Coronavirus

Some non-residents must now pay for NWT isolation centre stays


The NWT government says some non-residents using the territory’s four isolation centres will now have to start footing the bill.

The four centres are in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River, and Fort Smith. They exist to ensure travellers from the south must spend two weeks in isolation before entering a smaller community with fewer health services.

Until now, anyone directed to stay in one of those four isolation centres had their cost paid for by the territorial government. “The amended policy adjusts that approach for some individuals,” a news release issued on Tuesday stated.

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Under the new rules, which begin on Wednesday, non-residents who receive an exemption from travel restrictions but don’t have alternative arrangements in place will now be required to pay for their isolation centre stay.

NWT residents, and those intending to become residents, still won’t have to pay.

As is already the case, employers are responsible for organizing self-isolation accommodation for workers entering the territory and ensuring it is paid for.

“This shift in approach is both fiscally responsible while also respecting the needs and rights of the residents of the NWT and Canada,” the territory said on Tuesday.

The territory has already spent well over $1 million providing the isolation centres. The NWT government says the average cost of one person’s two-week stay is approximately $4,100.

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Tuesday’s news release did not specify how many of stays at isolation centres to date would have involved non-residents affected by this change.

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