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2020 Year-In-Review: JUNE



Nunavut restrictions to be eased starting June 1


The Government of Nunavut (GN) announced May 25 the easing of some public health measures within the territory, which began June 1. Daycares, territorial parks and municipal playgrounds reopened, along with outdoor gathering limits increasing to 25 people, with strong recommendations remaining for social distancing.

These specific conditions were selected for their “low-risk”, said Patterson.

Also on May 25, the GN introduced a document called Nunavut’s Path, the government's plan for easing earlier restrictions put in place to prevent potential spread of Covid-19.

“It is time for us to move forward. This does not mean that this pandemic is over. This does not mean the threat has passed,” said Patterson, adding Nunavummiut need to maintain protective measures like hand washing and staying home if ill.

Protesters gather together in Iqaluit to fight against racism and police violence on June 5. Rajnesh Sharma/NNSL photo

Iqaluit holds a protest against police brutality and racism


Hundreds of protesters in Iqaluit gathered to express their frustration with police brutality and racism on June 5. 

The peaceful protest began with Iqalummuit holding signs and chanting in a circle at the Four Corners intersection downtown around 11:45 a.m. A mosaic of voices from children to adults chanted in unison, “No justice, no peace, Black Lives Matter.”

Members of the public kneeled for eight minutes and 46 seconds in silence.

One of the protest organizers, Murielle Jassinthe, explained the silence was to remember George Floyd and “how it feels to fight for your life for eight minutes and 46 seconds.”

Floyd, a 46-year-old black American, was killed in Minneapolis, MN by police. Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

Nine-year-old Lesedi Mokoena tearfully spoke about her experiences with racism. “I’ve been pushed because I am black,” said Mokoena.

An Inuk protester, Jukipa Kuutiq, who spoke up against the police brutality among Inuit communities, was very touched by Mokoena’s speech.


Travel between Nunavut and NWT now allowed without self-isolating 


A 'travel bubble' between the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut was established in a June 15 press conference.

Individuals from the Northwest Territories (NWT) were permitted to enter Nunavut without self-isolating and vice-versa as long as they adhered to three conditions:

Travel must originate from Nunavut or NWT


must not have been outside of their respective territory for two weeks prior to their travel to Nunavut or NWT.

Travelers must remain in either Nunavut or NWT for the duration of their stay.

Patterson said although there is “a little bit of concern” every time measures are eased, “it’s a reasonable time” to be creating the travel bubble.

“It’s safe to travel back and forth between Northwest Territories and Nuanvut, as long as people don’t go outside of that area. So there’s no medical reason to restrict travel between the two territories at this point,” he said.


Baker Lake man owes his life to search and rescue team

Baker Lake

Jason Subgut has made the trip between Baker Lake and Chesterfield Inlet many times but, until the June 6 to 7 weekend, never had he spent it wondering if his life was over.

Subgut, 31 loaded up his Ace 900 Ski-Doo around 7 a.m. on Friday, June 5 and headed for Chesterfield Inlet to see his infant daughter. He was carrying extra gas, his cellphone and a GPS.

A few hours into his trip, he encountered a mix of rain, snow and fog that limited his visibility and disoriented him, his cell died and his GPS began malfunctioning, but responded again.

After a while he realized his GPS was still faulty and he was going in circles.

His mother notified Baker Lake Search and Rescue when Subgut didn’t reach his destination.

The searchers found Subgut on Sunday around 5 a.m. He was roused by his slumber in a modest shelter he made by a snowmobile.

“It was a real relief,” Subgut said. “They gave me food. They gave me tea, coffee. I was able to warm up with a Coleman stove under a tarp.”


Nunavut’s construction season to proceed despite Covid-19


The Government of Nunavut (GN) kept moving forward with summer and fall construction projects regardless of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Construction workers were permitted to self-isolate in the same isolation hubs as medical travellers and residents from Nunavut, as well as two self-isolation locations identified specifically for construction workers.

Isolation hubs are set up in Yellowknife, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Edmonton.

Each municipality was given the opportunity to decide, without any pressure, whether to proceed with their construction projects, said Lorne Kusugak, Minister of Community and Government Services.

In total, the GN expected between 400 to 500 construction workers to enter Nunavut during the construction season.