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Which of the following steps would you take to decrease the cost of living in the NWT, and why? Tax break, subsidies, government spending on infrastructure, or none of the above?

When it comes to reducing the cost of living in the North, building energy and transportation infrastructure is on the list of many candidiates. Alternative energy, more Northern food production, even universal daycare are put forward as solutions. Subsidies comes second as a favoured instrument for reducing costs, with tax breaks a distant third. Some candidiates say none of the above, suggesting rent controls, training and education will control living costs and boost the economy.  

Lyle Fabian

I believe we need to look at fiber optics and broadband innovation to reduce the cost of internet access, and cellular phone, we need to open up more fiber optic infrastructures in the North. We need to look at community owned broadband networks, where each community build and owned network, and open up access to service providers and create healthy competition in the North. Currently we depend on just  few service providers, and we are still paying huge amounts for internet access.

Here is a simple link that explains in more detail of what I am talking about.

Also here is my communities own fiber optic network right here in the North.


Caroline Cochrane

Cost of living is the No. 1 issue expressed so far in the Range Lake riding. Possible solutions have included:  more alternative energy options, redesigning homes specifically for the north, taping into Taltson Hydro, opening up land for City rezoning and opening more long term lease properties. 

Residents have also said the GNWT needs to advocate to the Federal Government to increase the northern tax allowance. 

As well, the GNWT needs to ensure that the Federal Government keeps it’s promise to provide infrastructure funding specifically for housing. 


Yvonne Doolittle

Decreasing the cost of living in the NWT would require different approaches depending on which part of the NWT we are talking about. In the Sahtu, we could start with supporting projects such as one Deline has been promoting, using hydro-electricity to provide for the community’s power needs. In Colville Lake, the community has embraced solar power. We should be investing in and working with communities of Fort Good Hope, Tulita and Norman Wells to determine whether local non-renewable or renewable energy sources should be piloted. Communities across the NWT should provide direction and access support to address their energy needs as these are a significant cost for all families and businesses. In the Sahtu, we need a highway, and we need investments in housing. Those must be priorities of the Assembly if we want to grow the NWT economy and address cost of living in the Sahtu region. Let's work with the communities to find the solutions.


R.J. Simpson

Which of the following steps would you take to decrease the cost of living in the NWT, and why? Tax break, subsidies, government spending on infrastructure, or none of the above?

All avenues to decrease the cost of living in the NWT need to be examined. We need to lobby the federal government to increase the Northern Residents Tax Deduction, invest in alternate energy sources, and develop local food production. Primarily, we need to spur the economy and grow our population to increase wealth and competition.


Cory Vanthuyne

Start discussions to allow the City of Yellowknife to provide Loans for Heat program that provides low interest loans for home energy efficiency upgrades. I think it's important to work with business to create incentives that encourage job creation. In the communities we need to develop education, professional development and training programs that promote increased earning potential. Most certainly we need to see the Northern Residency Tax Reduction increased and tied to inflation. And let's work to support Northern agriculture and food security.


Robert Hawkins

We can immediately reduce the cost of living through power rate adjustments, which will help the everyday family and business.  And with the new Federal Government promising to increase our Northern Residence Tax deduction, we need to get to work quickly to put pressure on them to do this right way.

As far as spending goes, economic investment is an incredible way to stimulate the economy.  So we must act immediately to engage our new Federal government partners who have promised more infrastructure money which will make an incredible difference in getting families back to work and living independently.


Jan Fullerton

I would support investments in energy infrastructure that both reduce fossil fuel consumption and offer long-term savings as well as continuing housing retrofit programs to reduce the costs of home heating and electricity. I also support increased agricultural activities in the NWT as a way to have locally-grown food that is healthier and more affordable. In the long-term, we need to continue building our labour force capacity through investments in education and health so we have more people active in the work force and not relying on social supports.


Frederick Blake Jr.

Infrastructure spending is great for the economy, although in the smaller communities where we have the highest cost of living we need subsidies that each person can access with out at limitations. For example in Fort Mcpherson, we have the highest rate in the NWT for water and in Aklavik, the highest cost of gas at $1.90 per litre.



