KIA Operational Update March 25, 2020
RANKIN INLET, NUNAVUT – March 25, 2020, The Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) represents the interests of all Inuit living in the Kivalliq. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection spreads in Canada and around the world KIA’s priority is the health and safety of Kivallikmuit. Nunavut is not shielded from the coronavirus and there is currently no vaccination to provide protection against severe illness. KIA is urging Kivallikmuit to listen and follow the advice of health officials about social distancing, self-isolation, and hand-washing.
Last week, Minister George Hickes from the Government of Nunavut declared a public health emergency. This means that all public gatherings are prohibited. Non-essential GN employees are to work from home for the foreseeable future. Nunavut’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, has also recommended that all schools and daycares be closed for at least three weeks. This week, Nunavut’s Chief Medical Officer issued an order to prohibit most travel into Nunavut. “Residents will have to provide proof of residency to be allowed to fly into Nunavut. Prior to boarding a plane into the territory, they will undergo a mandatory 14 day isolation period in either Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton or Yellowknife. At the end of the 14 days, asymptomatic residents will be cleared and able to return to their home community. This also includes medical travel patients. Accommodation, food and necessities for all travelers will be provided during the isolation period. Additionally, all public gatherings are now banned.”
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI)’s offices have closed and essential staff members work from home. KIA has also closed its office and suspended non-essential programs and services of KIA until April 6th at 8:30AM. All KIA’s employees are working from home. Bereavement Compassionate Care and Student Support are essential programs.
|Bereavement/Compassionate Care||(867) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Student Support*||(867) email@example.com|
|Other inquiries||(867) 645-5725 or
*Living away allowance will continue to be paid to students staying outside their home communities.
Starting March 19, Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM) has sent all Kivallikmuit home from the Meliadine and Meadowbank operations as well as the exploration projects for a period of four weeks. According to AEM’s press release: “All Nunavummiut workers currently on site will be returned home and those that are currently off-site will not return. These employees will continue to receive their regular remuneration during this period. In addition, Agnico Eagle will be meeting with its Nunavut contractors to discuss similar measures involving their Nunavummiut workers.” KIA is is in support of similar precautionary measures to be taken by Nunavut contractors with Inuit employees to eliminate the risk of transmission of COVID-19. As of March 24, AEM is reducing activities at the Meliadine and Meadowbank operations while evaluating scenarios to continue limited underground activity and milling operations. According to AEM’s press release: “These activities at both Nunavut mines, are expected to position the Company to achieve a timely and safe ramp up of normal operations once all restrictions are lifted. Affected employees will continue to receive their base remuneration through April 13, 2020.” KIA will continue to work closely with AEM’s leadership and senior management to ensure that our communities are safe and both AEM’s employees and their contractors’ employees take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and the most vulnerable among us.
As there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut these are all precautionary measures.
KIA has obtained the GN, Department of Health’s Health Emergency Response Plan. This Plan lays out the responsibilities of GN departments and staff. KIA is currently reviewing this document.
The Kivalliq Inuit Association is a “Designated Inuit Organization” (DIO), which represents the interests of all Inuit living in the Kivalliq Region, acts as a lobbying group, administers and monitors certain provisions of the Nunavut Final Agreement in the Kivalliq Region. The KivIA mission is to represent, in a fair and democratic manner, Inuit of the Kivalliq Region in the development, protection, administration and advancement of their rights and benefits as an aboriginal people; as well as to promote their economic, social, political and cultural well-being through succeeding generations.