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Northwest Territories institutes 14-day self-isolation order for all visitors

Friday, June 12, 2020 @ 1:28 PM | By John Schofield

Travellers entering the Northwest Territories are now being ordered by border officers to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

This is a shift in how the territory’s COVID-19 public health order was being implemented through May 29, and reflects an effort to more closely align implementation of the order with the mobility provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to a June 10 news release issued jointly by NWT Premier Caroline Cochrane, Minister of Health Diane Thom and Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) Dr. Kami Kandola.

“Prior to May 29, border officials asked people to turn around and return to their destination if they did not fit an existing exemption in order to meet our objectives,” notes the news release.

The current, 14-day self-isolation requirement is an interim measure, it adds. The chief public health officer and her staff are working on amendments to the policy “to more transparently protect mobility rights under the Charter.”

The NWT government (GNWT) is still developing its approach to tourism during the pandemic, but is expecting to form a “travel bubble” with Nunavut as part of its new travel orders and will encourage tourism by residents of both territories, the release explains.

“While it will respect the right of any Canadian resident to enter the territory, the GNWT will still be enforcing the CPHO’s legitimate orders to restrict travel within the territory, including restrictions on leisure travel within the territory, to ensure that the health of all NWT residents and communities is protected,” according to the statement.