Priority 4: Our diverse, growing economy provides good jobs for Yukoners in an environmentally responsible way.


What would be the same? What would be different? From your perspective, what would need to happen or change to make it so? See Details & Sample Responses here.

Comments

John's picture

John
Hi folks - we would love to hear your hopes and aspirations for the future.

egras's picture

egras
Be sure that all the processes and conciliation are not limiting to anyone

takhininurse's picture

takhininurse
Future projected Yukon budget deficits indicate that YTG must find ways to reduce all Operating and Maintenance costs in all YTG departments.

John's picture

John
Thanks takininurse - the independent panel is considering all fiscal tools that look at the revenue and expenditure side of things. There is a pretty good infographic that explains these tools under the 'Documents' section called 'Current Financial State' if you want to check it out.

honnorjustice's picture

honnorjustice
There is a shortage of employees in some fields so the government should encourage Yukoners/employees to pursue training in those areas. Example: the medical industry. The government could reduce costs by restructuring to a more efficient organizational chart so that there aren't so many high paying manager's jobs. Too many white collar workers.

yukon47's picture

yukon47
Success for this project would be the panel presenting real options for government to consider - hard choices must be made, and I think this panel is a good way for the government to get advice that isn't partisan or agenda based. We can't have it all here in Yukon and there are trade-offs. Would like to hear from Yukoners what they are prepared to 'give-up' in order to see the territory become sustainable. For example, if people want the population to stay small - then are they willing to pay more for services? Or conversely, if we want to maintain our lifestyles here - then are we willing to encourage population growth in order to increase the tax base to pay for the services that will be needed in the future? Are we willing to accept that we are 2000km away from the nearest major city - and that we can't expect to have the same or better level of services for populations of 500K or more? It is easy to say that someone else should do or give up something - but what about me? I am willing to pay more for things like internet, phone, health care etc. because I chose to live here. I can take potholes, unpaved roads, unpaved bike paths - but I am not willing to sacrifice is things such as quality education for our children who are the future. We've made our choices in life, but they haven't yet and we owe it to them to give them the best chance at success. What do others think? This is our chance to engage...would like to see more people participating.

Trevor Tombe's picture

Trevor Tombe
Valuable discussion! Thank you to all who have already signed up and are participating. Keep it coming and invite your friends, family and colleagues to join the conversation. It matters a lot, and we appreciate the input and insight so far.

John's picture

John
Thank you to all participants who have participated in this conversation so far. The perspectives on success of Yukon’s priorities and smart financial planning are diverse and we appreciate your input. Here are some highlights of input and feedback we have received so far: • All Yukoners, regardless of where they live, should have access to services such as health care and affordable housing. • The Yukon government should determine investment choices with strategic consideration. They should not be based on special interest groups, but rather, specific broad-based need. • Yukon should seek a balance between supporting and developing local businesses and economies while also ensuring value for money. • The Yukon government should work cooperatively with First Nation governments on specific, tangible initiatives to leverage available opportunities and funding.

Sebastian Jones's picture

Sebastian Jones
I can't imagine anyone complaining about the first three priorities- although I'm surprised, while impressed- that the first priority is wellness (an unusual first pick for a financial discussion). I do question the assumption we should strive for growth, period. Growth can be good and it can be bad. Before I could endorse a growing economy, I'd need to know that the growth aims towards a well defined end. By an end, I mean something along the lines of a GDP per person of X$ in the context of a stated population goal. Too often, we simply assume that a steadily increasing GDP and population (i.e. economy) is a good thing, when we all know that there has to be an end, eventually. We do, after all, inhabit a finite territory in a finite country on a finite planet. Ergo, growth needs to be finite as well.

