Agnico sends Nunavummiut home with pay
Measure aimed at preventing COVID-19 spread in Nunavut
Last updated 3/27/2020 at 3:56am
Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. March 19 said it is providing four weeks of paid leave for its Nunavut-based workforce.
This announcement follows the Government of Nunavut's declaration of a state of public health emergency relating to COVID-19.
"While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut, declaring a public health emergency allows (us) to be coordinated with efforts across the territories and Canada, and take the measures necessary to keep us prepared for the virus," Nunavut Minister of Health George Hickes said on March 18. "If we don't take this measure now before we see cases in Nunavut, it may be too late as time goes on."
Agnico said there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases at any of its global operation and it is working to ensure the continued health of residents in the communities in which it operates.
As part of an effort to protect the people of Nunavut, Agnico has decided to send home its Nunavummiut, or Nunavut-based workforce from the Meliadine and Meadowbank gold mining operations, as well as exploration projects for a period of four weeks.
All Nunavummiut workers currently at the operations will be returned home and those that are currently off-site will not return. These employees will continue to receive their pay and benefits during this period. In addition, Agnico Eagle will be meeting with its Nunavut contractors to discuss similar measures involving their Nunavummiut workers.
"We value our relationship with the people of Nunavut and are committed to do what is best for the health, safety and well-being of all our employees and the communities", said Agnico Eagle Mines CEO Sean Boyd. "This precautionary measure is being implemented in order to eliminate the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 from a southern worker to a Nunavut worker, with the risk of it moving into the communities."
In addition to the measures aimed to prevent the coronavirus strain known as COVID-19 from entering Nunavut communities via Agnico mines, senior management from the mining company are meeting today with representatives from Rankin Inlet, Baker Lake, the Kivalliq Inuit Association, Nunavut government and others to review Agnico's pandemic plan.
The company said it is basing its COVID-19 guidelines on advice and of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the different provincial and territorial governments.
Agnico currently plans to continue operations at both the Meliadine and Meadowbank gold mines with the remaining workforce. The company, however, said will reassess this rapidly evolving situation on an ongoing basis.