Students who have to travel for their education will continue to have their self-isolation stays paid for by the GNWT, even after January 5.
Students and apprentices who live in the Northwest Territories and are required to travel outside the NWT for education and training will have their costs covered for required stays in an isolation centre, if they cannot safely isolate elsewhere.
The territorial government will also be paying for the stays of people with specific legal situations, although the statement did not outline what these situations would be.
Changes were made to the GNWT’s policy of paying for isolations at the beginning of December, with the aim of cutting down the costs for the isolation centres run by the territorial government — which so far have cost the GNWT more than $18.5 million.
Up until January 5, anyone who stays in the isolation centre can have their mandatory 14-day isolation period paid for by the GNWT. After that, people who travel for discretionary reasons will have to pay for their own isolation stays.
People who are travelling for medical appointments or for compassionate reasons — the death or illness of a family member — can also still have their isolation periods paid for. Travel for any other reason will have to be paid for by the individual when they return to the territory.
More than 4,600 guests stayed at Northwest Territories’ four isolation centres — in Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik and Fort Smith — from the opening of these facilities through to December 16.
Both Premier Caroline Cochrane and Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Officer said it was important to the safety of the territory as a whole to continue to pay the isolation stays for students travelling back to the GNWT.
“Self-isolation is the most effective way to break the chain of infection and prevent outbreaks,” Kandola said in a statement. “It is critical that we support people who must leave the territory for education and legal purposes. Paying isolation centre stays for these travellers will help to keep us all safe.”