The federal government is investing $30.7 million to support pandemic response services in the NWT, the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada announced in a news release Friday.
The investments will go towards the NWT’s isolation centres, the 811 information line and the ProtectNWT taskforce.
The funding announcement comes just days after the federal government earmarked $64.7 million in direct support for the three territorial governments’ pandemic responses.
Premier Caroline Cochrane had previously requested the support from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Both the territorial and federal governments recognize that the cost for the pandemic response programs is high, due largely to the geography of the territory and limited transportation infrastructure in the NWT.
“The impact of Covid-19 has dramatically revealed the inequities and particular vulnerabilities of the NWT as we work to protect the health and well-being of residents and our communities,” said Cochrane.
“This investment from Canada is reflective of a mutual understanding of our unique needs and will ensure our pandemic response continues to effectively support our goal of limiting the spread of the virus and ensure we can achieve a healthy social end economic recovery.”
Daniel Vandal, minister of Northern Affairs Canada, said the government recognizes the unique challenges of Northern communities during the pandemic, which underlines the importance of supporting pandemic preparedness.
“With these investments, and by working closely with its territorial partners, the GNWT will continue the important work of preventing the spread of this virus and keeping people healthy and safe. The Government of Canada remains ready to assist in any way we can,” he said.
Michael McLeod, MP for the NWT, acknowledged that the strong measures the territory put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19 has resulted in the lowest number of coronavirus cases in Canada, but the measures have come with a financial cost.
“The significant funding and ongoing cooperation between Canada and the GNWT should allow this success to continue into the months ahead,” he said.