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NEWSLETTER June 2016 What’s New? On 2:00 PM, Thursday, June 2, the Yukon Chamber (YCC) hosted its 2016 Annual General Meeting in Haines Junction. The St. Elias Chamber of Commerce was really helpful in the planning and execution. The Chamber would like to thank Gold level sponsors ATCO Electric Yukon and Northwestel as well as Bronze level sponsors Driving Force and the St Elias Chamber. Other sponsors included The Village Bakery, Parkside Inn, Yukon Brewing, The Raven, Frosty Freeze, Green Apple, Acacia Vintage and our very own Employer Advisor. YCC has had a very successful year of substantially increased activity, raised profile and strong engagement at the municipal, territorial, First Nation and federal levels of government. The Chamber undertook significant projects in 2015–2016 including: 

Identified a surplus of more than $40 million beyond Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board’s (YWCHSB’s) required reserves. We worked with YWCHSB to return some of the excess to Yukon employers, which resulted in rebates to virtually every employer of the Yukon at the end of November 2015. These rebates totaled $10 million. We will continue to monitor YWCHSB’s surplus situation, and will approach them again should there continue to be a reserve surplus in excess of their legislated needs. In partnership with the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon, we successfully lobbied the Yukon government for a three-year, $2.7 million commitment for domestic advertising of the Yukon as a tourist destination, with matching funds being pursued from CanNor. This comes on the heels of an initial two-year $3.2 million commitment secured in 2014.

Engaged with the Yukon Liquor Corp. securing a 10% discount for the hospitality industry, which impacted over 140 businesses across the territory, and resulted in a healthier bottom line for an industry challenged by the current slow Yukon economy.

Hosted a three-day business conference, Opportunities North 2015 in October. We extended an offer of a two-thirds discount off the registration fee for all members of the Yukon

News & Events  Featured Events: Opportunities North Conference in Yellowknife September 8 – 9, 2016

For information on any of our upcoming events please contact our office 867.667.2000

Come See Us! Suite 205, 2237 – 2nd Ave Whitehorse, YT Y1A 0K7

AGM Scavenger Hunt in Haines Junction


Chamber of Commerce and community chambers, resulting in the attendance of over 200 delegates. 

YCC will be forming a delegation to Opportunities North in Yellowknife in September and we invite business representatives to join us to attend this most important of business conferences focused on the north.

The Yukon Chamber also plans to host a one-day ‘Opportunities Yukon’ conference this fall. Further details to follow.

YCC led three very successful business delegations over the last 12 months: o to Iqaluit in April for the 2015 Frozen Globes Business Awards o to Yellowknife in October to engage with the NWT and Yellowknife Chambers of Commerce and their respective business communities and o to Ottawa in February for significant engagement of Yukon business community with ministers of the newly elected federal government, as well as the Ottawa business community.

Other activities include active work by YCC’s Energy and Transportation Committees, ongoing engagement with all five community chambers of commerce and close work with the Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board as well as the start of engagement with the YESAB organization. Finally, the Chamber has worked hard to build a stronger, sustainable financial foundation. Last year we stepped away from one third of our Yukon government core funding, with the objective of becoming more focused on non-government sources of revenue for the Chamber. We made efforts to generate Chamber revenue by: 

Executing the 2015 Opportunities North Conference;

Leading business delegations in partnership and support of territorial and municipal government undertakings;

Partnering with the Yukon Liquor Corp. to pilot the first of what we hope will be a series of “Signature Tasting Events”,

reducing overhead,

increasing membership, and

pursuing other new revenue and funding opportunities.

We are excited about opportunity to continue to move the Chamber forward, and look forward to the next year of serving the Yukon business community.

