Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut June 01, 2018 - 3:30 pm

Baffinland will pay the way for workers commuting across the region

“We want people across the Qikiqtani region to know that Baffinland is committed to increasing Inuit involvement at the Mary River mine”

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Baffinland's Mary River mine site, as seen this past September. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BAFFINLAND)
Baffinland's Mary River mine site, as seen this past September. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BAFFINLAND)

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. is now paying the transportation costs for workers travelling to its Mary River mine site from all 13 communities in the Qikiqtani region.

Previously, Baffinland paid for the transportation of workers to its mine on northern Baffin Island from six of the region’s communities: Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Hall Beach, Igloolik, Iqaluit and Pond Inlet.

Mine workers from other Qikiqani communities will now have their flights, hotels and meals paid for while travelling from their home communities to these pick-up points.

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced the change in a news release on Thursday, May 31, and said it’s the result of its ongoing efforts to renegotiate its Inuit impact and benefit agreement with the company. Its negotiation team includes former-premier Eva Aariak, who is serving as chief negotiator, and former MLA George Qulaut, who is co-negotiator.

“Increasing Inuit employment numbers at the Mary River project has been one of our main focuses at QIA,” says QIA President P.J. Akeeagok, “the Inuit impact and benefits agreement we negotiated with Baffinland is there to ensure that development on Inuit owned land translates into opportunities and jobs for Inuit in our region.”

Having workers from all the region’s communities transported to the mine is, in fact, one of the stipulations of the impact agreement, the QIA said. But until now that provision hadn’t been implemented.

The number of Inuit employed at Baffinland’s Mary River mine has slumped in recent years. The company said in a news release that the new measures are part of an effort to increase the share of Inuit among its ranks.

“We want people across the Qikiqtani region to know that Baffinland is committed to increasing Inuit involvement at the Mary River mine,” said Brian Penney, Baffinland’s president and CEO. “We’re committed to covering all expenses related to travel to one of our pick-up points for all Baffinland employees across the Qikiqtani region.”

Baffinland will also pay for the transport and accommodation of its workers travelling to Nunavut’s Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions for training and apprenticeships.

To seek a job with Baffinland, Qikiqtani Inuit seeking jobs with Baffinland are urged by the QIA to register with the QIA’s new Inuit labour pool database, Tuttarvik.

This will automatically create a resume for anyone registered and let them know about upcoming work opportunities. Inuit registered with Tuttarvik will also be eligible for skills training, apprenticeships and university programs.

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