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The Human Resource Manual (HR Manual) contains information on human resource management within the Government of the Northwest Territories.  It provides:

  • direction for effective day-to-day operation of GNWT human resources
  • consistent approaches to human resource management across the GNWT
  • guidance and flexibility for managing GNWT human resources.

The HR Manual applies to all employees in the public service of the Government of the Northwest Territories, its Departments, Commissions, Councils, Corporations, Authorities and Agencies except where specifically stated in the application section.  Except where expressly stated, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation only uses this manual for guidance in those areas where it has not established its own policies and procedures.

The HR Manual contains direction on implementation of articles found in collective bargaining agreements and employee handbooks as well as other human resource matters. The direction provides additional information on existing articles and provides consistency and continuity in human resource management administration.  The collective agreement or handbook takes precedence where there is a conflict between these directives and the collective agreement or handbook.



The following definitions apply to the Human Resources Manual:

employer” means Government of the Northwest Territories.

government” means Government of the Northwest Territories.

guidelines” are a plan or explanation that provides guidance in setting standards or determining a course of action. They are an official recommendation indicating how to do something or the action to take in a particular circumstance.

Guidelines must normally be followed unless there are valid reasons to do otherwise.

manager” means an employee who operates in a supervisory or managerial capacity, regardless of employment title.

may” expresses permission and the right to choose.

must” expresses mandatory action or circumstances.  It applies to objects, similar to how “shall” expresses mandatory actions for persons.

NWTTA” means the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association.

procedures” are internal instructions that set out how tasks or processes are completed.

public service” means Northwest Territories public service.

responsible unit” means the unit with expertise in the Department of Finance designated to lead the development of guidelines and/or where appropriate procedures.

shall” expresses mandatory action by a person.

should” expresses a normal course of action that may only be altered with good reason.

will” expresses certainty, not mandatory action is necessary.

UNW” means those bargaining unit members falling within the Main Collective Agreement with the Union of Northern Workers.



Approval and Maintenance

The Department of Finance maintains the Human Resource Manual to ensure its relevancy.  HR Manual sections may be created, revised or rescinded for a variety of reasons including Executive Council or Financial Management Board direction, collective bargaining negotiations, arbitration awards, jurisprudence, etc.


The Human Resource Manual is published on this website.  The Policy unit of the Department of Finance notifies human resource practitioners, the Union of Northern Workers, the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation and the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission of substantive changes made to sections of the Human Resource Manual. 

Client Service Managers are responsible for notifying managers in departments and agencies in their portfolio.  Deputy Heads are responsible for implementing and communicating each new or revised section to employees, including developing or updating relevant divisional work procedures or processes, as required.

On occasion all employees may be notified by email messenger if new or substantial changes to practices are approved.

Non-substantive Changes

The Director of Human Resource Strategy and Policy is authorized to approve non-substantive changes to manual sections as follows:

  • Non-directive or procedure parts such as
    • numbering
    • title pages
    • appendices/links containing examples or guides
    • table of contents
    • references
    • history section of individual sections
  • Grammatical or style changes that do no affect meaning, content or interpretation
    • punctuation such as adding a comma or apostrophe
    • format of document
  • Changes to titles of staff, sections or divisions where the change affects only internal operations and does not impact worker or employer rights or responsibilities.
  • Changes in titles of persons or things, or wording from sources outside the control of the Department of Finance where there is no change in the substance of the applicable law, policy, etc.
  • Changes that are clearly contemplated by other decision-making bodies such as the correction of cross references to other handbooks, manuals, etc.

The Director of Human Resource Strategy and Policy reports any non-substantive changes made under this authority at the next Department of Finance Senior Management Committee meeting.  Non-substantive changes made under this authority may also be reported at the next Deputy Ministers’ Human Resource Committee Meeting.  Sections revised with non-substantive changes are signed by the Director of Human Resource Strategy and Policy.

Organization and Structure

The sections in the Human Resource Manual have been grouped into chapters that relate to general human resource management functions.  The numbering system used in this manual is divided into the chapter number, the section number and if required an alphabetic subject identifier.  For example, HR Manual Section 1413b – Premier’s Award for Excellence:  14 indicates Chapter 1400; 13 indicates Section 13 of Chapter 14; b indicates an additional subject for Section 13.

Each section contains headings that summarize the content.



Reference Number

Appears in the Table of Contents and in the file name.  The reference number identifies the section and topic.


Clearly identifies the subject area.

Reference Authority

Identifies the collective agreement/employee handbook article, if required.


Identifies the application of the guidelines.


Provides additional information on terms, if required.


Requirements to guide managers decision making.


Outlines general operational process on how a task is completed

About this section

Provides the authority, effective date, history and responsible unit.

Not all headings may be used in a section.  Additional headings may be used as necessary.  For example, a “See Also” heading may provide links to other documents or web pages that can assist the user on similar or related topics.

Review Cycle

Human Resource Manual sections are reviewed as least every three years, or earlier if required.



The Department of Finance is responsible for the creation of general operational procedures that provide direction on how a human resources task or process is completed.  Procedures are reviewed at least every three years as part of the section review.


About this section

Authority:              Human Resources Establishment Policy (14.00)
Effective Date:       February 5, 2012
History:                 New, Creation, Maintenance and Repeal
Responsible Unit:    Policy and Communication