The Northwest Territories government has notified 135 employees that they may be laid off this year, as part of its effort to slash millions across all departments in its next two budgets.

"Everybody's agreed that we need to have a government that we can afford," Human Resources Minister Bob McLeod told CBC News on Friday.

"If we don't take steps now, in the next four years we'll have to make even greater reductions in order to be able to balance the books."

In January, Premier Floyd Roland announced that he wants to cut $135 million from the government's budget over the next two years, then redirect that money to government priority projects. He has asked his cabinet ministers to find the money in their departments.

McLeod said the layoffs are being proposed in the upcoming territorial budget, to be tabled in June. No layoffs would happen until the budget is approved.

When MLAs in the legislative assembly review the budget, they could try to save some of the positions being slated for termination, or propose deeper job cuts.

McLeod said he hopes employees who are laid off can find other positions within government.

However, finding an open position may be difficult: on top of the 135 staffed positions the government wants to cut, it also wants to eliminate 88 more positions that are currently vacant.