Landing and Settling in Yukon
For newcomers to Canada who think they may want to settle in Yukon or those who have decided on Yukon already and want to learn more about their destination, this page is designed to help.
Learn about many key settlement subjects - from commuting and employment to education and taxation - in Canada’s smallest territory.
Table of Contents
- What are the benefits of living in Yukon?
- Housing in Yukon
- Commuting in Yukon
- Employment in Yukon
- Healthcare in Yukon
- Education in Yukon
- Weather in Yukon
- Emergency Services in Yukon
- Newcomer Services in Yukon
- Taxation in Yukon
- Things to Do in Yukon
- Contact CanadaVisa and Cohen Immigration Law for Assistance
This guide will help you learn about the benefits of settling in one of just three Canadian territories, the Yukon. Known for its beautiful natural environments and its tight-knit communities, Yukon has significant quality-of-life advantages for newcomers to Canada, which include economic benefits and a more intimate lifestyle.
This page will then explore the following ten key subject areas when it comes to settling anywhere in Canada as a newcomer: housing, commuting, employment, healthcare, education, weather, emergency and newcomer services, taxation and fun and leisure.
Yukon-bound newcomers will be living in a region of Canada that provides some of the country’s best quality-of-life advantages. This is largely thanks to the Yukon’s small area and population, which make for a more intimate lifestyle, and the region’s comparatively advantageous economic structure (when viewed against most of the country).
As the second-least populated region of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, the Yukon is the perfect destination for newcomers who would prefer to raise their families in a quieter and more reserved environment than one might find in some other places in Canada. A small population also provides greater opportunities for more tight-knit relationships between community members, which can be a positive part of a child’s development and relationship-building skills.
Note: The Yukon is also among the smallest regions in Canada, accounting for roughly four percent of the country’s total land area.
Another quality-of-life advantage that comes with settlement in the Yukon is the economic advantages that result from the territory’s tax structure. More specifically, the Yukon has no territorial sales tax (more on taxes later). This means that products can be cheaper in this region than in other places across Canada, as the territory’s sales tax only includes a 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST). This affects consumer affordability in the region and therefore improves the quality of life among Canadians who live in the territory
Yukon has a relatively small number of total housing properties across the territory (~17,000) because of the region’s small population (~44,000).
Note: Available property types and the cost of these properties in the Yukon will change based on where in the territory you choose to settle and how many people are in your family. This is important because newcomers to any part of Canada tend to lean towards renting a property, rather than buying one, when they first move to this country.
Updated on a monthly basis, this rentals.ca National Rent Report provides average rental costs for one and two-bedroom residential properties in different Canadian cities.
In the Yukon, as is the case in Canada as a whole, newcomers tend to gravitate toward the two or three largest Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) in their destination province/territory. However, when it comes to the Yukon, the Canadian government does not list any CMAs for the territory. Instead, the Yukon has just one Census Agglomeration (CA). The only CA in the Yukon is the capital city of Whitehorse, where the total population is some 35,000 people.
Resources to help you find housing in Yukon
Government of Yukon: https://yukon.ca/en/find-housing-office
Newcomers to the Yukon must first take the time to understand the process involved with initially arriving in this northern region of Canada. For more about this process, please visit CanadaVisa’s Arriving in Canada page.
Note: No data is available from Statistics Canada (StatsCan) regarding the proximity of residents in Yukon to local public transportation options. This is because only one city in the territory, the capital city of Whitehorse, has a public transportation system (more on that later).
According to StatsCan data, more than 86% of residents in the territory’s only CA primarily use a car, van, or truck to travel in this city. This accounts for more than 13,000 residents in Whitehorse.
The prevalence of commuting using cars, vans and trucks is necessary due to the Yukon’s limited public transportation infrastructure. In the one city where public transportation in the Yukon is available, Whitehorse, public transit is operated by Whitehorse Transit.
Getting a Yukon Driver’s License
Due to the limits of the Yukon’s public transit system, many newcomers moving to this region of Canada will need to drive a car rather than take public transit. In order to do so, it is important to remember that all prospective drivers in this territory must be at least 15 years of age. In addition, drivers in the Yukon must have a valid government-issued license, valid insurance and always be in possession of the vehicle’s original ownership permit when driving.
Newcomers to the Yukon may be eligible to drive in this territory using a driver’s license from their home country for some time. Please contact the Government of Yukon for more information.
