Some non-residents entering the NWT will have to pay for their own self-isolation costs starting on July 1.
The new rule will apply to non-residents who have received an exemption from the travel restrictions “where alternative arrangements have not previously been made,” the GNWT said in a news release on Tuesday.
People affected by the new policy include contractors brought into the territory for specific jobs, said Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson Mike Westwick.
“They would need to isolate in one of the hubs, and if there are no other arrangements in place – like staff housing with the appropriate ability to self-isolate, for example — the company bringing them up would be expected to cover their stay in an isolation centre, or an agreement between the employee and employer could be reached,” he said.
Non-residents can apply for an exemption from paying their own costs when they enter the NWT for visits on compassionate grounds like death or illness in the family or for childcare needs, said Darren P. Campbell, spokesperson for the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs.
Isolation will continue to take place in the four hubs of Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik and Fort Smith.
Independent contractors who are sole proprietors would also have to pay for their own isolation costs.
Individuals can make other arrangements in their self-isolation plans, such as staying at an apartment in one of the hubs, which they would have to pay for.
The territorial government has been paying costs for all stays in the NWT’s isolation centres to date. It will continue to pay costs for staying in isolation centres for NWT residents and people intending to become residents.
Housing one person in an an isolation centre for 14-days costs about $4,100, the GNWT stated.
About $2.6 million was spent on isolation accommodations, food, staffing and transportation for the NWT’s four isolation centres from March until the end of May, said Campbell.
The self-isolation requirements for essential service workers, supply chain workers, and non-resident workers will remain the same as before and those individuals must have their isolation costs arranged and paid for by their employers.
“Requiring non-residents to pay isolation centre costs demonstrates our commitment to being fiscally responsible and sufficiently flexible to meet unique and exceptional circumstances,” said Premier Caroline Cochrane.