Articles & Media


COVID-19 Developments in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut

09-Jul-20

by the McLennan Ross Labour & Employment Team

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Public Health

  • On July 7, 2020, the Government of the Northwest Territories (the “GNWT”) ended the State of Emergency, but extended the Public Health Emergency. No changes have been made to the Public Health Orders below. (More details)
  • On June 12, 2020, the Northwest Territories entered into Phase 2 of the Emerging Wisely Plan. (More details)
  • Under Phase 2 of the Emerging Wisely Plan, the following is permitted:
    • Indoor household gatherings of up to 5 additional guests.
    • Indoor get-togethers of 25 people or less, so long as physical distancing can be maintained.
    • Outdoor get-togethers of 50 people or less, so long as physical distancing can be maintained.
    • Indoor and outdoor sports and activities.
    • With physical distancing and other restrictions, the following businesses and organizations may be open:
      • Outdoor tourism operators
      • Movie theatres
      • Dine-in restaurants, lounges, and bars
      • Offices open to the public
      • Fitness classes
      • Personal service establishments
      • Community and youth centres
      • Indoor faith-based and spiritual gatherings
      • Campgrounds
      • Pools for instructor certification
  • Businesses can apply to have their requirements (e.g. maximum capacity) reconsidered based on their unique situation.
  • The Northwest Territories and Nunavut have established a travel bubble. Anyone who has not traveled outside of either territory in 14 days may travel to the other territory without self-isolating. Travelers must receive clearance from the Chief Public Health Officer within 7 days before entering Nunavut. (NWT details) (Nunavut details) (FAQ) (Traveler’s Declaration Form)
  • Effective June 8, 2020, airline passengers traveling to the Northwest Territories are required to wear a mask on their flight. Passengers must supply their own non-medical mask. (More details)
  • Still in effect: Public Health Order – Travel Restrictions and Self-Isolation Protocol
    • Everyone is prohibited from entering the territory, with some exceptions:
      • NWT residents returning home
      • Workers importing/exporting goods or providing supply chain services
      • Flight crews
      • Essential services workers or supporting workers (see Order for complete list)
      • Persons providing child and dependent care to essential service workers
      • Medical travelers from Nunavut
      • Transient workers in the mineral and petroleum resources industry
      • Workers involved in the construction of public and Indigenous infrastructure projects, including attendance at remote work camps and open, non-remote workplaces
      • Persons traveling through the NWT in transit to another jurisdiction
    • NWT residents must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the NWT in either Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River, or Fort Smith. A self-isolation plan must be completed and approved by a Public Health Officer.
    • Import/export, supply chain, and flight crew workers who will be in the NWT for:
      • less than 36 hours must self-monitor and abide by social distancing guidelines established by the Chief Public Health Officer. These workers must immediately self-isolate and contact a Public Health Officer if they exhibits symptoms; or
      • more than 36 hours must submit a worker self-isolation plan and self-isolate when not working. They must also abide by social distancing when not working or wear a face mask.
    • Persons in transit who will be in the NWT for:
      • less than 12 hours must practice social distancing and immediately self-isolate; or
      • more than 12 hours must self-isolate and report to a Public Health Officer.
    • Essential services workers, non-remote infrastructure workers, and support workers must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the NWT in either Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River, or Fort Smith. A worker self-isolation plan must be completed and approved by a Public Health Officer.
      • Employers can request exemptions from this requirement from the Chief Public Health Officer.
      • Exempted employees must practice social distancing or wear a face mask, including during travel. They must also self-isolate when not working.
      • Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees arriving from outside the NWT comply with these requirements.
      • Employers must also ensure that social distancing protocols are put into place that are consistent with workplace risk and field level risk assessments.
    • More details for travelers
    • More details on worker exemptions
  • Still in effect: Public Health Order – Mineral and Petroleum Industry
    • Workers must:
      • complete 14 days of social distancing in accordance with guidelines prior to traveling to camp;
      • complete a health screening with temperature check and COVID-19 symptom inquiry prior to traveling to camp;
      • complete an additional health screening, including COVID-19 symptom inquiry, prior to the start of each shift;
      • comply with social distancing measures while on shift;
      • report symptoms and then self-isolate in a designated part of the workplace; and
      • comply with disinfection procedures.
    • Employers must:
      • complete a workplace risk assessment prior to permitting workers to travel to camp;
      • establish workplace social distancing protocols consistent with the risk assessment;
      • have at the workplace the minimum number of staff necessary to maintain operations;
      • notify the Chief Public Health Officer if any employees display symptoms;
      • establish disinfection procedures satisfactory to the Chief Public Health Officer for certain areas and facilities; and
      • cease operation of self-serve buffets and mess halls.

Government Support for Businesses

  • The GNWT has increased funding for the Community Futures Program.
  • The NWT Business Development and Investment Corporation (“BDIC”) is offering qualified small businesses in the NWT with Working Capital Loans of up to $25,000 (or more) at a rate of 1.75%. Loans will be amortized for up to five years with options for payment deferment. Applications can be submitted at any time.
  • Current clients of BDIC may apply for reduced or deferred payments of up to three months without penalty or additional interest.