Wally Schumann

To help decrease the cost of living in the NWT, I would support the reimbursement of the two per cent NWT Payroll Tax for everyone, not just those with income less than $80,000 per year. I would also work with the new federal government to increase the Northern living allowance, and re-examine the federal food subsidy program, as food security is vital to our communities. We should also investigate new technologies in power generation and distribution to see if they are worth pursuing in a manner that would lower our cost of living.



Shane Thompson

I believe that government needs to spend money on infrastructure (especially roads) to eventually lower the cost of goods to the North. It is important to open the North to business (especially tourism) but there needs to be an investment as it won't happen on its own.



Edwin Castillo

The cost of living in the NWT has always been a huge concern so I would advocate all these strategies to help alleviate the high costs of goods and services in the North. Tax breaks, subsidies, grants and incentives provide more immediate relief while investing in infrastructure including communication links, transportation routes, renewable green energy in solar, biomass, hydro, wind (that decreases dependence on oil and gas) as well as developing local food sources would reflect a greater payback towards a more affordable and sustainable future. If people can afford to live here, then more than likely they will stay here.


Robert Bouchard

I believe that there are a number of ways to reduce the cost of living.

I believe that Payroll Tax should go back to all Northerners, even increased to encourage mine workers to live in the North. We need to work on the Northern Tax Deduction through the new federal government. The federal government continues to add programs such as cross border shop limit increases but that as no effect to us Northerners.

Large infrastructure such as linking power grids to the south would be a benefit to the South Slave. The link to the south would also make sense for an expansion to the Taltson Hydro System.


Kevin O'Reilly

Which of the following steps would you take to decrease the cost of living in the NWT, and why? Tax break, subsidies, government spending on infrastructure, or none of the above?

GNWT should work with Yukon and Nunavut to ensure that the new federal government increases and indexes the Northern Residents Tax Deductions.  Investment in economic development should be focused on lowering costs through local and sustainable activities that reduce costs, decrease imports and create jobs: food production, fishing, forestry, renewable energy, building and maintaining appropriate housing. Renewable energy production should be combined with housing retrofits using a revolving fund.  Homeowners (or condos) pay back the costs of the retrofit through their energy cost savings.  Co-operatives and community-owned enterprises also offer solutions.  Employers should also be encouraged to provide a living wage to their employees. 


Roy Erasmus

Tax Break – I would be willing to review tax breaks because the cost of living in the North is higher.  An option is to increase the “cost of living” subsidy to NWT residents on tax forms to keep pace with the Inflation Index.

Subsidies - GNWT should review all current subsidies and consider new ones that are brought forward, during the life of the new Assembly. Subsidies should be prioritized to meet demands.

Government spending on infrastructure – a planned reasonable approach to government spending on infrastructure is a good option, as is prioritizing needs to meet the demands.


Desmond Zane Loreen

Subsidizing the costs for living in the North would help alleviate the
pressures of living in a place where the heating bills are rising,
power rates are high and food and other goods cost an arm and a leg to bring
up. Lets help the transportation companies who we depend on for their
service, as changing weather calls for shorter seasons. Cheaper fuel
would mean better savings to the people, and at the end of the day
that is who it is about. The people who have to live here year round
and need services at a decent cost. Let's shake the funding tree and
see what falls. If it isn't feasable to live in the North, then people
won't come up. and the ones who can't leave will suffer.


David Krutko

Need healthy community's and sustainable development in all communities. Must fight poverty in the northern communities. 





Jackie Jacobson

To address this question I am in full support of any kind of subsidies to be given to the people of the NWT to decrease the cost of living, i.e.; through tax breaks, power rate decreases, etc.  However the 18th assembly has to work diligently and make the decisions together as a whole to benefit ALL the people of the Northwest Territories. Its all about helping the people we serve. 


Brian Willows

One of the few areas where we can affect the cost of living in a significant way is through the cost of electricity. After years of inaction on this file Premier McLeod has committed to a long overdue energy strategy. Or should I say an energy strategy that will be implemented. There is an absolute place for green technologies in our supply mix but those technologies in and of themselves will not solve our problems. For some 40+ years governments have conducted study after study pointing to our hydro reserves. One of the great short comings of consensus government is its inability to bite off the big vision pieces that will create economic and energy security for the north.

There is low hanging fruit in our tax system that could help small business. Currently small business pays 15% on their first 500K . Most western provinces have lowered that rate by 1 or 2%. A small difference in tax revenue to the government but a significant boost for small business. There may exist further opportunities in the NWT Tax Credit and Corporate Taxes.

