Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the NWT, announced the creation of the COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat. The Secretariat will be responsible for managing the GNWT’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Objectives for the Secretariat have been designed to enhance the GNWT’s current approach to pandemic response. These objectives include:
- establishing a clear accountability and responsibility framework;
- providing dedicated resources to managing the GNWT’s COVID activities while retaining resources for managing the government’s ongoing operations;
- ensure consideration of health, economic, and legal impacts in future actions, while maintaining Chief Public Health Officer independence; and
- supporting clear and coordinated communications as it pertains to COVID-19.
Cochrane stated that early on, it was made clear that the challenges COVID-19 presents to the NWT requires a coordinated approach and that this is a necessary move she feels will benefit NWT residents as they continue to adjust to the impacts of COVID-19.
“The Coordinating Secretariat pulls together COVID-19-related supports and resources from multiple departments, teaming them up to meet the challenges of management and oversight of the GNWT’s response in the best and most efficient way.”
The Secretariat will be led by Associate Deputy Minister Russell Neudorf, who will report directly to the Premier. Neudorf is currently Associate Deputy Minister in Municipal and Community Affairs with primary responsibility for the Emergency Management Organization.
It is anticipated that the Secretariat will remain in place for up to 2 years and the process to transition existing GNWT COVID-19 response activities into the COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat will begin immediately.