Baffinland issues layoff notices to more than 1,100 employees

The first round of layoffs are scheduled for Sept. 25

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. has sent layoff notices to more than 1,100 of its employees. (File photo)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. has sent layoff notices to more than 1,100 of its employees.

The company sent the notices July 31, said spokesperson Peter Akman. The first round of layoffs is scheduled to happen Sept. 25, and the second on Oct. 11.

“The company has had to take this step out of an abundance of caution,” Akman wrote in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

Baffinland operates an iron mine on north Baffin Island, where it employs about 350 Inuit.

The company warned it would have to lay off employees if it didn’t get permission to ship six million tonnes of ore this year out of Milne Inlet.

Baffinland is currently working with a permit that allows it to ship 4.2 million tonnes of iron ore per year, since a temporary permit that allowed it to ship six million expired Dec. 31.

In May, Baffinland asked federal Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal to sign an emergency order that would allow the company to skip the review process, citing the potential layoffs if its shipping limit wasn’t increased.

Asked why Baffinland didn’t apply for the permit extension earlier so the Nunavut Impact Review Board would have time to consider the application before making a recommendation to Vandal, Akman cited a number of factors, including the status of a larger application that would allow Baffinland to double the mine’s output. The company had been expecting an answer on the proposed expansion before the temporary permit expired.

Vandal denied the request for an emergency order, but has instructed the review board to treat Baffinland’s application as a priority due to the jobs at stake.

“The regulatory process is moving slowly,” Akman wrote. “As a result, Baffinland must continue to take preparatory steps to rescale its operation.”

There is still a chance the company could take back the layoff notices.

“If we receive approval to continue mining at [six million tonnes] this year as we are hoping, we will rescind the termination notices,” Akman said.


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(65) Comments:

  1. Posted by Baffinman on

    Layoffs are Baffinland’s fault. They should’ve applied ahead of time. Second mistake was going directly to federal minister instead of going through process of NIRB. They had it coming!

    • Posted by Oh Ima on

      They did go through the process, bleeding the hearts of southern Environmentalists who are the ones that fought against the community that is now going to rely on some social assistance.

      • Posted by Raglan mines worker on

        That is going to hurt a lots of one income families. From 100k a yr to welfare. Good luck fellow inuk mine works

        • Posted by TaxMan Cometh on

          Once the first wave leave on September 25th, or before .
          It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible to re-hire or replacements for some very specialized trades, in the event that Baffinland would start up again for January 1st, 2023.
          It’s not like turning on a light switch!
          People will move on. Those that are in high demand go elsewhere.
          Some are already there!
          The other problem is winter!
          All the trucks , equipment , and apparatus.
          Good luck bringing it all back from hibernation in January.
          This project can metastasize into zeros permanently .
          Careful what everyone wishes for.

    • Posted by william shannon on

      Doesn,t matter its only paper work versus peoples ivelhood at stake

    • Posted by Paul on

      ABSOLUTELY AGREE. This is what happens when big corporations get to comfortable in there decision making and feel they will just skip part of the process and procedures that allowed them to be there in the first place. God bless the NUNATSIAQ PEOPLE FOR THERE COMENTMENT TO PROTECT THERE PEOPLE AND THERE WAY OF LIFE.

      • Posted by Realistics randy on

        The natives should be all cut first with no unemployment or social off your own economy then mouth off about federal tax money should go to this region ever want the countries land then have that and only that! No government has ever given me free land! $400,000 for half acher is all the rest of the world gets.selfishness and greed.

    • Posted by tom on

      When you vote in corrupt/incompetent Liberals, you get business and families destroyed! You get what you vote for!

  2. Posted by Baffinland employee on

    Yup got my notice and even if the layoffs are canceled the damage is done and will be loosing a lot of good men and women unfortunately i am seeking new employment regardless of what happens next

  3. Posted by WTFF on

    I hope that the employees that won’t get terminated will be 80% Inuit? Look up NLCAs. You’re pushing too far to make money where it will impact our way of life. Greedy bastards

    • Posted by Bert Rose on

      You are writing about Article 23 of the NLCA.
      That applies to Government employment only.
      Baffinland is a company not a Government so the 80% number does not apply.

    • Posted by Yup, Looking Up Is Good on

      Absolutely, a person should look it up and become familiar with what it says before embarassing oneself on here.

