Special committees are created as needed by the Assembly. The Legislative Assembly determines the specific responsibilities of each special committee and identifies a specific time frame for the completion of their mandate.
For example, the 11th Assembly established three special committees to deal with each of the following matters: the northern economy; constitutional reform; and aboriginal languages. The Special Committee on Health and Social Services, Special Committee on Housing and the Special Committee on Division were set up during the 12th Assembly.
The 13th Assembly established a Special Committee on National Unity to co-ordinate consultations with Northerners on national constitutional matters. As well, the Special Committee on Western Identity was established to consider official symbols, heraldry, and other matters of identity as a result of the creation of the new Northwest Territories after division.
The 14th Assembly established Special Committees on the review of the Official Languages Act; the Implementation of Self-government and the Sunset Clause; non tax-based Community Affairs; and the Conflict Process.
The 15th and 16th Assemblies did not establish any Special Committees.
The 17th Assembly established the Special Committee on Transition Matters, which completed a report consisting of four parts: State of the NWT Economy and its Implications for GNWT Revenues, The Decision-Making Environment, Recommendations on Transition Processes and Consensus Government, and Recommendations on Priorities for the 18th Legislative Assembly.
The 18th Assembly established two special committees: The Special Committee to Increase the Representation of Women and the Special Committee on Transition Matters.