Starting May 7, Nunavummiut who leave voluntarily must pay for their isolation stays

Still one case of COVID-19 in Pond Inlet, says chief public health officer

Premier Joe Savikataaq speaks at a news conference in the legislative assembly on Friday, May 1, one day after the first case of COVID-19 was announced in the territory. As of May 7, Nunavut residents who left the territory voluntarily, except for medical travellers, will have to pay the cost of their 14-day isolation stays in one of four designated hotels, Savikataaq said. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

By Emma Tranter

As of May 7, all Nunavut residents wanting to return to the territory who left voluntarily must pay for their 14-day isolation stays in one of four designated hotels.

“Any Nunavut resident who voluntarily left the territory and wants to return will need to pay for their 14-day isolation stay,” Premier Joe Savikataaq said at a news conference on Friday, May 1.

Since March 23, any Nunavut residents out of the territory who wish to return must complete a 14-day isolation period in one of four designated hotels in Yellowknife, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

Up until now, the cost to stay in an isolation hub was fully covered by the Government of Nunavut. As of May 7, that stay will cost $2,100 for one person and $1,050 for each additional family member.

Those fees need to be paid in advance of staying in an isolation hub, Savikataaq said.

“We do not know when Nunavut’s travel restrictions will be loosened, so we cannot advise when isolation will no longer be mandatory. Anyone who chooses to leave Nunavut needs to be mindful of this,” he said.

Medical travellers will not have to pay for their isolation.

“Please remember that we have advised against any non-essential travel outside of the territory since mid-March,” Savikataaq said.

“Despite these recommendations from the chief public health officer, people are still leaving,” he said.

As of April 14, the GN had spent around $2 million on isolation hubs in the south for Nunavut residents returning to the territory.

Savikataaq said more details on the change will be provided soon.

Still one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nunavut

As of May 1, Nunavut has one confirmed case of COVID-19, in Pond Inlet.

Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, said the individual who tested positive is isolating and doing well.

“As the team completes additional testing, there is the possibility that more positive cases may be confirmed in the community. This does not necessarily mean there is community transmission and should not be a cause for alarm,” Patterson said.

“What it does mean is the rapid response team is doing their job, which is finding the virus and stopping it from spreading. Containment is key and right now it is our top priority.”

Yesterday, Patterson said around 20 people, all Pond Inlet residents, had been tested in connection with the positive case. Those tests were sent to Iqaluit and then sent to Ontario for secondary testing, which has not come back yet. Patterson said he did not know how many more people have been tested in connection with the Pond Inlet case.

So far, 13 of those tests have come back from the Iqaluit lab, and all have come back negative.

“Moving forward, I would like to remind all Nunavummiut in the strongest possible terms that in every single social interaction, there is a degree of risk, despite the Government of Nunavut’s preventative measures,” Patterson said.

“It is not possible to predict where or when COVID-19 may be detected next. I urge all Nunavummiut to exercise a high degree of caution and to seriously consider these risks before participating in a gathering of any kind.”

Patterson said if it is necessary to participate in a gathering, Nunavummiut should keep track of the people they interact with in case it is needed for contact tracing.

“Health staff cannot get us through this alone. How well we do and where we go from here depends on the actions of every single Nunavummiut. Right now the best way of slowing the spread of COVID-19 continues to be through social distancing and effective hygiene.”

If a new case is confirmed, it will be announced within 24 hours, Patterson said.

Savikataaq also urged Nunavummiut not to speculate about how the person got the virus or the circumstances around how the virus came into the community.

“If you are contributing to misinformation, or trying to place blame, please stop immediately,” he said.

“Not only do we have a community responsibility to keep one another safe with physical distancing and hand-washing and staying home, but we all have a duty to keep each other safe from bullying, rumours and lateral violence.”

Savikataaq said spreading false information and rumours is disrespectful to the health care workers and officials trying to help.

“Nunavummiut, let’s spread truth, good information and facts from the experts,” he said.

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(69) Comments:

  1. Posted by JUSTIN MERRITT on

    Would it make sense for the GN to give those isolated in the south a test for the virus the first day of isolation , and if they do not test positive sent them home in the next day or so, as they say they have a new quicker test that costs $149.00 , that plus a couple of nights hotel bill would be cheaper than the 14 day stay in the hotel on top of the stress this puts on families, something to evaluate at least .

