June 2, 2023


The Canadian Chamber of Commerce's new Local Spending Tracker monitors spending trends in 35 locations across the country, adjusted for seasonality, inflation and population growth. Yellowknife joins cities such as Winnipeg, Hamilton and Ottawa showing real spending growth per person.

Northwest Territories' capital bucks 'city-cession' trend

While Canada's economy has yet to dip into recession, new information suggests many of the country's major cities are already heading into downturns known as "city-cessions," says a recent Posthaste newsletter.

However, Yellowknife is enjoying 3.8% growth in real spending growth per-person, topping Whitehorse (-3.8%), but below Iqaluit (4.4%). No information was available for the entire territory.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce's new tracker shows Canadian spending started off strong in January, thanks to robust jobs growth and unseasonably warm weather.

As higher interest rates began to bite that momentum slowed, falling into negative territory nationally in March and April. 

Real per person spending is now falling in 13 of 21 cities across the country, including Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.

Both the Bank of Canada and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. have expressed concerns in recent weeks that Canadian households are struggling under growing debt.

Canada already has the highest household debt load in the G7, a total greater than the size of the country's economy, and the CMHC fears the situation could get worse.

NWT Chamber President Newton Grey speaks at last Sunday's Conference on African and Black Community Entrepreneurship in the NWT at the Explorer Hotel. Later in the week, Grey and ED James O'Connor took several meetings of interest to the Chamber and the biz community: Research Chair Sara Komarnisky and Summer Research Assistant Riley Menard from the Aurora Research Institute, dropped by our offices (photo below) to learn about our organization and what research about immigration could be of use to the private business sector; later, the Chamber furthered Sunday's conference discussions with Ambe Chenemu, President of the Black Advocacy Coalition NWT; and yesterday regional business leaders and officials from GNWT's ITI Dep't. joined a roundtable with the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) Foundation, discussing areas such as mining (critical minerals), broadband and internet access, infrastructure investment, and Indigenous business. 

Photos by James O'Connor

Carbon Tax on diesel fuels need for GNWT to provide 'temporary relief' for electricity rates

A one-time payment of $15.2 million to the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) will offset "significant" increases in the price and consumption of diesel over the past year and a half, says a territorial government news release.

On Friday afternoon, the GNWT and Crown corporation NTPC pointed to two "significant, uncontrollable events" that have driven the cost to provide power much higher.

The Snare and Bluefish hydroelectric facilities, which supply power to Yellowknife, Behchokǫ̀ and Dettah, are experiencing naturally occurring low water levels, resulting in the constant need to use diesel generators.

Rates for NTPC’s approved General Rate Application were developed using the price of diesel in December 2021. Since then, the price of diesel has increased by 40%. 

In January, the NWT Chamber warned changes to the carbon tax regime would gravely impact the private business sector and the overall territorial economy.

"Does the federal government not understand there are no economically viable energy alternatives currently available here?" asked then-President Yanik D'Aigle in a submission to a GNWT committee.

"Does it not understand the damage that will be caused to the private business sector and the overall economy if the NWT can’t be exempt from the proposed changes from the bill?"

Fuel prices rose on April 1, with the full effect of the new carbon quashing laws to be felt in the coming months.

What does CRA consider a receipt?

The NWT Chamber receives plenty of information from many sources throughout the week. Here's a good reminder from our friends at the Canada Revenue Agency.

When you purchase something for your business, you must keep a record of the expense. By ensuring that you have a record of the transaction, you can be better prepared for filing your income taxes. Records of your transactions will support your income and expense claims.

A receipt is an expense record that confirms that the business has sold or bought something.

For a receipt to be accepted for income tax purposes, it must have the following:

  • The date of the purchase.
  • The name and address of the seller or supplier.
  • The name and address of the buyer
  • The full description of the goods or services purchased or sold.
  • The vendor's business number if they are a GST/HST registrant.

Additionally, credit card statements are not generally accepted as a replacement for receipts unless it contains the above and other requested information.

Click here for more information.


How would you rate the GNWT's overall response to the wildfire disaster and evacuation in the South Slave region so far?

  • Excellent 40%
  • Competent 30%
  • Needs Improvement 10%
  • Not very good at all 20%


"Food security is a big issue in the North … I’m not saying that birch syrup is going to feed everyone in the NWT or anything, but we have to learn to provide our own food."

— Craig Scott, who along with Mike Mitchell, started Arctic Harvest in 2010, tapping birch trees outside Yellowknife each spring, with permission from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. A Canadian Press story entitled, Northern Businesses Using Local Ingredients With a Focus on Food Sustainability.

"Two years ago, this government tabled a procurement review report published by an independent review panel. The report highlighted the concerns of northern business about communication and procedural fairness of how bids are administered, advertised, or requested, and how the government is evaluating value for dollar."

— Caitlyn Cleveland, MLA for Kam Lake, in the Assembly on May 31. She continued:

"Businesses identified concerns about being shut out of opportunities to apply on bids and do not believe their BIP status is giving them the intended advantage. We have yet to see a response from the GNWT to the procurement review report."

"We know workers right now are in a fight against the constant cost of living increases especially in the North and are fighting for fair wages in the current economic context."

Josee-Anne Spirito, recently elected Regional Executive Vice-President with the Public Service Alliance of Canada North, in an interview with NNSL.

"So definitely the fights we have seen at the City (of Yellowknife) and the PSAC federal employees are not going to be the last we see over the next few months.

'I’m not insinuating that we will be on strike again here soon but we will be putting pressure on employers to get fair wages for our members."


Friday Futures:

  • 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 here. Please save the date for this important fundraiser for the NWT Chamber. Also, keep in mind that event sponsorship is an opportunity to show your support for the NWT Chamber!

  • 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.

  • After you've supported the NWT Chamber's two events, our friends at the Economic Development Council of the Northwest Territories (better known by its French acronym CDÉTNO) is holding its 20th Anniversary Gala Oct. 13 at the Explorer Hotel.

The next NWT Chamber Board Meeting is June 21 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.

Follow your NWT Chamber on social media

Twitter  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube