Government of the Northwest Territories Releases 2021-22 Budget

News Releases

Yellowknife — February 4, 2021

Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek released the 2021-22 Budget, the second budget of the 19th Legislative Assembly.

Total revenues of $2.192 billion are expected in 2021‑22 and total expenditures of $2.124 billion, which include spending for programs and services and infrastructure contributions. The 2021‑22 surplus is forecasted to be $69 million.

Revised estimates project a third consecutive operating deficit in 2020‑21 of $31 million. Although revenues are projected to be higher than operating spending over the next few years, the operating surpluses are expected to shrink and return to deficits by 2025‑26.

Budget 2021 includes $117 million in increased spending compared to Budget 2020. This includes $90 million for program enhancements and proposals for $26 million in spending for initiatives to further advance the priorities of the 19th Assembly. The Budget also contains $41 million in spending in 2021-22 only to continue supports to meet the challenges of the pandemic. There was $15 million in savings identified to help offset the spending increases.

There are no new taxes announced in Budget 2021. As previously announced, the carbon tax will increase to $40 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions on July 1, 2021, equivalent to 2.4 cents per litre of gasoline. Increased revenue from carbon pricing will be recycled to NWT residents and businesses including an increase to the Cost of Living Offset to $208 per adult and $240 per child.


“We are putting forth a budget that continues to build on the foundation laid at the beginning of the 19th Legislative Assembly. I am optimistic that Budget 2021 will keep moving us forward on our priorities as we begin the work to re-build our economy and start the social recovery. Budget 2021 reflects what we heard in the Budget Dialogues, where participants asked us to strive for efficiency, get clearer value for our money and do so without introducing any new taxes or impacting programs and services. Budget 2021 is part of even bigger conversations moving towards stronger fiscal sustainability.”

- Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Finance

Quick Facts:

  • Budget 2021 forecasts an operating surplus of $69 million in 2021‑22 after a projected $31 million deficit in 2020‑21.
  • Budget 2021 proposes $117 million, or 6.2 per cent, in increased spending compared to Budget 2020: $104 million to enhance existing programs, $26 million in initiatives, and $2 million in amortization and $15 million in savings.
  • Borrowing is projected to increase $254 million, to $1.585 billion in total debt at the end of 2021-22. Capital investment is partially funded from the cash generated from an operating surplus and the past three years of operating deficits have increased borrowing. However, the GNWT’s debt level remains affordable and interest rates remain low.

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Media Contact:

Todd Sasaki

Media and Communications Coordinator

Government of the Northwest Territories

Tel: (867) 767-9140 ext. 15015