Wally Schumann

MLA Hay River South

Month: February 2017

GNWT and NWTFF Set Sites On Revitalizing Great Slave Lake Fishery



GNWT and NWTFF Set Sites On Revitalizing Great Slave Lake Fishery

News Type:
Blog Entries

The Department of Industry Tourism and Investment (ITI) has unveiled a plan to rebuild the commercial fishery on Great Slave Lake.

Surrounded, appropriately, by members of the NWT Fishermen’s Federation (NWTFF), representatives of the Hay River business community and a new generation of NWT fishers, ITI Minister Wally Schumann introduced the strategy in Hay River this morning.

Read Minister Statement

The Minister cautioned that there is not a single or easy fix to the challenges faced by fishermen on Great Slave Lake.  “Rebuilding the commercial fishery won’t happen overnight,” he noted “and will require new infrastructure, more producers and a new way of doing business.”

The new strategy presumes a joint and coordinated effort from the GNWT, NWTFF and the federal government to put Great Slave Lake Fish on the table in restaurants, institutions and homes throughout the NWT and into the South.

Underscoring their common goal, Fresh Fish from Great Slave Lake cook books were provided to those on hand.

Commercial Fishery Revitalization Homepage

Great Slave Lake, renowned for its size, depth and pristine cold waters, is home to some of the best-testing fresh-fish in the world and a proud community of northern fishers who work tirelessly to harvest this northern delicacy and deliver it from the lake to the dinner plate.

The business case for revitalizing the NWT’s commercial fishing sector was first identified in the NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy.  It is a central to the GNWT’s mandate to diversify the NWT economy, create local jobs, and, in doing so, to contribute to greater food security.

GNWT Marine Transportation Plans

GNWT Marine Transportation Plans

Mr. Speaker, last December, the Department of Public Works and Services took measures to secure the core assets of the Northern Transportation Company Limited, or NTCL a company that went into receivership after serving the Northwest Territories through more than 80 years of operation.

NTCL was the largest marine transportation services provider in the Northwest Territories, delivering essential petroleum products and cargo, including consumer goods and construction materials, to communities along the Mackenzie River and across the Western Arctic.

NTCL served ten Northwest Territories communities, including four that are inaccessible by winter road. Marine resupply is the only realistic option for these four communities, where it is prohibitively expensive or impossible to provide fuel and large cargo by air transport. For other communities accessible by water, marine transportation provides an economic and reliable alternative.

Mr. Speaker, in purchasing the vital marine assets once owned by NTCL, the GNWT supports the continuity of dependable and competitive marine services and the delivery of essential goods to our communities on the Mackenzie River and our ocean waters. The importance of a viable Mackenzie River marine transportation service to meet the needs of government, industry and residents cannot be understated.

The Department of Public Works and Services has made efforts to secure a marine carrier to operate the assets purchased by government and offer the comprehensive transportation services once provided by NTCL.  Those efforts were unsuccessful and by November it had become quite clear that the gap left by this company’s exit would not be easily filled.

The GNWT has the staff, expertise and resources needed to run this operation, and is now focused on making sure that marine transportation services in the NWT continue unaffected through the 2017 sailing season. This requires that we inspect and make ready the tug and barge fleet and our port facilities, and fill key positions to manage the operations of the 2017 sailing season.  We will engage a professional marine crewing operator to hire experienced and reliable crews to maintain and operate our vessels. We expect many of these individuals will be Northwest Territories residents, knowledgeable people who worked for NTCL for many years performing the very operations that the GNWT will now execute.

We are committed to ensure that services are provided this sailing season, that fuel and cargo is delivered to all of the marine-accessible communities of the Northwest Territories, and we are committed to operating safely and responsibly. The experience of operating the business this season will inform the GNWT as we determine the future model of operation.  We are well into the development of maintenance plans to reactivate the tug and barge fleet.  We are taking stock of the properties and assets purchased. We will draw upon our expertise in environmental site assessment and management of potentially contaminated lands, to determine the nature and extent of any environmental contamination associated with these properties.

While our purchase was made out of necessity, it has also revealed opportunities.  Our investment in the marine transportation sector can lead to improved marine infrastructure, the creation of meaningful jobs, and a comprehensive self-funding made-in-the-North marine transportation service that is essential to our communities. GNWT marine transportation services secures a vital link that connects Canada’s northernmost railhead to its northernmost inland port, and preserves the final northern link of an intermodal supply chain that stretches all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Mackenzie Delta.