AG's picture

AG
Ensuring a balance with environment and industry, ensuring industry generates wealth from resources available to see projects initiated without costly delay as industry and wealth generation is critical and environmental responsibility already in the know. Let industry create, generate real wealth and proceed with minimal haste......education and policies regarding environment are well known.
Closed

We have many goals and priorities to build our bright future as well as finite resources to achieve them. Review the following information about the current state of Yukon government finances as well as possible fiscal tools to change the state and direction.

  • What advice or guidance would you give to the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel regarding what they consider as they work to identify options for a healthy financial future?

  • What stands out for you as you review the current financial state? From your perspective, what key considerations or criteria should guide our financial planning?


Comments

egras's picture

egras
As the resources are finite ,any industry operating to remove these resources must remediate ,by upfront bond or such. INFRASTRUCTURE should be the legacy of the industry removing the resources ,and NOT the taxpayers ,roads ,bridges ,power , or leave it in the ground until it is valuable enough to pay for this infrastructure.

YukonBorn's picture

YukonBorn
It would be useful and provide for a better informed public if Yukon government posted financial data with detailed expenditures similar to what is done by BC's Ministry of Finance http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/OCG/pa/15_16/Pa15_16.htm As it is now, Yukoners can only speculate on how government revenues are expended.

John's picture

John
Thanks YukonBorn. That is excellent input and always worth seeing what others are doing in other parts of the world. What do others think?

takhininurse's picture

takhininurse
Salaries of all YTG employees are 20-30% above comparable salaries for the same job across Canada. Solution: To create more available funds for YTG public services: YTG should immediately reduce by 15% all YTG employee wages. This will be unpopular with YTG employees but it is fair considering the fact that they are presently overpaid. This will require passing a law which will break open the present YEU - Yukon government contract.

yukon47's picture

yukon47
Not all salaries are 20-30% higher - many positions are classified much to low in order to attract qualified candidates. Entry level administrative staff for example make more than many managers in the private sector.

PorterCreekan's picture

PorterCreekan
I do not agree with across-board 15% cut to YG employee salaries. Yes, I am a YG employee. But also my salary is actually LOWER here in Yukon than it would be in a big city Outside. Second, it's already difficult attracting good, qualified people to work at YG in some technical areas due to the salary issue. Third, yes there are many government employees in Yukon but their salaries get spent here; a cut to salaries by 15% will have a major impact on the retail economy in general.

honnorjustice's picture

honnorjustice
Perhaps YTG should review their organizational structure and reduce the top heavy management structure. The government could employ two - three workers to one manager. Way too top heavy.

Sebastian Jones's picture

Sebastian Jones
Honnorjustice- Yes, there are some branches where the management structure does appear to have gotten out of hand. The Oil and Gas Branch has an ADM, a Director, two managers, a communications person and four staff to do the work.

takhininurse's picture

takhininurse
Presently within the Continuing Care branch of Yukon's Department of Health and Social Services there exists the same work being performed by the same 2 employees. Specifically you have a situation where you have a Registered Nurse doing the same work as the Manager for that area. To save a significant amount of money annually eliminate one of these 2 jobs i.e. eliminate the registered nurse or the manager.

PorterCreekan's picture

PorterCreekan
As a generalization of this comment, YG employees may have great ideas for increasing efficiency inside government that they have not been able to implement due to government inertia. Some of these might be micro focused: focused suggestions for specific work areas. Others might be macro: broad suggestions that affect all of YG. How do employees get those suggestions to the Advisory Panel? Or is the Panel looking for this sort of thing?

Richard's picture

Richard
Hi PorterCreekan, thanks for your comment. If people have specific suggestions for achieving government spending efficiencies they can email them to [email protected] We will pass them on to the Panel.

honnorjustice's picture

honnorjustice
A manager is paid more so get rid of that position. Way too many managers anyway.

yukon47's picture

yukon47
This might not be politically correct to say, but the panel/government must also consider the 75% of the population that are not first nations. Reconciliation is important - but Yukoners should all have a say in how that is accomplished. The panel should also consider how many of the services/fees that Yukoners pay are well below the average in southern Canada. People here can afford them - and if not, then greater emphasis can be placed on income testing. We have had it 'good' here for much too long, and its not sustainable.

