Minister Nokleby issued the following media statement today in support of small businesses in the NWT:
“Small businesses are a large and essential part of our Territory’s economy. They are critical to the structure and function of our communities and provide almost all of the products and services that we enjoy and rely on as Northerners.
“The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT)’s support for small business is more important given our current situation than ever before. This can be seen in person, through our pathfinders and staff working with small businesses across the NWT; in financial supports through our economic relief packages; and in our advocacy efforts on behalf of small businesses with the federal government including constant engagement with CanNor, their northern economic development agency.
“Earlier this month, I endorsed on behalf of the GNWT, a letter from the NWT/NU Chamber of Mines and Yukon Chamber of Mines to the Government of Canada defining the need and level of support required by resource companies operating in the NWT. Today, I want to ensure our business community understands that this same level of support is extended to them.
“COVID-19 has already had immense impacts on our economy, our businesses, and our people. While the magnitude of these impacts is yet to be determined, we know they will exist for all companies, and federal support must be considered through a distinctly northern lens.
“On behalf of the NWT’s business sector, I have, this week, supported the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce in its lobby efforts with the Federal Government to ensure relief programs, developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, reflect the unique realities of operating in the North.
“Business, when looked at with a northern context, is not the same as in the south. Revenues and profits for our small business sector are far below those of comparable companies in southern Canada; and there are unique logistical and climatic challenges that come with successfully operating in our northern environment.
“These are challenging times, but I am confident that by working together we can move past this crisis and seize on the opportunity to build and create a stronger, healthier economy for our Territory.
“I will continue to collaborate with my federal and territorial counterparts to identify economic support and recovery initiatives for the North in order to advance the wellbeing, health, and livelihoods of all Northerners.”