Navigating the NWT COVID-19 Public Health Orders: A Guide for Exploration Companies

Navigating the NWT COVID-19 Public Health Orders:
A Guide for Exploration Companies


The Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) of the Northwest Territories (NWT) has issued public health orders that restrict travel within the NWT by individuals that originate from across any inter-jurisdictional border. The COVID 19 Travel Restrictions and Self-Isolation Protocol order provides exceptions for transient workers in the mineral and petroleum resources industry who work at remote camps. The COVID 19 Directed at Mineral and Petroleum Industry order sets out further conditions for these transient workers, including specific requirements to help protect workers from potential COVID-19 transmission. The following information will help exploration companies navigate the NWT public health orders as they develop and implement their work plans and risk reduction measures.

Dedicated Email Address – The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is assisting the Office of the CPHO in advising and communicating with mineral exploration companies that intend to access their NWT work sites. Company personnel should use the email address when contacting the Office of the CPHO.

Public Health Orders – Understand how exploration projects are affected by the current public health orders, especially:

Public Health Order – COVID-19 Directed at Mineral and Petroleum Industry

Public Health Order – COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Self-Isolation Protocol

Social Distancing – Prior to entering the NWT, all transient workers in the mineral and petroleum resources industry must complete fourteen days of social distancing in accordance with the social distancing protocols established by the Chief Public Health Officer.

Travel to the Northwest Territories – Upon arrival in the NWT, please identify yourself as a transient worker in the mineral or petroleum resources industry and be prepared to produce documentation that confirms this and outlines your NWT plans. This could include company identification, project plans, and transportation details. The Documentation section below provides additional information. If you have questions, please contact

Workplace Safety & Compensation Commission (WSCC) – Under the direction provided by the CPHO, employers must have an Exposure Control Plan in place before work begins. This plan includes the completion of risk assessment forms that are available from the Exposure Control Plan website. Exploration and development companies may contact the WSCC for aid in preparing their Exposure Control Plan or for plan review and guidance.

  • The employer or worksite supervisor must complete the COVID-19 Risk Assessment and Worksite Precautions for the whole worksite.
  • Workers need to complete the COVID‐19 Work Hazard Assessment depending on their role or task list.

Travel to Camp – Workers are required to travel as quickly as possible to their remote exploration camp. If a brief (for example, less than 12 hours) overnight or in-transit stay in a hub community (Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River, or Fort Smith) is required, reduce time spent interfacing with NWT residents, keep two metres of distance and wear a mask or facial covering, and if you feel sick, immediately self-isolate and call a health care provider. These precautions are important for workers to follow in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 introduction to a community. Additional information on social distancing can be found here.

Please make all arrangements for supplies or equipment prior to travel to the remote work camp. While travelling by air, you are required to wear a mask or facial covering. If materials are being flown into camp, the flight should land and be offloaded by the aircraft crew without contact with those at the work site. Once the aircraft leaves, camp workers can then access the materials.

Documentation – Transient workers must carry paperwork with them that demonstrates employment and travel plans to their remote work camp. This could include employment ID, project plans, and charter flight information. It is recommended that all relevant paperwork be carried when entering the NWT, including the Daily Self-Monitoring Form for Camp Workers (see Social Distancing section above).

Mining Incentive Program (MIP) – Applicants to the MIP should read the program update released on May 12, 2020. Some COVID-related documents were required at the time of application. Submission of CPHO approved workplans is no longer required, however successful MIP applicants must comply with the current public health orders and guidance issued by the CPHO. Projects that fail to demonstrate health order compliance will become ineligible for MIP funding.

Workers Travelling to Nunavut

For workers travelling to exploration camps in Nunavut who are planning to transit through the Northwest Territories, please contact for more information.