Government of Canada assists the Northwest Territories with COVID-19 response 

News release

October 18, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario

Today, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, confirmed 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.

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. 

This latest Request for Federal Assistance builds upon the two IPC specialists being provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the virtual contact tracing being provided by Statistics Canada under an existing agreement with the Northwest Territories. This aid also builds on other supports provided to the Northwest Territories, including a recently approved extension until October 28 for health human resources being provided by the Canadian Red Cross.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government Operations Centre has administered 139 requests for assistance from federal, provincial, and territorial partners. These requests have been administered in collaboration with federal organizations such as the Department of National Defence, Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, and non-governmental partners, such as the Canadian Red Cross.


“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.”

- The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“The Canadian Red Cross continues to work in support of Public Safety Canada and the Northwest Territories to help fellow Canadians battling a fourth wave of the pandemic. The Red Cross is ready and well-positioned to help with epidemic prevention and control expertise to help limit transmission of COVID-19 and will continue to strengthen its capacity in order to be ready to provide this and other vital assistance to communities most in need.”

- Mr. Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO, Canadian Red Cross

Quick facts

  • To date, the Government has approved a total of nine Requests for Federal Assistance (including extensions) to support the Northwest Territories with their COVID-19 response, including:

    • Assistance of the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Red Cross to support local communities affected with COVID-19 outbreaks.
    • Canadian Red Cross support for vulnerable populations shelter in Yellowknife
    • A Mobile Health Unit oxygen concentrator package with generators for use at the Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife
  • The Government Operations Centre is responsible for coordinating the Government of Canada's response to emergency events including the pandemic. It supports the Public Health Agency of Canada, which is the federal government lead for the response to COVID-19.

  • In Canada, emergencies are managed first at the municipal level and if they need assistance, they request it from their province or territory. If the emergency escalates further, provinces or territories can get help from the federal government.

  • A Request for Federal Assistance is initiated when an emergency event overwhelms or threatens to overwhelm the resources of a province or territory and federal government help is needed to effectively support the impacted region.

  • Should a province or territory make an official Request for Federal Assistance, there is a well-established process in place for managing the request, through the Government Operations Centre, and includes provincial/territorial and interdepartmental consultation and coordination.

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James Cudmore
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

Media Relations
Department of National Defence

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

Canadian Red Cross
English Media: 1-877-599-9602
French Media: 1-888-418-9111

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