GNWT Fiscal Sustainability Strategy Released

News Releases

Yellowknife — February 12, 2024

As an initial step to addressing the territory’s economic challenges, Premier R.J. Simpson and Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek have released Restoring Balance: A Fiscal Sustainability Strategy for the 20th Legislative Assembly.

The strategy outlines the reality of the territory’s financial situation and sets significant targets to help support the territory’s economic recovery through the life of the 20th Assembly. The goal of the strategy is to increase revenues and reduce expenditures in a way that minimizes impacts on critical programs and services that residents rely on.

Over the next several weeks, the GNWT will complete a government-wide review process to determine inefficiencies and duplication in resources. There are several criteria on which government programs will be assessed including:

  • Is the program required by legislation?
  • How broadly is the program delivered?
  • Does the program relate to a priority set by the Legislative Assembly?
  • How would external stakeholders be affected by a change to the program?
  • What impact would a reduction in the program’s budget have on the territorial public service?

Proposed changes resulting from this review will be reflected in the GNWT’s 2024-2025 operating budget which will be debated in the Legislative Assembly in May 2024.


“This is the first major step we’re taking to address the territory’s economic challenges and ensure that every government dollar spent translates into meaningful improvements in the daily lives of NWT residents. This fiscal sustainability strategy is anchored in the very simple idea that every dollar we spend on programs and services supports the needs of residents and communities across the territory. As we execute this strategy, we will continue to work with Indigenous governments, Indigenous organizations and the Government of Canada to address the territory’s economic challenges and support residents and communities across the NWT.”

- R.J. Simpson, Premier of the Northwest Territories


 “The comprehensive financial analysis on which the Restoring Balance is based will guide our actions, but numbers aren’t the only way we’ll be measuring success during the life of this government. We are committed to an equitable and inclusive approach to budgeting that considers the diverse needs and voices of all our residents, including Indigenous governments, communities and vulnerable groups. I look forward to meeting with my colleagues later this week to set the priorities of the 20th Assembly and seeing how the GNWT can most effectively and efficiently offer the programs and services that matter most to Members and residents.”

- Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Finance


Quick facts

  • Actions resulting from implementing the Fiscal Sustainability Strategy will increase revenues or reduce expenditures by $150 million in 2024-2025 and ongoing. The Strategy also seeks to make $150 million in payments to reduce GNWT debt over the life of this government.
  • There will be options for all GNWT employees to provide input into this process.  A web-based survey is being developed for employees to provide anonymous feedback and suggestions about where they feel efficiencies can be found.
  • The policies included in the GNWT’s Financial Administration Manual provide the framework for improved accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility with respect to public money and any other money administered by the GNWT.
  • The cost of delivering health care has been increasing at unprecedented rates across all jurisdictions in Canada. Added to this are the unique challenges of delivering healthcare in the NWT.
  • Extreme weather events across the NWT have resulted in several natural disasters that have threatened property and lives of northerners. The cost of responding to these events are largely subsidized by a number of disaster relief programs offered by the Government of Canada, however in most cases the GNWT’s recovery of these costs are often several years post event. This delay in relief funding adds to the GNWT’s borrowing pressures and costs as the GNWT pays interest on outstanding emergency cost claims.
  • Rising fuel and material costs and persistent supply chain issues continue to impact the cost of construction and government operations.

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For media requests, please contact:

Press Secretary
Cabinet Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories