Devolution Re-Shapes the GNWT

News Releases

YELLOWKNIFE (October 1, 2013) – The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has completed a redesign of its organizational structure to incorporate the devolving programs and services, Premier Bob McLeod announced today.  Some departments will be receiving significant new functions and new responsibilities as of April 1, 2014. This is when responsibility for managing land, water and resources transfers from the federal to the territorial government, in accordance with the NWT Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement. The agreement was signed in June of this year.

“This is an exciting time for the Northwest Territories. As our territory continues to evolve politically and economically, devolution brings new opportunities for residents, Aboriginal governments, businesses, and investors in all regions of the NWT,” said Premier McLeod. “We are committed to having the necessary structure in place on April 1st to ensure a smooth transition and the ongoing delivery of quality programs and services that meet northern needs.”

The new organization design will integrate the GNWT’s existing responsibilities with functions coming from the federal government. The departments of Industry, Tourism, and Investment (ITI) and Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) will take on federal functions related to their existing mandates, and a new department of Lands will be created to support, manage and administer the sustainable use of public land in the NWT.  The GNWT’s existing responsibilities for managing Commissioner’s Lands will transfer from Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) to the new Lands department.

The organizational design incorporates jobs for transferring federal employees currently working in the Regional Office of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, as well as new positions to replicate work currently performed in Ottawa.  No federal staff is transitioning from the south.

The GNWT will welcome approximately one hundred and twenty existing AANDC NWT employees into its ranks.  These northerners are currently delivering the devolving programs and services across the NWT.

“We recognize and value the knowledge and experience of the federal employees currently doing this work and look forward to welcoming them into the GNWT,” said Minister of Human Resources Glen Abernethy. “We have built a structure that combines the strengths of both organizations, including our existing skilled and experienced staff.”

The GNWT’s Department of Human Resources will soon launch a recruitment campaign to fill additional positions created through devolution.  The GNWT hopes to fill as many as possible from within the NWT, but expects to do some southern recruiting for jobs that require specialized technical knowledge.

For more information about the GNWT’s new departmental structure as of April 1, 2014, see our accompanying backgrounder or visit

For More Information Contact:

Brenda Norris
Media Liaison
Office of the Premier and Executive Council
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel:        (867) 669-2302