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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:

  • consistent definitions for human resource management across the GNWT
  • guidelines and procedures for effective day-to-day operation of GNWT human resources
  • authorities and references for managing GNWT human resources.



The HR Manual applies to employees of the Government of the Northwest Territories Departments and Agencies.  Where noted, some sections require that the application be more specific. It may state where it does or does not apply to employees by employment handbooks or by bargaining agreements, and/or specific departments/agencies.

The HR Manual contains guidelines and procedures on implementation of articles found in collective bargaining agreements and employee handbooks as well as other human resource policies and programs. 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 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 the Government of the Northwest Territories as defined by the Public Service Act.

"Responsible unit” means the unit with expertise in the Department of Finance designated to lead the development of guidelines and/or 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 the Union of Northern Workers..



Approval and Maintenance

The Department of Finance is responsible for the Human Resource Manual content to ensure its relevancy.  

The Director, Strategic Human Resources manages the maintenance of the HR Manual sections. 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, or legislative changes in the areas of human resource management.

The final approval for the content and maintenance changes of the HR Manual rests with the Deputy Secretary of Human Resources, Department of Finance.


The Human Resource Manual is published on the Department of Finance website.  The Strategic Human Resources Unit of the Department of Finance notifies human resource practitioners, the Union of Northern Workers and  the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association, 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. When applicable the Department of Finance may notify all employees when new or substantial changes to the HR Manual are made.

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

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 chapter numbers, the section number and if required an alphabetic sub-section 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 a sub-section of Section 13.

The HRM Manual has templated pages that use the following format:



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.


The Contents section will note which headings will be used in a section and is hyperlinked to the headings.  Additional headings or the provision of documents may be included as necessary.  


Overall statement of the purpose of the section (required).


Identifies specifically who the section/guidelines apply to within or for the public service overall. It may also identify exclusions from the application.


Provides additional information on terms used or new specific to the section.


Requirements to be followed in setting standards or determining a course of action in a particular circumstance.


Outlines internal operational processes on how a task is completed.
Authorities and References

Identifies the collective agreement/employee handbook article, legislation, policy, programs as required. 

Review Cycle

The Human Resource Manual review cycle is every three years; unless required sooner.