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David Ramsay: Honouring Fallen Police and Peace Officers

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 19:12

Mr. Speaker, each year on the last Sunday of September, Canada salutes the men and women who put their lives on the line every day in their role as police and peace officers.

In Yellowknife on September 27th, RCMP, peace officers, family members and the public came together to recognize and honour the loss of loved ones, friends and colleagues who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Since the 1870’s, 222 officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and its forerunner, the North West Mounted Police have died across Canada. We owe each of them a profound and continuing debt of gratitude.

Police and peace officers include RCMP officers, correctional officers, highway patrol officers, territorial park officers and municipal enforcement officers.  Our police and peace officers regularly work in difficult environments and in dangerous situations.  In times of crisis, they respond quickly and without thought of personal danger.

As well as upholding the law, peace officers are mentors in our schools, coaches in our arenas and gymnasiums, and neighbours contributing in many ways to our communities.

The fallen officers recognized during the past year were RCMP Constable David Wynn of Alberta; Constable Daniel Woodall of the Edmonton police service; Transport Enforcement Officer, Toni D. Kristinsson from BC; and Corrections Officer Rhonda Commodore from Manitoba Corrections Services.

We remember those 56 who have fallen in the Northwest Territories, including the sacrifices of Constable Christopher Worden and Parole Officer Louise Parteger, who each lost their lives serving our citizens.

We have been working towards making communities safer and policing more effective in the Northwest Territories, by building trust and improving relationships between law enforcement and those they serve.

We will continue to build these positive relations through Community Policing Plans and working with community members on common goals and priorities.  These relationships need to be continually nurtured.  Great work has been accomplished in the past few years.

I know all the Members of this Assembly will want to be sure that the men and women who work hard and have dedicated their lives to public safety and public service know they have our sincere appreciation.

Selfless commitment, sacrifice and dedication; these qualities were exemplified by each officer we have lost.  Every peace officer deserves to go home safely to their loved ones at the end of their shift.  To those who didn’t make it back, we will never forget you.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Bob McLeod: Sessional Statement

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 19:10

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this final opportunity to welcome Members back to the Legislative Assembly. This will be the last sitting of the 17th Legislative Assembly, and while our time together will soon be drawing to a close, the work that we began here does not end.

The successes we have achieved and the plans and strategies we have put into action – all of which depended on the input and support of Members – will continue, helping to shape the future of this territory according to the vision and priorities we first set out four years ago.

The 17th Legislative Assembly and Government of the Northwest Territories have been guided by a vision of strong individuals, families and communities sharing the benefits and responsibilities of a unified, environmentally sustainable and prosperous Northwest Territories.

That is an ambitious vision; it is also an enduring vision, a vision Northerners have shared for many years. It is an ambition that will take time and commitment to realize, certainly more time than the four-year life of any one government provides.

The goals and priorities Members established at the beginning of the 17th Assembly describe how we have worked towards our shared vision. Our priorities have been to build a strong and sustainable future, increase employment opportunities, strengthen and diversify our economy, address housing needs and ensure a fair and sustainable health care system.

Elections are an important time for revisiting our vision, priorities and plans. They are a time when citizens and candidates have an opportunity to participate in a broad and vigorous discussion about different visions and priorities for the future.

Elections are a time for us to take stock and ask important questions that will shape the decisions and actions of the next government: Do we have the right vision? Can it be improved? What else can we do to make it a reality? What are the challenges we will have to overcome to create the strong, prosperous and environmentally sustainable territory Northerners want?  Which I believe we can have?

All of those questions must be left to the 18th Assembly to answer, but I would like to offer some observations on some of the challenges that the territory and the government will clearly be facing in coming years.

Few of these challenges will come as a surprise to anyone, they are the same ones that have shaped and constrained the decisions of past governments for many years: addressing the high cost of living, especially the cost of energy, growing the territorial economy, continuing efforts to grow the population, dealing with the infrastructure deficit, encouraging responsible resource development while protecting the land and environment, and dealing with the effects of climate change all while finding the money to fund government operations and invest in infrastructure across the territory.

These are complicated challenges that lie outside the direct control of government. Many are the result of global economic conditions and the effects of geography on our territory. Responding to them will require effective partnership with everybody that has a stake in a successful and prosperous Northwest Territories, including our government, the federal government, Aboriginal and community governments, business and industry, non-government organizations and individual citizens. Solving them means extending our planning horizon beyond the normal life of an Assembly, trying to understand what the next 10, 15 or 20 years hold and planning accordingly.

With this perspective in mind, aligning government spending to revenues will be one of the most important challenges for the next Assembly, a challenge with far-reaching implications.

The first thing to understand is that government revenues are closely tied to the size of the territorial economy and its growth prospects, which is in turn tied to resource development. The outlook for the Northwest Territories economy over the next five years is mixed, with some regions continuing to benefit from active resource projects, while activity in other areas has slowed considerably or declined.

The picture for five to 15 years out does not look much better, with current diamond mines all predicted to wind down. Projects currently being planned will not be able to match existing ones for economic activity. Resource exploration in the territory continues to be limited and bringing a new project into operation can take as much as ten years.

Slow economic growth over this time period means a flat revenue outlook for the Government of the Northwest Territories for potentially the next 15 years, meaning less money to sustain government programs and services or infrastructure investment.

We want to change this outlook and need to act now to make the Northwest Territories a more attractive and competitive place to live and do business. For the resource sector, this means continuing to invest in transportation and energy infrastructure that will aid exploration and improve project economics. It also means continuing to invest in efforts to grow the Northwest Territories population, including the high cost of living.

Investments of this nature will require an outlay of resources that will be difficult to come by so long as our revenue outlook is flat. Generating more revenue by raising taxes for our citizens or increasing royalties and corporate taxes will only increase the cost of living and discourage investment. That means our only option is to look internally for the resources, aligning our expenditures to our revenues so we are in a position to fund any new initiatives or capital investments.

