GNWT extends NWT Wage Top Up program for low income workers through September

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Today, Minister of Finance Caroline Wawzonek announced that the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) will extend the wage top-up program for an additional eight weeks to match the federal extension of the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) to October 3, 2020.


Under this program, businesses are asked to apply for temporary funding to increase the wages of their employees who make less than $18 per hour and who are over 15 years old. Businesses can apply immediately for funding to top up employees’ wages from April to $18/hour. While the intent of the program is to help employees, we are asking businesses to partner with us to deliver the program.


The NWT wage top up program was possible through a federal government contribution of $4.74 million and is intended to assist all lower-wage workers working to keep the economy running while physical distancing measures are in place.




“I am pleased with the uptake for this program, but would like to see even more NWT employers apply to take advantage of this program. This extended program is intended to reduce the financial stress of employees who have continued to work since the pandemic began.  Employers can apply to receive funding retroactively to the start of the program, and I encourage all of those employers with applicable employees who have not yet taken the steps to apply for this financial boost to do so.”

-Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Finance

Quick facts:

  • The wage top-up is a taxable benefit for employees.
  • Businesses will receive $50 per employee from the GNWT to cover the administrative costs of adjusting their employees’ wages for the top-up.
  • Businesses are asked to provide eligible employee hours and wages in a spreadsheet to the email address
  • Once applications are approved, the GNWT will issue monthly payments to employers to cover the cost of the top-up, for April 1 to October 3, 2020.
  • Employers can apply to receive funding to top-up employee wages retroactive to the beginning of April 2020.
  • As of July 21, 2020, 50 businesses are participating and 933 workers have received wage top-ups averaging $237 per month. The total program cost to date is $422,245, consisting of employee wage top-ups, reimbursements for business expenses of employer EI and CPP portions relating to the top-up, and the one-time $50 per employee compensation amount.
  • Employees who work for businesses that do not apply for the program will be provided the wage top up when they submit their pay stubs at the end of the program.



For more information, please contact:

Todd Sasaki
Senior Communications Officer
Government of the Northwest Territories
867 767-9168 ext. 15015