THUNDER BAY – Time is running out for employees at the Lac Des Iles mine to get vaccinated.
Impala Canada, which runs the mine, on Friday announced that anyone entering the mine on or after Nov. 2 will have to have full vaccination status.
Individuals with legitimate exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis, a company spokesperson said in a release.
“The best action we can take today is to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Bryan Wilson, general manager at Lac Des Iles Mine. “Each and every one of our team members knows how it feels to be personally impacted by the tragedy of this pandemic.
“Living with this reality for the past 18 months motivated us to become one of the first mines in Ontario to host an onsite COVID-19 vaccination clinic, and now we want to be one of the first mines in Ontario to have a fully vaccinated workforce. While we drive toward this outcome, we continue to stay smart about wearing medical-grade masks, keeping our distance, rapid testing and screening for any presence of the virus.”
According to the release, 85 per cent of employees at the Northern Ontario mine have been doubly vaccinated and 91 per cent have had their first dose.
The company has been offering $100 gift cards to employees who get vaccinated and implemented a crew challenge, where each crew that’s fully vaccinated is entered to win $1,000 prize per crew member.
Impala Canada earlier this year mandated full vaccination in the company’s corporate offices in Thunder Bay and Toronto.
Being a congregate living setting and due to the close contact nature of mining, the decision was made to extend the requirement to all mine employees. The mine was hit by a COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
Workers not vaccinated were required to receive their first shot by Sept. 21 and a second shot by Oct. 19 to meet the Nov. 2 deadline of being fully vaccinated, allowing two weeks for the vaccine to take full effect.