Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) employees have a couple of more weeks to be fully vaccinated before running afoul of a new policy.

Doug Prendergast, spokesperson for NTPC said in a Nov. 26 email that the date was moved from its original deadline of Nov. 30 to Dec. 13.

“This is a fluid situation and with the change in compliance deadline, NTPC does not want to speculate about the number of employees who will not be fully vaccinated,” he said. “NTPC will have more accurate information once the deadline arrives. Some employees are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated and may achieve that status by the new deadline.”

Prendergast said the workplace’s employment vaccination policy was announced in mid-October and management has been working closely with employees to ensure they understand what is expected.

“NTPC’s senior leadership team and Human Resources Division have been working with employees to ensure they understand the policy, their options and the possible consequences of non-compliance,” he said. “NTPC remains hopeful that those who are not currently in compliance with the vaccination policy will take steps to become fully vaccinated.”

Due to privacy concerns, the company will also not comment on any exemptions that have been allowed to date.

Diane Archie, minister responsible for NTPC said in the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories on Nov. 22 that although the policy closely follows that of the employment vaccination policy of the Government of the Northwest Territories, the NTPC policy has its own policies and procedures due to the nature of its work.

She also would not say how many workers would be impacted by the policy.

“Predominantly many employees have to travel in the communities,” she said. “That’s where, the majority of the work is in the communities. We’ve been challenged in the past by members in small communities that have really not welcomed some of the employees because they are either not vaccinated or coming from outside the Northwest Territories.”

Prendergast said that the NTPC’s policy was written in accord with other jurisdictions’ Covid-19 vaccination policies, namely the federal government because employees fly across the territory.

“While the Transport Canada requirement for air passengers to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 30 was not the only basis on which NTPC developed its vaccination policy and implementation schedule, it was one of the key considerations,” he said.

The two-week extension will allow the corporation to review the impacts of Transport Canada’s vaccine policy on employee air travel, he added.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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