GNWT to launch new programs to support NWT harvesters and promote the traditional economy

News Releases

Yellowknife — September 17, 2020

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is pleased to announce new and enhanced programs to support harvesters and families going out on the land this fall. These programs reflect the importance of increasing food security through locally-harvested food and are a direct response to the challenges our communities are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Country foods are of critical cultural and social importance to NWT residents, and are an important part of overall wellbeing. Harvesting food from the land can help offset the high cost of living by decreasing reliance on store-bought foods, which have significant cost implications for residents, particularly in remote communities. The programs announced today will also help facilitate the exchange of land-based knowledge and provide training for the next generation of hunters and trappers.

Three new programs will offer a total of $330,000 in funding to support harvesters and the traditional economy in 2020-2021. These include:

  • funding to assist families in need to go out on the land
  • a regional harvesting, training and mentorship funding program
  • a pilot program for trapper mentorship

These new funding programs will begin accepting applications mid-October. Details and application deadlines will be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition, under the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Program, the GNWT has enhanced current grubstake payments this year for eligible trappers in light of COVID-19. A second category of eligibility has been created to make additional funding available to more trappers this year. Grubstake payments are intended to help offset some of the annual start-up costs of trapping and encourage participation in the fur industry.

Changes to the Trapper’s Grubstake Program are effective September 15, 2020 and payments will be made directly to trapper’s accounts.



“In the Northwest Territories, life is tied to the land. Supporting land-based skills and knowledge in our communities is an important part of a prosperous, diverse and sustainable traditional economy, and helps ensure access to safe and quality country foods. It is my hope that this funding will help offset some of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our communities this year, while helping to build resiliency and self-reliance into the future. I look forward to seeing what kinds of opportunities are created through these programs.”

- Shane Thompson, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources


Quick facts

  • The Department of Environment and Natural Resources administers several funding and support programs to encourage sustainable livelihoods and support the NWT’s traditional economy. This includes six established programs under the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur (GMVF) Program to support trappers and harvesters.
  • The GMVF Program is designed to protect NWT trappers and harvesters from market downturns and unexpected events such as the current pandemic. For example, the GNWT provides advances on high quality fur so trappers do not have to wait until auction to receive full payment for their furs.
  • The GNWT provides additional support to harvesters through the Community Harvesters Assistance Program (CHAP). Local Wildlife Committees and Renewable Resource Councils are provided with annual funding to help offset the cost of harvesting activities in their community.
  • The three new programs available this fall will provide additional funding this year for families and new trappers, and provide opportunities for harvesting mentorship, support land-based training needs, and promote harvesting that brings foods into communities.
  • The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) hosts annual regional workshops for trappers to provide information on humane trapping, effective pelt handling, the Fur Harvesters Auction, and species-specific information.

Related links


For more information, please contact:


Public Affairs and Communications

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Government of the Northwest Territories