Premier Cochrane announces changes to the public service

News Releases

Yellowknife — July 19, 2021

Northwest Territories Premier Caroline Cochrane has made the following changes to senior management in the Northwest Territories public service.

Mr. William MacKay is appointed as Deputy Minister of the Department of Finance. Mr. MacKay will join the Government of the Northwest Territories on September 1st from the Government of Nunavut (GN) where he served as the Deputy Minister of Executive and Indigenous Affairs and Secretary to Cabinet since September 2019. Prior to that position, Mr. MacKay served four years as Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General, also with the GN.

Mr. MacKay replaces Sandy Kalgutkar, who indicated his plans to retire earlier this year.

Mr. John MacDonald is appointed as Deputy Minister of the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE).  Mr. MacDonald moves to ECE this week from the position of Assistant Deputy Minister, Environment and Climate Change with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Prior to that position, Mr. MacDonald served 3 years as the Assistant Deputy Minister, Education and Culture with the Department of ECE and several years as an Assistant Deputy Minister in the Government of Nunavut.

Rita Mueller has left the NWT public service. The Premier would like to thank her for her service as Deputy Minister of ECE and wishes her well in her future endeavours.


“I look forward to working with Mr. Mackay and Mr. MacDonald in their new roles. Deputy Ministers play a critical role in planning and managing how the Government of the Northwest Territories will deliver on the commitments it has made to advance the priorities of the 19th Legislative Assembly and improve the lives of residents in the territory. The extensive northern experience that Mr. MacKay and Mr. MacDonald will bring to their roles will be an invaluable to our government.”

- Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the Northwest Territories

Quick facts

  • Deputy Ministers are the non-elected head of a GNWT Department.
  • The Commissioner in Executive Council appoints Deputy Ministers on the advice of the Premier.
  • Deputy Ministers serve at the pleasure of, and are accountable to, the Premier for the performance of their duties.


For media requests, please contact:

Cabinet Communications

Government of the Northwest Territories