    • Posted by Sue on

      Unfortunately it can take 14 days for symptoms to show that’s why the 14 day is the standard. Also you could b A symptomatic which means you wouldnt necessarily have the symptoms but you could be a carrier

      • Posted by Unfortunately on

        Actually it takes 5 days for symptoms to appear. However it does take time for the antoibodies that the tests look for to develop so, that is a problem with rapid testing.

        • Posted by Not the case on

          I’m not sure where you’re getting 5 days, and it’s really not a good idea to spread misinformation about covid-19.
          All medical journals say up to 14, and there have been people who have started to feel ill in day 13 of isolation.

          • Posted by Harvard Medical School on

            “The time from exposure to symptom onset (known as the incubation period) is thought to be three to 14 days, though symptoms typically appear within four or five days after exposure.”

    • Posted by Exactly what should be done, yes on

      This is a great idea, Justin. Much more efficient than these long, expensive and in most cases unnecessary stays in a hotel for two weeks. I wonder if the entire reason for the two week isolation is a way of compensating for a lack of testing. If you look at other countries, especially in Asia they have essentially kept their economies and countries going by widespread testing.
      That said I would not expect much from the GN on this, they are unlikely to do anything as innovative or sensible as this.
      Sue – if you are carrying the virus you will test positive regardless of symptoms or lack of symptoms, that’s a totally different issue.

  2. Posted by Jeff on

    GN put the prohibitive travel restrictions in place in first place & now they are piling further emotional & financial hardship onto Nunavummiut. A disappointing display of pandemic management & leadership.

    • Posted by Bonnie Osborne on

      I wonder what has prompted the GN to all of a sudden put the financial burden on “voluntary” travellers? What does that even mean? And where does it start? Does this apply to people trapped in the four designated Quarantine Centres waiting to come home? Or only to people who decided to leave after March 23rd for “what” reason? So vague. No wonder people are worried. I guess medical travel people are maybe financially okay, but in my experience even med travel you have to pay up front and submit medical claim after, and I hear there are long delays. So what prompted GN to say ‘your own dime’? Scary.

      • Posted by Answer is in the heading on

        Your answer is in the heading of the news article.

        • Posted by James on

          The answer being… May 7? News story details are vague. And the travel announcement came without forewarning. Reactionary decision.

    • Posted by Forceful isn’t a word associated with voluntarily on

      No one forces anyone to leave voluntarily. It’s your choice to leave so be ready to pay if you plan to leave.

  3. Posted by Ottawamiuta on

    To take the test it takes 6hrs to get the results.

  4. Posted by What?! on

    This is ridiculous, expecting people to pay for something the government is making you do! I agree spend the money on rapid tests. People sometimes have to travel, be it death in the family, sick pet because we have an ill fit vet.. and you are forcing people to isolate in a location YOU choose and pay not by room but by PERSON!? What?! That does not make any sense. I travel to Ottawa to have a baby.. my husband travels with me because he does not want to miss the birth of his first child. Medical travel will cover my cost but now my husband has to pay over 2K in airfare but over 2K in a mandatory isolation even though we are only using one room that would run what, almost 6k for 14 days?? CRIMINAL

    • Posted by Most can deliver locally on

      Most people can deliver locally. You’d get a escort if you actually were referred to Ottawa, so there’d be no cost.
      It sounds like you are electing to go to Ottawa and are griping about now needing to pay for your escort.

      • Posted by WhatCommunities? on

        What communities are you talking about that has the medical resources to deliver babies? A pregnant woman has the right to deliver safely in a hospital with the necessary medical resources if she chooses to. You can’t force women to have a home birth.

        • Posted by Seriously? on

          There’s a hospital in Iqaluit that delivers hundreds of babies a year. No one needs to go to Ottawa to have a baby in the Baffin region.

  5. Posted by okay on

    Is this even legal? it was okay when the government was wasting its money but to ask a citizen to waste his/her money does not make any sense. People should go to their homes and then isolate.

  6. Posted by Annie on

    When I read this story I started having an anxiety attack. Seriously. I’m feeling calmer now. Talked with a friend. I guess myself & other Nunavummiut can’t go home. Extra $2100 I can’t afford.

  7. Posted by Andy on

    As much as I agree to charge people who voluntary left, I don’t understand why I have to pay an additional $1050.00 if the second person is in the same room. $2100 divided by 14 days = $150.

    • Posted by Exactly on

      Exactly what I was thinking. I think they are doing it intentionally to discourage people. Likely hoping that if people have to pay for themselves, including the added charge for families and couples, that it will be prohibitive for people to leave the territory.

      • Posted by Here now on

        Part of it is probably to cover the additional meals. I’m here now and 3 meals a day are provided, plus laundry & some other services.

  8. Posted by Paul on

    I know people don’t care about the “transient” teacher population but these people travel south to be with family they are not with for 10 months and making it financially hard to go down or making people stay against their will causes stress that is not needed. It is hard enough to get staff, can’t imagine this will help with retention

    • Posted by Teacher guy on

      I’m going to avoid leaving for the south this summer and the restrictions will be lifted by August, I know it. It’s going to be a long year for my Mom.

      • Posted by Teacher on

        My mom cried on the phone today when I told her I wouldn’t see her or my dad this year because of this. With the cost of return flights as well. This was my first year in the North and I love it here but I really wanted to see my parents and siblings this summer.

      • Posted by Byebyeteachers on

        Teachers and other GN workers are exactly who they are targeting with this. If the territory forces the choose of forcing people to never leave the territory, having a huge financial burden to return to work, or to find employment elsewhere, what do you think they will choose? There won’t be school next year and it won’t be because of coved 19, it will be because the schools won’t have enough to open.

        • Posted by Teacher guy on

          As many other jurisdictions in Canada find themselves short of teachers Nunavut’s advantage will shrink more and more. It’s going to become harder to keep talent here and the rest of us are going to have to pick up more and more slack.

          • Posted by New Normal on

            It has been like that for a number of years. The GN still thinks like it was ten years ago when it was a hirer’s market. And this talk of the ‘high’ salaries shows a lack of understanding of that market.

            You can make substantially more in Alberta than you can in Nunavut.

            Many provinces are going to have to radically increase hiring with all the talk of the ‘new normal’ of greatly reduced class sizes.

            Nunavut has not been well-positioned to compete for some time, and its position just got a whole lot worse.

    • Posted by James Robert on

      Teachers who gave not seen their families in 10 months will likely go home to spend the summer with their families. Charging them thousands especially those with families is not a great way to help with retention or to attract bew teachers. There was something like 60 positions not staffed in Nunavut this year. How many for 2020-2021? A number of returning teachers who are faced with this mat well explore job opportunities that do not involve this huge expense on top of expensive airfares. Bad, short sighted decision. Smacks of patback for allowing teachers to apply for and be allowed to wirk from their southern homes.

  9. Posted by Doesn’t Make Sense on

    It doesn’t make sense to charge an additional $1000 plus for another family member. This ends up being more expensive than someone just renting their own hotel to stay. If someone wants to stay with their family member in the same room it should not be an additional charge. Hotels do not charge per head anyways.

    What happens if someone is down south and is on a provincially mandated quarantine because they came in contact with someone who was later diagnosed, they wouldn’t be able to meet this May 7 deadline. This is very poorly thought out. As usual the GN makes decisions without fully considering unique situations that people might be in. If I were down south I would just come back once the restrictions are removed. That’s crazy.

  10. Posted by Totally Makes Sense on

    This totally makes a lot of sense! Non-essential travel is banned across the country and the world for that matter. Why should the Govt pay your food and accommodations if you decide to travel for non-essential reasons? This is like a free vacation when you want a change of scenery. This actually makes a lot more sense than the decision taken with the teachers.

    • Posted by Teacher guy on

      I’m concerned for our capacity to provide content and support to students next year. People are talking about leaving. People with damp ink on brand new contracts are wondering if it might be time to go elsewhere.

    • Posted by Bonnie Osborne on

      Agree this makes sense to prevent anyone leaving the Territory, but I recall an Order that said if you could prove you self isolated for 14 days, anywhere OR designated hotel, you could come home. What is not clear is if people who were out voluntarily after March 23 and are in quarantine/isolation now in one of the GN Quarantine hotels will have to pay out of pocket starting today. That could put people on the streets. Looking for clarity and if it is in the article and I missed it, please point it out.

  11. Posted by Sam on

    You want people to leave the territory and not come back, this is how to do it! It’s just asking to give people additional financial hardship not to mention the panic attacks and emotions people will be feeling. Trapped in an already isolated location with nothing open and no roads to even go on a day trip unless you have a cabin.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      If you feel trapped here then its time to leave. I applaud the GN’s decision. If folks want to cut and run fine and dandy, but expect to pay to come back.

      • Posted by Teacher guy on

        I think I might agree with you unfortunately. If that ends up being the case I will be sad to leave.

    • Posted by Teacher guy on

      I know of one coworker who almost certainly won’t be returning and three or more in the city as of today are wondering if it may be time to leave the territory for good. As much as striking every other election cycle would suck, we would be working remotely in the south right now. Regardless of any need for photocopies.

