Labour Market Development

In addition to continuing our regular services to entrepreneurs and the wider community, we are working on two new special projects as our part of implementing the new regional economic development plan. These are labour market development and local procurement promotion.

In our BusinessSurvey in 2011, 30% of businesses noted staffing as their biggest issue.

To date, regional awareness and understanding of, and participation in, the development and implementation of Yukon-wide labour market strategies has been below that required for them to be effective in the region. Programs for employers through the existing Canada-Yukon Labour Market Development Agreement include job creation partnerships, targeted wage subsidies and labour market partnerships but the regional uptake is low.

We have begun work on the development of our first regional labour market development strategy. We are currently working with Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Yukon College, Klondike Outreach Employment Services, other community stakeholders, businesses and the Yukon Advanced Education managers responsible for the Labour Market Framework for Yukon, to build general awareness and understanding of the existing mandates, strategies and programs of regional players.

Using this information and a thorough analysis of existing research and statistics, we will develop our first Regional Labour Market Development Strategy, specifically attuned to the needs of the Klondike.

We hope to host the first in a series of public events on this by the end of April.

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more or have some ideas or suggestions on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Implementation of the Regional Economic Development Plan

The Traditional Territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in has a new Regional Economic Development Plan, and Klondike Development Organization is working with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and other community partners to implement the plan via a series of economic development projects locally:

  • Klondike UNESCO World Heritage Site Feasibility Assessment and Strategic Plan
  • Palace Grand Theatre – Pilot & feasibility
  • Art and Culture Market – Pilot Season
  • Dawson Region Tourism Marketing Strategy and KVA Website
  • Regional Labour Market Development
  • Local Procurement Strategy and Promotional Activities
  • Enterprise Facilitation (Business Care)
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Tourism – Targeted TH Citizen Enterprise Support
  • Dawson Downtown Core Revitalization Plan

Community project leaders include:

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation
City of Dawson
Klondike Development Organization
Klondike Institute of Art & Culture
Klondike Visitors Association

For further information about the REDP plan implementation or about specific projects, please download the following overview pdf:

REDP- Community Based Projects Overview

KDO Events Forum


Klondike Development Organization held a Partnership Forum on the subject of events, on November 28.

Forum intro/rationale:
Dawson City boasts numerous and diverse events that succeed at attracting visitors to our community, and enhancing or extending visitor stays. Events add vibrant points of interest into the Dawson calendar in a way that distinguishes us from other Yukon communities as a fun and lively destination.

Recognizing that events are significant contributors to our economy, and to the character and appeal of Dawson City for visitors and locals alike, it is also true that events can be highly demanding of both the organizations hosting them, and the community in general. In discussing some of the challenges associated with events as a group we aimed to:

1- Broaden the general awareness and understanding of the diverse groups & events across our community.
2- Provide resources and information on anticipated key topics/challenges.
3- Stimulate reflection among participating groups upon their own events, facilitate the exchange of ideas, and consider the potential for collaboration among groups.

Although a three hour session allowed us only to scratch the surface, learning from the Forum opens the door to further, more focused conversations/collaborations and to next steps.

The following is a summary list of some of the more immediately do-able suggestions that came out of discussions at the forum:


– community calendar
– funding resource document
– volunteer bank/resource
– thinking around new events
– a paid staff position (within an organization or other) that provides support for grant application writing, etc.
– promoting the venues we do have (to outside- example Yukon Conventions Bureau)
– promoting event support equipment we do have (to outside- example Yukon Conventions Bureau)
– investigate options that could simplify insurance woes of smaller groups
– facilitate communications that are important to collaboration in events (example avoiding or coordinating overlapping dates, etc.)


KDO is rapidly nearing the end of our current resources, however we are hopeful that further work plans will meet with approval (and funding) in the near future so that we may keep working on these important community development subjects.


Klondike Entrepreneurs Gather No Moss

The local business community is central to the future of our economy. Existing businesses represent a major source of local investment and a resource for job creation where there is scope for them to strengthen and expand. The emergence of new businesses also drives job creation, as well as product or service diversification.