Note: All levels of government in the Yukon and in Canada advise newcomers to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) during any period when they are using their home country’s driving license
Upon the conclusion of any period during which a newcomer is using their home driver’s license in Canada, newcomers to the Yukon must acquire a territorial driver’s license to continue driving a vehicle. This can be accomplished either by completing a Driver’s License Exchange or obtaining a new driver’s license from the territorial government.
Note: In many parts of Canada, drivers from certain countries are eligible for a Driver’s License Exchange. Eligibility for an exchange will depend on if a newcomer’s home country has signed a reciprocal licensing agreement with the Yukon. The Government of Yukon does not provide any information online about how to complete a Driver’s License Exchange. Please contact the appropriate authorities for more information.
Obtaining a driver’s license in Yukon requires prospective drivers to “complete the Graduated Driver Licensing Program” (GDLP), which first involves providing the government with valid identification.
From there, this process requires drivers to pass a written test, a vision test and a road test. These three tests are all contained within the first two stages of the GDLP – a Learner Stage and a Novice Stage.
Briefly, the following will outline the steps involved in each stage of the GDLP. The above-hyperlinked pages can provide more details on both stages, including resources to help drivers learn about operating a motor vehicle in this territory (including the Yukon Driver’s Basic Handbook).
- Take the written test
- Take the vision test
- Get your learner’s license
- Take your road test (must be at least 16 years of age)
- Get your full class license
Upon completion of the Novice Stage, Yukon-based newcomers can apply for a full driver’s license by visiting any Motor Vehicles Office in the territory.
For more general information about Driving in Canada as a Newcomer, including options for renting or buying a car, newcomers to anywhere in this country can visit the above-hyperlinked CanadaVisa page.
In the Yukon, the following three industries employ the most residents of this territory.
- The Public Administration industry in Yukon employs over 7,000 people
- The Trade industry employs over 3,000 residents of Yukon
- The Construction sector also employs some 1,800 people
The following will explain more about what newcomers to Canada should know about these three employment industries and the types of jobs that are contained within each sector.
Public Administration jobs are those that are in government. In other words, people who work in these jobs play some role in the function of the government, either with the federal or provincial/territorial government at the local, municipal or regional level. Examples of jobs in this sector include public relations managers or education directors.
Within the trade industry, people either work in jobs performing retail trade or wholesale trade. In either case, employees in this sector work to resell goods that were purchased in larger quantities, either to other businesses/wholesalers (wholesale trade) or direct-to-consumer (retail trade). Canadians can find work as wholesale or retail traders in a variety of industries, including grocery, electronics and household goods.
Finally, the construction industry is where people employed in this sector work to build, repair and renovate buildings and other structures. These buildings can include schools, houses and many other key pieces of infrastructure that people in any region of Canada need to use to go about their daily lives. People working in this industry may be employed in any of the following jobs (this list is not exhaustive, but a sample of the job titles in this employment sector).
- Project Manager
- Equipment Operator
Resources to help you find a job in Yukon
Government of Canada Job Bank: https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/jobsearch/jobsearch?fprov=YT
Employment Yukon: https://www.employmentyukon.ca/
The Government of Yukon requires that newcomers to the territory wait three months before they can receive public healthcare coverage. At the end of the waiting period, any newcomer that resides in Yukon can receive free healthcare with a valid health card.
Across Canada, public healthcare is funded through the federal government’s universal healthcare model, which is jointly paid for through annual resident taxes.
To apply for a health card in the Yukon, residents of the territory, in addition to having valid status, must “make [their] permanent home in the Yukon and be physically present/not absent for more than 6 months without a waiver.”
Registration for Yukon Public Health Insurance can be done in person with the Government of Yukon. Applicants must bring photocopies of the following items with them to register: a Canadian birth certificate; a Canadian citizenship card, a permanent resident status card and a secondary piece of ID for all people listed. Proof of residency must also be provided. Valid documents for proof of residency include:
- Utility bills
- A plane ticket to the Yukon
- Pay stubs
- Bills in your name from Yukon businesses
- A rental agreement or receipts in your name
- A letter from your employer
Generally, a territorial health card allows you to obtain public health services for free at the point of use. However, certain medications (ex. prescription drugs) and treatments must still be paid for out-of-pocket by the recipient.
It is also important to understand that although every province and territory in Canada has public healthcare coverage, each region individually decides what services to offer as part of this coverage.
