The territorial government offered its support to the NWT Chamber of Commerce Thursday in its efforts to advocate for NWT businesses.
The Chamber, which advocates for 3,500 businesses across the territory, sent a letter to Premier Caroline Cochrane on May 1 and a more strongly-worded followup on May 7 seeking relief for commercial rent as many await federal assistance to deal with the impacts of being closed due to Covid-19.
The Press Secretary’s Office sent out a statement on behalf of Katrina Nokleby, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, who spoke at the NWT Chamber of Commerce AGM on Thursday.
“The Northwest Territories (NWT) Chamber of Commerce’s recent letter to the federal government (April 24) was valuable in re-enforcing what has already been said by the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and other NWT sectors about the unique needs of the Northwest Territories during these unprecedented times,” stated Nokleby.
“Their voice adds immense weight to our message and has contributed to the rising awareness in Ottawa of the need for specific and regionally-appropriate support programs for NWT businesses.”
Nokleby stated that the Government of Canada has been “responsive” to the GNWT’s call for help to residents and businesses, noting that CanNor’s Northern Business Relief Fund has expanded relief options for territorial and Indigenous businesses.
She also notes that the federal government has provided support for the North’s airline industry.
“We still have some work to do – and the GNWT will continue to advocate for additional federal support across all sectors – but particularly in the business sector where we have identified two key gaps; support for home-based businesses and support for our tourism sector,” Nokleby stated.
“We continue to call on the federal government to work with the GNWT and the NWT business community to create a stimulus package to help businesses adapt to the changing business environment.”