Affordability noted as main obstacle in Yellowknife for youth workers

A file photo of downtown Yellowknife. File photo.
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Yellowknife came in at 17 on YouthfulCities inaugural Urban Work Index, which looks specifically at urban work in Canada. With 87% of Canadians aged 15-29 living in cities, the index ranks 21 Canadian cities from coast to coast based on several different indicators to create a way for youth to explore the best cities for them to work.

The index states that Yellowknife ranks high when it comes to career work which means it could be a great fit for youth seeking their next big career break. Also noted is that Yellowknife is an innovative city, with strong results in all the entrepreneurship categories and one of the best government environments for nurturing innovation.

Based on the index, Yellowknife has the highest rate of youth full-time employment as well as being one of the best places for young women to work given its top place on the Gender Parity Scale.

However, the index also states that Yellowknife is weighed down heavily with some of the most unaffordable costs across the country, a problem that continues to grow as the NWT Bureau of Statistics released information in December stating that the cost of living in Yellowknife continues to increase.

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The four different thematic areas that the index was based on were entrepreneurship, employment, education, and affordability. Yellowknife is near the top when it comes to entrepreneurship, as well as being high up for employment. When it comes to education, Yellowknife places in the middle of the pack but where it begins to unravel is when it comes down to affordability.

Entrepreneurship ranking:

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit – 3rd out of 21 cities
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit Entrepreneurial Space – 4/21
  • Government Entrepreneurship Programs – 1/21

Employment ranking:

  • Basic Employment – 11/21
  • Career Employment – 3/21
  • City Economic Profile – 5/21
  • Employment Programs – 5/21

Education ranking:

  • Affordable Education – 13/21
  • Access to Education – 8/21
  • Work Integrated Learning – 8/21

Affordability ranking:

  • Affordable Utilities – 15/21
  • Affordable Housing – 18/21
  • Affordable Leisure – 21/21
  • Affordable Food/Clothing – 19/21
  • Affordable Health – 21/21
  • Affordable Transport – 19/21

YouthfulCities Co-founder Robert Barnard said that by using this new index as inspiration, they have a challenge for Canada and Canadian cities: make full youth employment (youth unemployment below 6%) a goal by 2024.

“As Canada’s population ages, we need to make sure our cities are vibrant places for youth to work. Clearly, we can, and we need to do more. We need to spark a national dialogue on the future of urban work and youth’s critical role in it. While there is room for improvement across the board, all 21 cities ranked near the top in one or more indicators. Let’s use that as a great starting place to build from.”

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