In the Yukon, the territory’s Yukon Healthcare Insurance Plan (YHCIP) covers the following service areas.
- Physician’s services in the doctor’s office, in a clinic, at the hospital, at the scene of an accident or in a patient’s home
- Care and treatment administered by a physician (including anesthesia) before, during and after an operation
- Physician care during pregnancy
- Certain in-hospital dental surgeries
- Hospital accommodation and meals at standard ward rates
- Necessary nursing services, laboratory, radiological and other diagnostic procedures
- Drugs, biologicals and related preparations (when administered in a hospital)
- Use of an operating room, case room and anesthetic facilities including equipment and supplies
- Radiotherapy and physiotherapy services
- Out-patient services
Note: The Canadian government recommends that all Yukon residents purchase private health insurance to supplement the benefits provided by public healthcare coverage. This is important because public health insurance does not cover all medical needs and there is a waiting period before Yukon residents can access public health services.
For more information about healthcare in Canada, including further detail about private and public health insurance and how to find local healthcare providers in your community, visit this CanadaVisa page: Get Healthcare in Canada: A Guide for Newcomers.
From the age of around six years old, newcomers to the Yukon begin to participate in the territory’s education system.
K-12 Education in Yukon
Starting in kindergarten, Yukon residents can choose one of two primary educational pathways for their children.
The first pathway is to send a child to school for free (from kindergarten until they graduate high school) through the territorial public school system. Alternatively, newcomers in this territory can send their child to a private or independent boarding school, though these educational pathways will require parents to pay for tuition out of pocket directly to the institution.
This CanadaVisa page, called A Newcomers’ Guide to Education in Canada, can provide you with more general information about the education options across Canada, as well as important information regarding enrolling your child in school, understanding the Canadian grading system and taking advantage of the Settlement Workers in School (SWIS) Program.
The goals of this territory’s education system differ depending on your child’s stage in their educational journey. In other words, your child will learn different things and develop different skills in school at the elementary level compared to the high school level.
Note: “With adaptations to include Yukon content and Yukon First Nations’ ways of knowing and doing”, the territory’s education system follows the same curriculum as they do in British Columbia (BC).
This link, to the Government of BC website, provides a subject-by-subject breakdown of the education system’s courses, curriculum and learning goals in kindergarten and individually from grades one through 12. Examples of subjects taught to children in the Yukon include Arts; Applied Design, Skills and Technology; French as a First Language/French as a Second Language and Career Education.
Beyond that, this curriculum search tool from the BC government allows parents and their children to review content learning objectives (big ideas) and “curricular [competencies]”, filtered again by subject and grade (from kindergarten to 12th grade).
For more details on the kindergarten through grade 12 curriculum in the Yukon, please visit this page.
Post-Secondary Education in Yukon
With a total population of around 44,000 people, the Yukon offers 13 Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) for newcomers to Canada. Two of these institutions are located in the capital city of Whitehorse, while the remaining 11 are each in a different city across the region. This means that newcomers to the Yukon should be able to find an accessible DLI regardless of where they settle in the territory.
In the Yukon, every DLI offers newcomers to Canada the ability to pursue a degree that would enable them (upon graduation) to be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This work permit is crucial to helping non-permanent resident newcomers to Canada on their journey to becoming permanent Canadian residents, as they allow the permit holder to acquire Canadian work experience. This accumulated work experience will later be vital for Canadian newcomers who graduate from an eligible DLI program, as it will help them become eligible for Canadian permanent residence in the future.
CanadaVisa’s page called How to Dress for Canadian Weather can provide newcomers to this country with a better understanding of Canada’s four seasons and the best ways to dress appropriately for each part of the year.
Generally, all four seasons have a unique set of weather conditions that require people who live in the Yukon to dress differently based on the time of year. However, although we will be able to provide general guidance on how to dress for each season in the Yukon, it is important to still understand that there will always be regional weather variations between different parts of the territory, even during a single season – whether that be summer, winter, fall (autumn) or spring.
In the Yukon, winter is both the first and last season of every year. This is because the winter season in Canada typically goes from November until March. This lengthy winter season is not typical for Canada, as most provinces in this country see the winter season begin around the middle of December. Characterized by long and dark days throughout the winter season, the Yukon typically has daylight for anywhere between five and 11 hours at this time of year. Since the Yukon is part of Canada’s most northern regions, local residents of this territory can expect sufficient snow and cold, frigid temperatures. The winter season in Canada, but especially in a territory such as the Yukon, is an ideal time to practice the technique of layering clothing, as this is a good way to bundle up and stay warm during the coldest part of the calendar year.