Mr. Speaker, this unique situation has presented us with a short window to prepare, but work is well underway to make sure that this sailing season is a success. Our future operating model is yet to be determined, but it will be one that balances the needs of government, residents, businesses and small barging operators, who will all benefit from the continued presence of a reliable and affordable marine carrier. Our focus is on safety and reliability, and we will endeavor to limit increases in shipping rates that would negatively impact the cost-of-living in the NWT and crucially, in the service of citizens and businesses. We will preserve and deploy the marine assets that are so important to future economic activity and to the development of the Northwest Territories.

Marine Transportation Services Update

Marine Transportation Services


Welcome to the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Marine Transportation Services.

The GNWT is committed to provide reliable cargo transportation to NWT communities on the Mackenzie River and Arctic Ocean supply route.

Work is well underway to ready the fleet and establish schedules and freight rates for 2017.

We will continue to update this site in the coming weeks. Please check back frequently.

Marine Transportation Services

Contact Us

Marine Transportation Services
  • Toll-Free
  • Fax
    (867) 874-2651
  • Office
    (867) 874-2023

HAY RIVER: Community Engagement Meeting for 2016 Fire Season and upcoming fire season.


HAY RIVER: Community Engagement Meeting for 2016 Fire Season and upcoming fire season.

Thursday February 23, 2017 @ 7pm
Legion, downstairs meeting room.

Image may contain: cloud, sky and text

Thanks to the hard working Hay River South Pages Zoey Walsh and Tenielle Patterson


Hay River  South Pages

Hay River South Pages

Public Focus Groups about Midwifery in the Northwest Territories. Meeting will be in Hay River on March 7th

Midwifery Sharing Circle

Public Focus Groups about Midwifery in the Northwest Territories

DPRA Canada, on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Services, will be hosting sharing circles to seek public feedback about midwifery in the Northwest Territories.

Midwives provide care during pregnancy, birth, and the first weeks after birth.

We want to speak with women and their family members who have or would like to receive maternity care in the NWT.

Focus groups will be held in the following communities:

Community Date / Time Location
Behchokǫ̀ March 10 TBC
Fort Simpson February 27: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Stanley Isaiah Wellness Centre
Fort Smith February 22: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM and 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM Tapwe House
Hay River March 7: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Hay River Centennial Library
March 7: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Elder’s Centre, K’atl’odeeche First Nation
Inuvik March 7: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Ingamo Hall
March 8: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Arctic Family House
Tulita TBC TBC
Tuktoyaktuk March 9 TBC
Yellowknife March 2 (TBC) TBC
March 3 (TBC) TBC
March 9 (TBC) TBC
Teleconference for Parents March 14: 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM Call Toll-Free 1-877-668-4493. Enter Access Code: 731 865 422

To attend a sharing circle, please call 1-867-873-4490, ext. 24 or email sharingcircle@dpra.com(link sends e-mail).

February 9th Statement – Hay River Harbour Restoration

Hay River Harbour Restoration

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Transportation has made a commitment in its mandate to restore safe operating conditions in the Port of Hay River by strengthening connections with public and private sectors partners.

The Hay River Harbour remains an essential piece of infrastructure for the NWT marine transportation system.  The Harbour supports critical services such as those provided by the Canadian Coast Guard and the Department of Defence.  As well, industry and communities up and down the Mackenzie River depend on the steady and reliable resupply of essential goods and materials shipped out of Hay River.

Low water caused by the buildup of sediment has long challenged navigability in the Hay River Harbour.  This has had a serious impact on the safety and effectiveness of the essential marine services on which northerners rely. Commercial fishing boats often touch bottom when entering the Harbour, and Coast Guard vessels have trouble accessing their base.

That is why last year the GNWT supported the establishment of the Hay River Harbour Restoration Group, led by the harbour authority with representatives from all impacted stakeholders.  The restoration group provides a forum to discuss challenges and various technical matters regarding future restoration efforts.  The group most recently met in Hay River in December and decided that DOT will work with the NWT Fishermen’s Federation to develop an informal request for a quote for dredging services from local contractors.

