NWT HSSAs Switching to Medical Masking in all Public Health and Social Services Facilities

(December 11, 2020) - Starting Friday, December 04, 2020, the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authorities began the process of switching to medical-grade masks for anyone entering a Health & Social Services facility. Effective immediately, patients, clients, and staff previously directed to wear cloth or non-medical masks at public HSSA facilities will now be provided with medical-grade masks at screening stations when they arrive.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Alberta and the rest of Canada, and after having observed the recent outbreak in the small communities in Nunavut, the adoption of medical masks in all of our facilities is being implemented as a proactive measure to better protect the health and safety of all NWT residents.

All previous direction to staff regarding where and when they are required to wear a mask remains the same, only the type of mask is changing (e.g. those previously required to wear a cloth mask at work will now wear a medical mask, etc.).

Wearing a mask is a very reasonable and easy way to protect others and limit or stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Northwest Territories. Evidence shows that COVID-19 can be spread even when individuals are feeling well, and wearing a mask can be effective in protecting others around you.

As we approach the holiday season ensuring we are all following the guidelines of the Chief Public Health Officer is critical to ensuring the safety of our friends, families and communities. With enhanced travel, comes enhanced risk. Do not travel unless essential. Follow isolation requirements strictly. Practice good hygiene, wear your masks, keep your circle small and limit your contacts.



“Masking is a simple and effective way to protect yourself and those around you. Maintaining the health and safety of NWT residents is our priority. With cases rising across Canada, moving to medical masking is a proactive measure we can take to further limit the spread of COVID-19.”

– Sue Cullen, CEO NTHSSA


Quick Facts

  • Effective December 4, 2020, continuous medical-grade masking will be implemented in all public HSSA facilities in the NWT.  Patients, Clients, and Staff previously directed to wear cloth or non-medical masks at HSSA will now be issued medical-grade masks.
  • Both NTHSSA employees and the public are being asked to continually wear masks in public NTHSSA facilities and offices unless otherwise directed.
    • This includes staff, patients, clients, and visitors.
  • Members of the public will be provided with a medical-grade mask at the entrance of all HSSA facilities.
    • You will not be required to wear a mask if you have medical reasons that make it unsafe for you to wear a mask.
  • If you are a visitor (not there for your own care) and do not have pre-existing medical concerns that prevent you from wearing a mask, but refuse to wear a medical-grade mask, you will be denied entry into the facility.
  • Masking is important for the following reasons:
    • COVID-19 can be spread even when you feel healthy. Wearing a mask will help protect others.
    • Health care facilities often have people present that are immune-compromised or at higher risk of severe outcomes if they contract COVID-19. By wearing a mask in our facilities you can protect these people.
    • You can help protect our vital front-line staff. Staff that work in health and social services are at increased risk because of the volume of people they provide care to. If a healthcare worker contracts COVID-19 or becomes sick, that impacts their ability to work and for patients and clients to receive services.

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Media Contact

David Maguire

Manager, Communications

Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority

Phone: 867-767-9107ext 40150

Email: david_maguire@gov.nt.ca