Statement from Premier Bob McLeod on federal transfer payments

YELLOWKNIFE (December 22, 2015) – Premier Bob McLeod issued the following statement on announced reductions by Finance Canada to Government of Canada transfer payments to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) for the 2016-17 fiscal year:

“On December 16, 2015, Finance Canada notified the GNWT that transfer payments for 2016-17 will total $1,256 million, a decrease in $34.2 million from 2015-16. The identified amount includes transfers under Territorial Formula Financing (TFF), the Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer.

“The announced reduction is due to methodological changes to the way Statistics Canada prepares provincial/local government expenditure data, which has produced the unintended consequence of permanently lowering each territory’s Gross Expenditure Base over two percent from what was previously expected.

“The methodological change affects calculation of the TFF, which is an annual transfer from the Government of Canada to the three territorial governments to enable them to provide their residents a range of public services comparable to those offered by provincial governments. The fiscal impact of the technical changes was not anticipated by the territories or the Government of Canada.

“The three territories, asked Canada to restore the TFF to previous levels, arguing that stable and predictable funding is essential to ongoing fiscal planning and the delivery of comparable programs and services to Northerners.

“In meetings this week, Minister Morneau committed to addressing territorial concerns prior to March 15, 2016. I thank Minister Morneau for his attention to this matter and his government’s commitment to working directly with the territories on issues of concern to us. Together we can ensure Canada’s northern citizens continue to share in the benefits of living in a united and prosperous country.”