GNWT in numbers, 2019 edition: all 5,289 of ’em

Last modified: August 16, 2019 at 7:23am

A quarter of all workers in the NWT are employed by the territorial government, the latest report on GNWT staffing reveals.

The total cost of all 5,289 employees in 2018-19 was $703 million, the latest Public Service Annual Report, published in the legislature on Thursday, states.

$499 million of that is basic salary; $104 million is pensions and healthcare; $38 million is northern allowance; and $24 million is overtime.


The territory also coughed up $4.9 million for removals, and $3.5 million in severance, over the 12 months between April 2018 and March 2019.

The overall cost rose by $6 million year-on-year, the report showed.

The GNWT reported there were 10,492 applicants for 722 hires in the same period, with hiring exceeding exits for the first time in four years.

Turnover across the GNWT was 12.2 percent, though in some places this was far higher.

The Dehcho Divisional Education Council, for example, reported turnover of almost 30 percent in 2018-19 – six percent larger than for any other department, board, or agency in the GNWT.


The year before, the same education council had turnover of 26.7 percent, which was also significantly higher than turnover anywhere else within the GNWT that year.

Among health workers at the Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency, by contrast, turnover was the lowest in the GNWT at just five percent. Across the Tłı̨chǫ region, overall GNWT turnover was at its lowest, having fallen three percent year-on-year.

The annual report provides raw data but does not attempt to explain any such outliers.

Affirmative action data

The average GNWT worker, the report stated, is 45 years old and has spent nine years working for the territory.


Just one percent of employees are aged under 25; almost a quarter are aged 55 or over.

The GNWT’s workforce is 65-percent female and 35-percent male (the only genders given), the territory reported.

A GNWT-produced graphic illustrating Indigenous Aboriginal representation within the territorial government.

Around 30 percent of workers are Indigenous Aboriginal, the territory stated, meaning people who are both Aboriginal and are from the NWT or have spent more than half their lives here.

Fifty-nine percent, by contrast, are non-Indigenous and non-Aboriginal. The remainder, the GNWT said, are not Aboriginal but were born in the territory or have lived here for more than half of their life.

At senior management level, there is essentially a 50-50 gender split – despite the aforementioned 65-35 split across the whole workforce – and around one in five staff is Indigenous Aboriginal.

The South Slave particularly excels in this area, with 44 percent (eight out of 18) Indigenous Aboriginal representation at senior level, compared to 15 percent in the North Slave.

Not one of the eight senior managers at the NWT’s education councils is Indigenous Aboriginal, or even Indigenous (i.e. born here or a longtime resident).

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has the largest share of Indigenous Aboriginal staff, at 43 percent. The Department of Lands and Department of Health and Social Services, at the other end of the scale, report 20 percent Indigenous Aboriginal representation.

Overall, the NWT’s health authority is the largest employment group within the GNWT at 1,366 of the 5,289 total staff. The Department of Infrastructure is the next-largest group at 559 employees.

Yellowknife adds 128 staff

The grand total of 5,289 staff represents around 12 percent of the NWT’s entire population (44,541), but 25 percent of the 21,000 or so people in employment across the territory.

In places like Fort Smith and Norman Wells, about 20 percent of the population – even including all the kids and Elders – works for the GNWT. In Hay River, that drops to seven percent.

In Yellowknife and Dettah it’s 13 percent, with 2,782 GNWT staff among the 21,136 residents of all ages.

(That’s up from 2,654 staff for 21,079 residents a year ago, according to last year’s report – meaning Yellowknife and Dettah’s GNWT offices added 128 staff for 57 extra residents in the past year, though those offices are also the headquarters for many pan-NWT operations.)

Lastly, if you lodged a staffing appeal between April 2018 and March 2019, you weren’t alone. There were 71 such appeals in total, the report stated, of which five were upheld.

Harassment complaints were up slightly year-on-year to 38, 23 of which were investigated. Their outcomes are not detailed in the report.

Investigations, the report said, are triggered once allegations are deemed to be timely, within the harassment policy, backed up by evidence, and with no “reasonable alternate remedy” to a formal investigation.