North

Nunavut government doles out $24M to airlines for COVID-19 response

Finance Minister George Hickes announced a new $9.8 million for Canadian North and $6.4 for Calm Air.

Payments cover support for April through June

Finance Minister George Hickes says the Nunavut government will spend over $15 million to support Canadian North by the end of June and nearly $9 million to support Calm Air. (Beth Brown/CBC)

The government of Nunavut is spending over $24 million to support Canadian North and Calm Air during COVID-19. 

At a news conference Monday Finance Minister George Hickes announced a new $9.8 million for Canadian North and $6.4 for Calm Air.

In total, this means the Nunavut government will spend over $15.6 million on Canadian North and over $8.9 million on Calm Air. Much of this money is already spent. It covers airline support for the months of April, May and June. A new funding arrangement will need to be negotiated at the end of June. 

In April, the federal government gave $5 million to Nunavut airlines. Also throughout April, the territorial government continued to pay the average amount it would spend on medical and duty travel flights — $2.25 million a week.  

Hickes said this set of negotiations were complicated, but those going forward should be easier to settle. 

Hotel quarantine can be booked in advance

He also announced a change in reservation processes for Nunavut residents to self-quarantine when returning from travel. 

Residents who know they will be travelling out of Nunavut can book return isolation in advance. They can do this by emailing nuisolationreservations@nunavutcare.ca.

This is to make return travel arrangements easier. Public health is still recommending that all non-essential travel be avoided. 

"If people are not following the (rules at) the isolation hubs they will not be allowed to return to the territory," Hickes said.  

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut. As of Monday there were 119 people being investigated by public health for symptoms, for a total of 1166 people investigated to date.  

The government extended its public health emergency until June 11. As of Monday public servants are returning to work. 

Today, an outbreak of whooping cough was announced in Sanikiluaq. The government is asking parents in that community to keep their young children at home. There are less than five cases in the community.  

"There's more cases and we're aware of transmission," said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson.  

The conference will air again in full at 4 p.m. ET on the CBC radio show Tusaajaksat.

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