In just the last few weeks we have seen DeBeers announcing to relocation of their YK offices and citing cost of living issues as one of the deciding factors. 70% of the Norths funding comes in the form of Transfer Payments from the Feds. Every time we lose a family to outmigration due to the cost of living we face a steeper challenge in encouraging folks to relocate here, but more importantly stay here.

Daryl Dolynny

When looking at the high cost of living one has to look at the average disposable income variance across the North, the differences in living costs depending on where you live, shelter options and affordability, your heating/electricity and water costs, your food costs and more importantly, the inequalities between large market and small communities. There are many ways we can tackle this issue, here is a three step approach that will have a direct impact.

i.      First, we need to embrace and support our Federal Governments offering of increasing our Northern Resident Tax deduction to the level PROMISED and to deal with the uniqueness of disparity incomes.

ii.      Secondly, we need to lower our cost of food- This could be achieved by providing more support for NWT food networks, NWT Farmers Associations, community collective gardens and greenhouse investments.

iii.      Finally, we need to reduce our cost of energy and use of fossil fuels. This can only be achieved by the willingness of a Cabinet and Premier committed to action and less on rhetoric. If being able to influence cabinet decision making,  we need to do the following:

  •  Heat re-capture technology at our thermal diesel generator production: this will allow to use 60-70% of the heat lost up the stove pipe. This heat can be used for various sources via a utili-door system to either heat community gardens or buildings.
  • Need more energy efficiency investments such as major home retro-fit programs.
  • Need more targeted incentives to offset the capitalization costs of alternative energy investments for both resident and business.
  • The business of power production and distribution requires deep pockets and a brain trust to match, unfortunately we suffer from both. Therefore, we need to consider selling a large portion of our Northwest Territories Power Corporation to suitable partners who would be able to commit money and knowledge to our current dire situation. This one time sale would take what is now a liability to an asset situation, thereby allowing one time investments of practical alternate energy solutions such as hydro, wind, solar and biomass in our various communities.

Randy Sibbeston

Our territory is underdeveloped so I think that money spent on infrastructure such a Mackenzie Valley highway could really help a lot of people bring their cost of living down. 



David Wasylciw

All of the above would contribute to increasing the affordability of the NWT for our residents. Each is important to balance costs and keep our residents here.
Tax breaks create structural cost advantages to living in the NWT, but on a day to day basis the benefit of tax breaks is always clear to individuals. Similarly, subsidies can provide some limited relief from high costs, but they are not long term solutions to lowering costs. Expanded infrastructure will ensure the long term sustainability of our communities and create the environment in which costs can be lowered.
Two important factors not included in the question are population growth and economic diversity. A serious effort to grow our population is a key way to making the NWT more affordable, an increased population spreads out the fixed costs of our infrastructure across more people lowering costs for everyone. As well, more individuals and families lead to more spending at local businesses, housing purchases, etc.
Finally, an expanded local economy with high paying jobs with more employers is very much connected to affordability. By using the GNWT’s position as the largest customer in the local economy, we can harness the power of public spending to build local capacity, skills and a vibrant private sector. Right now, the GNWT’s role in building our economy through their own spending has not been taken advantage of at all.


Sean Erasmus

I would like to see green houses on top of every school because the loss of heat through a roof is around 26%, we could capitalize by using the loss of this heat as well as redirecting some vents that are no longer needed and we will get a crop that the kids can help grow/sell/eat year round. I would also promote a cash incentive for people to buy electric cars and maybe by working with the municipalities we can also give a tax break for a one car garage for the life of the electric car. I also want a school k-12 at one of the mines so that our NWT miners can have their significant others hired there and this is where we would get our future engineers, geotech’s, surveyors, etc from.



In addressing the high cost of living we could start by giving parents a break with Universal child care, this would not only make it more affordable for families to live here, we would potentially attract more residents, and families may have more children. Continue to invest in alternative energy, hydro and transportation infrastructure. Tie our northern and southern Hyrdo grids together, and seek out partners to tie the Territory into Alberta or Saskatchewan grids. A real bonafide consumer protection agency. Continue to push the federal government on increasing the Northern residents tax deduction.


