The Northwest Territories Nominee Program is delivered in partnership between the Government of the Northwest Territories and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The Nominee Program is designed to help employers in the Northwest Territories secure the workforce they need for their businesses. If an employer cannot find a candidate locally or nationally for a position, the next option is to find foreign nationals with the skills and experience for the job. If you are already working in the Northwest Territories, ask your employer about the Nominee Program and the different opportunities to help you become a permanent resident.
A beautiful land of opportunity, the Northwest Territories (NWT) in northern Canada is a great place to establish yourself and safely raise your family.
There are many reasons to consider immigrating here. To begin with, there are excellent employment prospects. The Northwest Territories boasts the highest median household income in Canada, and its capital, Yellowknife, boasts the highest rate of employment in the country. The Northwest Territories welcomed 111 permanent residents to the territory in 2014. The Northwest Territories is a place where newcomers can expect to receive a friendly welcome while continuing to embrace their own traditions and practices. As a result there are many thriving cultural communities here.
The Northwest Territories offer first-rate healthcare services, a strong education system and an abundance ofrecreational opportunities andevents to enjoy. When you come here,services are available to help make the transition easier. Whether you need to apply for health care or open a bank account, there will be support for you.
Ourwinters may be cold but the right coat and mittens will always keep you warm. You will fall in love with our warmsummers and the long hours of daylight.
There are a lot of places on the Internet to find great information about moving to the Northwest Territories. In addition to general information, links to other sources are included for each topic to help give you as much information as possible to make your decision to immigrate here. With the click of a button, it’s all within reach.
There are benefits from choosing the Northwest Territories as your home:
- The lifestyle in the Northwest Territories is a desirable one for individuals and for families.
- There are vibrant multi-cultural populations in several Northwest Territories communities.
- Canadian work experience is gained.
- The Northwest Territories is looking for your skills and education.
- Due to the comparatively small population, the Northwest Territories is a great place for career development and advancement.
It is important to understand that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada makes the final decisions on applications.
Living in the Northwest Territories is great! It’s a small community feel. Everyone is very friendly. Everyone is interested in your story and your background, where you came from. I get asked that almost every day. I love it.
- Helen W. -
The Northwest Territories makes up a large part of Canada's North. It is “north of 60”, which means its southern borders begin at the 60th parallel. There is a lot of room to live, explore and play within its 1.3 million square kilometres.
Map of the Northwest Territories (.pdf)
There has been considerable research recently about the Northwest Territories labour market to better understand the needs of employers as well as to identify the skills needed for the future of the labour market and the economy. For the most current information about the Northwest Territories labour market, visit Skills 4 Success.
I’m a geotechnical engineer… one of the reasons I love being here, I get to travel a lot further north…to other communities in the Northwest Territories…. And I get the opportunity to see places that a lot of people never get to see so that’s pretty awesome.
The opportunities for career advancement are incredible here. I’ve been here four and a half years and I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to manage my own projects, manage my own budgets, and direct my own work as much as I have done if I had been down south.
- Alison R. -
There are a lot of career opportunities here in the North…If you’re willing to put the work in and put yourself out there, then the opportunities are endless for a great career.
- Helen W. -
There are several online resources available to help with your search for a job in the Northwest Territories. The Nominee Program's employer driven streams require advertising on the Government of Canada’s JobBank and Northern News Services. Other sites provide information on finding a job in the Northwest Territories. Come Make Your Mark targets workers in the private sector; GNWT Jobs is the job board for the Government of the Northwest Territories and Jobs North is open to all employers in the Northwest Territories. Visit these sites often as new openings are posted regularly.
While the cost of living can be higher than in some areas of southern Canada, salaries are generally higher, and a smaller portion of your income is taxable. The minimum wage in the Northwest Territories is $12.50 an hour (although most people make much more.) No premiums are payable for health care.
Costs of food and household necessities can be higher in more remote communities, but there’s no provincial sales tax. A longer winter translates to higher heating costs, but other utility costs are largely similar to southern Canada.
Finding a place to live will be one of your first priorities when moving to the Northwest Territories.
In the larger centres, you will have options to rent or buy a house or apartment. In smaller communities the housing options are more limited. If you are moving to a smaller community for an employment opportunity, your employer may be able to arrange accommodation.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation created Housing for Newcomers to help guide new arrivals to Canada on a number of topics related to renting or buying a home. This guide is available in eight languages and includes checklists and videos.
There’s an ever-increasing amount of choice and variety in the Northwest Territories’ real estate market. All the larger communities have a choice of housing and a range of prices to suit most budgets. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) provides a detailed outline on home buying, from deciding whether or not home ownership is right for you, to tips on how to maintain your new home. Visit Housing for Newcomers – Buying for more information.
