Government of the Northwest Territories

Collective Bargaining

Bargaining with the UNW

The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to reaching a collective agreement that meets the common objectives of recognizing our valued public servants and the fiscal sustainability of the Northwest Territories, and is prepared to return to the bargaining table at any time. The GNWT is also preparing for potential job action to ensure minimal disruption of the delivery of programs and services to the public. The Job Action Q&A is meant to provide general information to GNWT employees regarding possible job action.  Unionized employees may obtain additional information from the Union of Northern Workers and Excluded/Senior Managers may speak with their supervisor.


What is a collective agreement?

A collective agreement applies to all our unionized public service employees. It is the guiding document that outlines the terms of employment and contains guidance for managers and employees on a range of issues. The collective agreement includes rates of pay, how leave is earned and used as well as how disputes are resolved. 

What are the timelines?

The bargaining process began on January 14, 2016, and will continue until an agreement is reached or an impasse is reached. See Bargaining Overview for further details on the process.

Why is it important?

We are working towards a new collective agreement that supports the Priorities of the 18th Legislative Assembly and we realize the important role our employees play in achieving the government’s priorities. That’s why we are looking forward to working with the UNW to find effective and sustainable ways to support our public service workers, while at the same time remaining fiscally responsible.

What does the GNWT currently offer?

The GNWT offers a wide range of advantages and opportunities to its employees which includes:

Very competitive salary and great benefits, including a public service pension as well as:

  • Leave entitlements – including leave with pay during the holiday season;
  • Employee and Family Assistance Program that supports employees facing challenges either at work or personally/at home;
  • Public service health care plan;
  • Dental benefits;
  • Supplementary death benefit;
  • Disability insurance

Working for the GNWT also provides:

  • The opportunity to make a difference and,  because of the relatively small size of our government; the opportunity to see how their work positively impacts clients and stakeholders;
  • The ability to acquire a diverse set of skills, given the broad scope and range of issues staff become involved in;
  • A family-friendly work environment;
  • Good opportunities for work-life balance:
    • Flex time opportunities
    • Short commute to work
    • Time off to go hunting, participation in traditional activities;
  • Opportunities for career growth, development and advancement;
  • The chance to work in beautiful, pristine locations and experience richness of different cultures and traditions.

The GNWT is committed to being an employer of choice, offering our employees a safe and dynamic working environment with opportunities to learn and to contribute to the health and prosperity of the NWT.

  • The GNWT remains an employer of choice and has been recognized nationally for its diverse and inclusive workplace, as well as being a top employer for young workers.
  • GNWT employees are well compensated – they are paid as much as, or in some cases, more than, comparable employees across Canada including cost of living differences.
  • When differences in tax regimes are taken into consideration, GNWT employees have more disposable income than employees in other jurisdictions.