June 30, 2023


In the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s latest analysis of Statistics Canada’s Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), the Canadian economy is showing resilience in the face of tightened monetary policy and slow global growth. Canada’s output growth and labor market activity exceeded market expectations in the first quarter of 2023. However, labour challenges may have intensified in the second quarter, particularly affecting small businesses. These challenges are leading to longer working hours, reducing the ability to fulfill customer orders, and consequently hindering business growth. While businesses continue to grapple with inflation and costs, other obstacles are improving. Supply chain challenges, especially for domestic inputs, are gradually easing. Businesses maintain surprisingly strong sales expectations, and their debt capacity remains relatively stable.

'Households are facing financial stress,' says economist

A "sharp" increase in insolvencies in May suggests that households are struggling more than ever with debt, reports the Financial Post.


Insolvencies, which include bankruptcies and proposals to renegotiate loans, rose 12.3 per cent in May from April and are up 30.9 per cent from the same time last year on an adjusted basis, according to data from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. 

They are now at their highest level since the start of the pandemic, with proposal numbers cresting above the pre-COVID era, said Charles St-Arnaud, chief economist at Alberta Central, in an analysis of the latest figures.


"The increase in 2023 has been more significant than usual in almost every province," he said. "This suggests that an increasing share of households are facing financial stress.”


St-Arnaud attributed shifting insolvency outlook to record levels of household debt, weakening purchasing power and a series of increases to the Bank of Canada's benchmark lending rate, which sets the baseline costs for borrowing.

Further, the Calgary-based economist said he expects insolvencies to continue to rise this year since higher interest rates have yet to fully filter through to household borrowing.

An energy Catch-22: ESG-minded investors want critical minerals mined with clean fuels

The GNWT's "multilateral dialogue" called Our Energy and Climate Future in a Changing World takes place Wednesday through Friday in Yellowknife.

It's part of a major review of the NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework and 2030 Energy Strategy. This is required as the current federal government moved the goalposts by increasing its carbon-free dreams to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The NWT Chamber will be in attendance at the conference next week and has been reviewing background documents. Your ED's impression? The North is in a spot of bother under pretty much any scenario trying to reach Net Zero 2050.

Consider this no-win Catch-22:

  • Critical minerals mines in the NWT provide an opportunity to diversify the economy and expand our contribution to low-carbon technologies such as electric vehicles, superalloys, batteries, and wind turbines.

  • BUT at the same time, national and international investors and suppliers of capital are — for a variety of socio-political reasons — are increasing their environmental, social and governance considerations (ESG) in investments.

  • So, without access to lower carbon energy sources such as solar, wind, and plentiful clean electricity in the short term, the NWT will have trouble attracting investments for projects that will allow us to buy those electric vehicles, solar panels and battery storage banks needed in the long-term.

More on the conference next Friday in this space.

And in the meantime, the GNWT encourages "partners, stakeholders, and members of the public" to share a written submission through the Have-Your-Say portal by Aug 21.

For the sixth consecutive year, stressed-out Canadians lose sleep over their stretched finances, a survey says

Canadians are losing even more sleep over money this year than last as it remains their leading source of stress for the sixth consecutive year, according to FP Canada's 2023 Financial Stress Index.

Yes, money remains the top stressor for Canadians (40%), with rising inflation, high gas prices and grocery prices contributing to financial malaise.

Nearly half (48%) of Canadians have lost sleep over finances and one-in-three (36%) have experienced mental health challenges.

Further, Canadians say they are struggling to save money. Saving enough for retirement (35%) and saving for a major purchase (32%) are two areas of growing concern.

Younger generations are also more likely to feel the pinch, and Canadians aged 18 to 34 are the most concerned about saving for major purchases (50%).

Encouragingly, FP Canada's 2023 Financial Stress Index shows that many Canadians have taken steps to reduce their financial stress, including tracking expenses (44%), paying down debt (36%) and saving more (34%).

The research also reveals that Canadians who work with a financial planner are less prone to money-related stress, sleep loss, and financial regrets.

Despite these advantages, only 36% of Canadians work with some type of financial professional, and even fewer – only 5% – work with a financial planner specifically.


Northwest Territorians go to the polls Oct. 3 to select the 20th Assembly.

What is the most important issue for you?

  • Education: 25%

  • Materials, shipping costs: 20%

  • Housing (public & private): 20%

  • Worker shortage: 15%

  • Procurement reform: 10%

  • Red tape, regulations: 5% 

  • Infrastructure: 5%


"The Dene people are committed to good relations with our land, water, plants, and animals. The participation of Yellowknives Dene businesses in remediating the former Giant Mine site fits within these values. It offers increased opportunities for skills-building to our young people that they can take with them as they build their careers.”

Yellowknives Dene First Nation N’dilo Chief Fred Sangris told Canadian Press, as the federal government confirmed its commitment to increase procurement opportunities for Indigenous people through the more than $4-billion Giant Mine Remediation Project, including prioritizing contracts with Indigenous-owned businesses. 

"Our whole purpose right now is to get all First Nations working regardless if you’re YKDFN — we want to see all our First Nations getting gainful employment."

— Teresa Black, YKDFN community employment liaison, told NNSL on the opening of a new career centre to help members find employment.

"Premiers expressed concern that the federal Clean Electricity

Regulations are unattainable and unaffordable for some jurisdictions given current technologies

and timelines."

— Stated a communiqué following the Western Premiers Conference this week in Whistler, BC. The territorial premiers were also in attendance, despite the name of the event.

Good luck to our friends at the non-profit Territorial Agrifood Association, with the debut of this tasty event next month!


Friday Futures:

  • It's time to register to play — or pony up to sponsor — the NWT Chamber's golf tournament on Friday, August 18! Just email your ED James O'Connor at [email protected] to indicate your preference and be sent an invoice! After 18 holes, participants will be treated to a reception and a yummy meal. More details here.

  • 50th Anniversary Conference: A Blueprint for Building a Stronger NWT, is a major one-day conference and evening reception is being planned for Sept. 29. Save the date! More info coming soon.

The next NWT Chamber Board meeting is July 19 at 11am in-person or Zoom

You can now find the archive of the NWT Chamber's newsletters here


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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