Helping workers in Northwest Territories develop skills to find good jobs

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

As the Canadian economy recovers from the impact of COVID-19, workers are facing new challenges. The residents of the Northwest Territories and all Canadians need access to training and employment supports to develop new skills and find good jobs.

Today, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, and the Northwest Territories’ Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, R.J. Simpson, highlighted that the Government of Canada has provided an additional $1.5 billion for training for Canadian workers through the Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) with provinces and territories. The Government of the Northwest Territories has received $3 million to help support a labour market recovery in the territory. This funding is in addition to the $3.4 billion already being provided to support Canadian workers under the Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) and WDAs in 2020-21.

Building on the strong delivery networks and programs already in place in the Northwest Territories, these investments will ensure quick access to training for the residents of the Northwest Territories, including workers and employers in sectors hard hit by COVID-19.

As a result of this investment, the Government of the Northwest Territories will be able to provide enhanced wage subsidies for employers, support projects led by organizations and provide supports for communities to assist them in hiring local residents to address pandemic-related needs. These initiatives will support a labour market recovery across the Northwest Territories.

Wage subsidies will be targeted to employers recovering from the unique and significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to help them hire, rehire, retrain or retain staff. Funding will be made available, through applications or proposals, to external organizations for projects and initiatives aimed at supporting labour market recovery in the Northwest Territories. Areas of focus for such projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • capacity-building initiatives;
  • training program development;
  • employment creation projects; and
  • industry transition supports.

For communities, funding will be available to hire local residents in a range of roles that address pandemic-related needs and support labour market recovery.

In the 2020 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed to making the largest training investment in Canadian history and announced that it will launch a campaign to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to pre-pandemic levels. This will be done by using a range of tools, including immediate training to quickly equip workers. As a first step, this one-time investment through the WDAs will help contribute to this goal and create a stronger workforce.

To further support recovery efforts, the Government of Canada is also ensuring that Canadian workers can get the support they need under the LMDAs and the WDAs with provinces and territories by broadening the scope of eligible costs to include things such as the costs related to online training, accommodating new physical distancing requirements and providing mental health supports.

As we work toward our economic recovery from the pandemic, the Government of Canada will continue to support the people of the Northwest Territories and help them grow their potential. By working together with the Government of the Northwest Territories, we can build a stronger workforce and position the country for an economic recovery that leaves no Canadian behind.


“Working with the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Government of Canada is getting workers in the territory the training they need to get good jobs as our country cautiously recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. Now more than ever, we need to strengthen workers’ futures and help them succeed as our economy recovers and evolves.”

– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“As a result of this funding, we will be better able to support northern residents and northern business through labour market recovery. As our economy recovers and evolves, we are ensuring that individuals, employers, organizations and communities in the Northwest Territories are stronger today and in the future.”

– R. J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment for the Northwest Territories

Quick facts

  • Each year, the Government of Canada provides $3 billion in funding to help Canadians improve their skills and find and keep employment through the LMDAs and WDAs. Budget 2017 provided an additional investment in these agreements of up to $625 million annually, between 2017 and 2023.

  • Following today’s announcement, total spending on programs for persons with disabilities through WDAs will increase by about $425 million.

  • Based on the latest job numbers from the Labour Force Survey, the national unemployment rate was 8.6% in December 2020, little changed from 8.5% in November and down from 13.7% in May.

  • The additional funding will support labour market recovery and enhancements to labour market programs for individuals, employers, organizations and communities across the NWT.

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