Yukon Chamber Board Executive: Michael Pealow – Chair Kells Boland – 1st Vice-Chair Pat Tobler – 2nd Vice-chair Tammy Beese – Secretary Stanley Noel – Treasurer Rich Thompson – Past Chair Board of Directors Business & Industry Representatives:  Robert Wills  Allan Moore  Norm Eady  Anne Lewis Community Chamber Representatives:  Dick Van Nostrand - Dawson  Anne Leckie – Silver Trail  Paula Pawlovich – St. Elias  Rick Harder – Watson Lake  Stan Thompson – Whitehorse AGM Scavenger Hunt in Haines Junction


Yukon Chamber Gala On Wednesday, June 15, the Yukon Chamber of Commerce hosted a gala dinner and reception for members of the Yukon business community, politicians and other dignitaries. Stephen Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada, was the keynote speaker. Members of the board of Bank of Canada also attended and engaged with guests during the dinner event. The Yukon Chamber took the opportunity to introduce its newly elected board. The event provided an opportunity for outgoing Chair Rich Thompson to reflect on the Chamber's progress over his two-and-half-year tenure and for newly-elected chair Michael Pealow to address the attendees by video. As well, the Chamber recognized the lifetime accomplishment of Rolf Hougen (see the accompanying article). We recognized three Yukon businesses, Aasman Brand Communications, Northern Vision Development and Wykes Independent Grocer, for their exemplary efforts to address the issues of employee attraction and retention. Congratulations to all of the recipients of these awards! It was a great evening and the Yukon Chamber plans to make it an annual event.


Celebrating Rolf Hougen’s Contribution to the Chamber Movement At the Yukon Chamber of Commerce Gala event last Wednesday night, we were honoured to acknowledge the enormous contribution Rolf Hougen has made to the chamber movement in Canada as well as the pivotal role he has played in developing Yukon business. As a businessman his whole adult life, director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce was a natural fit for Rolf Hougen. After serving many years as a director of the 170,000-member Canadian Chamber, Rolf Hougen was elected Second Vice-Chairman in 1987, First Vice-Chairman in 1988, and Chairman in 1989. He had worked in the family store, and under Rolf's direction, Hougen's Ltd. became the largest retail organization in the Yukon. With over 75,000 square feet of retail space in Whitehorse, the company has approximately 150 full- and part-time employees. He is the founder of the first radio station north of 60, and the first cable TV company to broadcast local news, sports and entertainment. He is the visionary behind CANCOM, Canadian Satellite Communications Limited, which launched the first commercial satellite in the world that delivered scrambled programming. Accompanying Rolf at the gala dinner where he was honoured was his wife of over 60 years, Margaret. Also in attendance were Rolf’s son Craig and Craig’s son Michael.


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Workers’ Compensation: Average Assessment Rate for 2017 The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) announced last week that the average workers’ compensation assessment rate for employers for 2017 will be $1.87 per $100 of payroll. This is virtually unchanged from this year’s rate of $1.85, an insignificant increase of about 1%. To put this in perspective, the rate in 2009 was $3.00. These are average rates; the actual rates to be paid next year in specific industry groups will be determined over the next several months. For seven years in a row, up to 2016, the average assessment rate dropped from the previous year’s rate. For all of those years, YWCHSB subsidised the rates to a significant extent. They did this using money in a substantial surplus in the compensation fund. This surplus derived from highly favourable returns on the investment of fund’s assets. Last year YCC approached YWCHSB and proposed they deliver some of the surplus in a timelier manner than a gradual subsidy on rates. After lengthy discussions, YWCHSB agreed and late last year sent rebate cheques to almost every Yukon employer. The total amount of the rebates was just over $10 million. YCC is monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis and we will approach YWCHSB again if we judge that additional rebates are called for. The reason for the slight increase in the average assessment rate is that although the subsidy continues, it comes from a surplus that has been reduced substantially by the rebates of last year. So, in addition to the rebates of last year and subsidised rates this year, employers will also get a break on rates next year through continued subsidies. Employers are benefitting from lower rates due at least partially to good rates of return on YWCHSB’s investments. We cannot control that. But we can all work to ensure safe workplaces. That reduces injury rates and claims costs, and ultimately assessment rates. The Chamber encourages all employers, managers, supervisors and workers to work together to ensure everyone is safe at work.

Yukon Chamber of Commerce Suite 205, 2237 – 2nd Ave Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 0K7 office@yukonchamber.com 867.667.2000 www.yukonchamber.com

Yukon Chamber of Commerce Newsletter  

June 2016

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