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Bronwyn Watters, NWT equal pay commissioner, passes away

Bronwyn Watters is seen in a photo published by the GNWT.
Bronwyn Watters is seen in a photo published by the GNWT.

Bronwyn Watters, who served as the NWT’s equal pay commissioner following a career as a territorial public servant, has passed away at the age of 78.

An obituary published by Yellowknife’s McKenna Funeral Home said Bronwyn had passed away on June 24 at Stanton Territorial Hospital, shortly after suffering a stroke.

She had been the equal pay commissioner since 2021, responsible for ensuring that people in the public service receive equal pay for work of equal value, regardless of their sex.

“Bronwyn was a strong advocate for equality and the rights of others,” Speaker of the House Frederick Blake Jr said in a statement, “and on behalf of the Legislative Assembly I offer my condolences to her family, friends and loved ones.”

Born in Sydney, Australia in 1944, Bronwyn emigrated to Canada in 1967 and moved to the NWT in 1978.

She was first a psychologist and coordinator of special education, rising to become the deputy minister of the Department of Justice in 2008.

Though she technically retired in 2012, Bronwyn took on a role steering the territory’s anti-poverty strategy and joined the NWT Human Rights Commission before returning to work as deputy minister of human resources.

She retired for a second time in 2017, this time joining the NWT Legal Aid Commission, Yellowknife Community Foundation, and Avens board of directors.

The four winners of 2019's Outstanding Volunteer Awards pose at the legislature
Bronwyn Watters, far left, appears in 2019 to collect an Outstanding Volunteer Award on behalf of the Yellowknife Community Foundation. Sara Wicks/Cabin Radio

“I was saddened to hear of the passing of Bronwyn Watters,” said Premier Caroline Cochrane. “A career public servant, she was a mentor to many and a shining example of how to lead with kindness and humility. Her loss will be felt deeply by many northerners.”

Bronwyn leaves behind her husband and soul mate of 45 years, Andy Langford, her obituary stated, alongside sisters Kaye and Jo-Anne, brother Craig, stepdaughter Tara, step-granddaughter Bailey and brother-in-law Mike.