Minister announces exemption to Temporary Foreign Worker Program for employers in Yellowknife

Apr 27 2015

YELLOWKNIFE (April 27, 2015) – Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Jackson Lafferty announced that Yellowknife employers have been exempted from restrictions on temporary foreign workers in the food services and accommodation and retail trade sectors by Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Pierre Poilievre. 

Since ESDC overhauled the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in June 2014, employers in regions with unemployment of 6% or higher were deemed ineligible for the TFWP. This included the NWT, with an approximate unemployment rate of over 7%.

“As Yellowknife has a much lower unemployment rate, currently at 3.8%, than the rest of the territory, it has unique labour market realities and specific workforce needs that I communicated to ESDC,” said Minister Lafferty. 

Yellowknife is the administrative and business centre for the territory, providing critical goods and services to the NWT, and where the majority of employers operate.  Due to the low unemployment rate in Yellowknife it is very difficult for many employers to recruit and retain qualified workers to sustain and grow their business. 

“To ensure employers in Yellowknife continue to have qualified workers when there are no available qualified Northerners and other Canadians,  having access to the TFWP is a critical mechanism to help them fill critical labour shortages and sustain their workforce,” said Minister Lafferty. “I am pleased that Minister Poilievre recognizes the unique needs of Northern employers. This demonstrates the importance of effective partnership between the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada.” 

For detailed information, please visit: or

Backgrounder: Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program – June 2014

Media inquiries:
Jacqueline McKinnon
Education, Culture and Employment
Tel: 867-920-6222