Northwest Territories' COVID-19 Economic Relief Measures

| 3/27/2020

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) introduced Economic Relief Measures that will help minimize expenses and keep cash available for immediate needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The relief package is valued at $13.2 Million dollars and will take effect immediately. This package is intended to work in concert with federal incentives under Canada’s $107 billion COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

The full GNWT press release can be found here.

The GNWT Resources for Business announcement can be found here.

Immediate GNWT Response Measures include:

Fee Reduction

Northern supply chain businesses will receive relief through the removal of fees until the end of June for:

  • Deh Cho Bridge tolls
  • Truck permits
  • Airport landing fees

Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC)

Working Capital Loans

  • Loans of up to $25,000, (or more if need is clearly addressed), are available to qualified NWT businesses at a rate of 1.75%. Loans will be amortized for up to five years with options for payment deferment for three months upon request.
To Qualify You are Required to Provide:
  • Demonstration of financial need for a 30 - 60 day period due to cash flow issues resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, backed up by supporting documents such as:
  •  monthly expenses for the operation of your business for the next 30 days;
  • Information which shows a change in revenues to your business within the last 60 days;
  • a completed loan application form;
  • a summary of other business relief that you have applied for or received due to COVID-19;
  • a valid Tourism Operator License if you are a Tourism Operator;
  • a copy of your valid driver’s license; and
  • a copy of your valid NWT business license.

*The personal credit of the owner will be considered as part of the loan review process and the business owner should be in good financial standing with all GNWT Departments.

If your business had only previously applied for a relief loan to cover 30 days of your operations, you may apply a second time for an extended period.

Loans are available to non-resident businesses that have made a meaningful investment in the NWT, have NWT employees, and support local businesses. It is incumbent upon non-resident businesses to demonstrate their investment in and support of the NWT economy. 

To Apply

Download and complete the loan application form.

Submit your application form, with supporting documents, to your regional Department of Industry Tourism and Investment regional office.  Please ensure you demonstrate your need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NOTE: NWT Businesses are encouraged to pursue loans under the federal government’s Canada Emergency Business Account and/or CanNor’s Northern Business Relief Fund. These programs can offer similar funding without requiring you to assume as much debt.   

Consistent with public health guidelines to self-isolate, applications can only be accepted via email. Your application and supporting documents should be sent, by e-mail, to the appropriate ITI contact listed below:

Please Note:

Priority will be given to businesses with fewer than 20 employees, but the GNWT will consider applications from businesses with up to 50 employees.

This initiative is considered as an initial response to the current crises. While loan applications should focus on cash flow requirements for 30 to 60 days, the GNWT is interested in hearing of the longer-term cash flow challenges facing NWT businesses, should the current crisis persist.

Questions relating to this initiative can be directed to: I[email protected]

Deferred Loan Payments

  • From April 1 to September 30, 2020, clients (borrowers) of the BDIC can apply to reduce or defer up to three months of loan payments without penalty or additional interest charges.
  • Businesses are automatically approved and not required to demonstrate financial hardship or impacts resulting from COVID-19.
  • Requests for payment reductions or deferments must be received by the appropriate Department of Industry Tourism and Investment regional office no later than the 24 day of the month prior to the payment date. For April 2020 payments only, the BDIC will extend the deadline to March 26 to allow sufficient time for applicants to make their requests.
  • Following the payment deferment or reduction period, existing loan payment schedules will resume along with existing terms and conditions.

Find more information on sending a letter to defer your loan payment here.

Establish Economic Relief and Growth Advisory Group

An Advisory Council will be established to seek and provide insight from the NWT business community and be a resource for economic decision making relating to COVID-19.

The Group will provide advice and guidance on programs, services, and supports required by NWT businesses and key economic sectors during COVID-19, and measures to facilitate the long term recovery of the economy once the crisis abates.

The GNWT will ensure appropriate financial resources are available to this Council. An initial budget of $100,000 has been identified.

Advance Portion of Net Fiscal Benefit Transfer to Indigenous Governments

Indigenous Governments that are signatories to the Devolution Agreement will receive advanced payments for the 2020 GNWT net fiscal benefit from resource revenues.

Contribution Carryovers

Non-government organizations, Indigenous Governments, and Community Governments with unused contribution amounts in 2019-20 are allowed to use these funds in 2020-21.

Payment Terms for GNWT Vendors

The payment terms will be shortened for small businesses and individuals on GNWT invoices so they are paid out as soon as possible.

Workers Safety & Compensation Commission employer fees

The due date of Employer Assessment Payments has been extended from April 1 to May 1, 2020.

GNWT Collections Policy

The GNWT is pausing most collections efforts, including:

  • Outside collection agency activity
  • GNWT set-offs on GNWT payments
  • GNWT set-offs on Canada Revenue Agency tax refunds

Income Assistance

Increased funding has been allocated to the Income Assistance program, ensuring Northerners basic needs are met.

Student Financial Assistance

The payment of student loans has been deferred to September 30, 2020. Interest will not be charged during this time.

Northwest Territories Power Corporation Load Limiters/Collections Policy

NWT residents will be supported through the removal of load limiters, ceasing of disconnections, and pausing collection efforts.

COVID-19 Business Survey

Businesses in the NWT are encouraged to complete the ITI COVID-19 Business Survey. The survey will help the GNWT better understand the impact that the pandemic is having on businesses, what measures they have had to take, and what other types of support are needed to recover. The data collected will play an important role as the GNWT considers the development of future economic relief and recovery efforts. 

Take the survey

Specific professional advice should be obtained prior to the implementation of any suggestion contained in this article. Contact your Crowe MacKay advisor for more information.