Government of the Northwest Territories receives funding from Canada to support pandemic services to protect residents 

News release

December 4, 2020—Gatineau, Québec—Yellowknife, Northwest Territories—Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada— Government of the Northwest Territories

Protecting Canadians from the growing threat of COVID-19 is important to limiting the spread of the virus, and today the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the Government of Canada announced a $30.7 million investment in pandemic services in the Northwest Territories.

This investment, based on an initial request from Premier Caroline Cochrane to Prime Minister Trudeau, is an example of the collaborative relationship between the GNWT and Canada as both governments continue to invest in services that will help protect residents from the threat of COVID-19. Both governments acknowledge that Canada’s three northern territories face unique needs – the challenges the Northwest Territories faces as a result of the pandemic are not the same as those faced by the provinces.

The success in preventing outbreaks in the NWT is built on an extensive framework of protection measures that go beyond the isolation centres, and requires a strong partner in Canada to ensure the GNWT is able to continue to protect its residents as well as it has been able to since the beginning of the pandemic.

The investments will support pandemic preparedness and response for the NWT. This includes supports for the territory’s isolation centres, the 8-1-1 COVID-19 information line, and the ProtectNWT taskforce, which is responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with public health orders. Like many government programs and services within the Northwest Territories, the cost of delivery of these measures is high, in great part because of the geography and limited transportation infrastructure. The GNWT is protecting a small population of approximately 40,000 residents, spread across 33 remote and mostly Indigenous communities in an area that makes up almost 15% of Canada.

This funding will allow the GNWT to continue to protect public health and safety, particularly as cases across Canada continue to rise. 


"The impact of COVID-19 has dramatically revealed the inequities and particular vulnerabilities of the NWT as we work to protect the health and well-being of residents and our communities. This investment from Canada is reflective of a mutual understanding of our unique needs, and will ensure our pandemic response continues to effectively support our goal of limiting the spread of the virus, and ensure we can achieve a healthy social end economic recovery."

- Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the Northwest Territories 

"The Government of Canada recognizes remote and Northern communities face unique challenges in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why it is critical that we continue supporting all Northerners in their pandemic preparedness and response. With these investments, and by working closely with its Territorial partners, the Government of the Northwest Territories will continue the important work of preventing the spread of this virus and keeping people healthy and safe. I want to thank Premier Cochrane for her leadership. The Government of Canada remains ready to assist in any way we can."

- Hon. Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs Canada 

"The NWT has had strong protections in place since the beginning of the pandemic, resulting in the lowest numbers of cases in Canada. Following these effective public health strategies has worked well to combat the virus, but they have come with a financial cost. The significant funding and ongoing cooperation between Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories should allow this success to continue into the months ahead."

- Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories 

Associated links


For more information, media may contact :

Cabinet Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

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