The City of Yellowknife (the City) would like to provide an update and some clarification to residents regarding the status of City services and facilities, and what is happening with the labour dispute. We thank residents for their patience as we navigate this situation.

On Saturday, March 11, 2023, the negotiations teams representing the City and the Union reached a tentative agreement at the bargaining table. The terms of this agreement cannot yet be disclosed. The City is now awaiting the ratification of the agreement from the Union’s members before it can proceed.

The negotiation process dictates once a tentative agreement is made at the bargaining table, the Union must get it ratified by its members, meaning there must be a majority ‘yes’  vote in favour of the proposed agreement. When that happens, it must then come forward to Council for approval.

Once the agreement is approved by both parties via the process outlined above, the strike will be over and the lockout will be immediately lifted. Staff will be welcomed back to work as soon as possible after ratification, and can confirm their return to work with their managers.

What does this mean for City facilities and programs/services?

Currently, this means that facilities remain closed and programs and some services are still suspended.

The City will reopen in a phased approach when ratification is confirmed and staff are back at work. It’s important to recognize that City facilities won’t reopen immediately and programs and services won’t return to normal the day staff return to work. Regulatory and staffing requirements must be met to ensure facilities are safe to reopen and an adequate number of staff are scheduled to work. This preparatory work cannot happen overnight and will not take the same amount of time for each facility.

The City is committed to opening facilities as soon as possible and will release information regularly on the status of reopening in the upcoming days. Please stay tuned to the City’s website and social media pages for the most up to date information.

Why all the Special Council Meetings this week?

You may have seen in the media and online this week that several Special Council meetings have been scheduled and then cancelled. As per the process, once the Union gets a positive ratification vote from the majority of its members on the proposed agreement, Council must then meet to adopt the by-law authorizing the new collective agreement. In efforts to get staff back at work as soon as possible, the City scheduled Special Council meetings – for which 48 hours public notice must be provided before they take place – based on how long it was anticipated for ratification to take. This estimated timeframe has changed several times, hence the cancellation and rescheduling of meetings.

The City remains committed to keeping the community informed, and will provide information as soon as it can. We thank you for your continued patience over the last several weeks and for the near future as we work to restore services and programs.