  12. Posted by N on

    Unconstitutional and ineffective. Leading studies show most people are asymptomatic so a 14-isolation at best would only catch on quarter to half of those with Covid. Point of care rapid testing of all travellers, critical and non-critical, is the only solution. Write the CPHO but more importantly write your MP because the reason there are not enough rapid point of care tests available in Canada is because Health Canada is dragging their feet on approving these tests, many of which come from South Korea who has lead the world in containment through widespread rapid testing.

    • Posted by KoolibE on

      How in the world is this unconstitutional?

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        Canadians have a charter right to mobility within Canada. Whether this supersedes the right for provinces/territories to restrict entry during an emergency would be something for the SCC to decide.
        Somehow I don’t think that the SCC would take up the case until this is all over, if then.

        • Posted by KoolibE on

          I’m aware of mobility rights, but this is not saying you can’t come home or that your right to enter is prohibited.
          Still, for the sake of the point, Part 1 Section 1 of the Charter states that rights may be restricted “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified.”
          Wouldn’t you say that these conditions can be “reasonably justified” at this time?

          • Posted by The Old Trapper on

            Precisely my point, there are circumstances which could limit your mobility rights, and being infected with a virulent virus, with no vaccine, and no therapeutics would certainly be one of those circumstances in my humble opinion.
            Which then begs the question, what if you are not infected? Should you not then be permitted to travel? Now who decides if you are infected, and how. The incubation period for the virus seems to vary, as do symptoms, if any.
            Is the 14 day quarantine before travel an acceptable application of the law? If so, who is responsible, and how is the quarantine carried out.
            For the record I agree with the quarantine, and I agree that for voluntary travel the travelers should pay for their quarantine. Obviously some tweaking is needed, such as more than one family member in a room, births, deaths, family members as escorts for cancer treatments, heart attacks, etc.
            It will be quite a mess to administer, and some people will try to cheat in quarantine. What happens when you get caught?
            This is going to be a mess, but it is better than the alternative which is Covid-19 killing most of the people 60 and older in every community.

  13. Posted by Concerned on

    Why can’t returning people just isolate when they get back same as in every other province and territory. Southern Isolation is a farce anyway. They take you from hotel into airport where most of the group goes to Tim’s and then they put you on a plane with people traveling to Nunavut that have not been in isolation!

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Because many don’t self isolate when they reach their home communities and once they are there, everyone they come into contact with has the potential to become sick.

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      Also Nunavut doesn’t have the resources to track, test, or provide medical services should this spread in a community, or communities.
      That’s why you have a 14 day isolation down south, and a rapid response team in Pond Inlet right now. The one outbreak has to be isolated and stopped or all hell will break loose. It will be like the senior care homes in Quebec and Ontario. Many senior will die.

  14. Posted by Arnie on

    What happens if you left Nunavut in March, the pandemic stuff blew up, travel restrictions put into place, and you want to return home soon. Who has to pay quarantine hotel costs – GN or traveler?

  15. Posted by rock on

    They need to provide a variety of options. There have been issues with the food provided: unusual foods, etc. If people are being forced to pay for their own quarantine take off the cost of meals and let people actually order food that’s palatable & less expensive.

  16. Posted by Raven on

    Everytime it seems the priemer has finished mismanaging the territory, he makes a new announcement reminding us he’s not finished.

  17. Posted by Name withheld on

    What the Premier is saying, although they put the restrictions, ppl are still traveling and he doesn’t mean for medical . So those will be affected by this.

    It’s not only those coming back to Nunavut that should be in self isolation, it’s also the pilots, you see they aren’t following the self distancing and shouldn’t be allowed to leave the terminal, But they are

    • Posted by KoolibE on

      They probably shouldn’t be let off the plane at all.

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        Pilots must do a walk around of the aircraft before each departure. Mandatory safety rule. They must also check that fuel hatches have been closed and locked.
        In many cases pilots will visit the weather office to view the latest weather information and maps or to obtain an in person weather briefing.
        I can tell you that a pilot is more aware of this virus than most people. My brother was a pilot flying internationally and he had vaccinations for diseases that I couldn’t even pronounce. As a pilot you don’t fly if you are sick.

  18. Posted by tultuborel on

    We need better and faster testing. Maintain our 6 foot distancing and very good hand washing. All travelers of course wearing masks during travel and after.
    All travelers should test (negative) before flying to Nunavut and further testing done upon arrivial during a 14 day local isolation. With proper fast testing any outbreaks should be able to be contained and contact tracing not so difficult. For many people this may work. For some whom can not local isolate due to crowded housing perhaps they will need to stay in the southern hotels. Everyone’s situation is different and a isolation plan could be drawn up before returning to Nunavut. (same as people returning to Canada from elsewhere, no plan then the government makes one for you).
    Lastly there needs to be an end date.

  19. Posted by Bingo on

    Yeah but there’s Bingo now

  20. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    This particular GN policy is interesting and I think probably legal, but I doubt that it will be tested. It would need to be decided at the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) and you can get that a group of rich 60 NDP 70 year olds is not going to be meeting in face with a bunch of lawyers and members of the public. Now they could probably have virtual hearings, but it’s much easier to take a pass on this and hope that it blows over.
    The issue as I wrote above is that Canadians have charter rights to mobility to travel and work anywhere in Canada. Now a lot of provinces have enacted emergency measures restricting entry to citizens of that province and requiring a 14 day quarantine for anyone entering the province.
    The reason why the GN requires a quarantine in the south is for a few reasons. First, people don’t actually observe the quarantine. Sure 90 to 95% do, but it’s the other 5 to 10% that would spread the virus. Just check returning snowbirds from Florida and there’s lots of cases of people stopping for groceries on the way home. Even oversea travellers arriving by air, 5 to 10% think that they are special and the rules don’t apply to them.
    Next reason, the GN is now subsidizing the airlines and the GN controls who goes on the flight. There is no more “scheduled” flights open to the public.
    The most important reason is that a Covid-19 outbreak could in just a few days infect everyone in a community, and if there is any inter community travel all of a sudden 2 or 3 communities could be infected. This would overwhelm Nunavut’s health system and it’s likely that the armed forces would need to be mobilized for assistance, and evacuation of seniors with the virus.
    I have no doubt that the CPHO know what the worst case scenario is, and I imagine that he has lost considerable sleep over this issue. I don’t think that the Premier and other Ministers, MLAs, and most officials can imagine how bad this could become.
    Think of the standard zombie movie. Yes it could be that bad.
    Now the good things is the GN can modify the terms of the quarantine. They are making it the responsibility of the individual to pay because it is a voluntary decision to travel, and the GN only has so much money.
    I feel for the lady that is about to give birth. Yes it would be nice to have your husband by your side. But he is not giving birth, all he can do is hold your hand. It’s a PANDEMIC, and the GN has no obligation to pay for your husband’s quarantine. Be glad that they are willing to pay for you to travel, hospital stay, and your quarantine. Many people in this world are not as privileged.

    • Posted by tuktuvuk on

      Dam Zombies and no semi autos to protect our selves now.
      It is not going to end well.

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        IIRC you need head shots to actually “kill” a zombie, luckily I do have a chain saw, and 10 litres of mixed gas. Plus an axe. Plus sharp kitchen knives. Good for close in protection. Also an old motocross helmet, makes it difficult for the zombies to eat your brains!
        I’m hoping for a better outcome than in the movies, especially where it’s only the hero and heroine who survive in a post apocalyptic world.
        Let’s all hope that this outbreak is contained and that a vaccine is developed faster than expected.

  21. Posted by Concerned on

    I don’t understand the logistics of this. What about from the hotel to the airport? Who takes us there? Is that person also self-isolating in the same hotel? If I contract COVID on the planes, do I get a refund? What about when I take my dog outside for exercise and to use the bathroom? Can I even bring my dog? Why not test us instead? What happens if I need to go to the hospital does the quarantine start over again? Do I pay more in that case? I have to pick my dog up in Iqaluit to transfer to a smaller community plane. At which time, I’ll be surrounded by people at the baggage claim. How can they be sure I won’t contract it then?

  22. Posted by Is it all worth it on

    To be away from one’s family for months at a time is challenging and is true of may GN employees. Teaching in smaller Nunavut communities has been enjoyable and rewarding. There are also many hard realities to contend with. In any given year, it could waves of students exposed to domestic violence, assaults, neglect & abuse. Hungry children who have been up and out of the house most of the night because it isn’t safe. Some years are worse than others. Much neglect too. There is a whole lot of drinking and drug use in recent years. The impacts of all of this find its way into the school –how could it not. The amount of abuse I’ve had to report in the last 2 years is stunning– heart breaking. Add in suicides and an increased number of people struggling with the aftermaths of that along with others dealing with their own ideation. Aggressive behaviour has increased around the school and in classrooms. This year has been no exception. Inadequate or totally absent social workers and mental health nurses has meant that schools & teachers are left picking up the slack for other GN departments.

