Government of Yukon

Economic Sectors

Agriculture | Energy | Film and Sound | Fishing | Forestry | Hunting | Mining and Exploration | Tourism | Trapping

Visit the invest Yukon site for more information on investment opportunities in Yukon.




Agriculture is a small but increasingly significant industry in Yukon. Its economic growth stems from produce sales and supply to local markets.

The total amount of land devoted to agriculture is approximately 12,500 hectares. 40% of this land is cropland and another 20% is under development for future agricultural use.

Most of the land used for agricultural purposes is located near the major communities. 70% of Yukon’s farms are located within 100 kms of Whitehorse. Approximately half of the developed land is in crops, while the remainder is used for pasture or grazing.

The Takhini Valley agricultural area, west of Whitehorse, is the largest agricultural area. Significant agricultural areas are also found near Dawson City, Watson Lake and Mayo.

The Government of Yukon Agriculture branch offers a range of programs and services in support of this budding industry.

Yukon farm

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Hydro has been the predominant energy source and diesel combustion sources and wind energy also serve Yukon.

Yukon’s coal resources are largely undeveloped and oil and gas resource potential remains largely unexplored and undeveloped.

Yukon has 3 active natural gas wells in the Kotaneelee field but is not home to a natural gas processing facility. All energy derived from natural gas consumed in Yukon is imported from outside gas refineries.

Solar energy is used for space heating, hot water heating and generating electricity. Micro-scale wind and hydro installations are also used to produce electricity in remote locations. Biomass, in the form of cordwood and wood chips/pellets, is used for space heating as is geothermal energy which is also used to prevent municipal water systems from freezing. Renewable energy sources are virtually untapped.

The Government of Yukon is exploring and planning alternative energy options. It is also seizing opportunities for more efficient energy production and conservation to further strengthen and diversify Yukon’s economy.

Whitehorse hydro dam

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Film and Sound

Yukon is home to a film industry and has played both a leading role and a backdrop for many film productions, including major Hollywood pictures, documentaries, commercials and live animation series.

Yukon was always known for its beautiful locations and snowy, winter scenery. Now Yukon is gaining popularity around the world for its fresh, unique vistas and ample summer sunlight that allows for long shooting days.

Yukon’s sound recording industry has award-winning and platinum recording artists. Musicians and artists from across Canada can also take advantage of excellent recording facilities in Yukon.

A film crew working

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Residents and visitors enjoy subsistence and sport fishing. Yukon is home to a variety of fish species including 4 species of whitefish, 5 species of salmon and 9 different game fish.

First Nation subsistence fisheries still operate in several parts of Yukon and are an important part of many families’ lives. Salmon and freshwater species are harvested with gill nets and then dried and smoked using traditional methods. Commercial fisheries harvest salmon, lake trout and whitefish for local sale.

There are 24 lakes that are stocked with rainbow trout, Arctic char, Kokanee salmon and Chinook salmon. By absorbing some of the angling pressure, stocked lakes are helping conserve slow-growing native fish such as lake trout.

The Whitehorse Rapids Fish Hatchery and Fishway were constructed to maintain the annual return of the world’s longest migration of Chinook salmon. An exciting tourist site, the facility provides the general public with an opportunity to view migrating Chinook salmon and other freshwater species.

Fishing from a boat

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A substantial portion of Yukon is located south of the tree line with roughly 57% or 270,000 km2 of land covered by the boreal forest. Of that, 81,000 km2 has tree cover that can support timber harvesting activities.

Yukon’s forest industry is comprised of small operators who cut small volumes of timber for building materials, log homes and fuel wood. White spruce, black spruce, lodgepole pine, Alpine fir, aspen and balsam poplar are the most common tree species.

Aerial photo of Yukon forest

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Yukoners hunt for subsistence, sport or to be closer to nature. Hunting is deeply rooted in the social fabric of Yukon First Nation culture.

Guided hunting trips with non-resident hunters have been recorded since 1912. Many outfitters rotate their remote hunting locations which are usually only accessible by horses, airplanes and boats.

Hunting on horseback

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Mining and Exploration

The Klondike Gold Rush of 1898 put Yukon on the world map. Today, Yukon’s worldclass mineral deposits support a developing mineral industry.

Gold mining is still an important economic sector but the focus has shifted to the large undeveloped deposits of lead/zinc, silver, tungsten, iron, molybdenum, nickel, copper and coal. These deposits include the second largest undeveloped iron ore deposit in the world and one of the world’s largest undeveloped zinc-lead deposits.

National and international investors are interested in untapped mineral resources and make use of roads and transportation facilities to ship minerals to market. Increased demand for natural resources has stimulated investments in Yukon mineral exploration and developing new mines.

The Yukon Geological Survey has developed and maintains a modern geoscience database of mineral deposits in Yukon. Their staff conduct regional bedrock mapping projects, mineral assessments and geochemical, geophysical and environmental studies.

Placer mining at Gold Bottom

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Yukon tourism industries impacts nearly all other economic sectors. Tourism industries are grouped into five industry categories: transportation, accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, and travel services

A large percentage of tourism businesses are sole proprietorships and are often seasonal operations. Yukon’s tourism services are being actively and successfully promoted in domestic and international markets.

The six Yukon Visitor Information Centres provide travel advice to nearly 325,000 visitors annually. The Canadian Border Service Agency greets nearly 420,000 people crossing into Yukon from Alaska, with over 80% arriving between May and September.

Dawson City museum

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The fur trade is the oldest industry in Yukon. It dates back to the early 1800s when the Coastal Tlingit, acting as middlemen for Russian traders, began trading with interior Athapaskans. By the mid to late-1800s, Yukon First Nation people were dealing directly with American and British traders.

Today the economic value of trapping is significant in Yukon and it is an important winter revenue source in many smaller communities.

Yukon is home to 14 species of furbearing mammals that are trapped for their fur: beaver | coyote | fisher | coloured fox | Arctic fox | lynx | marten | mink | muskrat | otter | squirrel | weasel | wolf | wolverine.

Trapping areas are assigned as registered trapping concessions, or parcels of land on which the holder is given exclusive rights to harvest furbearing animals. There are 333 registered trapping concessions. To date approximately 50% of Yukon trappers are First Nations. This system encourages trappers to manage an area the way farmers manage their land and livestock, through monitoring of furbearer populations, their habitat and sustainable harvests.

Trapping near Old Crow, Yukon

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