In a press release Monday April 27th NWT Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola introduced changes to the March 21st Public Health-Travel Order for NWT residents, non-residents and specific categories of workers coming into the NWT.
The amendments apply to any of the following groups who have been outside the Northwest Territories within the last 14 days;
- NWT residents who have been outside the NWT
- Essential Service Workers
- Supporting Workers
- Those supporting essential service workers by providing childcare and dependent care.
- Infrastructure Workers
- Including projects for the GNWT, and federal, municipal, and Indigenous Governments and Organizations.
- These are workers employed on public infrastructure projects with open and non-remote worksites where workers interact with community residents on a daily basis.
- Corrections officers
- when accompanying inmates traveling in and out of the NWT
- Flight crews, airline workers, import/export supply chain transportation workers
- Persons transiting through the NWT on their way to another destination
The following amendments take effect immediately;
All NWT Residents who have been outside the NWT and are in self-isolation must now complete their Self-Isolation Plan within 24 hours and check-in with ProtectNWT on their 2nd, 6th, 10th, and 14th days of self-isolation using the approved check-in online ProtectNWT form.
- Residents of the Northwest Territories, who have an Aboriginal or treaty right to harvest and who return to the to the Northwest Territories after exercising their right to harvest outside of the Northwest Territories are still exempt from these directives only if while they were in the area outside the NWT, they:
- did not go to a community or populated area
- maintained a minimum distance of 2 meters from any person who is not a member of their household
- did not gather in any indoor location with any person who is not a member of their household
All NWT residents who have an Aboriginal or treaty right to harvest and who return to the to the NWT after exercising their right to harvest outside of the territories and who do not satisfy the past three conditions must self-isolate on their return and comply with all the conditions and directives set out in this amendment.
Flight crews, airline workers, import/export supply chain transportation workers must self-isolate while not working if in the NWT for longer than 36 hours.
Persons transiting through the NWT on-route to another destination must socially distance if here for less than 12 hours and must self-isolate if here for longer than 12 hours until such time as they leave the NWT.
Essential Service Workers, Supporting Workers, Infrastructure Workers, and Corrections Officers not required to immediately start work must comply with self isolation plan requirements now in-place for returning residents
- This means filing a Self-Isolation Plan before entering the territory, and sticking to it.
- And it means doing so in one of the isolation hubs.
- This will help eliminate unnecessary interaction with the broader community in which they are staying, and allow the GNWT to track these workers while they are in the territory.
Employers of Essential Service Workers, Supporting Workers, Infrastructure Workers, and Corrections Officers must apply to have their workers not self-isolate for 14 days before starting work.
- They do so by submitting a form to ProtectNWT.
- Submitting the form does not mean automatic approval by the CPHO.
- As part of this application they must also submit to ProtectNWT a completed Workplace Risk Assessment and Field Level Risk Assessment using approved WSCC forms.
Where their Employer has applied to not have them self-isolate, Essential Service Workers, Supporting Workers, Infrastructure Workers, and Corrections Officers must fill out a declaration which must be submitted to ProtectNWT and includes the following information:
- Contact information for themselves
- Contact information for their employer
- Where they have been for the last 14 days before entering NWT
- The nature of their work over next 14 days,
- Where they will be in the first 14 days after entering NWT
Based on the application from the Employer, the Worker’s Self-Isolation Plan, the Declaration, and any further information required, special permission may be granted by the Chief Public Health Officer for these workers to not self isolate for 14 days in order to start work this permission must be granted through Protect NWT before a worker enters the territory
Each worker who receives permission must:
- Self-isolate when not on shift
- Check in with Protect NWT on 2st day, 6th day, 10th day, 14th day to reaffirm the declaration they have provided upon entry,
- And to confirm they have none of the following symptoms:
- New or worsening cough
- Shortness of breath
- A general feeling of unease, or being ‘under the weather’
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Loss of smell
If they develop any of these symptoms, they must immediately self isolate in their accommodations, contact a local health care provider, and comply with all directions going forward.
- All employees must make every effort to socially distance from members of the public and co-workers while working
- There are social distancing protocols which must be followed, and companies must have processes in place to make this happen.
- All employees must wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment as determined by a Workers Safety and Compensation Commission Field Level Risk Assessment, and all employers must make it available
- Workers cannot travel outside of the community they are in for personal reasons
With regards o the implementation of the order;
- The GNWT is not responsible for providing suitable accommodations for self-isolation for employees while they are within the territory.
- It is recommended that employers coordinate with employees to have all necessary information submitted 1-2 weeks ahead of their employees’ arrival in the NWT
Dr. Kandola says this shift aims to put additional protections in-place to mitigate the risks inherent in welcoming out-of-territory workers who may be traveling from locations where COVID-19 community spread has occurred, and track where they are and what they’re doing when in the NWT.
In the release Dr. Kandola highlights that ramping up risk reduction related to out-of-territory travel, alongside tightened border measures, is the first piece which must fall into place as the territory looks towards a relaxing of public health measures.