CDETNO is a non-profit organization that promotes, stimulates and supports economic development and employability of Francophones and Francophiles of Northwest Territories. Together with our partners, we develop services and tools to support all Northerners.

CDETNO is a member of the National Francophone Economic Development Network (RDÉE Canada).

Our services:

  • Recruitment
  • Employment
  • Immigration
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Investment
  • Tourism

We are proud to be part of the Northern development.



CDETNO was started in 2001 by a group of Francophones interested in expanding opportunities in French in the NWT.  The next year they developed a three-year plan for economic development within the NWT Francophone community.

They presented that plan at the Fédération Franco-Ténoise annual general meeting in Hay River in November 2002. There, it was decided the group should become an independent non-profit organization. CDETNO held its founding meeting and elected its first board of directors on March 7, 2003.

Since then we’ve developed strong partnerships with governments at all levels and connected hundreds of members from the NWT business community with services in French.

Board of Directors

CDETNO is run by a five-member board of directors.

Frederic Deschenes, Crowe Mackay

Fred moved to Yellowknife in August of 2010 to join Crowe MacKay LLP as an assurance manager, after 11 years of experience with national firms operating in northern Ontario. He became partner in January of 2013 and currently provides expertise on a variety of audits, specializing in those for not-for-profit organizations, municipalities, school boards, hospitals, and co-operative organizations.

Jean-François Pitre, Pido Productions

As one of the founders of CDETNO, Jean-François Pitre has made a major contribution to the development of Francophones in the Northwest Territories since moving to Yellowknife in 1982. From 1998 to 2003, he was involved with la Fédération Franco-Ténoise. As the owner of the successful Pido audiovisual production company, he is an acclaimed philanthropist of the arts community across the Northwest Territories.

Rolland Éric Rakotomena, Explorer Hotel

Rolland-Eric Rakotomena is well involved in Yellowknife’s community and cultural life. He has a long presence in the hotel industry with international experience, Eric completed a diploma in Hotel & Restaurant Management. Since arriving in Yellowknife in 2016, he is the Director of Banquets and Events at the Explorer Hotel Yellowknife.

Linda Bussey

Linda Bussey has been a resident of the territories since 1992 and has been very active in the community. This mother, grandmother, and partner is well known for her contributions and influence as a school commissioner, president of different cultural and sports organizations. She served as a Yellowknife City Councillor for two terms and as deputy mayor for one year. In addition to her work in human resources, she also served as a general director for a number of foundations and was responsible for talent acquisition for the Department of Health and Social Services for the GNWT.

Our Team Members

François Afane

Executive director, 867-873-5962 ext. 102, direction@cdetno.com

Trained in business administration and project management, François has over 17 years of experience in community, private (entrepreneurship) and government sectors. Before taking the helm of CDETNO, he was the connector program coordinator at Conseil économique et coopératif de la Saskatchewan (CÉCS), a sister organization equivalent to CDÉTNO in Saskatchewan and a member of RDÉE Canada. Today, he actively works with his team to expand CDETNO’s positive impact on the community and to support and promote the economic development of the Northwest Territories.

Nadine Cantin

Administration coordinator, 867-873-5962 ext. 101, admin@cdetno.com

Having obtained her diploma in office automation at O’Sullivan College in Quebec City, Nadine has more than 18 years of experience in administration and accounting. She has acquired her experience in several types of companies. She has been in Yellowknife since September 2018 and is discovering the Northwest Territories. 

Laïssa Pamou

Communication and Marketing Officer, 867-873-5962 ext. 105, communication@cdetno.com

Laïssa Pamou is a journalist, director, television host and African author living in Canada. She worked in the media industry of Manitoba from 2015 to 2023, holding various positions, including that of anchor at CBC / Radio-Canada. A literary approach aimed at discovering and learning from the communities that make up the beauty of the North and contribute towards its development prompted her to come to Yellowknife in August 2023.

Haudry Escandón

Economic Development Officer and Innovation, 867-873-5962 ext. 104, services@cdetno.com

Originally from Colombia, Haudry holds a degree in business administration and has extensive experience in the private sector, healthcare, and tourism.

