Over $12.3 million in relief and recovery funds flow to over 230 businesses in the Northwest Territories

News release

Businesses across NWT receive targeted assistance to protect local jobs and address the impact of COVID-19

September 18, 2020 — Yellowknife, Northwest Territories — Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)

COVID-19 has had a severe impact on businesses of all sizes, and those whose livelihoods depend on them. In the Northwest Territories, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) have faced challenges keeping their employees, paying rent and managing cash flow.

From the outset, the Government of Canada has taken action to support them, most notably through the territory-specific Northern Business Relief Fund (NBRF) and the pan-Canadian Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). Significantly increasing the budget of CanNor and the other regional development agencies, the RRRF supports businesses unable to get access to other relief measures, while the NBRF is tailored to the unique needs of Northern businesses. As the economy reopens, the federal government continues to make major investments to protect jobs and support NWT businesses.

Relief and recovery funds flowing to NWT businesses to protect jobs

Today, Larry Bagnell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CanNor, announced that more than 230 businesses across the Northwest Territories have received over $12.3 million in support from the NBRF and RRRF.

Supporting good jobs in communities across the Northwest Territories, these local businesses are the backbone of the Northern economy. They include SMEs from a variety of sectors: from accommodations and food services (53 SMEs), to tourism (26 SMEs), to retail (24 SMEs). With the effects of COVID-19 continuing to have an impact, CanNor is extending financial support to current eligible recipients of the NBRF program.


 "These investments demonstrate the Government of Canada's commitment to supporting NWT businesses during this difficult time. We are working with Northerners to make sure that small businesses have the resources they need to recover from the impacts of this pandemic. Our goal is to support good local jobs and help the economy of the Northwest Territories come back strong."

-The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CanNor

"The Government of Canada is well aware of the economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on the Northern economy. Now more than ever, CanNor is playing a key role in delivering funds to help businesses in the Northwest Territories adapt and position their operations for a successful recovery."

- Larry Bagnell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency)

"The Government of Canada recognizes that many businesses in the Northwest Territories are at the heart of their communities. The funding delivered through CanNor is helping small- and medium-sized businesses meet the economic challenges of this new reality so they can come back strong and support the overall recovery of the territorial economy."

- Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament, Northwest Territories

"As a small business (gym) in Yellowknife we were one of the first businesses to be shut down on March 20, and we can honestly say that we were only able to reopen because of two very important factors; our amazing gym members supporting us during the closure, and the financial support from CanNor. If it weren't for CanNor's support, we would not have been able to reopen our doors after being shut down for 3 months. This CanNor program changed our lives by easing the financial stress and burden of trying to keep our business alive, and allowed us to focus on pivoting our business model and trying to stay active and engaged with our membership on a daily basis online, while the brick and mortar business was closed."

- Scott Thomson, Co-Owner, Stanley Boxing & Fitness, Yellowknife, NWT

Quick facts

  • The Northern Business Relief Fund (NBRF), delivered by CanNor, provides $15 million in funding towards direct support for ongoing operating costs incurred by territorial small- and medium-sized businesses, in order to help them continue to play their vital role in Northern communities.

  • The national $962-million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), delivered through Canada's regional development agencies (RDAs), supports SMEs across Canada which have been unable to access existing relief measures and may be in danger of falling through the cracks. 

  • Funding announced today supports a broad number of businesses ranging from main street businesses such as retail shops, restaurants, and corner stores to tourism operators and construction companies. 

Associated links


 Alexander Cohen
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Barbara Abramchuk
Communications Advisor, Northwest Territories

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