      One might mean to speak of other agreements that Baffinland has undertaken, not the NLCA?

    • Posted by Kazanski on

      What way of life is that?
      Importing all your food and fuel?
      Hunting out of season? On snow machine or Using powerboats and rifles?
      Most violent place in Canada since 1998?
      What a legacy, better pass that one on to the kids.

  4. Posted by Pork Pie on

    Give the perversity and abject dysfunction of our local politics, I predict this will be met with conspicuous silence (really, quiet consent) by our political leadership. We might even assume an air of relief if not celebration among some of those, most prominently our Member of Parliament.

    • Posted by Truestory on

      Sad day to a B.I.M. employee. I was hoping to get my journeyman and or red seal.

      • Posted by Ned Flanders on

        You can. There are Trade Schools galore in Canada.
        Trades people are in high demand as “us old guys” retire and the younger generation isn’t stepping in….

        • Posted by Southerner in the North on

          The issue isn’t the availability of trade schools, it’s the availability of employers willing and able to take on apprentices to provide on-the-job training for the duration of their apprenticeship. Baffinland was doing that. If Baffinland shuts down, many of those apprentices would have to leave their home communities and possibly the territory, to get the work and mentorship necessary to complete their apprenticeship.

          • Posted by So Tired of This Sort of Argument on

            Yup, this is true.

            Also, it is completely unremarkable and the way that this country’s economy functions.

            It is insane to expect tradepeople to be able to train and get apprenticed only in a community of 800, or 1,200 or whatever. People need to travel to where the opportunity is.

            • Posted by The worst argument. on

              It’s not even a good argument. Moving to a different place will help you grow as a person.

      • Posted by KN on

        Come on down to Yellowknife. We need people in the trades, even apprentices.

  5. Posted by Shiesty on

    Pond Inlet Inuit made the biggest fuss to not allow the shipping increase saying the whales are at risk, yet the town of Pond Inlet throws out so much maktaak and meat to the dump when they can’t sell it. Now loads of Inuit are going to be without work and the whales pondmuit wanted protected so bad are just gonna end up in freezers until they spoil. Shitty deal

    • Posted by Truestory on

      And the cruise ships are faster than the ore shippers. Few hundred dollars worth of carvings to sell a year to the cruise ship passengers, while they don’t want millions from B.I.M.. Very smart indeed.

  6. Posted by Tracy on

    It is not a layoff, Its a termination notice! They should be reporting the correct information and they are not paying severance if they go through with this.

  7. Posted by Mathematics on

    Just like many industries, most mining operations need scale to be successful.
    Just imagine that your pay got cut 30% while your ski-doo payment, cell bill, rent etc all stayed the same. One of the things that they can cut is labour (you need less to produce 4.2 vs 6.0) so why on earth is anyone suggesting it “greed”? This is a totally logical reality. It’s too bad all the employees pay the price as I’m sure no one at QIA, GN or NIRB is going to lose their job over fumbling this. Huge step backwards for Nunavut

    • Posted by John on

      A young entrepreneurial man saw a community that could stand to benefit from a taxi service to help people get to the grocery store, medical appointments etc…. He spoke with the town about the idea and they were excited about having a taxi service. So… he went and got a loan and bought himself a nice new car. The loan required him to pay the car dealership $500 per month. The insurance was $100 per month. After that it was simply a matter of gas and maintenance at a cost of about $0.30 per kilometer he drives. He could charge passengers about $1.30 per kilometer.

      The young man figured he could get about 100km per day of fares. If he worked 5 days per week or about 20 days per month he could get $2,600 in fare money and then pay the $600 for gas/maintenance, $500 for the car loan and $100 for the insurance. He would make a profit of $1,500 per month. Not a lot of money but his rent and food was cheap and so he could survive on that.

      However, some people in the community didn’t take to having newcomers in town, even if they were providing a benefit to the community. So… the Mayor decided to bridge the community divide and tell him he could only offer his services two days per week (about 8 days per month) and that he shouldn’t be greedy since he was obviously well-to-do with his fancy new car.

      When the young man was faced with the prospect of his reduced $1,040 in fare money and his expenses of $240 in gas/maintenance, $500 for the car loan and $100 for insurance he recalculated that this would give him only $200 per month in profit. That definitely wasn’t a business he could operate sustainably.

