The GNWT has hired 15 new staff members aimed at improving the territory’s management of climate change.

The positions are mainly scientific research positions that will improve the territory’s climate data gathering abilities, in order to help inform strategies that will lessen the impacts of climate change on communities in the Northwest Territories, according to an email from Environment and Natural Resources spokesperson Darren Campbell.

“As climate change continues to impact Northerners, there is also a cost to not taking action on this significant challenge.” — Darren Campbell, GNWT spokesperson

Thirteen full-time positions and two part-time positions have been created. Ten of the positions are in Yellowknife, with two full-time workers hired in Inuvik, one full-time and one seasonal worker hired in Fort Smith and one seasonal worker hired in Hay River.

“Climate change has been altering northern ecosystems and the way of life of NWT residents for decades,” Campbell said in an email. “This additional capacity to address climate change issues in the territory allows the GNWT to strengthen its leadership on climate change while supporting multiple departments, other governments and partners.”

The hirings are part of the 19th Legislative Assembly’s mandate to give greater prominence to climate change in decision making. The hirings had also been laid out in the GNWT’s 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework 2019-2023 Action Plan.

The hirings come at a time when the GNWT has been trying to boost revenues. Back in September, the territorial government issued bonds for the first time — $180 million worth. These hirings will cost $2.1 million annually, but the cost would be higher of not spending this money, said Campbell.

“As climate change continues to impact Northerners, there is also a cost to not taking action on this significant challenge,” he added. “With these additional positions, the GNWT is taking real action to transition to a lower carbon economy, improve knowledge of climate change impacts and build resilience and adapt to climate change.