Northwest Territories (a new level of hell)

So you thought the average province in the caker kingdom was bad? It’s all sunshine and roses compared to the Northwest Territories. 

A 2011 Poverty Progress profile report stated the following:

“The Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) has yet to provide a definition of poverty and currently has no territorial strategy to eradicate it.” 

You know things are bad when that’s the opening sentence of a poverty progress report.

It carried on:

“The Northwest Territories (NWT) stands out in Canada as the territory that has the greatest need for housing repairs, a crime rate six times higher than the national rate and soaring mental health issues.  

The territory functions by a consensus system with no legislated political parties making it difficult to provide services that are at the crux of eradicating poverty.”

So far so good: we’ve got no definition of poverty, no plan to eradicate it; no legislated provincial parties to oversee progress or act as a voice for the people.

It carries on to say that Statistics Canada has no reliable data on poverty so the report has to conduct an approximation:

15% of residents are living on an income of less than $30,000 with different areas ranging from 15 – 25% and up to 40% for single parents.  

5% of the population experience homelessness.

The average low-income earner receives $16,344.

Regarding housing:

“The government plays a small role in combating homelessness. It has no designated overseer to address or review the housing crisis, nor has it produced a report on the issue. The federal government allocates $417 000 to Yellowknife programs that address homelessness.”

On high school graduation:

“One statistical measurement showed that high school graduates had increased on average from 43% in 2001-2005 to 51% from 2004-2008 with a goal to reach 60% by 2015.”  

Alcohol and substance abuse, as well as suicides are the worst in the country.

As for Aboriginals:

“Without further commitments to funding, Aboriginal peoples will continue to occupy the bottom realm of the income distribution accounting for 90-95% of the homeless population.”

So by the 2015 report what are we left with? We’ll start with this little note from a bottom page:

“Statistics Canada does not collect or compile data directly measuring poverty in Northwest Territories, such as the Low Income Cut-off (LICO), Low-Income Measurement (LIM), or Market Basket Measure (MBM)”

Because of course in Canada if we don’t have statistics or proper data we can just paper over the issue and carry on! We learn that:

– 17.2% of residents struggle with low-income.


– There is a vast income gap between non-Aboriginal people (in larger communities) and their Aboriginal counterparts in smaller places.

– It has some of the highest rates of homelessness, crime and addiction in the country.


We can’t learn anything about income assistance, food issues or low-income families because the “data is not available”.

Yet it does mention that, “in 2013 the total welfare income for a family of four was $33,782.23. However, according to the latest NWT Market Basket Measure, the income required for a family of four to meet its basic needs in Yellowknife is $51,314.”

So in 2011 they were telling us families under $30,000 are considered “low income” and yet the government is giving a family of four people 33k to live off all year?

Also:

The unemployment rate is 8.2%  

60% of children in smaller communities suffer from delays in development.

31% of children live in food-insecure households.


Now if you go to the shitty NWT Bureau of Statistics (not federal) you can get a tiny bit more information, nothing too substantial though. You can get answers to questions like:

“self-perceived mental health”

(It’s good ma’am, the voice in my head told me so!)

“satisfaction with life”

(I love this arctic hell hole ma’am, I’ve never been anywhere else!)

“sense of community belonging”

(everyone else here is miserable, drunk and suicidal – guess I belong!)

You can’t make this stuff up folks!

Yup, 2014 statistics can tell you the ‘sense of community belonging’ but nothing about food insecurity, income assistance or other hard data needed to properly implement change.


So according to estimates, in the Northwest Territories the population is a little over 44,000 people. It contains 33 communities, the largest being Yellowknife with just over 19,000 people. Aboriginals make up about 36% of the population but are disproportionately the poorest.

Food prices have skyrocketed due to shipping, freight charges, a fluctuating dollar, etc. As of 2014, here were some prices listed in local news stories:

“When prices at the local Northern Store jumped in early January, residents began posting photos of the prices on Facebook: $53.49 for a 10-kilogram bag of flour, $10.25 for a pint of grape tomatoes and $90.96 for a case of bottled water.”

Everything is more expensive. According to this report:

Household Heating Cost Comparison 

Yellowknife- Heating residence with fuel oil – $1.20/litre $6,500/year

Paulatuk- Heating residence with fuel oil – $1.50/litre $11,000/year

Edmonton- Heating residence with natural gas -$3.00/gig $700/year

Imagine being a low-income person or single parent living off $16k-30k yearly and having to pay these prices to eat and keep the lights on. Unbelievable!

Adding to the absurdity is the fact that there are no political parties in the NWT, but a “consensus government” – meaning one member is elected from each constituency. At first glance not having parasitic career politicians might seem to be a good thing, until you realize they are having to simply elect one person from each area who may or may not be qualified, experienced and capable of the job.

Compounding problems is the terrible weather, economics and cost of living: meaning nobody wants to live in the hell hole North, which of course makes attracting quality people problematic. With no political parties comes no proper oversight or accountability, and without the ‘permanent professionals’ that orbit other provincial MLA’s, it seems like amateur hour at best.

In fact, government recruits (of any capacity) leaving before even a year is up has become such an issue that the government now wants to force them to sign a one-year contract if they received any public funds for relocating up north.

The takeaway:

The NWT is a cold, frozen hell hole filled with poverty, inequality, and despair. It sucks to live there, it sucks to work there, and nobody in their right minds wants to be there unless it’s all they’ve ever known (and maybe not even then).

Somehow even after decades, the cakers can’t manage to fix this mess that ONLY has 44,000 people! We’re not talking millions here … less than 50,000 people and they can’t handle the job!

We finish off with this sad promo attempting to con poor unsuspecting immigrants to the NWT. Here are some of the best bits:


“The geographic and climatic realities of life in the Northwest Territories can make the cost of living fairly high. Because of the higher transportation costs, many day-to-day items cost more than they would in major Canadian cities. Compensation, however, is higher in the NWT in order to offset the higher cost of living.” 

“Housing in the NWT is often more expensive than the Canadian average, due to the costs associated with building structures capable of withstanding the cold climate. The average price of a house in the territory ranges from $275,000 to $310,000, making it one of the most expensive housing markets in Canada. However, the cost of a house can be 50% lower outside of Yellowknife than in the city itself.” 

“Despite the small population, the Northwest Territories has a comprehensive and first-rate public education system that covers a child from early childhood programs through Grade 12.” 

“Alongside the more traditional culture, Yellowknife is a growing modern city. One can find there many of the same stores, entertainment and other cultural elements you would find in any other Canadian city. However its Northern location and relative isolation give Yellowknife a strong community feel and a distinct character.” 

“Immigration to the province today is mainly to the capital city of Yellowknife. With the city’s economy booming thanks to natural resources, individuals are moving to Yellowknife to take advantage of economic opportunities.”


I feel dirty just reading it! You’ve got to pity the poor suckers that were conned into going up there, whether they’re duped immigrants or bribed to stay at their remote job location. You’ve got to pity the people born there – one of the shittiest spots in the caker kingdom!

But don’t listen to the naysayers, everything’s peachy in the Northwest Territories! Canada too!

O Canada!

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