First of the month looms large as evacuated residents worry about paying their bills

GNWT has no specific plans for renter-specific supports.

(Ian Down/CKLB photo)

The evacuation has not been easy for the NWT’s renters.

To date, while the GNWT has offered compensation for income disruption and travel, there have been no financial supports specifically for the territory’s renters.

And Lisa Thurber, founder of the Tenants’ Association of the N.W.T., says they have been getting flooded with calls and messages from tenants worried about paying their rent and bills come the first of the month.

“People are worried,” she says. “Rent is coming out September 1, and nobody has money in the bank.”

And, she says, “don’t even get me started on the $750” for income disruption.

Instead of universal supports for all renters, the supports available largely depend on the landlord. Some relief is coming for Northview renters: on Aug. 24, the company announced it would prorate rent for the duration of the evacuation, meaning tenants will not be charged for the days they are away. (The company did not respond to a request for comment.)

When asked about prorated rent, a spokesperson for Midwest Property Management did not say they would be offering prorated rent to tenants, only that the company “will work with them to determine an appropriate rental subsidy amount. We ask that these Midwest Residents contact us for further information and support through email at”

On Aug. 22, Northview, Yellowknife’s biggest landlord, sent out notices of arrears to several of its tenants. The company walked back the message the same day and apologized, saying it was an “auto-generated message.”

Evictions, eviction hearings paused for now

Jeff Round, the director of court services, says although there will be no formal moratorium on evictions as there was during the Covid-19 pandemic, no evictions will take place during the evacuation period.

“Evictions are scheduled according to mutual availability of the Sheriff’s Office and landlord,” he wrote. “So, at this time, without any officers within the NWT, evictions will not be scheduled until their return.”

But he says evictions will resume “as soon as possible” once residents return.

Eviction hearings are also suspended until the rental office is reopened after the evacuation period, according to the Chief Rental Officer.

Tenants’ Association launches call for action

In response to the crisis, the Tenants’ Association has launched a public call for the GNWT to step up. Their letter, which was published on their social media page on Aug. 25, calls for emergency rent relief for all tenants, protection from evictions, and utility subsidies.

Asked about the letter in a press conference on the evening of Aug. 28, Deputy Finance Minister William MacKay said only that the department has seen the letter and is “considering it.”

“We are continuing to monitor the situation, and of course, people that are having problems paying their rent as part of their struggles, that we’re aware of and that we’re considering, but we don’t have any specific plans to address that at the moment.”

But since the association’s founding earlier this year, Thurber says, the GNWT has not reached out to ask about their goals or concerns.

The Tenants’ Association also launched a GoFundMe with the goal of raising $50,000 for N.W.T. tenants during the evacuation. So far, the fund has raised just $270 of its goal.

If you are concerned about paying rent or other bills due to the evacuation, we would love to hear from you at

About the Author

Ian Down
Ian Down is a general news reporter from the West Island of Montreal. After studying journalism and computer science at Concordia University, he came to Yellowknife in 2021, joining the CKLB team in September 2022. When not behind his desk, you can find him at a local Yellowknife poetry reading, or annoying his roommates by playing his clarinet at odd hours. Feel free to reach out with any tips or story ideas at, or follow him on Twitter at @IanDown1996.