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COVID-19 Developments in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut


By McLennan Ross Labour & Employment Team

Northwest Territories

Public Health

  • On March 21, 2020, the Chief Public Health Officer issued a Public Health Order that:
    • Closes the NWT border and prohibits everyone from entering the territory, except the following, among others:
      • NWT residents returning home;
      • Workers importing/exporting goods or providing supply chain services;
      • Flight crews;
      • Essential services workers or supporting workers;
      • Medical travelers from Nunavut;
      • Transient workers in the mineral and petroleum resources industry; and
      • Workers involved in government capital infrastructure projects;
    • Requires NWT residents to 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;
    • Requires import/export, supply chain, and flight crew workers to 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; and
    • Requires essential services workers and their support staff to self-monitor and contact Public Health for directions.
  • The Public Health Order remains in effect until further notice.
  • More details


  • The Government of the Northwest Territories (the “GNWT”) has asked the majority of its employees to work from home beginning on March 19, 2020.
  • Essential government operations and services to residents will continue.
  • Many GNWT offices and facilities are closing. Some services will only be available by telephone. A full list of closures and affected services is available here.
  • The Land Titles Office, Corporate Registries, and Personal Property Registry will be closed beginning on March 20, 2020. Online registry searches will remain available.
  • Visitors attending in-person services are asked to call-in instead if they have flu-like symptoms or have been in contact with someone with symptoms.
  • More details

Schools and Daycares

  • All schools in the Northwest Territories are closed until April 14, 2020.
  • Early learning and childcare programs will remain open.
  • Daycares and day homes will remain open.
  • More details


  • Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories
    • All proceedings outside of Yellowknife are cancelled until June 1st.
    • All civil proceedings in Yellowknife are cancelled until June 1st.
    • All civil mediations scheduled prior to June 1st will be rescheduled after May 31st, unless parties wish to proceed by way of teleconference.
    • The Registry remains open for filing of documents.
    • More details
  • Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories
    • Civil Chambers will proceed by way of teleconference only until May 1st.
    • Civil hearings will proceed on a case-by-case basis until May 1st.
    • The Registry remains open for filing of documents.
    • More details


Public Health

  • A public health emergency has been declared.
  • Anyone traveling into Nunavut must self-isolate for 14 days and contact their health centre if they development symptoms.
  • Social distancing and handwashing is encouraged.
  • Residents are encouraged to stay home as much as possible when not at work.
  • All bars will be closed as of March 20, 2020. Restaurants will remain open for take-out/delivery only.
  • More details


  • All non-essential Government of Nunavut personnel will work from home.
  • Residents should call and make appointments for services before attending in-person.
  • More details

Schools and Daycares

  • Schools and daycares in Nunavut will be closed for three weeks beginning on March 17, 2020.
  • More details


  • Nunavut Court of Justice
    • Regular operations have been suspended, including satellite courts operations. The suspension will remain in effect until further notice.
    • All civil matters have been adjourned sine die. After June 1, 2020, counsel will be asked to address all suspended civil matters.
    • Emergency matters will proceed by telephone only.
    • The Registry remains open for the filing of electronic documents only.
    • The Courthouse in Iqaluit is closed to the public.
    • More details
  • Nunavut Sheriff’s Office
    • The Nunavut Sheriff’s Office will be suspending all document service (current and new) for the time being.

For information regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on the court system and litigation proceedings in Alberta click here and for British Columbia click here.

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