Minister Nokleby issued the following media statement today concerning a letter of appeal submitted by the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines and Yukon Chamber of Mines to the Government of Canada to support the mineral development and exploration industry across the North:
“Since taking on the portfolio of Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, I have made it a priority to ensure that residents across the Northwest Territories, as well as Canadians and stakeholders in southern jurisdictions, understand that there is political support from the Government of the Northwest Territories for the resource exploration and development sectors.
“In a short amount of time, COVID-19 has had an immense impact on businesses, people, and our economy. There is no avoiding the economic impacts that we are challenged with, but we can look at the resources available to find creative ways to minimize the long-term impacts this virus will have on our territory, and these sectors.
“The Chamber of Mines has submitted a letter seeking federal government support, specifically as it pertains to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program – one of the resources available to businesses during this time. Like many of the benefits implemented by the Federal government in response to Covid-19, this benefit is intended to support businesses that are struggling.
“The Federal government has done a great job implementing measures to support Canadians and businesses during COVID-19, but in this instance may not be aware of our unique northern challenges meeting the eligibility requirements. I have read the letter sent to the Federal government by the two Chambers of Mines and can confirm that our government is committed to working with them to further highlight the unique needs and interests of the North.
“The mineral development sector is essential across the all three territories. Mining and exploration is the biggest source of private sector jobs and income for our residents and has been the heart of our economy for decades. It is imperative that we continue to support it.
“I want to reassure businesses and residents that the Government of the Northwest Territories takes your concerns very seriously and is working hard to support our people. Safety is our number one priority, but next to that is ensuring that our economy remains healthy and people feel secure.
“We don’t know the full impacts that this virus will have on our economy, but I do know that helping our economy rebound from COVID-19 will take time. By working together with our stakeholders, Indigenous governments, business community, and more, I am confident we will get through this and come out stronger on the other side.”