A positive view of self-isolation in Ottawa

“Everyone involved … deserves congratulations”

Iqaluit resident Tony Canny recounts his experience at the isolation hub for returning Nunavummiut in Ottawa and thanks Finance Minister George Hickes, shown here speaking at the Government of Nunavut’s regular news briefing on COVID-19 on April 22, among others. (File photo)

By By Tony Canny

Open letter to Minister George Hickes, Dr. Michael Patterson, and all GN staff involved in the 14-day isolation program to protect Nunavummiut from COVID-19:

I was recently medevaced to Ottawa for problems with my heart. Fortunately, it turned out to be something easily fixed and I was out of the hospital on the same day. As I had left the territory, and had therefore been exposed to the risk of COVID-19, I was required to be isolated for the mandatory 14 days.

I needed to wait four days in a different hotel for a place to become available in the Residence Inn Ottawa. I was not there on a holiday, I was being isolated for the benefit of Nunavut, and all Nunavummiut, to keep this terrible disease out of our community.

I want to congratulate all staff and government officials on the way this quarantine has been conceived and carried out.

The quality of the surroundings, care, food and contact that I received were all well above my expectations! Obviously, human contact had to be kept to a minimum. This meant that things that came to my room like food, drink and parcels were left on the floor, and whoever delivered them would knock on my door and then leave.

I was contacted every day by health support staff to enquire about my physical and mental well-being, and I was informed that should I have the need for any kind of care, all I had to do was call.

The food was of a high standard given the circumstances, and there was always enough food for every meal.

The room was large, well appointed, and clean and tidy. I realized I was not on holidays, and that things like making my bed, cleaning up after myself, doing my dishes were my responsibility, just as they would be when I was at home in Iqaluit.

The hotel and security staff were always courteous and friendly, and treated me with respect.

Everyone involved in the planning and execution of this entire program deserves congratulations, and the gratitude of everyone in Nunavut. Their tireless efforts have helped keep Nunavut free from COVID-19 cases.

You all have my gratitude and well wishes. Thank you all.

Tony Canny

Email your letters to [email protected]

Nunatsiaq News welcomes letters to the editor. But we are under no obligation to publish any given letter at any given time.

In our print edition, we usually print letters on a first-come, first-served, space-available basis. In our online edition, we usually print letters as soon as we are able to prepare them for publication.

All letters are edited for length, grammar, punctuation, spelling, taste and libel. You may withhold your name by request, but we must know who you are before we publish your letter.

Share This Story

(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by steve on

    Great to see . Very fair account of your experiences. It’s more about preventing a Covid outbreak than providing a holiday experience.

  2. Posted by Conflicting reports on

    The reactions to this letter by Tony as well as other more negative tales have been interesting.

    On Rant and Rave, someone said (I’m paraphrasing) “easy for you (Tony) to say, you’re a white Male, Inuit haven’t been so lucky”. People have been pretty divided on whether or not there’s any truth to that.

    I don’t think we’ll ever truly know how good or bad things are run down there unless you witness it first hand and be able to see if the security staff there are really racist. I think misunderstandings and cultural/social differences are probably the #1 reason why tension builds up to the point where people start calling each other racists. And then when you use that race card, emotions will run wild. A security guard getting paid $20/hour to deal with this crazy situation might not be inherently racist but maybe ignorant of the very real cultural and social difference that exist in the north. Add in a bunch of people who don’t want to be in isolation and see it as a “jail” and it’s a recipe for disaster.

    All in all I know there’s tons of racism in Canada, usually veiled in hateful hidden gestures rather than out in the open, but so so so much could be diffused if there weren’t so many misunderstandings and ignorance. Not that ignorance is a fair excuse, it would be nice if we were all aware of how others want to be treated, but the race card is played way too often. It’s understandable why it gets played a lot because emotions run high and it sucks being misunderstood or treated badly, but at the same time if can’t be used as a blanket statement everytime someone of a different race treats you poorly. Maybe they thought you treated them poorly and they’re returning the favour. Inuit tend to be very blunt (which I love), but some people will see that as an aggressive way to speak to someone. If every Canadian understood things like that, it would solve so many problems before they occur.

    • Posted by Another Positive Report on

      I also stayed at the Residence Inn for quarantine during the early days of the outbreak. I thought the CPHO did an excellent job with the quarantine as well, but full disclosure I’m a white male so maybe my treatment was different than what Inuit people have been experiencing.
      With that said we had an Inuit lady on our floor that was very belligerent and rude towards the guards constantly. She would be out in the hallway yelling at them saying things like her rights were being violated because she had to wait 10 minutes for a smoke. I’m by no means saying that all Inuit had bad attitudes like this lady and perhaps some Inuit were legitimately treated poorly, but I think some of the negative comments surrounding the quarantine are being pushed forward by people who frankly think the quarantine was meant to be a free two week vacation.

    • Posted by Fools on R&R on

      If you spend any time on Rant and Rave you see how ignorant most people are on the group. The answer to everything is to slander anyone and everyone who is not Inuit as racist. Had a positive experience? Racism. Had a negative experience? Racism. Make a comment about scissors and defending yourself with them? Racism. It never ends.
      You can’t fix ignorance and stupidity, which abounds on R&R, but likely does not exist in reality. I take anything there with a massive grain of salt.

      • Posted by See it every day on

        Ignorance is the other pandemic here in Nunavut, though it is impolite to bring it up.

  3. Posted by Glenda Pittman on

    Unfortunately my experience with the transition into Isolation Hub wasn’t as positive. The information I had received from travel specialist confirmed a room was opening up for me on a particular day and I was to get to Ottawa asap. No one would tell me where this hub was located so I travelled across the country blindly. I was assured that upon my arrival at Ottawa airport I would be provided further direction as to the location of the Isolation Hub. I did as instructed and was lead into an incredibly vulnerable situation whereby on my arrival at Ottawa airport at 11:00 at night, I was then told my room would not be available until 4 days later. I was left stranded…many hotels were not in operation and taxis were no longer lined up outside the airport. This was a very difficult time for me.
    Later a letter from Minister Hickes explained that hotel management was accountable for my situation and not having the room cleaned in time. Recently I spoke with Lee Knowles, the Manager of “Residence Inn Ottawa Airport” and she confirmed that my name was not given to her to have a room on the night I arrived in Ottawa and in fact she didn’t have my name until 4 days later. Many people have seen my emails from travel specialist including my MLA and have advocated for me to at least be reinbursed for the 4 day hotel bill. I believe I am just another victim of the system whereby no one wants to be take responsibility.

  4. Posted by worker on

    NWT Legislature members are meeting and at work.
    the daycares open.
    Gov offices open.
    People trying and people working at all levels, except
    where are the NU MLA’s?

Comments are closed.