The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is making changes to current Public Health Orders that will ease restrictions in the Northwest Territories.
As of March 1, 2022, travel requirements for self-isolation will be reduced, gathering restrictions will end, as well as the Proof of Vaccine (PVC) Program for businesses.
These changes mean that self-isolation after travel will no longer be required, and any person will be able to travel to the NWT, regardless of purpose or vaccine status. People entering the NWT will still be required to submit a Self-Isolation Plan (SIP). This requirement enables the NWT Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) to understand where the greatest risk of COVID importation exists and direct additional resources to communities if necessary.
SIPs will ensure that symptom monitoring will continue for all travelers entering the NWT. As well, testing requirements will remain in place for anyone returning to small communities after travel; for people working or volunteering with vulnerable populations or in vulnerable settings; and for people entering the territory after international travel.
The public health risk analysis used by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) to create Public Health Orders is no longer focused on decreasing transmission of COVID-19. As the Omicron variant generally causes less severe disease than previous variants, the focus is instead being shifted to protecting those who are at higher risk of severe outcomes. It is important to note that two vaccine doses plus a booster shot has proven effective at reducing the severity of illness from a COVID infection.
The GNWT is taking a step-by-step approach to ending the Public Health Emergency, as outlined in Emerging Wisely 2021. We will continue to monitor the level of risk posed by COVID-19 in the NWT, as well as the effects on the general population, and the strain on the capacity of the NWT health system.
The Public Health Emergency is expected to end on March 31, 2022, barring any significant or unanticipated changes. At that time all Public Health Orders will be rescinded, and the CPHO will make non-binding recommendations for the protection of public health.
“We have spent the last two years living with some form of restrictions and we are once more asking you to adapt. Change is never easy, we know that. As we begin to ease pandemic restrictions it’s important to know that this does not mean the end of COVID-19. During this pandemic we have experienced and learned our approach needs to be flexible enough to adapt when needed, and the GNWT will remain prepared to respond to community outbreaks in the future.
- Caroline Cochrane, Premier
“Over the last two years every NWT resident has made sacrifices to adapt to COVID-19. We are all tired of the pandemic and of the public health measures that have been necessary to keep us safe. Throughout these two years, NWT residents, along with people around the world, have learned how to protect themselves and how to manage their own risk. We are now at the point where we must turn a corner and end the public health emergency because the risks associated with COVID-19 are no longer the emergency they once were.”
- Julie Green, Minster of the Health and Social Services
“In preparation of ending all Public Health Orders, we must recognize that this is not the ending of COVID-19. Public health will implement thorough recommendations to keep people safe and reserve clinical services for people at higher risk. Rules have been normalized for the past two years and change on this level is not easy for anyone. It is important to give residents time to adjust to managing existing risks as personal, organizational, and corporate responsibilities. “
- Dr. Kami Kandola, NWT Chief Public Health Officer
- Businesses, organizations, employers, and communities may choose to implement their own PVC requirements if they feel it is necessary.
- The COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat will discontinue contracts with hotels that were used for people to self-isolate after travel.
- There are federal requirements, such as those related to airline travel, remain in effect. The NWT PVC documentation provided by the GNWT is aligned with Government of Canada requirements will continue to be available for residents to download or request for use when travelling.
- Over the course of the Public Health Emergency, more than 8,000 travellers have required space, provided by the COVID Coordinating Secretariat, for self-isolation after travel.
- Nearly 130,000 total SIPs have been submitted.
- As of February 16, 2022, 61% of SIPs have been submitted by NWT residents; 39 have been submitted by non-residents.
- Current OCPHO recommendations
- Set your Safety Nets – Risk Assessments and Quizzes
- Travel Requirements
For media requests, please contact:
Manager COVID Communications
COVID Coordinating Secretariat
Government of the Northwest Territories
867-767-9488 ext. 61116
Persons may direct inquiries about public health orders to ProtectNWT at protectNWT@gov.nt.ca or call 8-1-1 (in the Northwest Territories) or 1-833-378-8297. Full details and copies of the order will be available on the GNWT COVID-19 website under the Current Public Health Orders.)