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Committee meeting 2023

Up to $5K through SEED program to offset wildfire-related operational costs for businesses

Hours after the NWT Chamber’s Weekly Newsletter was posted on Friday afternoon stating the GNWT was working on structuring a program to provide some operational support to the business community, the results were announced.

The Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) Policy has been expanded to allow for contributions of up to $5,000 to offset operational costs incurred by wildfire-affected businesses, stated a 6:30pm media release.

Applications for costs incurred from May 2023 onward will be accepted and must be supported by receipts or equivalent proof.

Businesses that have already received funding for wildfire relief under the SEED Policy can receive up to the $5,000 funding limit if they can continue to meet the program criteria required.

“We understand that many businesses are trying to support their workers as best they can during difficult times or want to ensure they can quickly bring them back as soon as the emergencies have passed,” stated Minister of Finance and Industry, Tourism and Investment Caroline Wawzonek in the release.

“While I recognize that this funding does not cover all potential gaps experienced by residents, I hope that it will provide some comfort during these uncertain times.”

These supports are temporary additions to SEED and will be accessible until March 31, 2024.

In an interview earlier in the week with Cabin Radio, Wawzonek said the GNWT’s experience providing business supports during the COVID pandemic is proving helpful now.

“It has never been on the size or scale that we’re looking at right now,” she told Cabin Radio. “I’ll look back to the Covid experience. (and) as much as I’d never like to relive that, one thing that we did have: CanNor and ITI partnered up pretty quickly and were able to find ways to develop some supports and pump a fair bit of money out into the business community.”

In the regular public update Friday night at 7pm, Wawzonek also announced the Evacuation Travel Support Program available to NWT residents who, by order, evacuated their home community because of the 2023 wildfires.

Eligible individuals who evacuated by vehicle will be provided with a one-time direct deposit as follows: $750 per vehicle evacuated to a southern jurisdiction; or $400 per vehicle evacuated within the NWT.

Evacuees who left by road but need to return by air will be eligible to register for organized re-entry flights paid for by the GNWT.

Wawzonek said staff will be working over the weekend in order to build the registration page which should running early next week so motorists could be ablate receive the payments prior to returning.

How were the amounts determined, Minister Wawzonek? “We were trying to find a number that was a general representative of, anecdotally, what people would say is a typical amount to fuel up considering the two directions that they have to travel, as well as also, frankly, lining up with the amount that is in the Income Disruption Support program, partly just for some simplicity.”

As for Employment Income Disruption Support, eligibility for that program has been modified to ensure self-employed and small businesses owners will be eligible.It'

Said Wawzonek earlier to Cabin Radio: “The income disruption program is flexible. If your income of any kind is disrupted, please go apply. If you’re self-employed, if you’re a business owner and your income is disrupted, you really should be applying.”

The Legislative Assembly on Monday is sitting for two things, to determine if the Oct. 3 Territorial General Election will be postponed and for an appropriation the fire suppression budget.

That could be in the neighbourhood of $80 million, Wawzonek suggested on Friday night.

“So our firefighting budget typically is under $20 million. And we are … like four or five times that at this point,” she said. “So that's a major budgetary change that does have to go through the assembly.”

Notice of NWT Chamber of Commerce AGM and Call for Nominations to the Board of Directors

YELLOWKNIFE — In accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws of the NWT Chamber of Commerce, notice is hereby given of our Annual General Meeting to be held April 13 at 11:30am to 1pm at the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife. The AGM Agenda includes:

• Consideration of the Minutes of the 2022 AGM;
• Proposed By-Law amendments;
• Reception of the President’s Report
• Reception of the Treasurer’s Report;
• A Nominations Committee Report;
• The election of Directors and Officers; and
• Other such business as required.

This is also the call for nominations to the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Several positions are open and any interested parties should contact Chamber President Yanik D’Aigle at A copy of our Constitution and Bylaws can be found here.

Nominators and Nominees must be in good standing. The email nominations process will close at 5pm on March 24. A slate of qualified candidates for the Executive Committee and for Directors will be tabled at the AGM for the approval of members. Nominations will also be taken from the floor of the Annual General Meeting. A form will be available for any candidates wishing to step forward.

NWT Finance, Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister Caroline Wawzonek will be speaking at the start of the program, with the AGM and a light lunch to follow. A special guest will swear in our new board. As we are a territory-wide organization, a remote video link will be available for any directors or members who can’t be in Yellowknife on that day.

This is the NWT Chamber’s 50th Anniversary and we are eager to expand our membership base. The stronger we are, the more powerful voice we will have to argue on behalf of entrepreneurs and private businesses of all sizes. See our website for information on what we do and how you can help.

If you will be attending the AGM, or have any questions, please email Executive Director James O’Connor


(Photo shows Minister Wawzonek speaking at the 2022 NWT Chamber's AGM event.)

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