Northwest Territories Poverty Progress Profile 2016


Since the early 2000s, the Northwest Territories (NWT) has maintained a significantly higher per capita income than the rest of Canada. Despite this wealth, a “much bleaker experience” needs to be addressed: poverty. It is a situation anti-poverty advocates note as “characterized by poor-quality housing and housing shortages, growing disparity in levels of education, employment and incomes, rising alcohol and substance abuse, and increasing rates of crime, suicide and homelessness.” There is a vast income gap between the major centres and smaller communities and the latest statistics show that 19.3% of the NWT residents struggle with low-income. The NWT has 33 communities, half of which don’t have year-round road access and have some of the highest rates of homelessness, crime, and addiction in the country.

After years of work and consultations among community stakeholders across the NWT, the government approved Building on the Strengths of Northerners: A Strategic Framework toward the Elimination of Poverty in the Northwest Territories in 2013. In 2014, the Strategic Framework gave way to a more proactive action plan with Working Together: An Action Plan to Reduce and Eliminate Poverty in the NWT (Anti-Poverty Action Plan).

Publication date: 
Dec 2016
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