Because the Delta and other variants of COVID-19 are so contagious and pose significant risks to health, Agnico Eagle announced on Sept. 16 that it will require employees at all of its Nunavut mines to have two doses of vaccine by Nov. 15.
First doses will be mandatory by Oct. 15.
The policy will be applicable to everyone who works at the Meliadine mine and Meadowbank Complex in the Kivalliq region, the Hope Bay mine in the Kitikmeot as well as offices in Cambridge Bay, Val-d’Or, Que. and Mirabel, Que., and on Nolinor, CalmAir, and SummitAir flights. Contractors and visitors to these sites will not be exempt.
The mining company cited recent data from the Public Health Agency of Canada showing that the rate of new COVID-19 infections among unvaccinated individuals is 11 times higher than among those who are fully vaccinated. In addition, the majority of deaths from the virus occur among those who are unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated.
Agnico Eagle stated that mandatory COVID-19 testing will continue, along with other preventive measures already in place.
“It is our duty to protect the health and safety of our employees and contractors and help protect the communities where we operate,” said Martin Plante, Agnico Eagle’s vice-president of Nunavut operations. Implementing this new measure adds an additional layer of protection to help us ensure a safe workplace and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.”
The mining company only started welcoming back Nunavummiut employees over the past several weeks after keeping them at home, while paid, for more than a year to minimize risk of COVID-19 spreading to Nunavut’s communities.