    Much time is spent trying to meet basic needs of children– learning isn’t the priority in these moments. As someone supporting students in these situations, it is mentally & physically exhausting and traumatizing in other ways. Somewhere in amongst all of these factors, some teaching and learning does manage to occur.

    Often the only thing that keeps teachers going for months on end, is that the light at the end of the tunnel: summer break– a chance to be away form the community, decompress, spend time with family & recharge for another challenging school year (lots of us start to miss our students while away). The GN, the Department of Education and the NTA are seriously out of touch with the realities that Nunavut teachers face: be they Inuit or not. (Yes, I am a teacher, and I did not leave. I have been in my school daily preparing learning packages, which I see scattered about the roads when walking through town).
    Restrictions are being relaxed for a number of provinces as the spring moves on. Protective measures will still all be in place, and I hope that everyone will be wearing masks –we will still engaging in frequent hand washing and 2 metre distancing.
    To impose a financial hardship for individuals and families who need a break and a chance to be with family is outrageous.
    How does the GN expect to retain employees.?
    The impacts of isolation because of $2000.00 and up quarantine fees: trapping people will effect their mental health. The GN needs to smarten up.
    Testing machines in the 4 main hubs the fly into NU, and perhaps 2-3 days quarantine in a hotel while 1 and perhaps a 2nd test are done, which would then clear someone to fly. Far less expensive for travellers and the GN. Far less of a waste of everyone’s time too.
    Honestly, I’m done with all the BS of this government– years of it. Looking forward to seeing how hiring for teachers goes this spring & summer: the position & comments of the Minister for the Department of Education over the last 6 weeks, the racism and hostility towards school employees returning to communities has been stunning.
    I will be strongly recommending that no on come to this territory to work, for any department.

    • Posted by Thank you for your efforts! Teachers, and Front Line workers on

      To all NU Teachers, and all of the Front-line workers -thank you for all of your commitment , efforts and extra work above and beyond!

      I specifically mention teachers as none of you deserve the negative comments that I have unfortunately seen in recent weeks; it is all too quickly forgotten how much teachers contribute to every community ; I know because I spent my career in education in NU and am saddened to see how the abuse of teachers (at least in media related commentary) is increasing.

      Unfortunately this also applies to health care workers as we’ll…

      I hope that this current ‘policy’ is being misinterpreted and/or can be modified come August as all Nunavummiut deserve the right to a change scenery, a reprieve….if they so choose.

      Old Trapper usually has good commentary and wise thoughts and I hope that he/she’s counsel is considered by the Sr bureaucrats/MLA’s. Earlier comments suggested a regular column for Old Trapper…could be a good thing….

      NU needs strong, dedicated employees: teachers, health care and every other department; not all will be from NU at least not for a few more decades…so GN …treat everyone well.

      To all of the trolls, who seem to thrive on ‘bashing’ other peoples honest efforts…go back under the bridge.

      Take care everyone , stop the blame game, work together and stay safe!

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      To “Is It All Worth It”, thank you for your heartfelt comments. It is heartbreaking reading your comments, even of your daily teaching experiences before Covid-19. Not being in the profession I sometimes forget that you would be a mandatory reporter when it comes to the effects of violence or abuse you see, possibly on a daily basis. No child deserves that and I salute you for what you do day in and day out.
      You raise a number of good points. Covid-19 will be with us for years, and until a vaccine and therapeutic drugs are developed Nunavut will remain basically defenseless and at a much greater risk that other parts of Canada. (I can’t believe that Quebec is about to reopen elementary schools – fools!)
      Your idea to isolate in the north is a good one but it does need one item and that is accurate and rapid testing. The idea would probably work well in another month or two once better testing is in place and the incidence of Covid-19 has dropped in the major southern provinces.
      Once that is in place the GN should move to a scenario where they can test once at a southern hotel, probably overnight. Many returnees would have a one night hotel stay regardless so not a whole lot of expense there.
      Once cleared fly to your Nunavut hub. Mandatory 3 – 4 day quarantine at a northern hotel with rapid testing daily. After 4 days you could be cleared. The GN can pay for the hotel and meals as it keeps the money in Nunavut and aids employment. Overall much less expensive and it would allow the Nunavut economy to restart.
      While it’s true that it may take 10 days for symptoms to appear a 5 day period should catch most cases of infection. At the start maybe combine this with a 5 day at home quarantine after being cleared from the Nunavut hotel for anyone traveling on to a community once they arrive from the Nunavut hub.
      There is always going to be a trade off between cost and safety but safety when you are talking about your life (and mine) becomes of upmost importance.

