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N.W.T. Legislative Assembly to suspend session due to COVID-19

The N.W.T. Legislative Assembly has agreed to put its spring sitting on hiatus, with Friday, March 13, being the last day of regular session until May, Speaker Frederick Blake Jr. announced this morning.

MLAs will sit March 16 to pass interim appropriation bill, giving them time to debate budget in May

N.W.T. MLAs will suspend their session in order to direct resources to the COVID-19 response, the Legislative Assembly announced on Friday. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada)

The N.W.T. Legislative Assembly has agreed to put its spring sitting on hiatus, with Friday, March 13, being the last day of regular session until May, Speaker Frederick Blake Jr. announced in a news release this morning.

The cancellation is "to allow cabinet and the territorial public service to focus its efforts on preparing for and responding to the spread of COVID-19," a news release reads. 

No cases of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Northwest Territories as of 11:00 a.m. MT Friday. Though the territory has been in pandemic planning mode for weeks and several major events, including Super Soccer and the Canadian North Rec Hockey Tournament, have been cancelled.

In the meantime, the legislature will convene for a one-day special sitting on Monday, March 16, to pass an interim appropriation bill, designed to give the government enough funds to operate for the first three months of the 2020/2021 fiscal year.

MLAs had been debating the government's proposed budget during the spring sitting of session, but had yet to pass it. The interim bill will serve as a stopgap until MLAs are able to deliberate and vote on the budget.

The government has also cancelled the 2020 Youth Parliament, scheduled for May 4 - 8, the release adds.

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