During the summer of 2011, we undertook a business survey to gain an understanding of the needs, weaknesses, strengths and capacities of local businesses. Concurrently, we surveyed Dawson households to determine what types of spending occur outside the community, and what services were in demand but un- or under-available locally.

One of the outcomes of this research was the identification of opportunities for change or expansion in existing businesses, as well as potential markets for new goods and services. In some cases the demand may not be sufficient for full-time or stand-alone businesses, while other cases may require unconventional social enterprise models such as cooperatives. Nonetheless, any new business in Dawson (regardless of how small) offers the potential to keep more of our spending within our own local economy, to increase the spectrum of services available and enhance our lives in the Klondike region.

Since 2011, we have observed changes in available products and services. Local innovators are delivering on a number of the ventures identified by survey participants as missing. That entrepreneurs are recognizing opportunities, and taking the risks necessary to start new ventures reflects positively on our local economic environment. The following
is a list of the top product or service gaps that were identified by respondents to our surveys. In instances where local businesses have filled in gaps we have identified them in brackets. If we have missed any new businesses… please let us know!

Transportation links including, but not limited to:
• Dawson airport shuttle (Husky Bus)
• Whitehorse bus (Husky Bus)
• Taxi service
• Car rental (KDO research indicates that this would be a very marginal business due to Dawson’s small size and tourism seasonality)

Housing development and rehabilitation including:
• Land development, and rental and home ownership development. (Low Impact
• Seasonal accommodations
• Heritage building rehabilitation

Miscellaneous services including, but not limited to:
• Financial services (insurance etc.)
• Professional services (accounting, law, etc.)
• Fitness coaching/training (Pursuit of Wellness Personal Training, REAL Fitness & Training)
• Website development and maintenance
• Trades (electrical, plumbing, etc.)
• Gardening (Meld Garden Services)
• Small engine repairs (Advance North Mechanical, Endurance Automotive)
• Environmental clean-up services
• Special events management and tour planning
• Large-scale printing (Atlas Expediting)
• Animal boarding (Red Canoe Dog Motel and Humane Society Dawson)
• Laundromat in downtown core (Monte Carlo Laundromat)
• Computer repair (Florian Boulais repairs Macs, we do not know of anyone
currently repairing PCs.)
• Chimney sweeping
• Year-round, full-service coffee shop

Miscellaneous retail product categories including, but not limited to:
• Local foods, including vegetables, eggs and value-added products (demand
exceeds supply)
• T-shirt printing (Klondike Drawing Company)
• Furniture
• Toys and electronics (demand exceeds supply/selection)

In a small rural town where one might expect to see little change in terms of local business, what actually emerges is a pattern of lively demand/supply response by entrepreneurs who are creating opportunities out of product and service gaps.

If anyone is interested in discussing ideas about new business ventures, we offer free business advisory services through our office upstairs in the CIBC building (access via exterior stairs on 2nd & Queen side of building). Feel free to stop by for a chat or contact us.

Property Search Tool Launch

Since the beginning, one of our major focuses has been housing and available property in Dawson City. You may recall the Housing Demand Survey conducted in the spring of 2011, or the well-attended Housing Information Fairs we hosted in March of 2011 and March of 2012. We have also hosted several events for the business community, and it became evident that there is also a need for commercial space and property. In a continued effort to meet the demand for information on all available properties in the area, we are excited to share with you news of a new tool we’ve recently launched – The Property Search Tool.

The Property Search Tool is a map-based database that allows users to search locations using a number of criteria including zoning, access to utilities, and known availability. You can find the Property Search Tool here. We monitor local property listings and keep an updated list of available properties. There are several properties – both commercial and residential – already posted on the site, and we have already had many visits from people looking for residential and/or development property, and commercial and industrial space. So far, our inventory of properties for sale includes:

21 houses
1 vacant residential lot
5 operating businesses that include properties in the sale
12 vacant commercial properties
5 vacant commercial buildings
5 private industrial lots
20 government industrial lots

We are not realtors, and we can only post available properties where we have permission by the owner to do so. We invite you to visit and try it out – think of it as one big online bulletin board!

