Life in Northwest Territories – A Mesmerizing Part of Canada

Life in Northwest Territories – A Mesmerizing Part of Canada

November 19, 2019

The Northwest Territories (NWT), a large land area in the North of Canada, is the second-largest of the three territories. Yet it is also underpopulated with just over 43,000 people. As a territory rather than a province, the Federal government has greater control over the territory’s affairs. The largest urban center and capital are Yellowknife, making life in Northwest Territories is every outdoorsman’s dream. 

Economy and Employment

Currently, the NWT economy is based on the extraction of petroleum and natural gas, as well as mining of gold and diamonds. The land is rich in resources, and mining is, therefore, one of the major works in this region. As a whole, immigrants enjoy various possibilities in the mining field as well as the transport and jewelry industry.

Though the city remains small, the rapid growth of Yellowknife is bringing with it a more advanced service economy with a variety of opportunities. The city is experiencing a rush of investment and people. Recent surveys indicate Yellowknife has the 3rd fastest growing economy in Canada, following only Vancouver and Toronto.

Standard of Living

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, the price of general purchases costs more than they would in major Canadian cities. Compensation and salaries per hour, however, are higher in the NWT to offset the higher cost of living.

The average family income in the NWT is more than $105,000. The minimum wage stands at $10.50/hr. To attract skilled workers, employers will often pay a bonus or supplement to entice individuals to move northward to the NWT.

Residential Housing

Housing in the NWT is often more expensive than the Canadian average, due to the costs of 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 and rental rates can vary by the community. When looking to rent a home, apartment, condominium or townhouse, make sure to become familiar with landlord and tenant rights within the NWT. 


The NWT has a comprehensive and first-rate public education system that covers early childhood programs through Grade 12. The main school system is also augmented by apprenticeship programs and other training programs to prepare young people for careers. The schooling system is designed to meet the needs of indigenous communities as well as the general Canadian public.

The programs are directed specifically to the northern environment and the needs of individual learners, the workforce and northern communities.

Contact the local school board in your neighborhood for information on registration. The NWT Department of Education, Culture, and Employment can be found here:

Health Care

Under the guidelines of the Canada Health Act, the NWT ensures that all residents have access to medically necessary hospital and physician services based on need, not on ability to pay. 

The NWT’s healthcare system is rated very highly by residents, and unlike Ontario or B.C. there are no healthcare premiums to pay.

Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith, Inuvik, and Fort Simpson all have hospitals or acute care facilities. Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife serves as the NWT’s regional hospital, so specialist services are concentrated and always close at hand. For the few services that are not provided here, a medical travel program covers the cost to send patients outside the NWT and put them at the front of the queue in a nearby province’s healthcare system.

Daily life

No matter where you live in the NWT, the commute to work will be a short one, and many of the employees choose to walk or bike.

Having smaller communities also means they are very close-knit. Friendships are easily made and the NWT is an excellent place to raise a family. Most communities offer a range of family-oriented sports and activities throughout the year. 

Food and shopping

Food prices in Yellowknife are comparable to southern centers, although the further you get from the road system in the Northwest Territories, the higher the prices are. With the same sort of selection, you would find just about anywhere in stores in even the smallest communities. 

The NWT attracts all sorts of culinary talent, including a gold medal and celebrity chefs. This creates a vibrant dining experience, especially in larger communities like Yellowknife and Inuvik. There are also plenty of shopping options, from big box stores to small boutiques selling local arts and crafts to high-end goods from around the world.

General Information on the NWT

Official provincial website:

Official City of Yellowknife website:

Visit here for a map of the NWT:

Get help with the Northwest Territories immigration

If you have any questions or need assistance in preparing information when planning for having a life in Northwest Territories, please do not hesitate to contact us through Immilist to get help. Our website provides an amount of information related to immigration to Canada, especially Northwest Territories, which can help you understand clearly about the program you apply.



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