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Update November 13, 2020

View the response we received from The Honourable R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment here.

Update November 5, 2020

The GNWT  has released their Initial Areas of Teaching and Research Specialization for the Polytechnic University.

View the report here.

The GNWT has released their Aurora College Transformation Implementation Plan.

View the report here.

Polytechnic University Areas of Teaching and Research Specialization

Submitted September 25, 2020

For the polytechnic institution to be successful, appropriate policies supported by clear frameworks must be in place for the creation, review, and elimination of academic programming. As outlined in the Aurora College Foundational Review, Aurora College does not have frameworks for developing new programs or reviewing current programs, there are no policies around suspension / elimination of programming, and the policies that exist for program creation / review are outdated and largely ignored (46-47, 53).

We recommend that the GNWT create a Development of New Programming Framework and an Academic Programming Review Framework, based on the recommendations of the Aurora College Foundational Review. As part of this process, the GNWT should create policies and procedures that support these frameworks and define how the polytechnic university will make decisions around programming.

We are concerned that instead of creating a sustainable polytechnic institution with relevant programming to meet local labour needs, to capture more Northern and Arctic research dollars, and attract international and southern students, the GNWT is prescribing areas of specialization that will make it difficult for the new polytechnic institution to grow and adapt to market needs.

View our full submission to the Honourable R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment here.


View the GNWT's Discussion Paper, Polytechnic University Areas of Teaching and Research Specialization here.

Aurora College & Polytechnic University Governance

Submitted September 14, 2020

Our primary interest is ensuring the polytechnic institution can operate as an arm’s length institution, free from political interference.

We do have some concerns with the proposed Board structure, where 8 of the 12 positions (a 2/3 majority) will be appointed by the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment and the only criteria appears to be the competency matrix. Furthermore, it appears that the Minister could appoint additional positions at their discretion (“any additional members with expertise that would contribute to the operation of Aurora College”).

We support a competency-based approach but believe further eligibility requirements should be in place to ensure the Board’s success and political independence.

We recommend:

  • A defined minimum and maximum number of Board positions;
  • An updated competency matrix that includes a stronger focus on economics, business, employment and labor market needs;
  • That at least two Board positions be reserved for business and industry representatives;
  • That individuals employed in the public service be ineligible to participate on the Board; and,
  • An open, transparent and merit-based appointment process.

View our full submission to the Honourable R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment here.


View the GNWT's Discussion Paper, Aurora College and Polytechnic University Governance here.

Post Secondary Education In Yellowknife

Update October 6, 2020

During a Governance and Priorities Committee meeting, Council adopted the City's response to the findings and recommendations of the University Feasibility and Benefits Study.

You can view the City's response, as part of the GPC meeting package here.

You can view the City of Yellowknife's governance submission here.

You can view the City of Yellowknife's areas of specialization submission here.

Update September 29, 2020

Aurora College, Collège Nordique Francophone and Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning have formalized their commitment to working together with an MOU.

"Through collaboration, NWT post-secondary institutions will have an increased ability to enrich their communities by exploring cooperative opportunities in increasing student success, support increased access to post-secondary programs, and enhancing the responsiveness of NWT post-secondary institutions to the needs of the labour market both Territorial wide, and within smaller communities.

The MOU between Aurora College, Collège Nordique Francophone, and Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, will support this collaboration by promoting the opportunity for co-location, program transferability, student mobility, research ventures, student-centred supports, and promotion of high quality and relevant programming."

Download the backgrounder as a PDF here.

Vote Growth Platform- September 2019

During our 2019 annual membership survey, we asked our membership if they support a University in Yellowknife. 74.5% of respondents agreed that a University would be a positive addition to the City of Yellowknife, while 14.5% disagreed. The remaining 11% were not sure how they felt or did not provide feedback.

Based on the results of the commissioned studies and engagement with our membership, the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce’s formal position on post-secondary transformation is:

  • We support the transition of Aurora College to a polytechnic institution;
  • We believe the main campus and head office should be based in Yellowknife;
  • We believe that the focus should be on a bricks-and-mortar institution;
  • We believe that there are opportunities for the Fort Smith and Inuvik campuses to offer specialized programming;
  • We believe that legislation should be in place to support other public and private institutions.

View our Vote Growth platform in full here, or visit our dedicated webpage with more information about the Vote Growth platform here.

Submission to the City of Yellowknife - June 17, 2019

The Yellowknife Chamber's formal position is that post-secondary transformation in the NWT is needed and that the head office of any post-secondary institution should be based in Yellowknife.

We are pleased to offer our support to the City of Yellowknife, for the GNWT to establish a clear post-secondary vision and to advance a polytechnic university in Yellowknife.

View our full submission to Mayor Rebecca Alty here.


View the GNWT's Aurora College Foundational Review, published May 4, 2018 here.

View the GNWT's Response to the Aurora College Foundational Review here.

View the City of Yellowknife's University Feasibility and Benefits Study, published January 2019 here.

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