Yellowknife Centre Newsletter
Returning Students and COVID-19
Post-secondary students returning to the NWT have a COVID-19 assignment due.

All returning students must submit a Resident Self-Isolation Plan prior to their return and self-isolate when they arrive. In their isolation plan, students can say if they need accommodation in an isolation centre. Isolation centres are available free-of-charge to all returning students and their dependents. Students returning to Yellowknife or the regional hubs may be able to isolate in their own accommodation, provided it has its own entrance, kitchen and bathroom, or in the family home if all members isolate together.

Adult NWT students are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine after their self-isolation is complete. In Yellowknife, book online or by calling 767-9120.

Students who do not return to the NWT for the summer are unlikely to qualify to get the COVID-19 vaccine in another province or territory where they are not a resident.
The GNWT encourages all eligible NWT residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities against COVID-19. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get the disease.

New Ministerial Special Advisor

Elizabeth King, formerly of the Covid 19 Secretariat, is my Ministerial Special Advisor (MSA).

Elizabeth (Liz) most recently worked as the Manager of Data Reporting and Evaluation for the Covid-19 Coordinating Secretariat. She has her MBA from Concordia University, is an active volunteer with YWCA NWT, St. John’s Ambulance, and is an avid curler.
Elizabeth joins my other team members Sophie Hatto (MSA) and Ramie Ireland (Executive Administrative Coordinator) in keeping my office running smoothly.
Co-operative Budget Process 
The effort to create an operations and maintenance budget for the GNWT is a year-long undertaking.

This year it ended more amicably than any other year since I’ve been in the Legislative Assembly, with everyone voting in favour of it. This is a change from other years where there has been opposition right to the end, and the previous government had to “make three friends” among the regular MLAs to pass the budget.

The difference this year is that the Minister of Finance made friends of all regular members. They suggested where cuts could be made (departmental discretionary travel budgets) and where they would like that $4 million to be spent.

The result is not only a pleasant and productive end to the budget negotiation process but also some good additions to the budget, most of which will be realized later this year.

There’s additional money for midwifery, addictions and recovery after-care, the anti-poverty fund and more (see the whole list at this link.)

As spending begins of the $2.124 billion budget, planning resumes for 2022-23.
Reconstruction work on the site of the old JH Sissons School. Since its completion in 1975, the school has had no major renovations and was in need of replacement.  Structural steel is going up and the fill cleared to pour the building foundation directly to bedrock. Projected completion date for the new school is August 2022.
Persons with Disabilities Accessibility and Inclusion Awards 
Each year during the Federal Government’s National Accessibility week in May/June, the GNWT collaborates with the NWT Disability Council to organize the Persons with Disabilities Accessibility and Inclusion Awards Ceremony. 

This event provides an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding volunteers, community members and businesses who strive to make the NWT more inclusive and accessible for persons with disabilities.

Due to COVID-19 and current public health measures, the event will be virtual and consist of a video launch to highlight and honour the contributions of the award recipients.

Residents are encouraged to nominate an individual, group or business in one of the three award categories. The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 30, 2021.

When vaccination rates go up,
Restrictions go down
Yellowknifers have responded to the call to get vaccinated against COVID 19.

As of April 8, 65 per cent of residents had received their first shot and 34 per cent had their second. Vaccine uptake is highest among those who are oldest, and almost twice as high among women than men. All of the vaccine statistics will soon be available on a public dashboard on the GNWT’s COVID 19 page.

During the winter, the CPHO set 75 per cent as the threshold of vaccination which would offer community-wide protection. We have more work to do to get there. The NTHSSA is offering ongoing appointments for vaccines (book online here).

Residents can also walk in to the Centre Square Mall clinic between 11 am and 3 pm daily. (NOTE the clinic is closed all day Tuesday and Sunday). There are also plans for pop up clinics. If you don’t already have your vaccine, please make the effort and ask your friends and family to get vaccinated as well. This is truly the case of “stronger together.”

The CPHO has been reviewing and revising the Emerging Wisely plan. Dr. Kami Kandola has said that as vaccination rates go up, restrictions on gathering sizes outside and inside will go down. Border restrictions are likely to stay in place until the case numbers in the south go down. The new Emerging Wisely plan is scheduled to be released April 30.
Yellowknife MLAs contributed $3,500 to the Snow Buddy's Winter Garden in this year of COVID-reduced operations.

I joined the the big buddy Tony Foliot on a frosty day for a reading from his latest book of poetry, Liar, Liar, Versifier.

All Hail the King!
May 25 Constituency Meeting
The spring session of the Legislative Assembly runs May 27 to June 4. I’ll be holding a constituency meeting Tuesday May 25 at 7 PM via Facebook Live at

Join me to share your ideas and concerns.

Yellowknife Centre constituents will also receive a printed newsletter by doorstep delivery or mail prior to the spring session. My annual printed newsletter will recap the year of the pandemic, and look ahead at the issues of the coming year.