You will want to become familiar with landlord and tenant rights within the Northwest Territories when looking to rent a home, apartment, condominium or townhouse.
Visit Housing for Newcomers - Renting for rental information from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Additional information on how to find a place to live in the Northwest Territories once you’re ready to move is available here.
Food prices in Yellowknife are comparable to southern centres, although the further you get from the road system in the Northwest Territories, the higher the prices are. Fresh vegetables and fruit can be found in stores in even the smallest communities, though distance and freight add considerably to the cost.
There is a range of services available across our communities. For example, you will find taxi services available in all major centres, and within many of the smaller communities. As well, barbers and beauty salons are available in the larger communities, such as Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith and Inuvik. Every community has a store selling essentials. In mid-size to larger communities there are usually two stores, often operating as department stores that supply everything from fresh vegetables and meat to snowmobile parts, clothing, furniture and hardware. If you’d like more information about available local services, ask at the community office or the band office.
Yellowknife, as the capital of the Northwest Territories, has a wide-range of services and is the only community to offer public transit.
The Northwest Territories is home to 33 communities and has a population of 44,250. The capital, Yellowknife, is the largest centre with a population of 20,637. Other large communities include: Hay River (3,724), Inuvik (3,586), Fort Smith (2,466) and Behchoko (2,026). To compare, Jean Marie River is the smallest village with less than 100 people.
The lifestyle in Yellowknife is pretty great…you have a lot of time to do the things you like to do outside of work. And there’s a lot of opportunity to get involved in organizations in town.
The community life is just great as well…it’s a very welcoming environment because there’s a constant flux of new people so it’s not stale. It’s constantly moving. I think it’s awesome.
- Alison R. -
For more information on all of our 33 communities, visit Come Make Your Mark.
Half of people in the Northwest Territories identify themselves as Aboriginal. Indigenous groups of the Northwest Territories include the Dene, Inuit, Inuvialuit and Métis. The Northwest Territories also has an active Francophone community, as well as many other ethnic and cultural groups from around the world.
The Government of the Northwest Territories operates under the consensus system. Instead of being based on party politics, all Members of the Legislative Assembly, the governing body of the Northwest Territories, are elected as independents in their constituencies. Members are elected every four years from each of 19 ridings and elect a Premier, seven Cabinet ministers and a Speaker from their own ranks.
Along with the federal, territorial and municipal governments present in the Northwest Territories, there are a number of Aboriginal governments.
Living in the Northwest Territories has its own special perks and pleasures. The best part: everything is very close by! Your commute from work is short so you’ll have lots of time after work to enjoy a variety of activities.
You’re not spending 2-3 hours a day driving to work and then back. My commute to work is probably 5-6 minutes…that’s an additional 2-3 hours for family.
- Viktor T. -
Whatever your interest, there is likely a group, an organization, or a kindred spirit ready to try new adventures with you. And joining an organization is a great way to meet and get involved with a community of people. There are lots of opportunities to have fun inside AND outside (even in winter!). There are also many great facilities and unique events offered as well as many of the same activities found in larger centres across Canada.
Yellowknife has: a library; pool; curling rink; multiplex centre with ice skating/hockey rinks and full gymnastics club facilities; movie theatre; fitness gyms; field house (indoor soccer/tennis court and track); music classes; dance school; and much more.
Larger communities such as Inuvik, Hay River, Fort Simpson and Fort Smith, have similar facilities while programs and amenities in other communities vary. Most small communities have centres where gatherings and organized events are held, bringing people together regularly to celebrate and participate in traditional activities.
Our summers may be our best kept secret, with long, warm days filled with up to 24 hours of daylight. Whether you enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, boating, kayaking or canoeing, sailing, baseball, tennis or swimming, the Northwest Territories offers it.
Enjoy spectacular days of sparkling snow punctuated by dazzling auroras in our night skies. It may be cold outside, but we embrace our season of snow with many activities like ice fishing, skating, sledding, kite skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Increasingly, the Northwest Territories treasures its own local flavours and tastes. In small communities and at large festivals, bannock and soups or stews made with local ingredients are standard fare. In the larger communities, especially in Yellowknife, there is a growing selection of international fare at restaurants that includes Thai, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese cuisine to round out the usual options.
Festivals and events
Our communal spirit is obvious from the early days of January when fireworks greet the first sunrise of the year in Inuvik, through spring carnivals, to summer music and art events under the sky, to theatre and film festivals and community dances late into the year.
Folk on the Rocks is the largest outdoor summer music festival in the Northwest Territories and draws over 4,000 people annually in Yellowknife. The Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik is an annual event where Northwest Territories artists show their work to international buyers, meet other artists, see different styles of work and learn new techniques. Many of the other communities have summer and winter festivals and events that bring community members together. They are also great opportunities to be a volunteer.