These efforts need to be complemented by other actions to encourage responsible resource development, the single biggest sector of the territorial economy. Continuing to strengthen and refine our approach to responsible resource development and environmental protection is one example.

Outside of economics, certainty is one of the biggest factors influencing resource development. Having a consistent and predictable approach to how our government makes land-use and resource development decisions ensures developers can make investment decisions with some degree of confidence. Continuing to refine and strengthen the regulatory system post-devolution reduces duplication and delays for developers and ensures stronger decisions grounded in Northern priorities and values.

Continued progress in negotiating and implementing land, resource and self-government agreements in partnership with Aboriginal governments will also be critical. Settled agreements complemented by solid, collaboratively developed land-use plans will bring political certainty to our government and Aboriginal governments, as well as economic certainty and opportunity to industry. With 144,000 square kilometers of mineral-rich land subject to interim land withdrawals for decades, settling outstanding claims will create new economic opportunities and revenue possibilities for ourselves and Aboriginal governments both.

We also need to continue efforts to diversify the economy and strengthen relationships with potential investors and markets outside the Northwest Territories. Bringing the message about the tourism and investment opportunities our territory offers to places like Asia and the United States continues to be important. That effort is paying off in increased Asian tourism and the recent visit to the Northwest Territories of His Excellency Luo Zhaohui, Ambassador of China to Canada. Our leadership of PNWER for the past year has increased the profile and awareness of the Northwest Territories among western Governors and Premiers. That awareness will be further promoted when over 200 people come to Yellowknife for the PNWER winter meeting this November.

Mr. Speaker, this territory has tremendous potential. We have abundant natural resources and talented hard-working people ready and able to turn the natural advantages the Northwest Territories enjoys into long-term prosperity for our children and their children. The work Members have done during this Assembly has been focused on creating a strong foundation for that future, based on the vision, goals and priorities we agreed to four years ago.

With the support and guidance of Members, we have signed formal agreements that strengthened our relationships with Aboriginal governments, brought in devolution, and achieved two increases in the federal borrowing limit. With the Land Use and Sustainability Framework, Wildlife Act, transboundary water agreements and post-devolution work on resource development regulation, we continue to refine and strengthen our land and resources management regime.

We continue to work to increase employment opportunities, particularly in communities and regions, through decentralization and regional recruitment initiatives, earning recognition as one of the nation’s top diversity employers and employers for young people two years in a row.

We have made strategic infrastructure investments in the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Line and the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway and continue to advance the Mackenzie Valley Highway and plan for the Tlicho Winter Road and a road into the mineral-rich Slave Geological Province. We have developed an Economic Opportunities Strategy and Mineral Development Strategy and are working on an Oil and Gas Strategy to guide us in the wise use of our resources.

We are addressing housing needs through implementation of Building for the Future, the strategic plan emerging from our Shelter Policy Review, including improvements to public housing rents and a broader range of supports for homeowners and those wishing to transition to more permanent housing options.

We continue to invest in a fair and sustainable healthcare system by investing in strategies aimed at prevention and root causes like the Early Childhood Development Strategy, an Anti-Poverty Strategy, Addictions Strategy, Community Wellness Strategy, community safety strategies and others. We also continue to make progress on health system transformation that promises best care, best health for our residents in coming years.

All Members of this Assembly have played a critical role in this work and should share in the credit for these achievements. It could not have been done without the support, participation and input of Members and I want to thank you all for your commitment to building a strong, prosperous and environmentally sustainable territory.

Our work as legislators in the 17th Assembly is coming to an end, Mr. Speaker, but the work of investing in our people, our economy and our environment continues. There are some challenges ahead, as I have indicated, but I am confident that the people of the Northwest Territories and the leaders they will choose for the next Assembly are up for the challenge. This Assembly has set the wheels in motion; it will now be up to the 18th Assembly to continue the work of creating a strong, sustainable North that is home to healthy, educated people.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

New public libraries open in Fort Simpson and Behchokǫ̀

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 19:08

FORT SIMPSON (September 15, 2015) – The Honourable Jackson Lafferty, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment celebrated the opening of the newly built John Tsetso Memorial Library in Fort Simpson today, with Deh Cho First Nations Grand Chief Herb Norwegian, Łı́ı́dlı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation Chief Gerald Antoine, MLA Kevin Menicoche and Mayor Sean Whelly.

“Today marks an important occasion for the community of Fort Simpson,” said Minister Lafferty. “When a library opens or expands its resources and services it is an investment in the community and provides opportunities for community members to explore, learn, discover and grow. Libraries are the heart of culture, identity and knowledge, and integral to healthy development.”

In addition to the new space, the library has expanded its collection, added iPads with the digital language apps loaded on them, DVDs and new furniture for patrons.

“Libraries are the best literacy resources we can build,” said Minister Lafferty. “Across the North, libraries are critical to underpinning much of the work the Department of Education, Culture and Employment has underway. Language, culture and heritage preservation and revitalization, early childhood development, education renewal and skills development and training all have their roots in learning, researching and exploration. Having a library in a community will always contribute to the healthy growth and development of its residents.”

The school library at Elizabeth Mackenzie Elementary School in Behchokǫ̀ will celebrate its grand opening as the new community public library on Friday, September 25.

Media inquiries:

Jacqueline McKinnon
Education, Culture and Employment
Tel: 867-920-6222

NWT Parks season ends today

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 18:26

YELLOWKNIFE (September 15, 2015) – The 2015 camping season will officially come to a close September 15 with the last of the NWT Parks closing their gates. Parks in the Beaufort Delta closed on September 1.

NWT campgrounds attracted over 24,000 campers last year and this number has been surpassed in the 2015 season. As of September 1, NWT Parks had already exceeded 2014 total revenue based on online sales alone. Official statistics will be available later this year.

