Canadians get hefty fines for breaking public health orders in Northwest Territories

A member of the task force enforcing COVID-19-related rules is seen at the roadside in April. The N.W.T has issued six fines since June 25 for violations against the territory’s public health orders. (Katie Toth/CBC)
The Northwest Territories government has issued six fines in recent weeks to people who violated self-isolation and travel restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And the fines are hefty.

All six people who broke the government’s public health orders were ticketed $1,725.

The first violation dates back to June 25, when a non-N.W.T. resident failed to self-isolate in a designated “isolation hub,” according to a news release the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer issued Wednesday evening.

Another non-N.W.T. resident was fined for travelling within the territory on July 3 without an exemption to the travel prohibition. That person entered on foot at an unauthorized entry point, the news release states.

Four N.W.T. residents were then ticketed for violations between July 6-13 for a variety of reasons, including failing to self-isolate or submit self-isolation plans. One person travelled between Alberta and the N.W.T. multiple times and was given several warnings before eventually being fined, according to the news release.

Seven fines up to date

Three of the fines were handed out in the Dehcho region, two were in the South Slave region and one was in the North Slave.

In total, the territorial government has handed out seven fines since the pandemic began. Health authorities levied the first on an Alberta resident on June 10, when they failed to stop at a checkpoint on Highway 1.

A chart provided by the Health Department shows authorities have received more than 1,700 calls and emails about compliance and enforcement of the health orders. They’ve issued 151 warnings to people about the rules.

The government says 1,189 people are currently self-isolating in the territory.

Travel from outside the N.W.T. remains the territory’s highest risk for reintroducing the virus into communities, the news release states.

Officials are reminding residents that public health orders were put in place to protect residents, and that it is important to continue practising physical distancing, wearing non-medical masks and being cautious indoors.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Some hotels in northwestern Canada still willing to book U.S. travellers, despite restrictions, CBC News

Finland: Russian tourists eager to book holidays in Finland despite border closure, Yle News

Greenland: Greenland extends COVID-19 entry requirements until July 20, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland revises COVID-19 border screening rules for citizens, residents, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norwegian Arctic wilderness tourism hit particularly hard by coronavirus, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: The city that builds Russia’s nuclear submarines now has more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s top epidemiologist admits he got COVID-19 strategy wrong, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska Highway travellers might be in for rough ride this summer, CBC News

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