Government of the Northwest Territories Releases 2019-2020 Budget

Yellowknife — February 6, 2019
News Releases

Finance Minister Robert C. McLeod presented the 2019‑20 Budget, continuing the fiscal plan to carefully manage spending under difficult fiscal challenges. Budget 2019 proposes $1.873 billion in spending to support the priorities of the Assembly and strengthen existing programs.

The 2019-20 Budget projects $1.933 billion in revenue, which will provide a $60 million operating surplus.

Highlights in support of the 18th Legislative Assembly’s priorities include:

  • Community Wellness and Safety
    • $5.895 million for health services, including enhancing extended health benefits, more rehabilitation services for children and adding to the Territorial Midwifery Program
    • $4.922 million to address the needs of vulnerable persons, including establishing a combined day shelter and sobering centre, supporting increased Income Assistance costs, continuing investments in family violence shelters across the NWT and supporting affordable housing programs
    • $3.279 million to increase the capacity of Child and Family Services, including hiring more social workers across the territory and adding support positions at the Health Authority and department level to ensure consistency and sufficient oversight
    • $3.190 million for supporting education, including additional school and community child and youth care counsellors in the Beaufort Delta and Sahtu regions and to improving mental health support to the smallest communities in these regions; continued expansion of the Northern Distance Learning program; establishing a Specialized Territorial Support Team; and, improving the Northern Studies 10 curriculum and developing new Northern Studies for grades 11 and 12
    • $2.014 million for supporting seniors and long-term care, including support for the Sahtú Got'iné Regional Health and Social Services Centre and Sahtú Dene Nechá Kǫ̨̨̨́́́Ko Health Care Facility in Norman Wells and increases in Income Assistance disability and aged allowance rates
    • $1.002 million for mental health initiatives, including funding to implement the Mental Health Act and to support land-based mobile addictions treatment and aftercare.


  • Economic Growth, Labour Force Development and Land Management
    • $2.992 million for the Canada-Northwest Territories Workforce Development Agreement to train labour and support workforce development and build employment partnerships
    • $2.622 million to address land management, including support for a Wek’èezhìi public land-use planning committee; investments to enforce land tenure, support to address unauthorized and rights-based occupancy and equity lease issues
    • $2.054 million for infrastructure maintenance, including increased maintenance and utilities for new capital projects and ferries and, increased maintenance for Highway 8 and the Dempster Highway
    • $1.712 million to support resource development, including support for the Slave Geological Province Exploration Development Initiative and the NWT Petroleum Resources Strategy
    • $1.564 million to diversify the economy, including support for large-scale tourism marketing campaigns, expanding the capacity of the NWT Film Commission, work on a knowledge economy strategy and exploring the feasibility of building the Centre for Northern Sustainability and Community Resilience
    • $1.263 million to support infrastructure delivery, including work to advance federal partnerships in Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan and other large capital commitments
    • $889,000 in arts and culture funding, including increased funding for the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre and the NWT Arts Council


  • Environment and Climate Change
    • $12.5 million for NWT carbon tax rebates and benefits, including heating fuel tax rebates for all but large emitters, transfers to individuals to offset the impact of carbon pricing, NTPC rebates for tax paid on fuel used to generate electricity for non-large emitters, annual rebates to large emitters of 75 per cent of the carbon tax paid on non-motive fuel with the remaining 25 per cent put into individual industrial trusts for large emitters to invest in emission reduction, and administration costs
    • $8.682 million for low carbon economy initiatives, including more support for Arctic Energy Alliance programs and services, support for active forestry carbon sequestration, and funding under the NWT Housing Corporation


  • Governance
    • $5.078 million for public service compensation and benefits. This includes implementation of the collective agreement with the NWT Teacher’s Association and increased costs for medical travel and dental costs for all GNWT employees
    • $2.120 million for improving service delivery, including support for the Legal Aid Commission, on-going funding for the two Government Services Officers in Jean Marie River and Sambaa K’e, establishment of the Ombudsperson Office
    • $1.9 million for community government support, including funding for community government operations, maintenance, and water and sewer services
    • $400,000 for a new program to provide contributions to offset the costs of secondment agreements with Indigenous Governments to help build human resource capacity
    • $288,000 to support improved governance, including Self-Government Implementation negotiations and the Women’s Advisory Council Women in Politics awareness campaign


“Budget 2019 represents the collective efforts of this 18th Legislative Assembly to invest in our vision of a healthy, just, sustainable and prosperous society. Working together, this Assembly has navigated a difficult fiscal situation and made the necessary choices to protect front-line services, provide and enhance existing programs, while finding the resources to further the Assembly’s priorities. Budget 2019 positions the GNWT for a successful transition to the 19th Legislative Assembly.”
-Robert C. McLeod, Minister of Finance


Quick Facts

  • Budget 2019-20 projects an operating surplus of $60 million.
  • Budget 2019-20 proposes $89 million in increased net spending: $70 million in new investments in the priorities of the 18th Legislative Assembly; $17 million to enhance or maintain existing programs; $22 million in amortization; and $20 million in savings. Notably, $30 million in new investments include certain initiatives funded from federal transfers and carbon tax revenue that will be recycled to NWT residents and businesses.
  • Short-term borrowing is projected to be $325 million by the end of 2019-20, bringing total borrowing, which includes short-term and long-term debt, to $1.113 billion. The GNWT will remain below its federally-imposed $1.3 billion borrowing limit with available borrowing capacity of $187 million.


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Media Contact:

Todd Sasaki

Media and Communications Coordinator

Government of the Northwest Territories

Tel: (867) 767-9140 ext. 15015