What We Heard Report Released for Community Harvesters Assistance Program Review

News Releases

Yellowknife — January 13, 2022

Improvements reflecting the views of harvesters across the NWT are one step closer as the review of a critical support program moves forward. 

A What We Heard Report for the Community Harvesters Assistance Program (CHAP) review has been released – summarizing views gathered during engagement with harvesters, community members, Indigenous governments, Indigenous organizations, and others with a stake in the future of traditional harvesting in the NWT.

How input was collected

The GNWT held open house forums in 18 communities in addition to collecting input through online public surveys, direct emails, and an open phone line to hear what is important to support sustainable livelihoods.

In 2021 virtual meetings were held with Indigenous governments and Indigenous organizations to include their perspectives about what has been working well with the program and what could be improved.

Key outcomes

The department of Environment and Natural Resources has identified eight important actions to improve the program:

  • Clarify and communicate program goals
  • Clarify and communicate ways to track how well the program is working
  • Look at ways to make it easier to apply for funding
  • Clarify and communicate program guidelines
  • Improve communication and deadline reminders
  • Look at ways to improve access to the program for  people who do not live in their home community
  • Look at ways to provide more training and support programs

Next steps

Implementing changes to the program and creating guidelines that support these enhancements will roll-out in four steps:

  • Now – The full report that outlines what we heard has been shared with the public, Indigenous governments, Indigenous organizations, and others who participated in the review.
  • Winter 2022 – ENR will seek feedback from the public on the actions identified in the What We Heard Report.
  • Spring 2022 – Your feedback will help develop a plan for each action.
  • Fall 2022 – Release the final report, updated program policy, and new program guidelines.


“Supporting NWT harvesters helps support food security, local economies, and cultural wellness. The Community Harvesters Assistance Program has been a pillar of the GNWT’s support for decades – and as we evaluate and renew, I am confident it will remain a pillar in the future. We thank everyone who participated in this engagement – your input will help to ensure this program continues to support needs of harvesters today and in the future.” 

- Shane Thompson, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources

Quick facts

  • The Community Harvesters Assistance Program provides traditional harvesters with funding to encourage traditional practices like hunting, trapping and land-based activities.
  • Indigenous governments, Indigenous organizations, renewable resource councils and committees apply for annual funding to support their members.
  • Since the program was first delivered 20 years ago, much has changed – from the climate, the environment, costs to go out harvesting, and the price of fur.

Related links

For media requests, please contact:

Jessica Davey-Quantick
Communications Planning Specialist
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Government of the Northwest Territories