Government of the Northwest Territories

Community control of alcohol

Because NWT communities vary widely, it is essential that each community be able to make decisions about how liquor is controlled within its borders. The NWT Liquor Act provides the following options:

Community restrictions and prohibitions

Communities in the Northwest Territories are able to choose whether or not they will permit alcohol to be brought into the community or if the quantity of alcohol will be restricted or unrestricted.

  • Unrestricted communities do not place any restrictions beyond those that are described in the Liquor Act and Regulations.
  • Restricted communities may have restrictions that limit the quantity and hours of sale at a liquor store, or require individuals to seek prior approval from a community alcohol education committee to bring a limited amount of alcohol into a community.
  • Prohibited communities place bans on the consumption, possession, purchase, sale or transport of liquor into a community.

A list of all current community restrictions and prohibitions is available on the Community Restrictions and Prohibitions page.

Temporary prohibition orders

Temporary prohibition orders can be requested by a municipal or band council to temporarily prohibit liquor for up to ten (10) days without the need for community consultation or vote in recognition of a special occasion or if special circumstances exist in that community, such as jamborees, carnivals, funerals, etc.


Plebiscites can be requested by a municipal or band councils who wish to establish, replace, modify, cancel or created liquor restrictions or prohibitions systems for their community determined by votes from eligible community members. If community votes for a change, legislation is drafted and it becomes law.