The Northwest Territories’ borders are NOT closed to Canadian residents, so long as they self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in the NWT.

The clarification first came from the NWT Premier Monday, June 8th in an interview on CBC News. Caroline Cochrane answered a question about tourism in the territory saying that for those who want to come to the NWT for work are welcome, given they have self-isolation plans and a work permit.

Cochrane said people from other jurisdictions are also allowed in but need to have a self-isolation plan before they can enter the territory.

The statement made by Cochrane did not reflect the orders issued by the NWT’s Chief Public Health Officer, orders that were just extended today to expire on June 23rd.

Dr. Kami Kandola’s orders originally issued on Sunday, March 22nd, clearly stated that “Travel through all points of entry into the Northwest Territories by both air and road will be prohibited to all travelers with the exception of seven specific categories of people traveling into the territory (that can be read here). Canadian non-residents of the NWT were not included in those seven groups.

Vista Radio reached out to the Premier’s office for clarification and received a statement clarifying that the border is indeed open to Canadian residents, but upon arrival, a 14-day self-isolation plan in one of the four designated centres in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Fort Smith, or Hay River must be submitted and followed.

The following statement was sent to Vista Radio by email and is attributed to Premier Cochrane.

The Government of the Northwest Territories’ priority has always been to protect the health of the people of the Northwest Territories and we moved quickly to put strong measures in place to keep COVID-19 from spreading throughout the NWT and to tell residents about them.

While we have said the NWT’s borders are closed, it would be more accurate to say that travel within the territory has been restricted.

While the border isn’t closed to Canadian residents, we still require people who are not on essential travel to self-isolate for 14 days in one of four regional centres.

This is an important measure for ensuring new cases of COVID-19 don’t overwhelm our health care system and will likely discourage people from making non-essential visits to the NWT.

We recognize that we need to be clearer on the authority and operation of our travel restrictions.

We are making it clearer for those travelling in the NWT and for our officials who are protecting public health by monitoring travel into the territories.