Rio Tinto and the NWT Chamber of Commerce support economic recovery through small business grants

24 September 2020

Montreal - Rio Tinto is supporting the NWT Chamber of Commerce in creating a program to help local businesses comply with public health restrictions and reopen safely. The company is contributing C$50,000 to this program.

Ranging between C$500 to C$1,000, the Reopening Safely Grant is offered to Northwest Territories businesses to facilitate the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) necessary for reopening under the NWT’s Emerging Wisely Plan. Expenses incurred since 1 April 2020 will be eligible for a 100% reimbursement for members of the Chamber and 85% for non-members.

The funding will also allow the Chamber of Commerce to develop a health and safety guide for businesses of all sizes and host webinars with the Workers’ Safety & Compensation Commission on creating a pandemic plan to implement appropriate hygiene and social distancing protocols.

Diavik President and chief operating officer Richard Storrie said “Northern businesses are an important part of our communities and the backbone of Diavik’s supply chain. As leaders in health and safety, we are committed to helping them implement the right measures to reopen while keeping their employees and customers safe. This partnership with the NWT Chamber of Commerce is an important step to support local economic recovery.”

Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Renée Comeau said “During this unprecedented pandemic, businesses had to adapt extremely quickly and without any notice. As we move forward with the GNWT’s Emerging Wisely plan, the amount of information businesses need to process and steps they need to take can be very overwhelming. The Reopening Safely Grant and business supports will help make this process just a little bit easier for NWT businesses and we’re grateful for Rio Tinto’s support.”


Shop and travel local


Over the past few months, Rio Tinto has also invested an additional C$40,000 in two campaigns aimed at stimulating the local economy. The company contributed C$20,000 to the NWT Chamber of Commerce #shoplocal campaign to support advertising for shop local days organized throughout August and September in Fort Smith, Hay River, Fort Simpson, Yellowknife, Norman Wells and Inuvik. Through this month-long campaign, $264,000 was spent with local businesses based on completed ballots.

Rio Tinto also provided C$20,000 to the Northern Staycations initiative launched by Northwest Territories Tourism. This project provided free advertising for tourism businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also supported the creation of an online directory allowing businesses to target local consumers via unique offers, packaging and region-specific tourism experiences.


Notes to editors


Rio Tinto has pledged $10 million in support for community partners and COVID-19 initiatives in Canada and the United States, including over C$700,000 for local initiatives in the NWT.



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Rio Tinto

Simon Letendre

Director, Media Relations, Canada & US

T +1 514 796 4973


Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce

Renée Comeau

Executive Director

T +1 867 920 9505



Category: Diavik