“It is great to see that NWT Parks are a sought-after destination both by locals looking for a weekend get-away and visitors travelling from around the world,” said Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment David Ramsay. “A special thank you to our Parks staff who continue to go above and beyond to ensure that visitors have positive and memorable experiences.”

Traditional food preparation workshop at Gwich’in Territorial Park and throat singing, hiking tours and voyager canoe rides at Reid Lake and Fred Henne Territorial Parks are just a selection of highlights from the 2015 camping season in the NWT.

Media inquiries:

Briony Wright

Senior Communications Officer
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: 867-920-6109

Health and Social Services Joint Leadership Council discusses system transformation

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 10:56

YELLOWKNIFE (September 15, 2015) – Members of the NWT Health and Social Services’ system Joint Leadership Council (JLC) met in Yellowknife last week to review progress on plans to establish a Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NWTHSSA).

Board Chairs and Public Administrators applauded the vision and leadership of the 17th Legislative Assembly in passing amendments to the Hospital Insurance and Health and Social Services Administration Act, allowing for the establishment of the NWTHSSA. 

“Streamlining our system through the creation of a single authority will drive collaboration, and improve services for patients and clients, while setting the stage for us to increase efficiency within our system,” said Joe Handley, Public Administrator for Stanton Territorial Health Authority.

Existing regional health and social services authorities, with the exception of the Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency (TCSA), will be replaced by advisory Regional Wellness Councils effective April 1, 2016. Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority Chair Liz Wyman noted that, while the move from being a Board of Management to a Regional Wellness Council will require some adjustment, “bringing Regional Wellness Council Chairs together formally as the NWT Health and Social Services Leadership Council will provide us a great opportunity to advance system-wide collaboration and planning at a territorial level.”

“While the TCSA retains its unique status under the terms of the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement, we believe that working with the NWTHSSA opens the door for Tłı̨chǫ residents to benefit from improved services and sharing of resources in a collaborative system,” said TCSA Chair Ted Blondin.

In addition to reviewing plans for establishment of the NTWHSSA, the JLC discussed the need for greater coordination of health-related research in the NWT.

“We share so many problems and challenges as communities, like the need for effective mental health programs rooted in Aboriginal culture,” said Danny Bayha, Chair of the Sahtu Health and Social Services Authority.  “We need to find ways to ensure that the findings of research projects are shared throughout our system, to support evidence-based decision-making.”

Members of the JLC include the Board Chairs and Public Administrators of the territory’s eight health and social services authorities, and the group is chaired by Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy.

This was the last meeting of the JLC during the life of the 17th Legislative Assembly.

Media inquiries:

Roya Grinsted
Cabinet Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: 867-669-2308

Hidden Lake Territorial Park re-opens to public

Fri, 09/11/2015 - 10:55

YELLOWKNIFE (September 11, 2015) – The temporary blockade that prevented access to the Cameron Falls Trail and parking lot located within Hidden Lake Territorial Park has been removed and the public has access to the park once again.

The public was asked to refrain from using the park from September 3-9 following multiple bear sightings. Park users are asked to remain vigilant and practice bear safety at all times. 

Bear safety information is available at

The Departments of Industry, Tourism and Investment and Environment and Natural Resources thank the public for their cooperation.

Media Inquiries:

Briony Wright
Senior Communications Officer
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: 867-920-6109

Nancy Zimmermann
Communications Planning Specialist
Environment and Natural Resources
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: 867-873-7758

Statement from Premier Bob McLeod on Syrian refugee situation

Fri, 09/11/2015 - 10:45

YELLOWKNIFE (September 11, 2015) – Premier Bob McLeod issued the following statement on the Syrian refugee situation today.

Northerners, like all Canadians, have been deeply moved by the many lives lost and risks taken by refugees fleeing conflict in Syria.

Several Canadian and international humanitarian organizations are currently accepting donations to support refugees, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Canadian Red Cross, Lifeline Syria, UNICEF, and Save the Children Canada.  We encourage Northerners who are interested in supporting Syrian refugees to consider donating to these groups. The Government of the Northwest Territories is donating $25,000 to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as an immediate response to the crisis.

The federal government delivers a Private Sponsorship of Refugees program that allows groups of Canadians to sponsor refugees to Canada with financial and emotional support.  Many of our communities have a history of welcoming refugees through these programs, who have gone on to make great contributions to our society. We want to continue to support this approach, but we are still learning about how.

Many provinces and communities have already announced that they will be opening their doors to additional refugees this year.  Because we do not already have a role in refugee settlement services, the Northwest Territories is exploring other ways we may be able to help.  We are talking to other provinces and territories about what they are doing, and what their settlement programs entail, and we are talking to our federal partners about what other opportunities exist for our territory.

The Northwest Territories is a welcoming place, with an appreciation for the history of Canada in welcoming immigrants, particularly those displaced by conflict. We are committed to finding ways to support displaced refugees in the coming weeks.

Introduction to Prospecting Course to be hosted in Yellowknife, Behchoko and Dettah

Thu, 09/10/2015 - 17:59

YELLOWKNIFE (September 10, 2015) – Residents interested in geology and prospecting are invited to participate in the 2015 Introduction to Prospecting Course. The two-day course will be offered in Yellowknife on September 26-27, Behchoko on September 29-30, and Dettah on October 3-4.

Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) is pleased to partner with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, the Mine Training Society, the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines, Tlicho Government, Yellowknife Dene First Nation, Aurora Geosciences, TerraX Minerals and Skills Canada to offer the course.

“Since 1996, the mining industry has provided more than 22,200 person-years of employment. It is essential that we continue to provide our residents with opportunities to learn about geology and prospecting so this sector can remain the economic engine it has been over the last 80 years,” said David Ramsay, Minister of ITI.

Course topics will include bush navigation and safety, sampling methods, claim staking, basic and NWT geology, prospecting, exploration and mining, and regulatory information.