Once the winter season concludes, residents of this territory can expect temperatures to warm up as Canada begins to work into the spring. This means that, between April and the end of May (exclusively in the Yukon, where both spring and fall/autumn are only two months long), is when the temperature begins to rise and residents here can expect between 12 and 16 hours of daylight every day. Unique to this territory, the spring is also when many animals in the Yukon – from birds to bear cubs – reemerge from the cold winter. Dressing for the spring weather in this territory will likely require the use of good amounts of rain-protective clothing, such as raincoats and waterproof shoes to keep your feet dry.
The next season to arrive in the Yukon is summer, which lasts from June to August. This is when the weather in this territory is at its warmest, allowing residents of the Yukon to wear plenty of breathable fabrics to stay dry, as well as clothes that protect them from the sun (hats etc.) and comfortable footwear (usually open-toed shoes). One advantage of the summer season in this part of Canada compared to the rest of the country is that at the peak of the season, the sun does not set until midnight. This allows residents to wear sunglasses throughout most of the day in the warm weather, as the Yukon also averages between 18 and 22 hours of sunlight per day during the summer.
Finally, the Yukon then transitions into fall (or autumn) at the end of summer, typically between September and October. As the average amount of daylight in this region falls back to between nine and 13 hours, warm summer temperatures in the Yukon start trending towards colder averages as the region experiences the opposite effect of the earlier spring season. Despite also being one of the prettiest parts of the year in this region, with picturesque natural environments when leaves start to fall, this season also brings the Yukon’s windiest outdoor conditions. This means that residents of this territory will need to start lightly layering their clothes again to keep warm, also wearing jackets that help protect against the wind and other similar clothing.
In the territory of Yukon, most residents can dial 9-1-1 from their landline or satellite telephone to reach emergency service providers if they ever need help from the police, need to call an ambulance or need the assistance of the fire department.
Note: According to the Government of Yukon, inconsistent cellular service around the province may prevent some people from calling 9-1-1 without a landline or satellite phone. For those who still cannot reach 9-1-1 through a satellite phone, the government recommends dialling 867-667-5555 to contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
In the Yukon, settlement services are offered to newcomers through agencies such as the Multicultural Centre of the Yukon (MCY). These settlement services, which help newcomers with issues ranging from everyday living and language services to government services and employment, are available from the MCY’s offices in Whitehorse.
Beyond settlement resources available specifically via regional providers, IRCC provides national government-funded services to newcomers all over the country. These services assist newcomers to Canada with tasks including but not limited to:
- Looking for a job
- Obtaining a language assessment
- Finding language classes
- Looking for a place to live
- Enrolling your children in school
- Learning about community services
IRCC provides general newcomer services but also has services designed specifically for certain groups of newcomers (including women, seniors and members of the 2SLGBTQi+ community). This link provides a full list of newcomer services available from IRCC, which can be filtered by service desired and place of residence.
There are two particularly important considerations that newcomers to the Yukon need to understand with respect to tax. These considerations are sales and income tax.
In this territory, there is no Territorial Sales Tax, meaning that items sold are only taxed using GST. This means that the total tax for items sold in this region of Canada is 5%.
As is the case in every part of this country, income taxes in Yukon vary based on how much money each resident of the territory makes in a given year. Income taxes, therefore, are charged differently to each eligible Yukon resident based on what income tax bracket they fall in. This link from the Government of Yukon will provide more information on income taxes in this territory.
This CanadaVisa page will help you learn more about Filing your Personal Income Tax Return in Canada.
In this territory, many of the fun things to do involve getting outside to experience the natural beauty of the Yukon and participating in activities such as horseback riding in the summer or ice fishing in the wintertime. However, this does not mean that the Yukon does not have nationally renowned landmarks and places to visit like many of Canada’s other provinces and territories. One example of a beautiful place to visit is Tombstone Territorial Park in the Yukon’s Klondike region.
In addition, the Yukon has the Multicultural Centre of the Yukon (MCY) and Yukon Heritage Day, an organization and an event that both work to commemorate diversity across the territory. A Google search of the MCY’s calendar will show you many events and activities that newcomers to the Yukon can participate in to keep in touch with their multicultural roots.
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