Currently, the legislative responsibilities of the Commissioner are being fulfilled by the Deputy Commissioner, Gerald W. Kisoun. The appointment of a new Commissioner for the Northwest Territories will be made by the Governor-in-Council of Canada.
The Commissioner plays a very important role in the governance of the Northwest Territories. Appointed by the Governor-in-Council of Canada on the recommendation of the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories is the federal government’s representative in the NWT and the Northwest Territories’ Chief Executive Officer.
The position of Commissioner, created by the federal Northwest Territories Act, is equivalent to the role of a Lieutenant Governor in the provinces.
The legislative duties of the Commissioner:
- Swearing-in of the Members of the Legislative Assembly
- Swearing-in of the Members of the Executive Council under the recommendation of the Members of the Legislative Assembly
- Appointing Members of the Executive Council to ministerial portfolios on the advice of the Premier
- Providing assent for bills after they are passed by the Legislative Assembly. Note: A bill must be approved by the Commissioner before it becomes law.
- The reading of the speech to open the sessions of the Legislative Assembly
- Signing documents such as orders-in-council, Commissioners’ warrants, statutory appointments, and disposition of Commissioner’s Lands.
The Commissioner also serves as a link between the government and the people. The Commissioner often attends events and performs a ceremonial role as a representative of the Government of the Northwest Territories.
The Honourable Gerald W. Kisoun, Deputy Commissioner, with Tony Whitford at the 2016 Order of the NWT inductee ceremony (June 2016)