Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly called on the government to reinstate its waiving of airport taxi fees, as taxi companies struggle with the shrunken tourism industry.
O’Reilly said taxi companies in Yellowknife had lost around 40 per cent of their drivers.
He said drivers couldn’t afford to make a living while paying the $15,000 annual fee it costs to do business at the airport.
“Some drivers who used to make their living working only at the airport have left the business entirely,” said O’Reilly, speaking in the Legislative Assembly.
“If we don’t have a taxi industry, how are they going to be able to serve the tourists that arrive here.”
The GNWT had previously waived the fees for the first eight months of the pandemic.
But they were reinstated late last year.
The annual rate for a taxi stand licence is $15,000, and it’s paid in monthly installments of $1,250.
Infrastructure Minister Diane Archie said there are currently three taxi operators at the Yellowknife airport, making a total annual payment of $45,000. Archie added the taxi stand licence fees has not seen an increase since 2019.
Archie says the Yellowknife airport is seeing an increase over the year, with the passengers increasing by 237 percent compared to April last year. Aircraft movements are also up 60 per cent compared to last April.
Archie said she would review the situation.