John's picture

John
Thank you to all participants who have participated in this conversation so far. Yukoners have already shared lots of advice with the Panel for consideration. Here are some highlights of what we are hearing: • The Government of Yukon should ensure there is a strong focus on the end result of its work and outcomes. It should also incorporate evaluation measures to understand progress of any recommendations or options that are developed. • There are going to be difficult decisions ahead. There are no simple solutions to balancing diverse needs with limited resources. • Think ahead and recommend options that reduce cyclical highs and lows that impact Yukoners. We are looking forward to creative options.

Sebastian Jones's picture

Sebastian Jones
Despite its short term deficit issues, Yukon is in a fortunate position compared to most jurisdictions in that we have stable funding coming from Ottawa, so we should be able to manage our finances in balance better than most other Canadian jurisdictions that depend on the vagaries of international trade, commodity prices and geo-political events. Bearing that in mind, if we avoid stupid mistakes (including failing to ensure adequate remediation bonding for resource extraction projects and failing to derive adequate recompense in the form of royalties from the privatization of public resources by resource extraction entities), we could craft a truly sustainable society, one that lives within its ecological as well as financial limits. Having said all of this, my advice to the panel is to: Incorporate the idea of limits; consider the ideas of ecological economist Herman Daly Run publicly funded projects through a financial review similar to that of the YUB, Update the mandate of the YUB to include ecological considerations, Require resource extraction projects to explain how the project will benefit Yukon in the short and long term.

Eric's picture

Eric
Hi Sebastian, this is a really great comment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

egras's picture

egras
Resource extraction cannot just be about jobs ,this is shortsighted and leads to up and down economic turmoil and leaves the Yukon chasing it's tail. Like sebastian says ;explain how the project will benefit Yukon in the short and long term.
Closed

This is an important conversation and opportunity for Yukon government to engage with all Yukoners. We are interested in continuous improvement and ongoing evaluation of what’s working and what could be improved over the course of this process.

  • When the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel is engaging with Yukoners, what will ensure the process is meaningful?

  • What is working well in this engagement process?

  • What would you like considered as the engagement process progresses?

Comments

egras's picture

egras
It must serve everyone.

John's picture

John
What makes this conversation meaningful? Yukoners have been telling us! Here are some of the highlights so far: • Participants are hopeful the Financial Advisory Panel are listening, learning and understanding the different perspectives of Yukoners. • Respondents have expressed the desire to ensure that all Yukoners have a voice and that they are of equal importance and relevance. • Several commenters have stated that they wish to see a follow up on what was received and that it is shared with the public. They would also like to understand what the Panel does with the input and feedback.

Trevor Tombe's picture

Trevor Tombe
Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful feedback so far! There's still time to get involved and many ways to do so beyond this discussion board. Take the online or telephone survey, submit a video, or provide a detailed written submission. All information, phone numbers, websites, etc, are available at https://yukonplans.ca/ (scroll down to the "How Can I Get Involved?" section. Your feedback matters -- a lot. Some of the Yukon's fiscal challenges are shared by many jurisdictions -- such as low/volatile commodity prices and an aging population. But other challenges and options to address them are unique. Your feedback will help shape the panel's work, ensure all options are on the table, and clarify the pros and cons of various alternatives. We look forward to hearing from everyone!

redzerza's picture

redzerza
Continue the conversation after the FAP's first mandate is completed. it's great to have a site where ideas can be exchanged, but even more important is yes, the final report from FAP on the first mandate, but also...'where do we go from here' on financial conversations?

John's picture

John
Thanks Redzerza! We appreciate the positive feedback. We are using this tool as one option for people to have a conversation with others online. We also agree the 'where to from here' on financial planning will be a very interesting conversation and we hope many Yukoners get involved.