Kieron Testart

The high cost of power and limited infrastructure are key factors that add to our already high cost of living. My plan will reduce the cost of power by leveraging hydro generated electricity with clean energy generation to offset low water levels and maximise hydro efficiency. I will also invest an additional $24 million over 4 years on municipal infrastructure, creating jobs and taking pressure off communities to expand and maintain their infrastructure. I will also enhance funding for energy retrofits and alternate energy technologies and expand these programs to cover more of the cost to homeowners and businesses. Northerners don’t need another Energy Charette. Northerners need a government that will take action on power rates right away.


Jane Groenewegen

I think we have to focus on things we can actually control when it comes to the cost of living. I don't think that unlimited subsidies is sustainable over the long run. I would like the gnwt to do more to assist private home owners and business to convert to cost saving sources of fuel to heat their homes. The purchase and installation of pellet or woodstoves, even if the cost recovery is good, is still a financial barrier for many home owners. Rebates may not be enough of an incentive. Investing more in putting tangible options into the hands of individuals to reduce their consumption of fuel and utilities is far better than continuing to repond crisis to crisis to sheild retepayers. Considering we live in such a harsh environment, it's not acceptable that we lag in the area of alternative, renewable energy options.


Deneze Nakehk'o

The cost of living in the north is tied to our national and global economic market. Government spending on infrastructure on roads will help cut down on the price of food and goods to all our communities. The certainty of our northern economy is also directly connected to the power and authority on our lands and resources. The settlement of outstanding Modern Treaty process will provide more certainty and stability to our economy.  


Dennis Nelner

I would be specific and suggest a rate reduction by both the federal and territorial tax on all gas and diesel coming into the NWT.

Terr. and municipal subsides for small business in respects to fees taxes and leases. I don’t expect to pay ridiculous fees for raw land. Tax increases should come with the level of development on the property and business income look at anything from a 5 to 10 year period tax break depending on type of development or industry the GNWT is promoting agriculture – food self-sufficiency through crop production.


Julie Green

It’s my understanding that heat and power are major drivers of the cost of living. I would like to see an investment in alternative energy to reduce the costs of power and heat, while at the same time reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. I’m interested in exploring the possibility of government providing low-cost loans to homeowners to take part in alternative energy initiatives. The loan would be secured by the mortgage. Housing costs are also a major cost of living driver, especially for people who rent. There needs to be more truly affordable housing (rent at 30% of gross income) for people on low-income who find it difficult to pay other bills in addition to rent. It’s worth exploring the potential to address these needs with housing co-operatives.


Kevin Menicoche

I am hopeful the new Liberal Federal Government will support the NWT with more infrastructure spending, jobs, training and opportunities will help all our residents earn a decent wage, thereby helping all with the cost of living and improving our social issues.

Homes in our small communities need costly repairs and retrofits to ensure homeowners minimize the cost of living in their homes, especially in the winter months. We will have to redesign our housing programming to address this.


Nigit'stil Norbert

To begin with, the No Place for Poverty coalition is proposing a baseline salary of $20. an hour for everyone.  This was based on the average costs incurred by two people supporting two children. This allows people to live at a no frills level, but it's a start.  We can look at cost sharing measures between the various levels of government to see how we would be able to supplement employers who may have trouble meeting this.  Further, the north needs to grow more of its own food so that we are not paying exorbitant prices to import healthy food.   We have seen an explosion in community gardens, so that people are learning to take pride in producing healthy inexpensive food.  Further, we absolutely must see an increase in alternate energy forms so we are not so dependent on expensive and dangerous fossil fuels.  This can not only off set costs, but producing a boom in employment alternatives.  Finally, we need rent controls.  It makes no sense that a couple of companies from outside the territories can charge whatever they want and implement rental increases at will regardless of the impact on consumers. 


Jimmy Kalinek

Infrastructure of the Mackenzie highway road that would create jobs and lower the cost of living in the north.




Alfred Moses

There needs to be investment in energy infrastructure that would cut down the cost of heating and electricity as well as continued investment in other infrastructure that would help create jobs for residents in the communities.  There also needs to be better monitoring of the Nutrition North program and finding a better solution working with the Federal Govt.



