Canada's Air North (4N, Whitehorse Int'l) will receive a shot in the arm with the announcement that the federal government will provide up to CAD7 million Canadian dollars (USD5.3 million) in additional top-up relief funding for air carriers in the Yukon territory.

This was an addition to CAD12.4 million in supplementary government funding for the Yukon in general because of COVID-19, the government announced in a statement on October 9, 2020.

The supplementary funding is made in terms of the federal government’s CAD 19 billion (USD14.4 billion) Safe Restart Agreement announced in July to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies. Under this agreement, the northwest territories of Yukon and Nunavut will receive top-up funds of more than CAD37 million (USD28.2 million) for health care services and to support remote populations.

Also, the territories will receive up to CAD41.41 million (USD31.58 million) in support for air carriers to ensure reliable air services to remote communities. This is on top of a CAD17.3 million (USD13.1 million) investment for northern air carriers announced on April 14 and reflects part of CAD75 million (USD57.2 million) in funding to support essential air access to remote communities announced on August 6, 2020, the government said.

The announcement is expected to bring welcome relief to Air North, which recently warned it would have to retrench more employees if government subsidies were to stop. The airline is the primary beneficiary of airline state funding to Yukon to ensure the continued operation of critical routes to the North. Amongst others, it has received help from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) programme, which the government recently announced it would also extend until “summer next year” as it promises to restore employment in Canada to pre-pandemic levels.

"Air carriers are vital for the well-being and livelihood of people who live in remote communities. Funding air carriers, so the Yukon government can support essential travel and deliver essential goods, is another example of how our government is committed to keeping all Canadians safe and healthy during this pandemic," said Transport Minister, Marc Garneau.

"Critical work still needs to be done with this additional new funding, especially to continue to help the most vulnerable, and the essential lifeline that Air North so magnificently keeps available to all of us,” commented Yukon Member of Parliament, Larry Bagnell.