NWT Wage Top-up Program

This program is extended through August 31, 2021.

Beginning May 1, 2021, people under the age of 15 are eligible for Wage Top Up. Previously, the program was open to those aged 15 and older.

To support low wage workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, the GNWT has implemented the Wage Top-up program that provides temporary financial assistance to NWT workers earning less than $18 per hour. This financial relief is a taxable benefit for the recipient.

There are two ways to apply for wage top-up:

  1. Participating businesses apply for the benefit on behalf of their eligible workers;
  2. Individuals can apply directly if their employer is not participating. Applications for the benefit covering the period from April 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021 will be accepted until October 31, 2021. The employees are required to submit copies of their pay slips to support their claims.

Application for wage top-up by employers

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is asking NWT businesses to apply for the benefit on behalf of their eligible workers in order to make the program delivery efficient.

In return, the GNWT will compensate the participating businesses with a one-time payment of $50 per eligible employee for each extension period. 

Businesses are asked to submit the following information for their employees who earn less than $18/hour for the application period:

  • Employee's name;
  • Current hourly pay rate paid by business; 
  • The number of hours worked at regular pay; and
  • 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 requests that employers submit the information every month during the four-month benefit period. However, if a business cannot do so every month or does not wish to take part in the program, it should inform the GNWT by email at NWTwagetopup@gov.nt.ca.

What happens after the employer submits the information?

The GNWT Department of Finance uses the information received from the employer to determine the wage top-up for each eligible employee for the application period and issue a payment to the employer for distribution to their eligible employees covered in the application. The GNWT also compensates the employer for participating in the program as described in the policy. To ensure businesses not to incur any costs by participating in the program, the GNWT reimburse businesses their expenses of employer CPP and EI portions relating to the top-up.


What happens after the employer receives the grant?

Once the employer receives the payment from the GNWT, the employer is required to distribute the top up benefit to each eligible employee in the next pay cycle according to the employee’s entitlement.

The GNWT appreciates the partnership with business in the delivery of the top-up benefit to their low-wage employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 and must be included in the employee T4 slip issued by the employer.


What happens if my employer declines to participate?

If your employer declines to participate in the program, you can apply for the wage top-up directly. 


Application for wage top-up by an employee

Employees making less than $18 per hour from non-participating businesses can apply for the wage top-up themselves. 

Starting September 1, 2021 employees from non-participating business may apply for the benefit covering the entire period from April 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021. Please fill out only one NWT Wage Top-Up Application for Individual Employees for this period. If you have already applied for the April 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021 period then please fill out a form for the March 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021 period only. You will need to provide:

  • Your name, mailing address, email address and phone number;
  • Your employer information;
  • Pay period, hourly pay rate and number of hours worked during this pay period; and
  • Copies of pay slips to substantiate the claim. 

 An officer from the Wage Top Up program will contact you for your social insurance number. 

Program participation

As of July 19, 2021:

  • Total cost of the program so far is $4,607,888 including employee wage top-up, employer EI and CPP and $50 per employee compensation fee.
  • There are 102 participating businesses. 
  • In total, 3,053 individuals have benefitted from the program