NWT Wage Top-up Program

This program has been extended through February 28, 2021.

To support low income workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, the GNWT has implemented the Wage Top-up program that provides temporary financial assistance to NWT workers aged 15 or over and earning less than $18 per hour. This financial relief is a taxable benefit for the recipient. The program is delivered to eligible employees through a partnership with businesses.

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is asking NWT businesses to administer the program for their eligible workers on behalf of the GNWT.

In return, the GNWT will pay a one-time administration fee, in the amount of $50 per eligible employee, to each participating business.

Application for funds by employers

Businesses are asked to submit the following information for their employees who earn less than $18/hour; and are at least 15 years old at the time of application:

  • each employee's name;
  • the current hourly rate without the top-up;
  • the number of hours worked per week; and
  • the business payroll cycle (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly).

For more information about employee eligibility, please refer to the NWT Wage Top-Up Program Policy.

The submission must also include the business name and contact information and may be submitted at any time by:

Completed applications may also be submitted by fax at 867-873-0128.

The GNWT asks employers to submit the information for each month during the benefit period; however, if a business cannot submit monthly, or wanton longer wants to participate, it is asked to notify the GNWT at NWTwagetopup@gov.nt.ca.


What happens after the employer submits the information?

The GNWT Department of Finance will use the information received from the employer to determine the total amount of wage top-up for each eligible employee for the month based on the number of hours the individual worked during that month, and send the employer a grant in the sum of the total wage top-up for all eligible employees for the month, the corresponding employer CPP and EI contribution related to the total top-up. The GNWT will also pay the employer a one-time administration fee ($50 for each eligible employee). 

What happens after the employer receives the grant?

Once the employer receives the grant from the GNWT, the employer is expected to include in an eligible employee’s next pay cheque a lump sum payment reflecting the employee’s total wage top-up entitlement for the previous month. 

The GNWT appreciates this partnership with business to make the program successful in providing a 16 week wage top-up for their low-wage employees. After the program concludes, some additional information may be required from businesses to support a program review. 

This wage top-up program is considered a taxable benefit for eligible employees and must be included in employees’ 2020 T4 slip issued by the employer.

What happens if my employer declines to participate?

If your employer declines to participate in the program, please contact nwtwagetopup@gov.nt.ca to discuss your options.

Program participation

As of February 24, 2021:

  • Total cost of the program so far is $2,670,079 including employee wage top-up, employer EI and CPP and $50 per employee compensation fee.
  • There are 96 participating businesses. 
  • In total, 2,337 individuals have benefitted from the program