Over the past year, DOT has worked with public and private stakeholders to advocate for project funding and to acquire the necessary information to have this important harbour dredged.

In 2016, a military surveillance aircraft recorded imagery over the Harbour and East Channel entrance.  The Canadian Coast Guard also conducted sounding operations in the Hay River Harbour.  The information collected during their activities is vital to determining the approximate volume of material that needs to be dredged.

Identifying funding sources for the dredging plan remains an important component of this project.  We will continue to explore all possible funding options, including through the Oceans Protection Plan announced last year, and other federal programs.

Critical marine resupply operations for many communities start from the Hay River Harbour. The facility is also important to the commercial fishing industry on Great Slave Lake, which has the potential to help diversify the NWT economy. By restoring the Hay River Harbour to its maximum potential, we will continue to reduce the cost of living and provide jobs for northerners, in line with our Legislative Assembly commitments.

The Department of Transportation remains committed to working with all stakeholders to develop a reliable, long-term solution to restore the Harbour’s full and unimpeded operational capacity.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

February 9th Statement – Commercial Fishery Revitalization Strategy


Minister’s Statements

Mr. Speaker, the last decade has seen our Great Slave Lake fishery hit hard by circumstances well beyond its influence and control.  Commercial fishing in our territory has, as a result, declined significantly.

What has not declined is the number of fish in the lake, the quality of this food source, or the proven markets we can use to rebuild our fishery.  They offer the opportunity to restore an industry that remains important and vital to our economy and to our territory.

Thanks to changes in our Fishers Support Program, we have seen recent increases to our catch volumes but there is no silver bullet that can fully save or revitalize our industry. It will require a concerted, coordinated effort by our government, the Government of Canada and the men and women who make up our fishery.   But, Mr. Speaker, despite obstacles and challenges, we believe in a viable and prosperous future for the Great Slave Lake fishery and we are making every effort to make it happen.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment has led the development of a Revitalization Strategy that considers all aspects of our Great Slave Lake industry.  It is the blueprint we will use to rebuild our fishing sector and to restore its contributions to our economy and to the Town of Hay River in particular.    I am pleased to advise my colleagues that I will be tabling this plan before the end of this session.

Our Strategy was guided by the needs of our commercial fishers.   Its completion reflects a collaborative effort across governments, including within this Legislative Assembly,  and in partnership with the NWT Fishermen’s Federation and their Tu Cho Cooperative.

The government has identified strategic challenges and risk factors in the context of seven focus areas and has recommended 25 actions to advance four overarching strategic goals increasing lake production, increasing processing in the NWT, growing the NWT market and accessing export markets.

This Strategy will move forward in support of a business plan developed by the Fishermen’s Federation and Tu Cho Cooperative.  We have committed $1.4 million in funds to leverage investment in strategic areas such as the establishment of a new or refurbished processing plant in Hay River, training and new entrants programs, increased collection points around the lake and restarting the winter fishery.

Our Strategy will also see the current business model on the lake change dramatically. It will mean greater responsibilities for individual fishers and it will include a new marketing relationship with the Fresh Water Fish Marketing Corporation. But much like the model that we recognize in devolution, producers will ultimately see the benefits of having a direct say, and even ownership in their industry.

It will mean a thriving fishery and a renewed livelihood for fishers all around the lake.   This will strengthen and diversify our economy; and over time, we will be able to replace imported fish products with a locally-produced healthier and more affordable alternative, that will contribute to greater community wellness and a reduced cost of living for residents across the NWT.

Mr. Speaker, the completion of this strategy fulfils the first part of a commitment we have made to finalize and implement a Commercial Fisheries Revitalization Strategy.

The business case for this work was first identified in the NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy. It remains central to our government’s efforts to diversify the NWT economy, create local jobs, and contribute to the availability of healthier and more-affordable food choices for residents across the NWT.

Revitalizing an industry doesn’t happen overnight, but this is a big step and it lays out a path for the rest of the journey. I look forward to working with my colleagues across all levels of government to build a thriving commercial fishery on Great Slave Lake for the benefit of our entire territory.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Upcoming meeting with Hon Louis Sebert regarding Open Government Policy. The GNWT wants to hear from you

Hay River Poster Info Sheet

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