Shaleen Woodward to be Premier Cochrane’s principal secretary

Premier Caroline Cochrane’s principal secretary will be Shaleen Woodward, considered by the government to have “extensive experience” in land claims and collective bargaining.

Woodward was most recently the NWT government’s deputy secretary of Indigenous and intergovernmental affairs. She spent years leading the territory’s approach to devolution, a territorial government biography stated.

“Ms Woodward is a long-term employee of the Government of the Northwest Territories [with] extensive experience in self-government and land claim negotiations,” the territory said in a short news release announcing her appointment.


Noting her background as a chief negotiator of collective agreements, the territory said Woodward had “led the implementation of the historic 2014 devolution of responsibilities around lands and natural resources from the Government of Canada to the Government of the Northwest Territories.”

Principal secretaries are usually considered the most senior aides to a head of government, making their post the top political job outside the NWT’s elected positions.

Gary Bohnet was the former principal secretary under Bob McLeod.

“Premier Cochrane thanks outgoing principal secretary Gary Bohnet for his many years of service to the people of the Northwest Territories, both in that role and his work as a deputy minister and senior manager in the GNWT,” the territory said in a statement.