How the Legislative Assembly works

The Legislative Assembly is the seat of elected government in the Northwest Territories. Members are elected every four years from each of the 19 ridings to serve in a unique consensus government. 

Once MLAs are elected, one of the first tasks of the Assembly is to elect the Speaker, Premier and Members of Executive Council, or Cabinet, from among its members. This occurs in public in the Territorial Leadership Committee.

The Speaker presides over debates in the Chamber, maintains order, and ensures that proceedings are conducted fairly and according to established rules. The Premier assigns portfolios to Members of the Executive Council who are responsible for the operations and direction of government departments and implementing government policies and priorities.

Like many other legislative bodies, the Legislative Assembly conducts much of its work through committees. These committees are responsible for examining proposed legislation, providing oversight of Government policies and operations, scrutinizing government actions, and conducting inquiries into various matters of public interest according to their mandates and the authority given to them by the Assembly. Committees allow for more in-depth analysis and discussion of issues.

MLAs propose, debate, and vote on legislation during sessions of the Assembly. Bills can be introduced on behalf of the Government by Members of Executive Council or by individual MLAs. Bills go through multiple readings and debates before being voted on. If a bill passes all required readings and receives a majority vote, it becomes law following assent by the Commissioner.

Overall, the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories operates similarly to other Canadian legislative bodies, with a focus on democratic representation, accountability, and the enactment of laws for the benefit of the territory and its residents.