For more information on the Property Search Tool, or to list your property for free, please contact us.

Residential Lot Available

We have been contacting the owners of vacant and underdeveloped properties throughout Dawson City to gauge interest in selling and any barriers to development.

One owner of a full-size (50′ x 100′) vacant residential lot towards the North End of the Historic Townsite, on Third Avenue, has indicated to us a willingness to sell the property.

If you are interested, please contact us for further details.

Business Support Fair


Drop in anytime from 4- 7pm on Wednesday, July 4th at the TH Community Hall.

In our efforts to support local business and entrepreneurs, the KDO in partnership with Tr’ondek Hwech’in, is pleased to present the “Business Support Fair”. Did you know that for those living in the Yukon, there are many kinds of business services available to entrepreneurs and business people? These services are offered by several different agencies through out the territory for all sorts of things from business advice, to financing, to development, to technical support and more. That’s great. The problem is that there is no direct link to these services in Dawson City and it can be difficult to find, let alone access business services throughout the territory. Find out what services are available to you and your business.

This FREE event will feature dinner, information booths, and expertise from knowledgeable advisors and representatives of several business services agencies across the Yukon. Some participants will also be available the following day – Thursday, July 5th – for one-on-one consultations and if you are interested, we can put you in touch.

Participants Include: North Yukon Business Advisory Outreach, Dana Naye Ventures, Business Development Bank of Canada, KDO Enterprise Facilitation, Yukon College, E-Commerce Yukon Advisor, Yukon Government advisors from the branches of Regional Economic Development, Business and Industry Development and Tourism Product Development, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency officials and more…

Community Lead Rental Housing Development in Dawson City

Residents may recall the Klondike Development Organization household and business surveys back in 2011 when we asked you how the Klondike could be improved as a place to live, work and do business, and you said:

Household Survey
Changes to improve the area 1st Housing (24%) 2nd Recreation (18%)
Community viability & resident attraction 1st Housing (37%) 2nd Recreation (26%)

Business Survey
Strengthen the economy & create more jobs 1st Housing (15%) 2nd Land Development (9%)
Changes to improve the area 1st Housing (16%) 2nd Recreation (13%)

The full reports are available here. We, and others, have now compiled an extensive library of research on housing in the Klondike and it is evident that there can be no significant socio-economic progress here until such time as we see a quantum leap forward in the supply of housing, and all other initiatives flounder upon this rock.

Home ownership will only ever satisfy a proportion of the market, especially in remote locations. The transition period into a new community such as ours is particularly challenging and there will always be a need for people to settle into the town by renting before buying or building. It is serving this transitional market that we see as critical if we are to grow our population, economy, sustainability of services and quality of life. However, repeated feasibility research has determined that there is no business case for building significant private sector rental developments.

At our most recent community stakeholder partnership forum, fruitful discussions were had surrounding the possibility of a community-owned and operated rental housing project in Dawson City, possibly on the now vacant site that formerly held John Korbo Apartments. It was felt that by founding new housing on balanced local values and ownership, integrated community service organizations and the inclusion of all ages, cultural origins and social circumstances, we would maximize community pride and buy-in and long-term sustainability.

The primary objective would be to provide housing for new residents transitioning into the community, for a maximum of two years before they move out and into ownership or private housing. Serving a diverse range of tenants by mixing traditional market renters with key not-for-profit community service organizations, college students and seasonal workers was held to be an important principle. A number of ground floor units could also be configured as live-work spaces to encourage home-based entrepreneurialism.

We feel that local people working together with government on a community-owned and operated rental housing project, utilizing our detailed local knowledge and leadership, can maximize the potential to meet the housing needs of the entire community, develop new and innovative business models for the delivery of rental housing in Yukon and leave a lasting legacy.

We have only just begun to explore this concept. We are very interested in the thoughts and ideas of Klondike residents and businesses and we would like to hear from you. To find out more about this or any of our other programs, please contact Mark Wickham, Project Manager, e-mail:, or call (867) 993-2306. The Klondike Development Organization office is above the bank at 2nd and Queen – follow the signs up the steps.