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To limit the introduction and spread of COVID-19, the Chief Public Health Officer has issued the following public health orders that residents must follow:
- Public Health Order – COVID-19 Relaxing Phase 2 (effective June 12, 2020) – relaxes restrictions on indoor gatherings of 25 or less and outdoor get-togethers of 50 or less; and allows for more businesses and facilities to open.
Note: Businesses, offices, and organizations can apply to have their requirements reconsidered based on their unique situation. This could include restrictions like maximum capacity if they have a very large space. They will need to complete and submit the Application to Vary from Public Health Order Requirements Form to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submit as early as possible and expect follow-ups from public health staff.
- Directed at Mineral and Petroleum Industry (June 25, 2020) – requires mining and oil and gas industries to take a number of measures to protect public health and continue safe operations at all mining and gas projects in the NWT.
- Travel Restrictions and Self-Isolation Protocol (As Amended July 16, 2020) – amendments apply to resident supply-chain workers and resident flight crews and airline employees to codify the precautions they must take during the course of their work to mitigate public health risks.
Public Health Officers appointed by the Chief Public Health Officer will serve in all regions of the NWT, and make sure we can enforce the public health orders.
Experienced officers from across government have been brought in to help the effort. They include enforcement staff from the departments of Health and Social Services, Environment and Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Municipal and Community Affairs, Justice, and Lands.
In certain circumstances, the RCMP or Bylaw officers may be asked to assist.
The Chief Public Health Officer has appointed two Deputy Chief Public Health Officers with decades of experience in enforcement with Government departments and agencies to lead the taskforce.
- Dennis Marchiori – Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Director
- Wayne Norris – Department of Health and Social Services
The first role of the enforcement team is as educators – helping members of the community understand the rules and giving them the right information to follow them.
That is why the Chief Public Health Officer chose to form a taskforce including people who already have good relationships and trust within their communities – they are meant to be allies and will not arbitrarily hand out tickets.
But if there are people breaking the rules, then there are penalties available.
If someone chooses to ignore the rules, they have the following tools at their disposal:
- Educate people or businesses on the rules and instruct them to follow them
- Issue written warnings to people or businesses for not following the rules
- Issue a ticket for as much as $1500
- Issue a court summons where if convicted of an offence, a Judge may issue a fine of up to $10,000 if rules continue being ignored
- In extreme circumstances, under the authority of the Chief Public Health Officer, a Public Health Officer may apprehend and detain you if there is a significant and imminent risk to public health
Note: We are offering compassionate exemptions to our orders, because we understand that they can sometimes have unintended consequences. For more information, please see Compassionate and exceptional exemptions to the public health orders.
Here is how it works – step-by-step:
- A complaint is received
- Public Health officials consider things like the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 or danger in the community to make an assessment on how risky the situation is
- Public Health Officers are provided this information to investigate what happened in the community
- The person or company who was complained about is informed and questioned about what happened
- The situation is resolved using the most appropriate tool available to the Officer. Most often, that means educating the person so they can comply, or giving a warning.
- If a ticket is issued, just like any traffic ticket, you can either pay the fine, or dispute it in court
- If you are summoned to court or arrested, you are innocent until proven guilty to a judge
To get the facts of a case, a Public Health Officer may call or visit the person who complained and visit or call the person or business being reported.
They would then collect evidence to ensure a full understanding of the complaint. In very remote circumstances, under the authority of the Chief Public Health Officer, a Public Health Officer may enter a premise or dwelling to carry out their investigation and collect evidence.
The Officer has the discretion to employ the correct measures such as education, warnings, tickets, court summons, or arrest based on the situation.
Public Health Officers may ask for assistance from the RCMP or Bylaw officers if needed.
- Email email@example.com
- Call 8-1-1. Protect NWT staff are available from 8am-8pm, seven-days-a-week. After hours, please leave a voicemail. Your report will be investigated.