      To DL, thank you for your kind words. I do hope that some officials are reading everyone’s comments. There are many of you that have put a lot of time and thought into how we can all get through this. No one person has all the answers, it’s going to be a group effort

    • Posted by Is it all worth it – part 2 on

      Your comments are appreciated (to the 2 who commented above).

      So the GN has advised against ‘non-essential’ travel since March. (sort of scared to type this: the GN is likely to decide on a complete travel ban).

      →They have now shifted to: you will be ***financially penalized*** if you do travel.
      There are definite undertones of spitefulness and mean-spiritedness in all of this.

      This, coincidently fits right in with the backlash returning educators have been slammed with for weeks. All returning Nunavut residents undergo the same 14 day supervised quarantined and are medically assessed throughout that time and before being given documentation to board a flight, yet ‘southern teachers’ are far more “dangerous” than other people coming back north for other reasons. The attitudes and comments are shameful and embarrassing for the territory as a whole.
      What if being able to leave NU after working for 5-6 month since travel would be beneficial for our mental health? No way to get medical documentation to support this in many community locations because there is no mental health nurse or doctor.
      What if not being able to leave, rest, & recharge and visit with family in the south was actually detrimental to our mental health? The GN doesn’t give a _________ (fill in with the word of your choice) about the health of its employees –especially their mental health. A few phone sessions with EAP doesn’t even begin to address what is going on (because I know the GN will try to tout its EAP program –which is completely swamped right now: has been and will continue to be). Turning back to education for a moment: how are educators going to support the students, especially their mental health through the next school year when, they themselves, are not rested and physically recharged because they are trapped & isolated up north: it’s not like any of our family member scan afford to visits us either- and also #1 they aren’t Nunavut residents so are banned and #2 they face paying for 2 weeks in quarantine.
      Time for more photocopying.

  23. Posted by Okay on

    Is every pilot and flight attendant doing the same 14 day quarantine before traveling to Nunavut?

    • Posted by Name Withheld on

      Sorry to say no they are no in isolation before travelling to Nunavut, and they surely do not follow the 2 meter distancing when they go to the counter.

  24. Posted by New beginning on

    How about new Nunavut residents willing to move in their recently purchased property (job opportunity) ? They never left NU…

  25. Posted by same old keyboard warriors on

    Overall the GN is doing what it can and doing a great job for all residents. Look around the world keyboard warriors and you will see for yourself poor ole Nunavut is not doing that bad after all 😉

    Keep up the great work Mr. Premier, CMO, and all of your team !!! 😉

  26. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    These are very difficult times. As Canadians we are not used to being told what to do, where we can go, when etc…It has made many of us grumpy and miserable but we need to accept the measures the experts are telling us are necessary to keep this virus at bay or toss them out the window and watch the numbers soar like in the states. Along with that accepting that many more will die especially infants, elders and those with underlying health conditions. I think we are going to lose even more teachers and other southern hired GN employees this year and it is going to be extremely difficult hiring new people. Some will think that is okay but the fact of the matter is we still need those teachers and other employees from the south until we have enough qualified Inuit to do those jobs. It ‘s already so very difficult hiring good people so everybody should get ready for a lot of vacancies this fall.

  27. Posted by An important question on

    Why was this announcement about travellers having to pay $2000.00 (or more if they have a family) not made *prior* to the resignation deadlines for a significant chunk of QSO’s teacher population? (sorry, not sure of resignation deadlines for the other 2 RSOs)
    This change didn’t suddenly materialize . . it was in the works for awhile.
    (yes, some dates were for earlier in April, but 9 schools had a resignation day of April 27th). I smell a rat.

    Let’s go Nunatsiaq News reporters: the Premier’s Monday press-conference is in just over an hour: please throw this question out there and push for an answer.

  28. Posted by Shawn on

    I don’t agree with the government on the decision for us to pay for isolation. Why not let us isolated at home we have to pay enough now just to get here . Bs us poor people that live here spend all are money to live . Let the government employees pay there own isolation all ever mlas etc . No break for the people that live here and have there own house. Just f$$k them

  29. Posted by Financially held hostage by the GN on

    There are many enjoyable things about teaching in Nunavut. There are some significant challenges too. The plan had been to reach a decade in Nunavut—I can’t imagine 3 more years of this crap—the Department of Education, but the whole of the GN now. There are a multitude of reasons, many additional ones which have been playing out since mid March. I can’t handle all the BS –next school year will be the last—hopefully we will survive it.

