Nunavut prohibits travel with limited exceptions

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer (CPHO), issued an order on March 23 to prohibit most travel into Nunavut.

Photo of outside of terminal building
Iqaluit International Airport. Brian Tattuinee Photo

“It has become increasingly clear that we need to limit travel into the territory to protect Nunavummiut against COVID-19,” said Dr. Patterson. “Although there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the territory, we are taking extraordinary measures to limit travel, in an effort to slow its possible spread.”

Starting Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m.:

Only Nunavut residents and critical workers will be allowed into the territory.

Residents will have to provide proof of residency to be allowed to fly into Nunavut. Prior to boarding a plane into the territory, they will undergo a mandatory 14-day isolation period in either Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton or Yellowknife. At the end of the 14 days, asymptomatic residents will be cleared and able to return to their home community. This also includes medical travel patients.

Critical workers will have to provide written permission from the Nunavut CPHO to be allowed to fly into the territory. Critical workers returning from another Canadian jurisdiction who are asymptomatic and cleared will be allowed to resume work and travel in communities with the approval of the territorial health team. Any critical workers from outside Canada will be required to isolate for 14 days prior coming to Nunavut.


Nunavut’s post-secondary students and their families currently studying outside the territory will go into a 14-day mandatory isolation period in either Ottawa or Winnipeg, and then be chartered directly to their home community. These students have been contacted and are preparing for their isolation periods.

Accommodation, food and necessities for all travellers will be provided during the isolation period.

Additionally, all public gatherings are now banned.

“These are remarkable times and we need to do everything we can to protect one another,” said Dr. Patterson. “It is vital that everyone practice social distancing of two metres, avoid contact with others and touching your face, and cough and sneeze into your elbow. We all have a role to play, let’s all do our part.”

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