Government of Canada announces increase to the Northwest Territories’ borrowing limit

News release

June 12, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to maintaining open and collaborative relationships with every province and territory, with the goal of working together to serve and improve the lives of all Canadians.

Today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that the Government of Canada intends to increase the Northwest Territories’ borrowing limit, as part of its ongoing collaboration with, and support to territorial governments.

At the request of the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Government of Canada undertook a review of the territory’s borrowing limit. It took into consideration the Government of the Northwest Territories’ improved capacity to carry debt and changes in its economic and fiscal outlook since the last review in 2015.  Following that review, the Government is now proposing that the borrowing limit be increased from the current level of $1.3 billion to $1.8 billion, upon Governor in Council approval.

This additional borrowing room will provide the Government of the Northwest Territories with greater fiscal flexibility to promote economic development and to advance related priorities in the Northwest Territories, including through strategic infrastructure investments.


“We know that this increase to the Northwest Territories’ borrowing limit will ensure it has access to financing options which will support the strategic investments required to meet the needs of its population. Furthermore, this will ensure more options are available as they manage economic pressures linked to the COVID-19 crisis which is affecting all Canadians."

Bill Morneau,
Minister of Finance

“Borrowing has been, and will remain necessary for the Government of the Northwest Territories to make strategic infrastructure investments. With debt levels projected to approach the $1.3 billion mark by 2020-21, this increase to $1.8 billion will give our government much needed flexibility as we explore future investments.”

Caroline Wawzonek
Minister of Finance, Government of the Northwest Territories

“The strength of the partnership between our federal and territorial governments is ensuring that the Northwest Territories can continue to grow and prosper. With today’s announcement, we will be able to see increased investment in the projects that keep us safe and help us keep building a better future.”

Michael McLeod
Member of Parliement for Northwest Territories

Quick facts

  • Under the Northwest Territories Act, the Government of the Northwest Territories may borrow up to a limit set by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Finance. The borrowing limit is inclusive of debts incurred by both the territorial government and the territorial Crown corporations. 

  • The territorial government can borrow for territorial, municipal or local purposes up to the established limit without federal approval. 

  • Reviews of the territorial borrowing limit can take place at any time, and are generally done upon request from a territorial government. 

  • The current limit for the Northwest Territories was set at $1.3 billion on May 28, 2015, through Order in Council P.C. 2015-0644. 

Associated links


Media may contact:

Maéva Proteau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada

General enquiries

Phone: 613-369-3710
Facsimile: 613-369-4065
TTY: 613-369-3230

Stay connected

Twitter: @financecanada


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