Visitors seeking to travel in the NWT must self-isolate for 14 days, the premier has clarified.

Premier Caroline Cochrane, health minister Diane Thom and Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer (CPHO) issued a joint statement Wednesday.

It came a day after comments from Cochrane and Thom caused confusion in the legislative assembly.

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Upon reaching the NWT, border officers will ask visitors for their information and if they don’t meet an “identified exemption” they will be given the opportunity to turn around.

“If they choose not to, they are informed that they must seek an exceptional circumstances exemption, and immediately self-isolate (for 14 days) if they wish to proceed further in the NWT,” the statement said.

The new policy marks a shift in how travel orders had been implemented until May 29 and “reflects an effort to more closely align implementation of the order with the mobility provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

“While the CPHO does not have the authority to prohibit Canadians from entering the NWT, she does have the authority to restrict travel within our borders.

“Prior to May 29, border officials asked people to turn around and return to their destination if they did not fit an existing exemption in order to meet our objectives.”

The new process is an interim measure, the statement said, and Dr. Kandola and her team are working on amendments to the travel restrictions and self-isolation rules to more closely align them with Charter rights.
It also addressed the news that the NWT might establish a travel bubble with Nunavut as part of the new travel orders that would encourage tourism between residents of both territories.
“As stated in the House yesterday, new travel orders are expected to be implemented with phase two of the Emerging Wisely plan and when details of those orders are finalized, they will be thoroughly explained to NWT residents and the media,” the statement said.
Phase two of the Emerging Wisely Covid-19 recovery plan might start as early as Friday, the CPHO said last week.

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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  1. From what I am seeing there has been a significant decrease in cases in Western Canada and the NWT should consider following the Yukon by allowing the neighbouring province access. We cannot keep the border closed forever in the event of no vaccine in the foreseeable future.

  2. I think that the GNWT should wait until the bordering provinces have shown a significant decrease in COVID cases in their jurisdictions before opening the borders to non-residents. Thanks to our chief public medical officer for her quick recommendations in closing our borders so quickly, otherwise we would have seen more cases. Opening up this quickly would put our lives in danger as visitors would unknowingly carry COVID to our healthy residents.