Interested individuals can register with the NWT Mine Training Society at or call 867-765-0445. Registration deadline is September 18. Participants must be 18 or older and the cost is $40.

By supporting opportunities for geological and mineral skill building, ITI is helping to enrich workforce development and public awareness, a pillar of the NWT Mineral Development Strategy Implementation Plan that is helping the government to achieve the 17th Assembly’s vision of a prosperous and environmentally sustainable Northwest Territories.

Media inquiries:

Briony Wright
Senior Communications Officer
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: 867-920-6109

Second Intergovernmental Council Meeting held in Yellowknife

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 18:23

September 3, 2015 (YELLOWKNIFE) – Leaders from the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and Aboriginal governments, who are partners in devolution, met in Yellowknife today to discuss a range of issues related to lands and resource management at the second Intergovernmental Council meeting.

As a key feature of the Devolution Agreement, the creation of an Intergovernmental Council allows governments to cooperate and collaborate on matters related to lands and resource management. The meetings help strengthen the territorial government’s relationships with its Aboriginal partners, a main priority of the 17th assembly.

Leaders from  the GNWT, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Northwest Territory Métis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, Gwich’in Tribal Council, Tłı̨chǫ Government, Acho Dene Koe First Nation, Salt River First Nation, Denínu Kų́ę́ First Nation and the Kátł’odeeche First Nation were involved in the meeting and discussed a range of lands, water and resources issues including resource revenue sharing, capacity building, the state of the resource economy and an update on conservation work in the NWT.

At the Intergovernmental Council’s inaugural meeting in September 2014 direction was given to set up a Finance Working Group to finalize the allocation calculation under the Resource Revenue Sharing Agreement.  With this work now complete, Aboriginal governments received their first share of resource revenues on July 31, 2015. Approximately $6.3 million has been distributed to Aboriginal governments in one of the most robust resource revenue sharing frameworks involving public lands in the country.

The Intergovernmental Council has identified a number of priorities for the upcoming year, including a focus on capacity building and collaborative work around the Land Use Sustainability Framework.

For more information, contact:

Roya Grinsted
Media Relations
Government of the Northwest Territories

Bob Simpson
Director, Intergovernmental Relations
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

Ursula Vogt
Executive Director
Northwest Territory Métis Nation

Ethel Blondin-Andrew
Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated

Diane Baxter
Gwich’in Tribal Council

Laura Duncan
Tłı̨chǫ Executive Officer
Tłı̨chǫ Government

Alex Fanni
Acho Dene Koe First Nation

Carol Ann Chaplin
Senior Adminstrative Officer
Denínu Kų́ę́ First Nation

Allen Stanzell
Chief Executive Officer
Salt River First Nation

Peter Redvers
Kátł’odeeche First Nation

Multiple bear sightings at Hidden Lake Territorial Park

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 13:26

YELLOWKNIFE (September 3, 2015) – The public is asked to refrain from using the Cameron Falls Trail and parking lot that are located in Hidden Lake Territorial Park until further notice due to bear sightings in the area. Hidden Lake Park is on the Ingraham Trail approximately 47 km east of Yellowknife.

A temporary blockade is restricting access to the Hidden Lake Territorial Park parking lot to ensure public safety at this time.

The public is reminded not to feed wildlife and report any bear sightings to Environment and Natural Resources (ENR). Bear safety information is available at

The Departments of ENR and Industry, Tourism and Investment appreciate the public’s patience and cooperation.

Media inquiries:

Nancy Zimmermann
Communications Planning Specialist
Environment and Natural Resources
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: 867-873-7758

Briony Wright

Senior Communications Officer
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: 867-920-6109

Call for 2015 NWT Fire Service Merit Award Nominees

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 10:51

YELLOWKNIFE (September 1, 2015) – The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) is seeking nominations for the NWT Fire Service Merit Awards.

Based on nominations from community members, fire departments and fire chiefs, the NWT Fire Service Merit Awards honour and recognize individuals and community fire departments for their significant contributions to fire safety and fire service in communities across the Northwest Territories (NWT).

“Firefighters provide an essential service in protecting the lives and properties of people across the NWT,” said the Honourable Robert C. McLeod, Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. “Those awards help us recognize the valuable work these individuals and groups do in our communities.”

Individuals or community fire departments can be nominated by members of the public. You can nominate online at, by contacting your local Assistant Fire Marshal, or by downloading a printable form also available on the website.

The deadline for nominations is September 25, 2015.

Recipients of the NWT Fire Service Merit Awards will be announced during National Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, 2015.

For more information, contact:

David Maguire
Communications and Website Advisor
Municipal and Community Affairs
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 920-3092

David Ramsay: Hay River Chamber of Commerce Speech

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 17:44

Thank you .  It’s good to be here again. Hay River has become a familiar and welcome stop for me over the last four years.

The Hay River Chamber has provided valuable input on many economic matters and I thank you for that – and for the invitation to address you, again, this afternoon.

As I join you today, MLAs Groenwegen, Bouchard and I are in the final months of our elected mandates.

This tends to be a time for taking stock and looking back – and I would like to do a bit of that with you today but only very briefly – because there is still work to complete and I am still very-much looking forward.

In particular, there are two initiatives – specific to Hay River – that we are working to have in place before our Assembly expires on October 8th.

The first is a formal strategy document on agriculture; and the second, a business plan for the growth and revitalization of the Great Slave Lake fishing industry.

Before I update you on these initiatives, however, I would be politically remiss if I did not offer some comment on the foundation and economic direction that has been set over the past four years by the 17th Assembly.

As we look forward to a new territorial government, we do so for the first time post Devolution – and in the context of a Government with authorities over its resources, lands and waters.

The realization of Devolution in 2013 has changed economic thinking in the NWT – and with it the approaches that we can take to boosting investor confidence in the NWT, diversifying the economy, reducing the cost of living, creating employment, and addressing infrastructure needs.

