Health & SafetyCOVID-19 Update
Baffinland has robust Emergency and Crisis Management Plans which include an infectious disease component. We continue to monitor the national, regional, and local responses to the pandemic and are actively taking steps to keep our workforce safe, help eliminate the risk of transmitting the virus to Nunavut communities, and protect the viability of the business. This is done while following the guidance of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), provincial and territorial governments, and global business continuity experts.
Since early 2020, we have continuously adjusted and reassessed our mitigation measures in response to new information. Decisions continue to be made using the best available information, keeping in mind our two main priorities: the health and safety of all employees and the viability of the business.
A significant contributor to our ability to respond effectively against the pandemic has been the early-2020 securing of two portable COVID-19 testing labs for our site operations. The Canadian company, DiagnostiKs (a subsidiary of GuardRX) - a leader in the development of life-saving products, such as COVID-19 testing equipment that can be immediately utilized to improve the response to emergencies of public health concern, has remained a valued partner company throughout the pandemic.
The mobile PCR test labs on site and at the LUX Terminal have:
- Enabled COVID-19 testing for all Baffinland’s employees and contractors on site;
- Allowed for rapid and accurate COVID-19 testing;
- Provided the opportunity for an early diagnosis and immediate containment of any potential risk; and
- Supported taking action immediately, in keeping with all existing Public Health Agency of Canada protocols.
All Baffinland employees and contractors are required to be tested multiple times. This allows us to provide the best opportunity to protect everyone and build upon the preventive controls already in place. For more information, click here.
Additional COVID-19 health and safety measures at Mary River and the LUX Terminal in St. Hubert, Montreal include, but are not limited to:
- Pre-travel COVID-19 screening requirements;
- Negative PCR test prior to departure to site
- Assigned seating in our departure terminals and throughout travel;
- Mandatory mask-wearing throughout all portions of travel and while on site;
- Mandatory PCR testing for southern workers prior to travel to site and upon arrival for Nunavummiut workers;
- Multiple additional mandatory on-site PCR tests after arrival to detect any cases that may have been incubating;
- A final PCR test within 24 hours of departure from site for all workers;
- A fully prepared isolation wing should the need arise;
- Enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols for all high-touch surfaces;
- Increased availability of hand sanitizers;
- Limited access to and physically-distanced seating in common areas such as dining halls;
- Mandatory site vaccinations (it’s one of our major controls)
- Regularly available, no-cost virtual or telephone access to mental health support to assist all employees and their family’s with coping with COVID-19;
In March of 2020, Baffinland made the difficult decision to return Nunavummiut workers to their home communities, while maintaining a full time wage and their benefits. This proactive decision was taken to help protect our Nunavummiut employees and their communities.
On July 15, 2021, Baffinland announced that all necessary approvals are in place to return Nunavummiut workers to Mary River and workers will begin returning to site over the coming weeks.
The pandemic continues to offer many challenges and, given the extreme transmission as well as the immediate and residual impacts the Delta Variant has had on our employees, their families and our business, we continue to ensure there is absolutely no possibility of transmission to our Nunavummiut Employees and their Communities. At this time, site infrastructure remains closed to visitors and any travel to our remote operations is business essential only. The Company’s business offices continue to operate according to local public health guidelines. The Oakville Corporate Head Office remains closed, while the Northern Head Office in Iqaluit and our Community Liaison Offices (i.e. Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Igloolik, Pond Inlet and Sanirajak) continue to operate as Public Health measures allow and all personnel and visitors are required to follow all local public health requirements while in these offices.
We regularly communicate with our employees to ensure they have the necessary facts and tools to deal with this ongoing situation at the workplace, and in their personal lives. We encourage our employees to make use of our Employee and Family Assistance Program should they or a member of their immediate family feel the need to speak with someone, on a personal and confidential basis. Services are available to employees through Homewood Health. It is free, available 24/7 and the details of conversations are completely confidential.
For the latest, trusted and most up-to-date information, we recommend visiting the Public Health Agency of Canada's web page on COVID-19. You can also follow Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, on Twitter at @CPHO_Canada.
If you have any questions, please contact us.Health & Safety - Safety First, Always
Health and Safety is at the core of everything we do. We continue the successful implementation of our Health, Safety, Environment, and Community (HSEC) Management System based on our Vision, Policies, and Standards. Our risk-based approach to managing health and safety is focused on identifying risks and implementing effective controls for all activities.
Interaction with our employees and contractors through visible in field leadership and discussion, risk assessments, Health & Safety Committees, daily pre-start meetings, layered audits, and robust training further support our “Safety First, Always” approach. Our strong health and safety culture, built on our “Safety First, Always” philosophy is about having the right controls in place that will foster and build a risk sensitive safety culture that will lead to improved safety outcomes in all areas of our business.