Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the GNWT has delivered new pandemic services to more than 20,000 residents, businesses, and workers.
These services were delivered by:
- Protect NWT
- Compliance and Enforcement
- Airport and Highway Border Officers
- Isolation Centres
They were built based on proven principles of good pandemic management, including:
- Restricted travel from higher-risk transmission areas
- Self-isolation after travel
- Providing safe isolation spaces for those who need it
- Supporting businesses to start-up safely
- Providing information sources for those who need it
- Education-first enforcement
- Protecting health system capacity
Our pandemic response has been successful. Because we’ve taken the approach we have, we can look at moving forward, while other provinces are reintroducing restrictions. Maintaining the stability these measures have provided will help keep the momentum of our economic and social recovery going.
COVID Coordinating Secretariat
The services outlined above are all being brought under one roof with dedicated leadership and staff to support the public health orders and guidance of the Chief Public Health Officer.
This dedicated team will continue delivering these services, work to improve them, and continue to protect communities as the pandemic moves forward.
Public servants who may have supported the response alongside regular duties will also be able to dedicate their time to delivering regular services the territory counts on.
The seven jurisdictions in Canada who have been most successful at pushing back COVID-19 all invest in these services.
All have borders controls, travel restrictions, self-isolation planning, and 8-1-1 services. Several have isolation centres.
The territory has budgeted $31.7 million in 2020/2021 – only $2.6 million of which is funding over-and-above what spending on existing services was.
This is an investment in making the improvements residents and businesses have asked for. With everything organized in one division, we expect additional savings will be found.
We continue to work with the Federal government to secure additional funding that will help offset the costs of the government’s pandemic response, including the Secretariat.
If the COVID-19 situation changes or public health orders evolve, some services may no longer be required.
This team has been designed to allow services to be easily scaled down, and those savings returned to taxpayers.
Supporting the health system
Big investments continue for rapid testing, contact tracing, medical equipment, and healthcare staff.
By supporting implementation of the public health response, the COVID Secretariat will ensure public health professionals no longer need to divide their attention to other aspects of the response.