Collectively, the Mineral Development Strategy and the NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy have opened the door for a series of joint and partnered approaches that are advancing a new and improved economic environment for NWT residents and their businesses in both the mining and grassroots business sectors. .

We’re taking the same approach in support of our petroleum sector – something you can expect to hear more about in coming weeks as we come back to the House with a draft Oil and Gas Strategy and the results of our engagement on new regulations for hydraulic fracturing.

We have also used the opportunity of Devolution, in part, to decentralize our Government – and to realize a stated priority of our government – to increase employment opportunities where they are needed most.

ITI was well ahead of the curve in this regard – having establishing the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Office here back in 2005.

In 2013, Hay River has become the new headquarters for the Department of ITI’s Business Incentive Policy Monitoring Office and soon will also be home to the Parks unit of our Tourism and Parks Division.

In total, upwards of 30 GNWT positions have been identified for creation or relocation in Hay River – each will work to strengthen the economy and contribute to our goal of being a more effective and responsive government for the needs of the South Slave.

The process of Devolution and our work on key strategy documents has also rekindled a spirit of collaboration and coming together‎. It is an approach that reflects our Government’s commitment four years ago to move our Territory forward ‎in partnership.

Last year, the GNWT began a series of important dialogues with the NWT Chamber of Commerce addressing the pressure points impacting the private sector – difficult but necessary conversations about our territory’s need for population growth, large scale development, improvements to the regulatory system and realistic and effective means to address the high costs of doing business in the North.

To me they emphasized the fact that we cannot move forward without first establishing a climate for growth.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are the backbone of our local and regional economies – and they cannot thrive in the absence of major investment and people.

I would like to commend Robert on the “Change the Conversation” approach that he is promoting with this Chamber, the Town of Hay River and other industry partners to increase consumer confidence here and to find ways to more actively promote Hay River as a place to live, work and raise families.

It complements the work that I know is being advanced by this Chamber and the Town to develop a branding and marketing campaign to attract mine workers to Hay River. It also fits well with work that ITI is doing with our mining sector through Socio Economic Agreements and it will help set the stage for future initiatives to retain existing residents – and to position Hay River as a regional retail center for outlying communities.

To that end, we have also ramped up our support for manufacturing in the NWT – and here in Hay River. Familiarization Tours earlier this year were part of a bigger plan that we have to elevate the awareness and visibility of companies like King Manufacturing, Poison Graphics and Concept Energy Services to both government and industry.

Based on feedback we have received from Russell, Wally, Rocky and others, we are now looking at improving our definition of “manufacturing” to expand the level of investment and support that can be realized from our own government procurement practices.

One of the quotes that resonated with me from the community engagements on the Economic Opportunities Strategy was, “Mines are big – but it is small business and diversity that keeps people in town.”

Our definition of major projects need not be restricted to resource development. Jack’s proposed Thompson landing initiative is a case in point.

In addition to underpinning development in the NWT’s resource sector, its establishment represents infrastructure for this community, business for local contractors, contracts for service suppliers and jobs for local residents.

This is what economic development is all about.  And, if we have to get creative – we will – to find new and alternative ways to combine the financial and people power of the private sector with the capacity of government initiatives and investments.

We see the evidence of this in the Forest Management Agreements that have been put in place to support the vision that Brad has for wood pellet production in Enterprise. Timberworks Inc. in Fort Resolution and Digaa Enterprises in Fort Providence are both now positioned to support this project in a way that will see benefits shared between Aboriginal Corporations, bands and communities.

It emphasizes my belief that we need to invest as much in nurturing a positive business environment and supporting young entrepreneurs as we do in training and developing a skilled workforce.

One of the initiatives that the Department of ITI is currently concluding is a review of the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development – or SEED – program.  It was undertaken, in part, to find more and better ways to promote the competitive business environment in which NWT residents can find the incentive, confidence and tools to invest, take risks and prosper.

We want to see more of what people like Andrew Stanley are doing for the local economy with NWT Fur Harvesters; or what Kathy and Fraser are doing with Two Seasons Adventures.

Perhaps more than any other community in the NWT, Hay River is well positioned to benefit from this approach.

You have a vibrant and diversified business community here already – strong leadership in your retailers association and in this Chamber. And most importantly, you have that entrepreneurial spirit that Hay River is famous for – robust, resilient, and above all else resourceful in the face of economic challenges.

One of the economic philosophies that our work on the Economic Opportunities Strategy confirmed for us is that we must build on our strengths.

And for Hay River these strong suits include agriculture and fishing.  So as promised, let me conclude this afternoon, by giving you an update on our work in these two areas.

Last year, the federal government, in the context of its partnership with the Economic Opportunities Strategy, announced $4 million in funding to foster a viable commercial agriculture industry in the NWT based predominantly out of Hay River.  It included a $2 million commitment to establish a permanent campus for the Northern Farm Training Institute and up to $2 million towards the launch of the Northern Greenhouse Initiative aimed at advancing the commercialization and enhancing greenhouse projects across the NWT.

This summer, the Department of ITI completed a public engagement and consultation process to inform its drafting of a formal Agriculture Strategy and Action Plan.

I want to recognize Jackie specifically for the expertise, assistance, and insight that she was able to contribute to this process – the results of which I plan on bringing back to the House later this fall.

Our Strategy when it is presented will not focus on securing large quantums of land for commercial farm operations. That is not something that is seen as viable – and it is not what NWT residents have said is needed or warranted.

Instead, the goals of our Strategy will be to sow the seeds for investments and initiatives that will:

  • increase the availability of local food for northern residents;
  • reduce the cost of food for northern residents;
  • encourage and support the transfer of food production skills;
  • incorporate our Territory’s traditional food gathering activities;
  • support the sustainable development of food production systems; and
  • contribute to the sustainability of all communities across the NWT.

Finally, as promised, an update on our work regarding the fishery…

On that front, I am pleased to note that the fishers and producers on Great Slave Lake have completed their revitalization strategy and business plan for the commercial fishery.

