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Northwest Territories mandates COVID-19 vaccination for all government employees

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 @ 1:23 PM | By Amanda Jerome


On Oct. 18, the government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) announced amendments to its COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, which “expand application of the policy to all employees of the GNWT.”

“As of November 30th, 2021, all GNWT employees will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Previously, the policy only applied to GNWT employees working with vulnerable populations,” the announcement explained.

Minister of Finance, Caroline Wawzonek, said that “in the time since the GNWT COVID-19 Vaccination Policy was initially contemplated, the territory has been heavily impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.”

“We have an obligation as a government to create safe workplaces for our employees and to protect the health of the people that we serve. This policy will help support our efforts to get the current outbreak of COVID-19 in the NWT under control, allowing us to move forward with the steps outlined in Emerging Wisely,” she added in a statement.

According to the announcement, accommodations “will be considered on a case-by-case basis for medical reasons or based on protected grounds under the Human Rights Act.”

The announcement also noted that the government is aware “privacy and trust are particularly important where health information is concerned.”

“Personal information is protected by provisions of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, (ATIPPA) associated with its collection, use, disclosure, and protection,” the announcement added.

As of Oct. 18, there were 263 active cases of COVID-19 reported in the territory. There were 1,694 confirmed cases, with 1,422 resolved cases and nine deaths. According to the GNWT COVID-19 dashboard, 84 per cent of the territory is partially vaccinated and 79 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness also confirmed on Oct. 18 that the government has “approved a Request for Federal Assistance to provide surge capacity support to the Northwest Territories with infection prevention and control (IPC), contact tracing, and COVID-19 testing efforts.”

According to the announcement, the Canadian Red Cross “will provide one operations lead and nine Epidemic Prevention Control specialists. This support will be effective from October 19 until November 14, with the possibility of one two-week extension to November 28, 2021.”

“The federal government continues to provide support to provinces and territories as they need it. Protecting the health and safety of Canadians during the pandemic is our top priority, and we stand ready to help all provinces and territories when support is requested,” said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair in a statement.

Chief Judge Robert Gorin, on behalf of the Territorial Court, issued a statement to The Lawyer’s Daily noting that “all NWT judicial justices of the peace, who sit in the physical presence of members of the public are also fully vaccinated.”

Chief Judge Gorin previously told The Lawyer’s Daily that “all resident judges of the Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories are fully vaccinated.”  

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily please contact Amanda Jerome at Amanda.Jerome@lexisnexis.ca or call 416-524-2152.