Update November 24, 2020
The COVID Coordinating Secretariat releases What We Heard report about potential changes to isolation locations and payment for isolation centre stays.
You can download the report here.
You can view the GNWT's press release here.
Update November 4, 2020
The Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce issued a letter to Russell Neudorf, Associate Deputy Minister for the COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat in response to the Self Isolation and our Communities Discussion Paper.
"We are aware that the isolation centres represent more than half of the territory’s costs for implementing the Public Health Orders, with individual stays costing roughly $4000 for a 14-day period. We support the pursuit of cost saving measures and broadly believe that the GNWT should look at the circumstances where exceptions have been granted by the Chief Public Health Officer to see if processes can be developed to make it easier for residents to self-isolate at home.
We are aligned with the NWT Chamber of Commerce in that we do not think NWT residents should cover the costs for isolation centre stays if travel is for personal or discretionary reasons. We recommend that the GNWT eliminate cost-coverage for isolation centre stays that are not required as a matter of GNWT policy or medical recommendation.
Businesses are required to cover the costs associated with mandatory self-isolation for their staff, a financial burden for many small businesses. Our members have shared stories of hardship - from an inability to afford to bring in the staff needed to complete a project, to staff struggling with self-isolation and leaving the NWT before the self-isolation period ends (a cost employers must bear even if no work was completed), and the challenges of needing the services of specialized firms who are unwilling to cover wages during the self-isolation period for their staff to travel to the NWT.
If the GNWT is going to continue to pay the self-isolation costs for individual’s discretionary travel, then we suggest that the GNWT consider providing financial support to help offset these mandatory costs for businesses."
View our November 4, 2020 letter here.
Download the Self Isolation and Our Communities discussion paper here.
Update November 3, 2020
The Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce has issued a letter to Premier Cochrane, supporting the objectives of the COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat.
"We hope that the establishment of a temporary organization dedicated to running existing pandemic services will result in improved efficiency, service standards and greater clarity and support for Yellowknife businesses.
We will continue to work with and support the COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat by engaging with our membership, learning about the challenges that Yellowknife businesses are facing and recommending solutions. In that spirit, we would like to share some recommendations based on the feedback we have received over the past few months."
View our November 3, 2020 letter here.
What Is The COVID Secretariat?
The GNWT has created a COVID Secretariat which will bring together Protect NWT, 811, Compliance and Enforcement, Isolation Centres and Airport and Highway Border Officers.
These services will be brought under one roof with dedicated staff to support the public health orders and guidance of the CPHO.
How Much Will It Cost?
The GNWT has budgeted $31.7 million for 2020/2021 - only $2.6 million of which is funding over-and-above existing spending on services.
For more information on the COVID Secretariat, please visit the GNWT's website here.
October 7, 2020 Update:
Representatives from the COVID Secretariat presented to the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
View the October 7, 2020 presentation to the Board of Directors here.
View the speaking notes, which includes more detailed information, here.
View our Q&A here.
September 8, 2020 Update:
We added our signature to the NWT Chamber of Commerce's letter to Premier Cochrane.
"We understand this funding bill will be presented for voting at the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly in October. Between now and that time, we ask that you please reconsider the creation of this division and listen to the residents of the NWT as you will find that the majority are against their taxes being used towards the creation of another level of bureaucracy.
View the NWT Chamber of Commerce's full letter here.
In The News:
Northern News Services. (November 6, 2020). Self-Isolation Rules Risk Deterring Business Opportunities, YK Chamber of Commerce Says. Retrieved from: https://nnsl.com/yellowknifer/self-isolation-rules-risk-deterring-business-opportunities-yk-chamber-of-commerce-says/https://nnsl.com/yellowknifer/self-isolation-rules-risk-deterring-business-opportunities-yk-chamber-of-commerce-says/