In a Friday afternoon press conference, Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Finance and Katrina Nokleby, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment and Infrastructure released the GNWT’s “First Phase” of COVID 19 Economic relief for the territory.

The GNWT has put together an initial economic relief package valued at $13.2 Million dollars that will take effect immediately. This package is intended to work in concert with federal incentives under Canada’s $27 billion COVID-19 Economic Response Plan announced earlier this week.

The following defines the initial phase of the GNWT’s economic aid package that was passed in the interim appropriation budget on Monday;

  • Health and social services will receive an extra 25 per cent on top of their apportionment.
  • Hay River will be receiving 615 thousand dollars for dialysis expansion as an immediate injection.
  • EC will be receiving an additional 25 per cent set at 2 million dollars towards income assistance.
  • Effective April 1st there will be a 100 per cent approval for almost all departments grants and contributions ready to go out starting April 1st.
  • Effective April 1st there will be a 100 per cent of all contracting will be available to all departments with their full years’ worth of funds
  • GNWT will be allowing all carryovers for 2019/2020 contributions, meaning
    • Indigenous governments, community governments and the non-profit sector, who have money in their budget and normally return at the end of the fiscal year, will be able to keep it to continue operations
  • GNWT will be advancing royalty payments to signatory indigenous governments were typically the 1st payments are made in July once the previous year’s royalties are known, this year 50 per cent of anticipated royalties for 2019/2020 will be advanced.
  • NT Power Corporation is removing load limiters, ceasing disconnections and pausing collections.
  • NWT finance will be temporarily pausing collections on the payroll tax.
  • Education culture and employment is going to be deferring all student financial assistance payments until September 30th
  • To help maintain ground-based resupply into the territory all toll fees for crossing the Deh Cho Bridge and many permit fees for transport trucks on all NWT highways will be waived until June.
  • All landing fees in all NWT airports will be waived.
  • BDIC we will offer low-interest loans to business to help offset COVID 19 impacts and will allow the deferral of any BDIC loan payments for a period of up to 3 months with no penalty or additional interest charges.
  • GNWT will offer an extension of the due date for employer assessment payments with the WSCC from April 1st to May 1st 2020.
  • The GNWT will also establish an economic council to help identify economic impacts, represent the business community, and ensure that critical items to local economies/jobs are addressed.

“We do not want anybody worrying about food, mortgages heat or other basic needs and we will make sure that the federal financial measures announced earlier this week are accessible across all communities” —  Caroline Wawzonek, NWT Minister of Finance

In addition to this first wave of economic relief announced today by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Industry Tourism and Investment and Infrastructure, the GNWT says they will continue to identify other relief measures to assist territorial residents and business owners and operators as they respond to COVID-19.