Government Services

  • The majority of GNWT employees will work from home for the foreseeable future.
  • A full list of programs and services availability can be accessed here.
  • Land Titles Office, Corporate Registries, and Personal Property Registry are only available online until further notice. Documents can be dropped off for filing during certain hours.

Schools and Childcare

  • The GNWT is currently working on developing a plan to reopen schools for the 2020/2021 academic year with restrictions. (More details)
  • Early learning and childcare programs will remain open, where possible. (More details)

Courts

  • Court Registries
    • The Yellowknife and Hay River Registries remain closed, but can be accessed remotely or through drop-box filings. The Inuvik Registry is closed until further notice. (More details)
  • Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories
    • The Court of Appeal pending list will be called on September 11, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. by teleconference.
    • The next regular sitting of the Court of Appeal will be held on October 27, 2020, which may proceed by video conference or in person.
    • More details
  • Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories
    • Regular Civil Chambers will proceed by way of teleconference.
    • Special Civil Chambers that do not involve witnesses may proceed by teleconference, video conference, or in person. 
    • Special Civil Chambers that involve witnesses will proceed in-person.
    • Civil trials will proceed in-person.
    • The public and media are permitted to attend court proceedings in person, subject to restrictions set out by the Chief Public Health Officer.
    • More details
  • Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories
    • Proceedings in Yellowknife:
      • Counsel may appear in person, through an agent, or remotely.
      • All matters may now be scheduled in the ordinary course.
      • All cases will be heard in Courtroom 202 or 101 at the Yellowknife Courthouse.
      • Member of the public are now permitted to attend court proceedings, subject to a maximum number of people and social distancing. Masks are also required.
    • Proceedings outside Yellowknife:
      • Counsel must appear in person or through an agent. Remote appearances are not possible.
      • All civil docket days are cancelled until August 16th. All proceedings will be automatically adjourned until the first available date.
      • Only urgent civil matters will proceed.
      • Civil mediations will be rescheduled to after August 15th, unless the parties agree to proceed by teleconference.
    • More details

 

NUNAVUT

Public Health

  • The Government of Nunavut (the “GN”) has released Nunavut’s Path, which sets out the GN’s plan to move forward during COVID-19.
  • The Minister of Health has extended the Public Health Emergency to July 23, 2020.
  • The Northwest Territories and Nunavut have established a travel bubble. Anyone who has not traveled outside of either territory in 14 days may travel to the other territory without self-isolating. Travelers must receive clearance from the Chief Public Health Officer within 7 days before entering Nunavut. (NWT details) (Nunavut details) (FAQ) (Traveler’s Declaration Form)
  • Still in effect: Social Distancing Order
    • Social distancing is required whenever possible.
    • Businesses may operate as long as social distancing can be implemented.
    • Only 5 customers are permitted in a business at one time. This restriction does not apply to larger businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and gas stations. Certain public organizations and buildings are also exempt.
    • Public parks and playgrounds are open for outdoor activities.
    • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. Indoor gatherings are limited to 5 people.
  • Still in effect: Travel Restriction Order
    • The Nunavut border is closed to everyone except:
      • Nunavut residents with a letter of authorization from the Chief Public Health Officer;
      • Import/export and supply chain workers;
      • Flight and vessel crewmembers;
      • Critical service workers and their support workers;
      • Indigenous people exercising hunting rights;
      • Transient workers traveling directly to camp and never entering communities;
      • Temporary Foreign Workers entitled to enter Canada;
      • Medical travelers; and
      • Anyone else authorized by the Chief Public Health Officer to enter the territory.
    • Anyone traveling into Nunavut must self-isolate for 14 days in either Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, or Yellowknife before boarding the plane. A clearance letter from the Chief Public Health Officer is required.
    • Import/export and supply chain workers must practice social distancing and self-monitor for symptoms.
    • Critical workers must self-monitor and undergo a risk assessment by a Medical Health Officer.
    • Flight and vessel crewmembers must report to the Chief Public Health Officer within one hour of arriving and cannot leave the port of entry until directed.
    • All Nunavut residents who leave the territory voluntarily will be required to pay $2,100 per individual and $1,050 per each additional family member to the Government of Nunavut to cover the cost of staying at an approved hotel for the mandatory 14-day isolation period in either Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, or Yellowknife prior to their return to the territory.
  • Effective April 20, 2020, airline passengers traveling to Nunavut are required to wear a mask on their flight. Passengers must supply their own non-medical mask. (More details)

Government Services

  • All non-essential GN personnel will work from home.
  • Residents should call and make appointments for services before attending in-person.
  • Labour Standards Office is available to provide services.

Schools and Daycares

  • The GN is developing a plan for the upcoming 2020/2021 academic year.
  • Daycares are permitted to open up for regular business.
  • More details

Court

  • Nunavut Court of Justice

  Search Articles & Media

 Register to receive Articles & Media via email




 

Real Time Web Analytics