The NWT Chamber's board of directors, on behalf of our members and staff, continues to express its concern for the residents and business owners of Hay River and Kátł’odeeche First Nation. Hay River residents are returning, but an evacuation order due to wildfire/smoke threat remains in effect for KFN.

Please patronize the businesses of Hay River and area. Many, such as Pho's House, opened today, while others, such as Kal Tire will be back in biz Monday. The Town reminds impacted businesses to also consider applying for operational support under GNWT's SEED program.

May 26, 2023


The Rotary Club of Yellowknife extends an invitation to businesses in the North Slave region who would want to participate in this year's Community Parade on Canada Day. See details above.

Poster by James O'Connor, Chamber ED and proud Rotarian

'Good opportunities' at immigration speed dating event

The second part of a new initiative that directly connects immigrants holding Permanent Residence visas ready to move to Canada with NWT employers with openings to fill was deemed a success today.

The online event attracted 139 skilled immigrants from all over the world who hold Permanent Residence visas and are still deciding on the location in Canada where they want to start their new lives.

There were 17 employers from across the territory who had job offers waiting for the right resume.

“There were some good opportunities,” said NWT Chamber President Newton Grey. 

“I think it was very successful in that lots of conversations were started. That could lead to those people coming to the North, to the Northwest Territories.”

Grey is a member of the Yellowknife Immigration Partnership who, along with Conseil de développement économique des Territoires du Nord-Ouest (CDÉTNO), were involved with the two-part Connecting Canada project facilitated through ACCES Employment in Toronto.

“I just gave some welcoming remarks, you know, sort of the same as before. Then they had these little café settings, where people would queue up to talk to employers,” said Grey, noting NWT Chamber member Northwestel had 20 people at one point waiting to speak with a representative.

It won’t be known for a while how many job offers would be made in this speed-dating type of program, and if accepted, how many new residents we could see moving to the NWT.

Even a couple dozen hirings would be beneficial, as there is a shortage of skilled workers in the North, to the point it is stunting business growth.

And those new residents would bring their families with them, potentially adding to the workforce. It would also bolster the number of people living in the NWT when considered for federal transfers, which in 2023-24 totalled $1.687 billion.

Meanwhile, see Grey making his inspired pitch from the first part of the program in the video vault.

More flight options coming to the North

Air Canada will begin non-stop, year-round service between Toronto and Yellowknife in December. 

The new, three-times weekly service will provide connections between eastern Canada and Yellowknife, with connections then available on Air Canada’s interline partner, Canadian North.

"Apart from supporting tourism to the city and region, this new route will also be valuable to business travellers and the economy, linking Yellowknife directly to Canada's financial capital," said Mark Galardo, Executive Vice President, Revenue and Network Planning at Air Canada.

Said NWT Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Caroline Wawzonek:

"Today's announcement marks a significant increase of air transportation options for the Northwest Territories.

"We look forward to the positive impact these flights will have in supporting the NWT to conveniently welcome more travellers, businesses and professional organizations to our region."

Studying changes to student financial aid

The GNWT is proposing significant changes to the Student Financial Assistance Program "to increase benefits and reduce barriers."

The NWT Chamber is researching the issue from a business perspective and will likely take the GNWT up on its invitation for public feedback by May 31.

If any members have thoughts on the proposed changes either concerns or suggestions for improvements please forward them to ED O'Connor.


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

Choose one option below:
Needs improvement
Not very good at all


"Our hardworking lodge owners and operators find themselves caught in a web of ever-increasing demands (for) tens of thousands of dollars of unnecessary expenses. This is a gross injustice as it places burden on our entrepreneurs and jeopardizes the livelihoods of countless families across the Northwest Territories."

Richard Edjericon, MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh in the Assembly May 25. He continued:

"Our government must be reminded of our duty to support and promote our own local businesses; not to suffocate them with unreasonable demands and standards."

"I grow increasingly concerned that the procurement review is never going to end, and I don't mean in a good way ... I mean that we will never actually complete it and change the policies that define GNWT procurement."

— Rylund Johnson, MLA for Yellowknife North, in the Assembly on May 25. He continued:

"At this point, this government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on procurement all while talking about how we're going to improve procurement but not actually changing the policies. Let's get them done before this Assembly is done and put a bow on procurement so we can end this review once and for all."


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. Consider being a sponsor, and start thinking of teams to enter!

  • 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 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.

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