Work on the new women's unit at the correctional complex in Fort Smith, N.W.T., is set to begin in the coming months.
N.W.T. Justice Minister Louis Sebert attended a groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site today, along with community leaders and guests.
The new unit, which will accommodate up to 23 inmates, is expected to be ready by mid-2019.
Fort Smith company CAB Construction won a $23.6 million contract to build the new facility.
"Residents of Fort Smith will see increased activity on the site from now until the new structure is ready mid-2019," according to a government press release.
The current women's facility is about 50 years old and houses 20 inmates.
Two years ago, an auditor general's report gave the jail a scathing review.
Among other things, it found that locks used on the facility's doors were creating a fire hazard, and that there were blind spots in the security camera system.