Safe to say, it is ambitious – and presents a significantly different approach than we have seen in the past – vesting NWT fishers directly in the challenges and success of their fishery. The plan aims to not only serve markets both north and south, but to contribute as partners to the marketing efforts of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. Meanwhile, our fishers will assume the responsibility of both the plant and operations in Hay River as well as the business of the fishery – including the setting of prices to be paid to participants in the industry.

Implementing the plan will cost roughly $5 million – but it has the support of both the FFMC and the GNWT, and we stand ready to work with our industry to leverage the federal government for a significant portion of this investment – and to share in the cost.

Again, it is something that I am looking forward to bringing to the Assembly when it convenes for a final time in September.

This is a new and exciting direction for the fishery, for Hay River and for the NWT.  One that will stimulate a new era of self-sufficiency for our fishery – and return it to the leading economic contributor it once was.

Ladies and gentlemen, I realize that we are heading into this election period in a time of fragile economies, vulnerable world markets and fiscal restraint.  Our government’s resources – which pay for the programs and services our residents rely on – are limited. The people of the NWT want an opportunity to succeed, to live healthy lives and participate as full members of a prosperous and stable Canadian society.

The point that I would like to leave with you is this – there are many reasons to be optimistic.

Our Territory is blessed with great resource potential.  As important, we have a shared understanding that these resources can and must be realized in a manner that is responsible and sustainable.

The realization of Devolution by the 17th Assembly; the strategies that have been put in place; the way of thinking that we have identified… They all point to where we need to be.

Here in Hay River, you have a proven and made-in-the NWT business community that is already committed and equipped to move your economy forward.

Above all else, you have opportunity – in almost every sector – to grow and diversify your economy with grass roots economic development.

Our role as government is to make sure the conditions are right for NWT residents to become prosperous, healthy and self-reliant. To develop the relationships and economic environment in which programs and supports can be delivered – and to help them achieve their personal and collective aspirations.

This Chamber has been a great resource in this regard – and in helping us to address the challenge of realizing our wide ranging opportunities and converting them into real and tangible economic development.

I trust that that it will continue to be so for the 18th Assembly.  Thank you.

DOT Expands Online Services

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 15:39

YELLOWKNIFE (August 28, 2015) – Minister of Transportation Tom Beaulieu announced today that residents of the NWT can now sign up to receive reminders regarding their driver and motor vehicle services by text message on their cellphones.

“By implementing modern methods of reminding residents about their driver and motor vehicle services, the Department of Transportation is supporting the GNWT’s Service Innovation Strategy and is continuing to improve services delivered to NWT residents, businesses, and visitors,” said Minister Beaulieu. “As one of the first jurisdictions to provide clients with reminders through text messaging, this will be a real enhancement to the Department’s Online Driver and Motor Vehicle Services as well as a major contributor to the 17th Legislative Assembly’s goal of providing an effective and efficient government.”

Through the Department of Transportation Online Driver and Motor Vehicles (DMV) Services, NWT residents can now receive text message reminders for:

  • Expiring driver’s licences, general identification cards or vehicle registrations;
  • Scheduled driver examinations; and
  • Driver medical renewals.

The Department hopes to see fewer missed driver examination appointments, as well as fewer expired vehicle registrations, expired driver’s licences and general identification cards.  No personal information will be provided in the text message reminders making the service safe and secure for residents to use.

You are already enrolled to receive text message reminders if you signed up for the Online DMV Services and have provided a phone number.  To check if you are signed up to receive text message reminders, simply login to your Online DMV account and make sure you have provided a phone number and agreed to receive the text message reminders.

To access the online driver and motor vehicle services, please visit: Department of Transportation Online DMV Services.

For more information:

Nick Hurst
Communications Officer
Department of Transportation
867-767-9082 ext. 31045

Feature film set to begin production in Fort McPherson

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 12:02

FORT MCPHERSON (August 28, 2015) – A group of 13 crew and two cast members will travel to Fort McPherson next week to shoot The Sun at Midnight, a feature film by NWT writer and director Kirsten Carthew and NWT producer Amos Scott, of Jill and Jackfish Productions.  The film features a nearly exclusive northern cast and crew.

“This is an exciting project and one that the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is proud to support,” said Minister of ITI David Ramsay.  “The film industry not only gives us a platform to showcase our spectacular landscapes and local talent, it provides an opportunity for spin off benefits to communities.”

It is estimated that the production will spend roughly $75,000 in Fort McPherson on catering, accommodations, and hiring a production coordinator and local actors.

The Sun at Midnight began filming this week in Yellowknife and shares the story of a young woman who reconnects with her heritage. It is anticipated to be completed in 2016.

The film was made possible in part through the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) Program as well as the NWT Film Commission’s Film Rebate Program. The rebate program was launched in February 2015 to increase film production activity and interest in the territory and was developed in response to a recommendation of the Economic Opportunities Strategy (EOS).

Media inquiries:

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 920-8696

GNWT Participation in Operation Nanook

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 15:55

YELLOWKNIFE (August 24, 2015) – In order to ensure residents of the territory are prepared in the event of a crisis the Government of the Northwest Territories is participating in Operation Nanook to test the government’s emergency management practices and protocols.

Taking place in the Inuvik and Fort Smith areas between August 17 and 28 the exercise is an opportunity to work with partners from community governments, the Government of Canada, the Canadian Forces, and the RCMP to validate the GNWT’s emergency preparedness regime.

“Participation in Operation Nanook will help us test our emergency response measures and strengthen relationships with partners in other emergency response agencies,” said Robert C. McLeod, Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Operation Nanook is a joint operational exercise that allows government agencies to test their operational and emergency response efforts. The operation is coordinated by the Canadian Forces and includes a number of emergency scenarios that provide a controlled environment for the  implementation of emergency measures to prepare people should a real emergency occur.