As an expert in human relations and customer service, Haudry assists her clients in developing and establishing their businesses by listening to their needs and providing them with guidance.

She is passionate about nature and enjoys cycling and long walks in the countryside. She was seduced by Yellowknife’s multiple landscapes as well as its friendly residents. Haudry looks forward to welcoming you and assisting you with your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Muriel Essebou

Administrative assistant, 867-873-5962, admin2@cdetno.com

Muriel was born in Cameroon, and decided to moved to Canada to have better opportunities. She is a Francophone however, wanting to perfect her bilinguism, she opted to do her studies in English. She studied Business Administration at northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Muriel has experience working in accounting, finance and in human resources. After living in Edmonton for over 10 years, she is relocating to Yellowknife in hopes to challenge herself and acquire new skills. She is very excited to join the team at CDETNO as the Environmental Project Officer.

Jules Leonard Wache

Immigration, Recruitment and Career Officer, 867-873-5962 ext. 106, emplois@cdetno.com

Jules has extensive experience in community work and administration in Cameroon. As an advisor, he has assisted young people in their first steps in the workplace. Through these different functions, he developed skills in interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, he is well-versed in the immigration process.

The role of Jules within CDETNO is to assist in the development of the NWT economy. He helps employers in finding qualified employees as well as French-speaking immigrants in their job searches and orientation during their immigration process.

His ability to serve both in English and French and his attraction to multicultural contexts help him well.

Gordon Ross

Manager NWT Career Centre, 867-873-8790 ext. 111, career_manager@cdetno.com

With 12 years of local, provincial and national experience in recruitment, facilitation and labour market activities (including diversity & inclusion initiatives), Gordon has returned to Yellowknife to support and enhance the collaborative work ongoing within the NWT labour market. He has studied Business Administration & Marketing through Seneca College and holds certificates in advanced communication, leadership and career development.

Mercy Beilem

Career Coach NWT Career Centre, 867-873-8790 ext. 116, career@cdetno.com

Mercy Beilem holds a Bachelor of Arts in English. Before joining the NWT Career Centre, she worked as an administrative secretary and counselor with the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa (SWAA-Cameroon) for ten years. 

She is skilled at advising and coaching individuals on resume, cover letters and labour market information to enable you to advance in your career. To enhance her abilities to assist job seekers, her journey continued with Career Development courses. She is a Certified Career Development Professional (CCDP) through the Career Development Association of Alberta and also a member of Career Professionals of Canada (CPC).

Junior Mantla

YESS Program Coordinator NWT Career Centre, yess2@cdetno.com

Trained in Office Administration at Aurora College, Matla joined CDETNO first this summer as an intern at the NWT Career Centre, before joining the team as the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) Coordinator.

Prior to his post-secondary education, Matla was a Community Health Representative with the Gameti Community Health Centre, where he is originally from. Outside of work, Matla enjoys reading mystery novels and walking around Yellowknife.

Andrea Fowler

NWT Career Centre Administrator, 867-873-8790 ext. 110, nwtccadmin@cdetno.com

A member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation residing in the community of Dettah, Andrea brings over 10 years of experience to the NWT Career Centre. As a graduate of Grant MacEwan’s Mental Health Aboriginal Connections Program, her work in the Community for both Private and Government organizations (Restorative Justice and Youth worker), her knowledge will help to advance support for job seekers in the North Slave and beyond.

Anh Thu Bui

NWT Career Center Skills training coordinator, 867-873-8790 ext. 115, nwtcccoord@cdetno.com

Anh Thu Bui is a Training Coordinator with the NWT Career Centre. She has five years of experience in waste management and northern mine sites. Originally from Vietnam, Anh Thu pursued her master’s degree in environmental sciences at Memorial University in Newfoundland in 2017 before moving to Yellowknife.

Anh Thu is passionate about helping northerners by supporting training opportunities that meet their diverse needs. Her expertise in environmental sciences and management enables her to assist individuals and organizations in achieving their training goals and making a positive impact in their communities.

