Coping with COVID-19 in Canada's North

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Flying over the Northwest Territories Image: Victoria Fenner

Covering a country like Canada while COVID-19 is wreaking havoc is a difficult thing to do. Canada is so large with lots of regional differences. And nowhere in the country is the difference so stark as it is between Canada's North and the rest of the country.

Today we have two interviews from two different parts of the north --  one from Cumberland House in northern Saskatchewan, and another from a bit further north and west, up in Yellowknife. With Yellowknife being a city, and Cumberland House a much smaller community, there are differences between the two. But there are some commonalities as well that come with being two relatively isolated communities cut off from the mainstream in southern Canada.

1) Marlene McKay is a resident of both Cumberland House and Saskatoon where she is a professor of social work with the University of Regina. Her partner runs one of the local stores in the town of Cumberland House and on a nearby reserve. Cumberland House is in COVID-19 lockdown right now. This interview is an excerpt from an interview done by Don Kossick from his program Making the Links with community radio CFCR 90.5 FM in Saskatoon.

2) George Lessard, media specialist and consultant who has lived in Yellowknife and other parts of the North for many years. He talks about Yellowknife as a hub to remote communities. 

As of today, April 16, there are still no confirmed cases in Nunavut, five in the Northwest Territories and eight in Yukon, according to the government of Canada website. As for Cumberland House, the Saskatchewan government website says there are seven cases in the far north, but do not break down by community where they are.

Image: Victoria Fenner

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