April 28, 2023


First crop of locally cultivated cannabis soon on shop shelves

The territory’s first licensed commercial cannabis producer will soon slip out its unique strain with a memorable moniker: Gas Banana.

Boreal Cultivation’s work in a specially-constructed $2-million building in the Kam Lake industrial area, has been making headlines in local media and online fanzines such as Vancouver-based Cannabis Culture.

CBC North reported Boreal currently employs five full-time staff and its building stays warm via oil-fed in-floor heating.

"Electricity is not as bad as everybody thinks," co-owner Damien Healy told the public broadcaster.

The budding weed company received startup funding through the NWT Business Development and Investment Corporation, Industry, Tourism and Investment's SEED program, and the federal government's Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The Boreal owners say they'd like to see the GNWT update its Cannabis Products Act to allow sales from its facility, create indoor consumption sites and allow for consumption at special outdoor events. 

The plan is to expand and grow 3,000 to 4,000 plants and a handful of different strains. 

Have your say with the Employment Standards Survey

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is seeking public feedback on the Employment Standards Act including whether Family Day should be a stat holiday.

The realities of work have changed since the last time the Act was comprehensively reviewed, stated a GNWT announcement.

A thorough review of the Act is needed to ensure efficiency, understanding and compliance, as well as to ensure that the legislation is on par with the minimum standards of employment in other Canadian jurisdictions, asserted the GNWT.

As Cabin Radio reports, unlike many other Canadian jurisdictions, the NWT doesn’t recognize February’s Family Day as a statutory holiday. The NWT does observe National Indigenous Peoples Day in June, as does the Yukon, whereas provinces do not.

February is the only month of the year guaranteed not to include a stat holiday in the NWT. A Member Poll in February showed 68% of respondents siding with a new Family Day for the public-service dominated NWT.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has spoken out against adding more stat holidays to the year as it hurts business — especially SMEs.

Even though workers don’t have to work statutory holidays, they still get paid for them. Companies can either stay open and pay working employees time and a half, or shut down for a day and lose productivity.

The Act applies to most employees and employers that perform work in the Northwest Territories. The Act does not apply to federal government employees, GNWT employees or workers in federally regulated industries such as airlines, banks and most telecommunications operations.

However, a new stat holiday would likely be adopted by all sectors.

Complete one of the two online surveys — one for Employee and Community Members and the other for employers by May 21.

Canadian North's summer schedule takes flight, amid turbulence over some dropped flights

In a media release issued Friday afternoon, Canadian North Air Lines stated it's focused on delivering the optimal number of flights and seats to meet demand in all communities it serves.

Canadian North stated its new schedule gains efficiencies and adds more than 8% capacity into and across the Canadian North network.

The new schedule will also enable Canadian North to utilize its flight crews more effectively, "which is crucial within the current industry-wide pilot shortage," stated the release, adding some destinations, such as Inuvik, will see more seat capacity.

The federal government this week signed off on changes to the terms and conditions of Canadian North's 2019 merger with First Air, reported CBC, which allows the airline to reduce service to northern communities to as little as one flight per week. 

Three flights weekly into Norman Wells were subsequently cut from the new schedule. That left some Northern tour operators scrambling to work with guides and guests who had trips planned.

Nominations open for mineral exploration and mining awards

Do you know an individual or organization that is an outstanding performer in the mineral exploration and mining industry? You can now see the awards categories and nominate a worthy recipient by August 9.

Congratulations to all the PDAC 2023 recipients that were celebrated at the Awards Gala during the Convention. Learn more about their stories.


Topic: Diversity, equity & inclusion

Increasing diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do, but the economic argument for it is clear, too. Diverse and inclusive companies perform better in decision-making, innovation, profitability, and employee engagement and productivity.

The Canadian Chamber is offering a free online Executive Summit (outlined above) May 3 looking at the different ways the private sector is making progress and moving from awareness to action.

The NWT public sector has been ahead of the DEI curve in some respects, such as with the GNWT's focus on increasing its Indigenous workforce.

Question: Is your DEI awareness evolving into action in your business?
Yes, we're fully diverse, equal and inclusive
Respect the concept, but have other priorities at the moment
It gets complicated across sectors, I need to learn more about it
No, I plan to continue hiring who I want to without outside influence


Question: Is there a missed biz opportunity with the surge of NWT artists, especially as tourism returns?

  • YES 66%
  • NO 34%


"We thought it was important to bring the local culture into the lodge, so even guests that are just coming for fishing they only want to fish, that’s their priority they still get the experience, they still get the knowledge, they still understand that it is not just a fishing destination, it is home to the Łútsël K’é Dene First Nation."

— Frontier Lodge GM Corey Myers, in a Cabin Radio story, adding he expects back-to-back record years, describing “pent-up demand” since the pandemic for the destination on the edge of the Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve and protected area.



Friday Futures:

If you know of someone who might be interested in joining our organization, ask them to have a look at our website to find out more about us.

After an absence of two years, the NWT Chamber's golf tournament returns Friday, August 18 at the Yellowknife Golf Club. After 18 holes, participants will be treated to a reception with a silent auction and a delicious meal. More details will follow, but please save that date and start thinking of teams to enter and level of sponsorship your business could be interested in.

To celebrate the NWT Chamber's 50th anniversary this year, a major one-day conference and evening reception is being planned for Sept. 29. Stay tuned for information.

The next NWT Chamber Board Meeting is May 17 at 11am in-person or Zoom


Inquire with the NWT Chamber's Executive Director about sponsorship and newsletter advertising opportunities. We also offer limited numbers of EBlasts to members each month and promoted social media posts can be arranged.

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