PSAC and the Union of Northern Workers contribute $150,000 to NWT wildfire emergency relief efforts

In response to devastating wildfires that continue to ravage the Northwest Territories, PSAC has donated $75,000 to bolster the $75,000 donation from the Union of Northern Workers (UNW), a component of PSAC, to the United Way Northwest Territories Emergency Response. An evacuation order has been issued for Yellowknife, a city of 20,000 people. Fires are not showing signs of slowing down. 

Drier conditions caused by climate change have increased the number and severity of wildfires in Canada this year, worsening air quality and threatening communities across the country. 

"Our thoughts are with residents across the Northwest Territories who have been forced to evacuate their communities as wildfires spread across the territory," said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. 

"Many of PSAC's members are on the front lines supporting the relief efforts across the territory, from firefighters to healthcare workers, United Way emergency response teams and many more. We are indebted to them for their service." 

Thousands of PSAC members and staff are among those affected and working diligently to support residents during this extremely difficult time. We encourage PSAC members to donate to the United Way NWT’s Emergency Response if possible, to help support the ongoing relief efforts.  

Solidarity with members on the frontlines  

Communities including Hay River, Kátł’odeeche First Nation, Wekweeti, Sambaa K’e, Tulita, Behchoko, Fort Smith and Jean Marie River have been forced to evacuate, often by air, as the list of affected communities continues to grow.  

“The UNW has always taken an active role in caring for our communities,” said Gayla Thunstrom, UNW president. “The residents of the affected areas are top of mind right now as we work with PSAC and the United Way NWT to provide financial aid to the organizations on the ground who can best assist those in need.”   

“Our members have been working tirelessly and they are involved in all aspects of the emergency response, from coordinating and receiving evacuees, to the fire crews, to all the folks behind the scenes at both the territorial and municipal level. We are so proud of them, and we thank them for their dedication to keeping NWT residents safe and supported through these difficult and emotional times.”   

Josée-Anne Spirito is the Regional Executive Vice President, PSAC North. “What is happening in the NWT right now is devastating. Our hearts go out to the evacuees, and we encourage anyone who needs help to reach out to the supports available, follow official orders, and keep yourself safe. Our first responders are doing an amazing job under extremely difficult conditions, and I know that Northerners will once again pull together to continue to support those in need,”  
PSAC represents more than 20,000 members throughout the Northwest Territories, the Yukon and Nunavut. UNW is the largest union in the Northwest Territories with more than 7,000 members employed by the Government of the Northwest Territories, NWT Power Corporation, the Ekati Diamond Mine, in municipal governments, housing authorities and the private sector.  

August 15, 2023