Participation in multi-partner exercises like Operation Nanook improves the safety of northerners and works towards creating a strong north built on partnerships as envisioned by the 17th Assembly of the Government of the Northwest Territories.

For more information, contact:

David Maguire
Communications and Web Advisor
Municipal and Community Affairs
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 920-3092

Premier sends letter to Federal party leaders on northern issues

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 11:40

YELLOWKNIFE (August 19, 2015) – Continued partnership with the Federal Government is integral to the future success of the Northwest Territories, and Premier Bob McLeod is asking the four main political leaders to share their vision for the north if their party were to form Canada’s next government.

In a letter sent to party leaders on August 19, 2015, the Premier asked a series of questions addressing issues critical to the progress of a sustainable and prosperous territory and vital to a strong partnership with the federal government and continued investment in transportation, housing and energy infrastructure by Ottawa.

The Premier asked leaders of the Liberal Party of Canada, Conservative Party of Canada, NDP and Green Party about economic development, growing the territory’s population, energy sustainability, transportation infrastructure, northern self-determination and devolution, climate change, and public housing, the latter an issue the Premier believes the new governing party needs to address head-on through a reinvigorated funding partnership.

“GNWT recognizes the power of partnerships with the federal government and also with Aboriginal governments, industry and communities,” the Premier wrote in the letter. “We are anxious to learn how you see our government’s relationship with the incoming federal government unfolding in the years ahead.”

Through continued partnerships the GNWT will continue to advance northern governance and economy. By doing so, the GNWT is responding to the needs and values of its residents by fostering these relationships with our federal and Aboriginal government counterparts through common priorities.

The Premier has asked for responses by September 19, 2015. Responses to the Premier’s letter will be posted on the government website for NWT residents to read. An informed northern electorate will help voters make the best decisions in the upcoming federal election, and the Premier is looking forward to hearing how the four parties envision its relationship with the territorial government when the next government takes office.

Click here to read the letter to candidates.

For more information, contact:

Roya Grinsted
Communications Officer
Office of the Premier/Cabinet
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 669-2308


Tue, 08/18/2015 - 17:38

YELLOWKNIFE (August 18, 2015) – Fire ZF-014, near Reid Lake, remains active. The GNWT is working to suppress the fire and ensure the safety of the public. The following are updates from the various government agencies involved in the response to this wildfire.

The next Public Safety Update will be issued on Friday, August 21, 2015, unless the situation at the Reid Lake fire advances significantly before then.

Environment and Natural Resources (ENR)

ENR continues to fight the Reid Lake fire. Crews continue to operate in the area with fire action ongoing. Fire personnel will continue to be based out of Reid Lake campground while fire suppression activities are required.

For the latest updates on NWT fire conditions visit the ENR website the NWT Fire Facebook page.

Transportation (DOT)

The roadblock at the Cameron River bridge will be moved to the Reid Lake campground entrance the morning of Tuesday, August 18th. This road closure, from Reid to Tibbitt lake will continue until further notice. No traffic will be permitted past the closure, which is essential for fire crews to continue their work without interruption.

For the latest updates on highway conditions, visit, call 1-800-661-0750, or follow @GNWT_DOT on Twitter.

Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI)

The Reid Lake Territorial Park Campground remains closed. Cameron River Territorial Park will be open to the public as of 8:30 AM on Tuesday, August 18. Updates about the closure will be issued through regular Public Safety Updates at, and on the ITI website at

Campers who wish to cancel a booking can do so without penalty by contacting 445-1717 for the period of August 5-24.  For Extended Stay Campsite holders a refund will be provided at a pro-rated daily rate once the park re-opens. For more information visit

Health and Social Services (HSS)

HSS is advising residents with concerns about smoke to see the Health Effects of Smoke Exposure due to Forest Fire information sheet.

For more information visit

Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA)

MACA, through the Emergency Measures Office, will continue to provide updates on the fire, related closure, and ongoing activities. Updates will be provided as information becomes available.

We would like to thank the public for their continued patience. Updates regarding the status of the Reid Lake fire will be provided as they become available.

Further Information

New Public Safety Updates will be provided as information becomes available. Updates will be distributed to local media and posted online at

Media Inquiries by Topic

Fire conditions and fire suppression: Judy McLinton at 867-445-2297.

Health concerns about smoke conditions: Damien Healy at  867-767-9052 ext. 49034

Highway conditions and status: Nick Hurst at 867-445-1368

Territorial park/campground closures: Briony Wright 867-920-6109

GNWT emergency response: David Maguire at 867-920-3092


Yellowknife, le 18 août 2015 – Le feu ZF-014 qui sévit près du lac Reid pose toujours un danger. Le GTNO prend toutes les mesures nécessaires pour éteindre le feu et protéger la population. Les messages ci-dessous sont des mises à jour provenant de diverses agences gouvernementales qui œuvrent contre cet incendie de forêt.

La prochaine mise à jour de sécurité publique sera émise le vendredi 21 août 2015, à moins que l’incendie autour du lac Reid prenne sérieusement de l’ampleur entre-temps.

Ministère de l’Environnement et des Ressources naturelles (MERN)

Le personnel du MERN continue de combattre le feu du lac Reid. Les équipes travaillent toujours dans les zones où les incendies font rage et elles continueront d’occuper le terrain de camping du lac Reid tant que les activités de lutte contre les incendies seront nécessaires.

Pour obtenir les plus récentes mises à jour sur l’état des feux aux TNO, visitez le site Web du MERN au et la page Facebook de NWT Fire.

Ministère des Transports

Le barrage routier du pont de la rivière Cameron sera repoussé au terrain de camping du lac Reid le mardi 18 août, dans la matinée. La route entre le lac Reid et le lac Tibbitt demeura fermée jusqu’à nouvel ordre. Aucun véhicule ne pourra franchir le barrage routier. Le barrage est essentiel pour permettre aux membres de l’équipe de lutte contre les incendies de travailler sans interruption.

