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Media Release: United Way NWT Emergency Response Fund Donation

Aug 15, 2023

YELLOWKNIFE: The Union of Northern Workers (UNW) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) are contributing an additional $150,000 to the United Way NWT Emergency Response Fund to support NWT evacuees.  In May, the UNW and the PSAC Social Justice Fund provided the United Way NWT with matching donations of $30,000 (combined total of $60,000).

“The UNW has always taken an active role in caring for our communities,” said Gayla Thunstrom, UNW President. “The residents of the affected areas are top of mind right now as we work with PSAC and the United Way NWT to provide financial aid to the organizations on the ground who can best assist those in need.” 

“Our members have been working tirelessly,” continued Thunstrom, “they are involved in all aspects of the emergency response, from coordinating and receiving evacuees, to the fire crews, to all the folks behind the scenes at both the territorial and municipal level. We are so proud of them, and we thank them for their dedication to keeping NWT residents safe and supported through these difficult and emotional times.” 

United Way NWT is a longstanding charitable partner of the UNW and administers funds to qualifying local organizations to ensure residents affected will get the aid they need.

“The labour movement has always played an important role in uplifting our work as the United Way NWT,” explained Tracy St. Denis, Chair of United Way NWT. “UNW and PSAC have always generously supported us in our efforts to provide much needed funding to community organizations, Indigenous governments, and charities across the North. This donation is a monumental show of solidarity from the labour movement to those impacted by the wildfires. We can’t thank them enough for their generosity.”

The PSAC is also a longstanding supporter of the United Way, maintaining national and regional fundraising partnerships throughout Canada. "Our thoughts are with residents across the Northwest Territories who have been forced to evacuate their communities as wildfires spread across the territory," said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President.  "Many of PSAC's members are on the front lines supporting the relief efforts across the territory, from firefighters to healthcare workers, United Way emergency response teams and many more. We are indebted to them for their service." 

Josée-Anne Spirito is the Regional Executive Vice President for the PSAC North Region: “What is happening in the NWT right now is devastating. Our hearts go out to the evacuees, and we encourage anyone who needs help to reach out to the supports available, follow official orders, and keep yourself safe. Our first responders are doing an amazing job under extremely difficult conditions, and I know that Northerners will once again pull together to continue to support those in need.” 

For more information about United Way NWT and the work they do, please visit their website at

If you are a local NWT organization who needs additional funding to help your efforts to support evacuees, please contact United Way NWT.


For media inquiries, please contact Adrienne Cartwright, Communications Officer, Union of Northern Workers.