Income Security Programs


The majority of Northerners are self-reliant and have sufficient resources to meet their needs. However, there are also a significant number of persons who require either short or long-term supports to meet their needs. ECE is challenged with providing a comprehensive range of financial support programs for NWT residents in need.  These programs must recognize the importance of family and community in the promotion of self-reliance. Their focus is on helping people to make choices that are right for them, according to their personal circumstances, efforts, abilities, aspirations and health. We believe that while peoples’ circumstances and abilities may vary, their goal is much the same - participating fully in society.

Through the Income Security Programs division, there are various programs that provide funding. These include:

Income Assistance Program

This program provides a set amount, based on size of family and community, for food, community cost adjustment, clothing, and furnishings. The program provides assistance with shelter and utilities, based on actual amounts. Allowances for seniors and persons living with disabilities is also available to eligible residents.

NWT Child Benefit

This program provides low-income families with monthly cash payments to assist with the costs of raising children.

NWT Senior Citizen Supplementary Benefit

This program provides financial assistance to help NWT Seniors pay for living costs.

Senior Home Heating Subsidy

This program provides financial assistance to low-to-modest income seniors to help them with the costs of heating their homes.

Student Financial Assistance 

This program provides financial assistance to eligible NWT residents to assist with postsecondary education related expenses. 

Income Security Forum

Over the past three years, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment has implemented a number of enhancements to its suite of Income Security programs to better support NWT residents. By fostering positive partnerships and having solutions-based conversations with important stakeholders, we continue to gain valuable insight for further improvements.

In December 2018, Minister Cochrane met with Non-Government Organizations and people who have accessed Income Assistance programs to hear their priorities and solutions for the program. People working directly with our offices have the experience and knowledge to provide invaluable information; please review the What We Heard document containing the results of those discussions.