Jennifer Phillips, MA

Yellowknife Immigration Partnership coordinator (YIP), 867 680-0610 ext. 108 or 866 234-0291, lip@cdetno.com

Jennifer first moved to Yellowknife in 2016, working for the public and non-profit sector over the past several years. After visiting many communities throughout the Northwest Territories, she has developed a strong passion for advocacy and working on behalf of Northerners on a variety of important and diverse issues.

A “lifelong learner,” Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature and Political Science. She earned her Master’s Degree in Canadian Studies in 2020, conducting her research on border policy, national security, and immigration legislation.

When she is not working, she enjoys reading, hiking, and volunteering in the community.

Both Gakah

Settlement Advisor (English), 867-680-0610, ext. 101 or 833-688-1631settlement@cdetno.com

Both previously worked with the Social Planning Council of Ottawa and was in charge of Community Economic Development and the YESS Program. With experience in Settlement and Employment, he joined CDETNO in December of 2023 as a Settlement Advisor.

He loves to read and play basketball. He holds a degree in Political Science.

Sonia Kouakou

Settlement Advisor, 867-873-5962 ext. 108 or 833-688-1549, etablissement@cdetno.com (French service)

Sonia arrived in Yellowknife in June 2019 after living in Quebec for 7 years.

She has a background in Sales Force Management and has worked in customer service for over 15 years in Ivory Coast and Canada. She also has a certificate in Human Resources Management from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). 

She comes to us from the Fédération Franco-Ténoise (FFT). She joins the CDETNO team which now houses the Welcome and Settlement Service for Francophone newcomers. Her role is to support and direct newcomers to the various resources and services available in our community. It will therefore be a challenge for her to work and participate in the settlement and retention of Francophone newcomers to the Northwest Territories, in a minority setting. 

Together, we will spread the message that it is possible to live in French in English-speaking Canada.

Katel Kounhawa

Settlement Worker in School (SWIS), 867 680-0610, ext. 105 or 866 823-3866, swis@cdetno.com

Katel is passionate about customer service and has several years of experience in various business sectors where he held positions in direct contact with the public. As a result of these interactions, he developed skills in interpersonal management.

In terms of academic credentials, Katel holds a Master’s degree in business law.

He joined the CDETNO team in March 2024 and he is responsible for providing settlement support to newcomer students at schools.

In his spare time, Katel enjoys sports, literature, and exploration, among other things. He plays soccer and basketball and enjoys reading and traveling.

Our Funders & Partners



In order to provide French services and support job opportunities for Francophones and Francophiles in the NWT, we have strong partnerships with many government organizations:

  • Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Young Canada Works – Canadian Heritage
  • The Department of Education, Culture and Employment
  • The Department of Industry, Tourism & Investment of the Government of the Northwest Territories



Association des parents ayants droit de Yellowknife

Association franco-culturelle de Yellowknife

Association franco-ténoise du Sud et de l’Ouest

Association franco-yukonnaise

Aurora College

Ayni Conceptions

Centre d’accueil francophone – Immigration TNO

City of Yellowknife

Commission scolaire francophone des TNO

Conseil de développement économique de l’Alberta

Denendeh Investments Inc., Carrefour Nunavut

École Allain St-Cyr

Embassy of Canada to Belgium (Brussels)

Embassy of Canada in France (Paris)

Embassy of Canada to Senegal

Fédération franco-ténoise

GNWT Department of Human Resources

Hay River Chamber of Commerce

Inuvik Chamber of Commerce

Jeunesse TNO


Military Family Resource Centres


Northern Aboriginal Business Association

NWT Chamber of Commerce

NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines

NWT Tourism

Office Compliments

Pido Productions

Pôle-emploi International

RDÉE Canada

Réseau en Immigration francophone (RIFTNO)

Réseau TNO Santé en français

Thebacha Business Development Services

Tait Communications and Consulting

Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce

Yellowknife Immigration Partnership (YIP)