Government of Canada announces $1.3M to support economic development in Northwest Territories

N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod made the funding announcement on Friday, on behalf of the federal economic development minister. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Three N.W.T. projects are getting a financial boost from the federal government, in a move aimed at fostering employment and economic growth in northern and Indigenous communities.

Michael McLeod, Liberal MP for the Northwest Territories, announced the $1.3-million investment on Friday, on behalf of Mélanie Joly, the minister of economic development and official languages, who is responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor).

The money, which is being invested by CanNor, is meant to support “training, entrepreneurship, capacity building and infrastructure development” in the N.W.T., according to a news release from the agency. CanNor’s mandate is to support economic development in the North.

Of the $1.3 million in funding, $731,727 will go toward a three-year project at Makerspace YK, a non-profit organization and community hub in Yellowknife that fosters hands-on learning and skills-building.

“The funding will assist with the renovation of a commercial space into a collaborative space, which will support skills development, job creation and innovative new businesses in Yellowknife,” the news release states. “The Makerspace will also provide access to industrial equipment and a tool lending library.”

The funding is expected to help create two full-time jobs, and support the local manufacturing sector.

Cat McGurk, Makerspace YK president, said the organization is excited to work with territorial and federal partners to help drive economic diversification.

“Thanks to CanNor we’ll be able to create a space where we can host workshops and work on projects, and foster a collaborative environment for the next generation of Yellowknife entrepreneurs,” McGurk said in a statement.

Funding for equipment in Fort Liard

Another $175,000 has been set aside to support economic development in the traditional territory of Acho Dene Koe First Nation. The money will go to Beaver Enterprises LP, a company in Fort Liard, N.W.T., that offers construction, excavation and maintenance services.

The funding supports a one-year project, and will help the company purchase a grader for construction and maintenance work, according to the news release.

“This project is expected to result in 10 full-time jobs being maintained and additional employees being hired on a seasonal basis,” the news release adds.

Norman Wells, N.W.T., will see an investment of $464,000 to support waste management. (Katie Toth/CBC)

CanNor is also putting $464,000 toward “business and financial planning for the future construction and operation of an integrated waste management facility” in Norman Wells, N.W.T.

The new facility is expected to boost Indigenous employment and training, and support entrepreneurship.

CanNor says jobs will be created in Norman Wells and other communities as a result of the project.

“Once the project is complete, the waste management facility is expected to have a significant economic impact for the Sahtu and beneficiaries of the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement,” the press release states.

The federal government said Friday’s investment is also aimed at helping northern businesses overcome the financial challenges posed by COVID-19.

“We have provided support so businesses can develop the skills they need, build the infrastructure to expand, and acquire the equipment they need to get to work,” McLeod said in a statement.

“This investment … will help create good local jobs in Northern and Indigenous communities.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Territorial finance minister in Arctic Canada predicts ‘largest deficit in Nunavut history’ due to COVID-19, CBC News

Finland: Duo aiming to raise funds for jobless sled dogs in Arctic Finland, Yle News

Greenland: Greenland adds new incentive to promote domestic tourism as international travel craters, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: A Norwegian port offers a new transport route for Chinese shippers, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia’s Arctic NAO region struggles to pay bills as oil revenues plummet, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Summer tourism recovery is slow going in Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: In Alaska, Skagway’s economy depends on cruise tourism and little money is coming in, Alaska Public Media

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