N.W.T. gov't to mandate COVID-19 shots for employees who work with 'vulnerable' people

N.W.T. government employees who provide services to 'vulnerable members of the public' will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 30, the territorial government said Monday. It's not clear who that includes.

Full vaccinations required for some employees in health, education and corrections sectors by Nov. 30

Caroline Wawzonek in the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly.
N.W.T. Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek said although the government's COVID-19 vaccine mandate applies to its employees who provide services to vulnerable members of the public, all N.W.T. public servants are urged to get vaccinated. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada)

The N.W.T. government is mandating some of its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, starting Nov. 30.

In a Monday news release, the territorial government said employees who "provide services to vulnerable members of the public in the healthcare, education and correction sectors, and employees travelling to remote communities on duty travel" will be required to be fully vaccinated.

The news release does not specify which workers in those sectors will need to be vaccinated.

"Although this policy applies specifically to employees and contractors providing services to vulnerable members of the public, we urge all of our employees to get vaccinated," said Minister of Finance Caroline Wawzonek in a news release.

CBC has requested interviews with both Wawzonek and Premier Caroline Cochrane to get more clarity on who's affected. 

'Need-to-know' basis

The government said it worked with several stakeholders to develop the policy, including the Union of Northern Workers, the NWT Teachers' Association and Indigenous governments.

Individual employees' vaccine status will be shared with managers on a "need-to-know" basis, the release said. It adds that employees' personal information is protected by provisions of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The government also notes in the release that accommodations for medical reasons or based on protected grounds under the Human Rights Act will be considered case by case. 

The announcement follows one made in mid-August by the federal government, when it said it would require all federal public servants to be vaccinated, as well as passengers on airlines and railways.