Nunavut’s Baffinland gears up its crisis management plan for COVID-19 – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – March 16, 2020)

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. has clamped down on travel to and from its Mary River iron mine site in an effort to stave off the spread of the new coronavirus. To date, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut, the company said today.

“However, given the possible risk of infection throughout the North and more specifically, our neighboring communities with whom we share the closest relationship, we are making arrangements to limit the potential exposure of our Nunavummiut (Inuit and non-Inuit in Nunavut) employees to the coronavirus,” said the company.

To do this, Baffinland said it is temporarily instructing all Nunavummiut to not report for work and to remain in their home communities.  “Nunavummiut currently at site will return home during the coming week,” Baffinland said in its release.

There will be no loss of pay, seniority, or job security, the release said. Baffinland’s workforce is drawn from across Nunavut and elsewhere across Canada, where there are COVID-19 cases.

Sending Nunavut workers home “will help eliminate the Baffinland site as a potential point of entry for COVID-19 into the Arctic,” the company said. On Sunday, March 15, the Qikiqtani Industry Ltd., an onsite contractor, announced that Baffinland was planning to send its employees, Inuit and non-Inuit, who live in Nunavut, back home.

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