New agreement gives Tłı̨chǫ businesses first crack at infrastructure project within traditional territory

The agreement also ensures minimum labour requirements.

Tłı̨chǫ Grand Chief George Mackenzie (File photo/CKLB)

A recent agreement between the Tłı̨chǫ and territorial governments is said to ensure Tłı̨chǫ businesses will get first dibs at infrastructure project within Tłı̨chǫ lands through direct-negotiate contracts.

The agreement comes after the Tłı̨chǫ Government criticized the Government of the Northwest Territories for how it handled contracts for the Rae Access Road project.

According to a joint news release, the agreement also addresses some of the contracting issues: the Tłı̨chǫ Investment Corporation will ensure that 25 per cent of the total labour for the reconstruction project will be Tłı̨chǫ citizens. The territorial government awarded the project to RTL Construction Ltd.

The goal is to complete the reconstruction project this year.

This type of minimum labour requirements will also be included in future projects under the new agreement, including the Frank Channel bridge, replacement of Chief Jimmy Bruneau School and upgrades to the North Arm Territorial Park.

“We took up the fight over this project because it is essential for our people to share in the wealth and economy of the NWT,” said Grand Chief George Mackenzie in the release.

Premier Caroline Cochrane told CKLB, “The MOU does not obligate the GNWT to award any or all contracts in the Tłı̨chǫ region to Tłı̨chǫ businesses, and there will continue to be opportunities for other Northern businesses to compete on work in the region.”

The GNWT says the agreement is for a period of 10 years.

CKLB has asked for a copy of the agreement and was told the GNWT is assessing the legality in releasing the document publicly.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.