    The school year had already been hard and stressful (there were some scary things too)—the community has been struggling, the kids are paying a big price for it all and as school staff, we are burnt out trying to look after the kids. Then the COVID closures and everything that has come with that (that needed to happen).
    I’m worried about the kids. We see them when they come to collect work at the school or sometimes walking on the roads, while many are suntanned, a lot seem to be in rough shape. I’m worried about our nurses and RCMP officers who are run off their feet. And COVID isn’t here yet.

    Read the GN daily email update this evening & something caught my attention—the pay for your own quarantine part (heard about that last week). [Side note: the extra $1000.00 per person in the hotel room is a money making scheme by the government]
    Then decided to watch the video from the press conference today. A reporter from another news agency asked the premier a question regarding school staff. He commented on the number of vacancies at the start of this current school year: over 50 teaching positions. The reporter stated that he’s heard from a number of teachers that won’t be returning for the next school year because of the expense of the quarantine stay. The reporter added that there are still roughly 60 educators still out of the territory.
    The premier was then asked if he was not worried about having enough teachers for the next school year. The premier commented that: the Department of Education is always looking to recruit teachers . . . that September is a couple of months away . . . Ontario laid off teachers earlier in the year . . . perhaps they will come.
    The smirk on the premier’s face when he answered the reporter’s question was very telling – Joe, neither you or the government value teachers or the contributions they make to their schools & communities: you take them for granted. They are disposable.

    Those GN employees who left in March with school closures get their quarantine covered, but those people who stayed and are working and finishing up the school year are penalized when it comes to them leaving the territory (the credit for this point belongs to someone else from a message thread, it is not mine, but is a great point).
    Meanwhile the GN holds everyone else hostage financially. People need to be able to spend time with their families in the south—have a vacation. Working with kids is stressful & exhausting. It is not unreasonable that people should want & need a break from things. The mental health fallout is going to be huge. I predict high numbers of teachers (and other GN employees) ending up on stress leave.

    My advice to any teachers thinking about coming to Nunavut: stay away from this territory.
    It is not worth it.
    Look to other provinces. Heck, go to the NWT: salaries are better, and you won’t have to deal with a department of education that has an increasingly poor relationship with teachers.
    The Nunavut Department of Education takes all of its teachers for granted. Look how many Inuit leave the teaching profession with in the first 5 years.
    Social issues create extreme teaching challenges: students and teachers are hugely under supported by the Department of Education.
    I’m not even sure why we have a teacher’s union — what do you actually get for your union dues? Many teachers have been scratching their heads about that for the last few years.
    There is some weird _____ going on in 2 RSO –the one only has ½ of its superintendents.

    Hostile, racist & xenophobic attitudes and comments coming from communities across the territory regarding southern teachers & nurses. It’s always been around, but the true colours of this territory have played out for all to see over the last 7 weeks.

    Nunavut & the GN have cost themselves educators & other employees who wanted to remain here long-term and were invested in communities.

  30. Posted by Anne Crawford on

    This decision seems to turn on the idea that the time of travellers is worth nothing.

    Travellers are contributing 2 weeks of their lives to support and ensure COVID-19 security for the territory.

    The 2 million that the Quarantine has cost so far is a huge saving over the medical costs we would face if we had COVID 19 in our territory.

    The GN is also going to have an amazing budget surplus from all the travel and meetings that have not been held. A tiny fraction of that can be invested in supporting and recognizing the contribution these travellers are making to our common continued good health.

    When we choose to restrict someone’s rights – like the right to travel freely in Canada, for a valid reason – like COVID 19, it is the obligation of government to do so in the LEAST RESTRICTIVE WAY POSSIBLE.
    Now we have chosen to impose a cost which will keep our own residents in the South? And based on rules imposed AFTER they left. What value do we achieve by keeping these Nunavummiut away from their homes and families?

    We are asking a great deal of travellers to invest two weeks in very confined spaces in order to RETURN HOME. It is for the common good that we impose this quarantine, and the common purse should take responsibly for the cost.

    I understand how non-residents can be asked to pay. I simply do not see how our government can justify imposing this expense on Nunavummiut, and at the same time ask those same people to contribute, without compensation, two weeks of their life to our common welfare.

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