Dan Wong

The federal Liberals vowed to hike the Northern Residency Tax Deduction by 33%, with benefits indexed to inflation. I’ll work together with our MP to put this promise into action because its important northern families have money to save, invest and grow our economy. I’ll also push as a MLA to enable homeowners to access low interest loans for energy retrofits to lower heat and power bills. While struggling to keep up with already high costs, few people have money saved for such projects and most importantly, banks only offer unsecured loans at high rates.


Arnold Hope

The cost of living here in the NWT has been a real issue for years. This is and always will be a complicated issue because the major corporate bodies that have serviced our territory and have generated their profits from their increase in costs will always look for that continuation of trying to gain more profit....A vicious circle.


Tom Beaulieu

Infrastructure spending will put money in the pockets of our  people and allow them to afford the cost of living in the smaller communities.





Bob McLeod

The first step is to convince our new Federal government to follow through on the election promise to increase the Federal Northern Resident Income Tax Deduction and index it to inflation. I can’t see adding more subsidies. We already pay out $200 million per in year is subsidies for such things as blue cross for seniors, transitional rent supplements and income security. Next, we need to grow the population to ensure growth in funding transfers. And last, but not least, we need to tackle the high cost of energy. There are new technologies out there that I believe can help and I am committed to rigorously exploring them.


Norman Snowshoe

Follow the example of the Liberal Party of Canada and exercise all of the above. I believe these steps were done in the capital at some time or another.





Chris Clarke

Yes, we need all of the above to lower the cost of living in our Territory, as well as other solutions.  However, we live in a peculiar situation in the North, with such a vast land and a tiny population.  It is a situation that I love and makes this place what it is, but it also makes it difficult when decisions are made in Ottawa on the amount of money we receive.  

I believe that we must lobby the Federal Government to give us more tax break to eliminate the disparity of living in such and expensive location.  Furthermore, we need to have subsidies for a multitude of things, both at the individual level and at the business level, so that we can make products cheaper in the North.  Luckily, the new Liberal Government in Ottawa has announced that they will be injecting funding into infrastructure.  We need to ensure that this is done not on the smallness of our population, but on the vastness of our land.  

Also, we need to be more self sufficient in the North.  We depend on most things from the south.  We need to develop sustainable industries here, and not just depend on multi-decade mining projects that will always come to an end.  In addition, we need to feed ourselves.  We need to implement strategies to do this in the most cost effective way possible and not depend on getting almost all of our non-traditional foods from the south.  


Ben Nind

As outlined in my platform, these are some of the steps I would propose that we need to take to address the cost of living issue -

1.Take action to invest in sustainable renewable energy, agriculture, forest and lake food harvesting.

2. Take action to diversify the economy over and above the extraction boom and bust industries and focus upon localized economies.

3. Consider rent control legislation.

4. Work collaboratively with the office of the Member of Parliament to substantially increase the northern resident deduction.

5. Invest in only essential infrastructure development ensuring strong fiscal oversight.

6. Invest in keeping “Northerners in the North”


Glen Abernethy

1. Control costs of power through investments in infrastructure (solar, wind, etc.)

2. Explore tax options to reduce the cost of running and operating small local businesses

3. Enhance and streamline rebate programs to install wood stoves, more efficient furnaces, solar panels, better insulation, etc for commercial and residential users.

4. Work with the Federal Government to update the Northern Resident Tax Deduction

5. Work with the Federal Government to improve the Nutrition North program for our isolated communities

6. Enhance support for community gardens and other food productions opportunities

7. work with industry, local governments, business and other interested stakeholders to develop a plan to address homelessness in the NWT

Don Jaque

None of the above.





Samuel Roland

Investing into Infrastructure and Government subsidies.



Louis Sebert

The Northern Residents Deduction should be increased and tied to inflation. I support programs which assist seniors in remaining and maintaining their homes. Hopefully with infrastructure money from Ottawa we can reduce the cost of living.



Karen Felker

The commercial square footage in Yellowknife is a lot cheaper than in Hay River. The Government practice of utilizing negotiated and design build contracts creates unfair, monopolized, and expensive processes that disrupt the competitive market place and increases the cost of living in our community.

We need to remain competitive, support local business, attract new business, and sustain our economy.

GNWT responsibilities must include a transparent tendering process. I would lobby Government to return to a proper tendering procedure, allowing all contractors and suppliers to participate in a competitive market place, and thereby stimulating our growth and economy.

With more savings from competitive practices, we can put more money in the pockets of the working class.



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