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GNWT seeks public input on updating NWT Liquor Act

The GNWT is seeking public feedback to help it update the Liquor Act, the government said in a news release on Monday. NNSL photo

The GNWT plans to begin public engagement in March as part of efforts to update the NWT Liquor Act and liquor regulations.

The Department of Finance, which is leading the engagement, began a research-based review of liquor legislation in July 2020 that has since been completed, the GNWT said in a news release on Monday.

The next phase is the engagement, in which the GNWT will look at how to improve liquor legislation related to the possession, consumption, sale, purchase, manufacture, importation and distribution of liquor in the territory.

Bringing legislation up to speed

“The current liquor legislation was introduced in 2008. Since then, numerous amendments have been introduced to try to keep up with evolving community needs, business methods and technology. It is time to look at the legislation as a whole to make it more consistent, modern and responsive,” said Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek.

Solutions to liquor-related issues that NWT liquor legislation has no authority over, such as addictions treatment and impaired driving are outside the scope of the review. Those concerns are governed by other legislation.

Governments, organizations, people who work in the liquor industry and all residents can participate in the engagement.

Invitational sessions to start in April

Sessions by invitation will take place in April for Indigenous Governments and Indigenous organizations; elected leaders and senior administrative officers of community governments; NWT Tourism and tourism operators; and frequent applicants for special occasion permits.

In May, the invitational sessions will be open again for Indigenous Governments and Indigenous organizations; and for liquor licence holders and liquor stores.

In June, the sessions are slated for chambers of commerce and liquor license holders and liquor stores.

Open sessions for the public will include three virtual meetings in May and one virtual meeting in June.

Online surveys on liquor legislation can be completed and the NWT Liquor Legislation Review Discussion Guide offers additional information for each question.

Residents can also submit questions or comments to

All engagement activities for the review will close on June 30, 2021.