Pour obtenir les plus récentes informations sur les conditions routières, visitez le, téléphonez au 1‑800‑661‑0750 ou suivez @GNWT_DOT sur Twitter.

Ministère de l’Industrie, du Tourisme et de l’Investissement (MITI)

Le camping du parc territorial du lac Reid demeure fermé. Le public pourra recommencer à fréquenter le parc territorial de la rivière Cameron dès le mardi 18 août, à 8 h 30. Les informations les plus récentes concernant la fermeture du parc territorial du lac Reid seront affichées dans les mises à jour de sécurité publique au et sur le site Web du MITI au

Les campeurs qui devaient séjourner dans ce secteur entre le 5 août et le 24 août peuvent annuler leur réservation sans frais en téléphonant au 445‑1717. Les détenteurs d’un terrain de camping longue durée recevront un remboursement des jours perdus au prorata du prix quotidien dès la réouverture du parc. Pour de plus amples renseignements, visitez le

Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS)

Le MSSS recommande à la population qui se préoccupe de la fumée de consulter le feuillet d’information intitulé Effets sur la santé de l’exposition à la fumée des incendies de forêt.

Pour de plus amples renseignements, visitez le

Ministère des Affaires municipales et communautaires (MAMC)

Le Bureau des mesures d’urgence du MACA continuera de diffuser des mises à jour concernant le feu, les fermetures de routes ainsi que les opérations en cours. Le MACA fera des mises à jour dès qu’il détiendra de nouveaux renseignements.

Nous tenons à remercier le public de sa patience. Les mises à jour sur l’état du feu qui sévit au lac Reid seront diffusées dès que de nouveaux renseignements seront disponibles.

Autres renseignements utiles

De nouvelles mises à jour de sécurité publique seront diffusées dès que de nouveaux renseignements seront disponibles. Ces mises à jour seront transmises aux médias locaux et seront diffusées en ligne au


Renseignements aux médias (par sujets)

État et suppression des feux : Judy McLinton au 867‑445‑2297

Problèmes de santé liés à la qualité de l’air : Damien Healy au 867‑767‑9052, poste 49034

Conditions routières : Nick Hurst au 867-445-1368

Fermeture des parcs territoriaux et des terrains de camping : Briony Wright au 867‑920‑6109

Intervention d’urgence du GTNO : David Maguire au 867‑920‑3092

Dehcho event celebrates artisans, businesses and locally grown goods

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 16:05

FORT SIMPSON (August 18, 2015) – Residents and visitors in the Fort Simpson region had the chance to try their hand at everything from composting and garden maintenance to tufting and birch-basket making over the weekend as part of the second annual arts, crafts and gardening workshop sponsored, in part, by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment’s (ITI) Dehcho Regional Office. 

This year’s event included a petting zoo, an opportunity to buy and sell locally grown produce, and a multitude of free workshops.  The Dehcho Region was well-represented with artisans from Jean Marie River, Trout Lake, Fort Simpson, Wrigley and Nahanni Butte who showcased their skill and shared their knowledge.

“This event complements the GNWT’s approach to supporting made-in-the-north products and services and is a great opportunity for local businesses, artisans and community members in the Dehcho Region to take centre stage,” said Minister of ITI, David Ramsay.

A similar event will be hosted in Fort Liard on September 5.

Through its support of this event, ITI is helping to fulfill several Economic Opportunities Strategy recommendations to create opportunities for small scale agriculture, the arts and crafts sector, and business development.

Media inquiries:

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 920-8696

Construction contract awarded for women’s corrections facility in Fort Smith

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 11:57

Fort Smith (August 13, 2015) – The contract for the design and construction of the new adult women’s correctional facility in Fort Smith has been awarded to C.A.B. Construction Ltd. of Fort Smith with a winning proposal of just over $23.5 million. The new facility will have capacity for 23 women and will be built on MacDougal Road next to the existing facility for male inmates. 

“The people of Fort Smith have a long history of supporting the operation of Corrections facilities in their community,” said Minister of Justice David Ramsay. “By building on the same site as the existing centre for men, we will be able to realize efficiencies in food services, utilities and administration. We look forward to the opening of this building in the spring of 2018 and continuing our partnership with the community.”

Design is currently underway and construction on the new facility is expected to begin in spring 2016. The design will have provisions for inmates’ needs including spirituality and special programming areas along with appropriate security requirements, and potential future expansion.  The current women’s facility opened in Fort Smith in the early 1990s with the goal of assisting inmates in a supportive and culturally appropriate environment to address the needs that led to their incarceration.  The new facility will continue this legacy.

The current structure housing women inmates will be decommissioned and no longer used as a Corrections facility.

For background information click here. 

For more information:

Sue Glowach
Senior Communications Advisor

NWT Health Care Plan more flexible for Snowbirds

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 16:59

YELLOWKNIFE (August 12, 2015) – Residents on extended vacations now have an extra month of extra days allowing them to be outside the territory without their health coverage being affected.

As long as residents maintain their permanent residency in the NWT, residents will now only need to be physically present in the NWT for 153 days, down from the 183 day limit and is consistent with what several other provinces are doing.

“Snowbirds and other residents now have the flexibility to go on extended vacations without having to worry about their NWT health care coverage,” said Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy.

The GNWT has also simplified the NWT Health Care Plan application process by making the forms clearer and easier to use. The forms are more user-friendly and include an important information section that clearly sets out what documents need to be included with the application.

The improvements to the forms will make it easier for residents to update their health care information and will speed up the process for receiving new health care cards.

In addition to the forms, an information booklet, NWT Health Care Plan – Information for NWT Residents was developed to provide the public with general information on registering for a NWT Health Care Card and health care coverage.

Both the forms and the booklet are available online at The forms will also be available at hospitals, health clinics and health centres.

For more information contact:

Damien Healy,
Manager, Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Tel: (867) 767-9052 (Ext. 49034)