Why do Some of the Smallest NWT Communities Have the Highest Prices, the Fewest Jobs, and the Lowest Salaries

A colourful town in the Northwest Territories
Average salaries in the Northwest Territories show that Yellowknife, which has the lowest food prices, has the highest salaries. Food prices in 2019, were much higher in the Northwest Territories communities furthest away from Yellowknife. That gap as likely grown with inflation.

The two graphs above show communities with the lowest salaries pay the highest prices. Coincidentally, or not, they are all Dene, Metis and Inuvialuit communities. These are mostly GNWT positions too.

As someone who ran a NWT-wide business, our profits were healthier when Inuvik, Norman Wells, Fort Simpson, Hay River and Fort Smith bustled with local business. Investing in the communities will profit the regional centers which will in turn profit Yellowknife.

We can begin by paying proper salaries in the communities and regions, helping retention of local staff and hopefully, attracting talented immigrants further North. New policies must be carried out by GNWT staff, not at the expense of the GNWT staff. That’s the only status quo that makes sense.

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