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Targeting Year-Round Labour Needs: Destination Employment’s Strong Start in Yukon

The Destination Employment project has helped newcomers in the Yukon, notably in Dawson City, create connections to stable and secure employment with a sustainable wage. Destination Employment has also worked to develop a model for employment programming with components being put in place at both the national and territorial levels. This model helps to promote a sustainable labour market in the Yukon, which in turn offers meaningful and prosperous employment opportunities to newcomers.

The Destination Employment program launched in Dawson City in January 2019, with Yukon Tourism Education Council (YTEC) as the acting coordinator. Within the short time frame since the launch, the initiative has had a positive response from both newcomers and businesses. Multiple hotels have expressed an interest in the program, and have given favourable responses. The number of engaged properties is impressive for Dawson City’s small population size and business environment.

The Destination Employment program helps to bring sustainable employment to Dawson, which is otherwise an isolated city with a shortage of year-round labourers. The newcomers involved in the project will assist hotel operators by establishing a labour pool of skilled, trained, and committed employees who will work year-round. In this sense, newcomers will work to fill the gaps in the Dawson City labour market—gaps due to its rural location and the seasonal nature of most businesses and their employees. Hotels are one of the few Dawson City businesses that remain active year-round, and therefore have a hard time remaining staffed, given the trend of summer seasonal employees.

In order to recruit individuals, YTEC has held information sessions to inform potential participants both of the program and how their involvement would not only be beneficial to the labour market, but meaningful to them. The project offers newcomers the ability to take skills and needs assessments, as well as have their language assessed. These tools will assist newcomers by providing them with a complete profile of themselves as potential employees. In conjunction with the listed tools, individualized learning plans are also developed for the participants, to track their progress during the program and through their professional development.

To recruit potential hotel operators, YTEC held employer information sessions, with three employers to date joining the program in the small city since the recent launch.

YTEC has two main Yukon partners in implementing Destination Employment in Dawson City: The Yukon College and Klondike Employment. Both organizations offered in-kind resources like donated classroom space, as well as fee-for-service classes, all to assist Destination Employment and YTEC in carrying the project out.  Other Yukon partners to Destination Employment include the Yukon Human Rights Association, Yukon Government-Employment Standards, Yukon Liquor Corporation, and the Yukon Territorial Government: all of which are deserving of recognition and gratitude.

Looking forward, YTEC plans to hold workplace mentor workshops and create professional development training opportunities. YTEC expects to see participation agreements signed by several newcomers living in Dawson, as well as multiple employer agreements being enacted. Due to the success of Destination Employment already seen in Dawson, YTEC is initiating the Destination Employment in Whitehorse, the territory’s capital.

Click here for more on the Destination Employment program, currently recruiting participants in five regions across Canada.

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