Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us today for this announcement.
This morning I am here to talk a bit about some changes coming out of the Department of Lands, in response to the impacts of COVID-19.
The physical distancing and isolation measures used to combat the spread of COVID-19 have created new and very real economic stress on Northwest Territories residents, families, businesses, Indigenous governments and communities.
The Government of the Northwest Territories understands these financial stresses and continues to make changes to our programs, services, and policies.
That’s why the Department of Lands is going to ease some of the burden, by waiving rent on existing surface leases on public land, for the fiscal year 2020-21.
The fair and equitable treatment of all leaseholders is important. Big or small, they are all impacted by the current crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic affects all NWT residents and businesses and the rent relief will help limit expenses, and keep cash available for immediate needs in this time of uncertainty.
The rent relief is available to all holders of existing recreational, residential, and commercial and mining surface leases.
The rent relief will also apply to easements or licences of occupation and will be applied retroactively to April 1, 2020 until March 31, 2021.
This will allow all leaseholders to receive the same rent relief as those who received it at the beginning of the pandemic, but will not apply to new applications received after April 1, 2020.
If you’re a lease holder and your rent has already been paid for the 2020/21 fiscal year, and your account is in good standing, your payment will be automatically refunded.
These are challenging times for many, and the Government of the Northwest Territories will continue to do what we can do ease the financial burden our residents are faced with and make sure our residents feel safe.