NWT Health Authority launches pilot project for local caregivers

Updated Feb. 21 to reflect budget and spaces available in each community.

The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority is launching a two-year pilot project to provide caregivers for elders, seniors and people with disabilities.

The project will be in six NWT communities including: Behchoko, Dettah, Ndilo, Yellowknife, Tuktoyaktuk and Hay River.

According to a news release, each community has a pre-determined number of applicants for the program: eight in Behchoko, five combined in Dettah and Ndilo, eight in Yellowknife, five in Tuk, and eight in Hay River.

The three-year budget for the program is $929,000.

Successful applicants will have a caregiver that will be paid up to four hours each week to help with tasks like cleaning, meal prep, splitting wood, snow removal and running errands.

Professional services like nursing and physiotherapy are excluded, as are homecare tasks like bathing, medication assistance, and the use of specialized equipment.

The news release says this program will not replace homecare or long-term care services.

Caregivers under the pilot can be friends or family members, who will then be hired by the local community organization.

“Caregivers are screened and hired by the partner community organization that is running the program in their community. The screening process may differ slightly from one organization to another depending on their hiring requirements.  If the client is requesting a family member as their caregiver the screening process may also differ slightly.  All caregivers must complete a criminal records check,” wrote Damien Healy in an email, the communications manager for the Department of Health and Social Services.

So far, the health authority says the program is underway in Behchoko and applications recently closed in Yellowknife, Dettah and Ndilo. The programs for Hay River and Tuktoyaktuk will begin this spring.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.