GNWT eases self-isolation requirements in the NWT

News Releases

Yellowknife — June 21, 2021

The Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) is changing self-isolation requirements for all Northwest Territories’ residents, starting today at 5:00 p.m. 
NWT residents, non-resident essential service workers and other travellers with exemptions who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to self-isolate upon entry to the NWT. Everyone is still required to submit a Self-isolation Plan for potential contact tracing purposes.
The CPHO’s recommendation to travel only for essential reasons has also been rescinded. Residents are advised to be familiar with the public health orders in the jurisdiction they are visiting and to be aware of locations where COVID infections are increasing, especially those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
People who are partially vaccinated are still required to self-isolate for a minimum of 8 days with a day 8 negative test. People who are unvaccinated, including children under 12, are required to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days with a day 10 negative test. Children under 2 will not be required to get  a test on day 10 but only isolate until then.
A day 1 test and a day 14 test are required for people travelling from outside of the NWT to a small community and for some essential workers. For mixed households who are travelling together, it is only the least vaccinated traveller(s) who will be required to get a test.
If you have received your vaccine in the NWT, you will not require proof of vaccination. If NWT residents have travelled outside Canada, all federal requirements must be met before returning to the NWT.
These reduced self-isolation requirements also apply to non-residents that have been granted permission to travel into the NWT through an exemption process. Examples include, to work, study, reunite with family, or for compassionate reasons.
For those who have not received their vaccine within the NWT, proof of vaccination status will need to be provided upon request. It is recommended these travellers have this available before applying to travel to the NWT, along with their Self-Isolation Plan.
Household members must follow the same self-isolation guidance as the traveller, regardless of their vaccination status. If vaccination status differs for multiple travellers, the rest of the household must isolate for the longest period. This requirement is based on evidence indicating that extended and prolonged close contact with someone with COVID-19, such as in a household environment, increases transmission. No testing is required for household members unless symptomatic.
This change to self-isolation requirements is a key step in Emerging Wisely 2021: Step by Step Together released earlier this month. With the relaxation of these requirements, we can ease the burden of self-isolation for travellers and their households while still keeping the territory safe.


“Our self-isolation requirements have been one of the pillars of our COVID-19 pandemic response. We have always said that we would ease public health measures when it was safe to do so. With vaccination uptake strong in the NWT, and having reached our target national vaccination rates and new daily cases outlined in Emerging Wisely 2021, we are now able to ease these restrictions for residents and some visitors. I encourage everyone to make informed decisions about managing the risk of COVID-19.”
-  Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the Northwest Territories, Minister Responsible for the COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat
“The new Emerging Wisely 2021 is based on data, not dates. The data shows that NWT residents can travel for non-essential reasons and have their self-isolation requirements eliminated or reduced. With this plan, we can look forward to eventually eliminating all current public health restrictions.”
-   Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services of the Northwest Territories
“We have learned a lot about COVID-19 since the pandemic began and are using that knowledge to relax public health restrictions that we have all been struggling with. As vaccination rates rise in the NWT and across Canada, we’ll continue to see case counts drop and restrictions eased. Residents and communities must now take personal responsibility to evaluate their own risk and make informed decisions.”
-  Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories

Quick facts

  • ProtectNWT staff will be busy reviewing Self-Isolation Plans in the coming days. It may take additional time to process these initial requests as we implement this change, and we appreciate your patience. We ask that residents wait a few days to apply if they are NOT travelling before the Canada Day weekend.

  • These changes are being implemented in alignment with the Emerging Wisely 2021: Step by Step Together plan, as Canada has met the required national target of a daily average of less than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases over a 7 day period, and 66-75% of the Canadian population aged 18+ being at least partially vaccinated (having received at least one dose of vaccine).

  • Residents planning to travel should be mindful of the COVID-19 situation in their destination, and use this knowledge to make informed decisions about health, safety, and risk.

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For media requests, please contact:
Dawn Ostrem
Manager, COVID Communications Operations
Health and Social Services
COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat