NWT rolls out first changes to help firms find more workers

Last modified: September 14, 2022 at 12:19pm

The NWT has adjusted one of its immigration streams in an opening attempt to ease a staffing crisis affecting sectors across the territory.

Earlier this month, Cabin Radio reported the NWT government was preparing a new immigration push to attract more people to the North as companies struggle to find workers.

The first of those initiatives was announced on Tuesday.


In a press release, the GNWT said some rules governing the “employer-driven stream” – a means by which businesses can bring in foreign nationals to fill vacancies – would be relaxed.

The territory highlighted three changes:

  • reducing the language proficiency applicants must demonstrate to be approved;
  • reducing the number of hours considered to constitute a full-time job from 37.5 to 30 hours per week; and
  • changing the local advertising employers are required to carry out for any position before heading abroad for qualified staff, such as reducing some advertising time periods (before foreign nationals can be considered) from 60 to 30 days or 30 days to 14, depending on the type of applicant.

The changes are outlined in full on the Immigrate NWT website.

“These changes provide more flexibility for employers and ensure the program and processes are user-friendly,” the territory stated, adding the loosening of the rules reflected “direct client feedback.”

The NWT’s employment minister, RJ Simpson, previously stated his government will also introduce a new francophone immigration stream. Details of that stream are not yet confirmed.


Data released last week shows the territory’s employment rate has remained above 75 percent in consecutive months for the first time this century.

The NWT’s participation rate has – for the first time in a decade – remained above 78 percent for four consecutive months, meaning more people than usual are participating in the job market. Still the employment rate remains high, suggesting almost all of those people are quickly finding and retaining work.

Correction: September 14, 2022 – 12:17 MT. This report originally stated that the advertising period required for jobs before companies can seek to hire foreign nationals had been reduced from 60 to 30 days. That’s actually only the case for some types of applicant. In other cases, the period was reduced from 30 to 14 days. Our reporting has been updated accordingly, but check the link to the Immigrate NWT website above for the full detail.