      People called him greedy and accused him of extortion when he indicated he wouldn’t be able to provide the needed service of driving people to the grocery store and medical appointments and things. They commented on how they were certainly right to not like newcomers to town. They always came to town with fancy ideas and then always quit on them and left for greener pastures.

      No worries though, the town council has decided to petition the big city close by to buy them a really fancy coach bus capable of 60 passengers at a time to provide the taxi service. The Mayor has indicated an interest in taking the job of bus driver if it pays enough.

      • Posted by Testify on

        Ignorance is the disease that feasts on us…

  8. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    Layoff the incompetent staff that didn’t have a contingency for the six million tonnes, this is on them.

    • Posted by six_and_twelve on

      Baffinland couldn’t ask for 12M tons, but just in case NIRB doesn’t accept that, how about 6M tons – can they have that? Given the option between the two, 6M would be approved and 12M wouldn’t (which is needed for company longevity and sustainability). They couldn’t hedge their bets and ask for both at the same time. The decision from the Federal Gov was to have been June. It was pushed out, BIM asked for an emergency order for the 6M as soon as that happened in May; it was denied. What other contingency would you like Baffinland to have had?

    • Posted by Bob on

      1100 layoffs on site. How many in corporate office?

  9. Posted by That’s a lot of jobs on

    1,100 people whose job is held at ransom by their employer. The horror @ baffinland

    • Posted by Ummm, The Reality Is on

      that all jobs are always held to ransom one way or another by your employer.

    • Posted by John on

      From what I can see, they are being held ransom by NIRB, QIA and the Pond Inlet HTO

  10. Posted by lasalle on

    Does anybody care about a mine in the middle of nowhere,it will only affect the East Coast,the Inuit can go to work in Rankin Inlet,Baker Lake,there are lots of jobs.

    • Posted by AEM worker here on

      If you live in Baffin region you would have to pay your own way to Montreal to fly to other mines. I’ve tried that already since I’m from Iqaluit. If you want to work at other mines you would have to live in the kivaliq region or south. FYI

  11. Posted by Crying Wolf on

    What is all the crying about now? The communities, HTO, NIRB, QIA, NTI did not want to have them operate in Nunavut anyway. Now, when B.I.M has issues the layoff notices there is a panic, why? Nunavut will remain where it is, on social and welfare assistance, unless you all start waking up and start working with companies who are gracious enough to invest in Nunavut. As much as I’m concerned, you got want you wanted, but I feel sad for the workers who will experience the layoff and have to go back with empty hands. Nunavut and all of you protectors of the Nuna, get real. You pollute the environment with your garbage you leave behind (even though you are trying to blame the “southerners”). The few fish, sea mammals and caribou you (over) harvest are not even worth to put up as an argument against mining

  12. Posted by Duh on

    They should have planned for this better! No one at fault but baffinland. They could have applied much sooner instead of trying to go over NIRB’s head.

    • Posted by educate_yourself on

      Before blaming everything on Baffinland, read everything that has been put out already. They’ve already explained the reason for not apply for 6M the same time they have a request out for 12M.

      “…could have been seen as “project splitting,” which he described as “applying for a decision on a new project that is already under consideration in an existing application” — and not allowed by NIRB.”

      • Posted by Observer on

        Yeah, that excuse is BS. They were undergoing the Phase 2 review already when they applied for extensions to the 6 million tons before, so this time it was different because why, exactly?

  13. Posted by TaxMan Cometh on

    Nunavut has come to depend on mine royalties to fund , and support many programs throughout the territory.
    Between the government, and the QIA. These royalties are measured in billions of dollars.
    Services that all Inuit enjoy from local HTOs , to CGS, to Social programs may be funded through this money.
    How will these programs survive without this money?
    Nunavut enjoys only one level of sales tax at the checkout.
    This is the federal GST at 5%.
    A good way to sustain these services that may be jeopardized in the event of a Mary River closure , would be the introduction of a Nunavut 10% territorial sales tax .
    This would be in addition to the federal 5% already charged at the checkout .
    In the South this is called HST, or Harmonized Sales Tax.
    Most southern provinces have a sales tax at 15%.
    With this extra tax, government would have the money to ensure a steady and reliable means to fund programs for generations of Inuit.

    • Posted by O’Contrar on

      On the contrary, QIA and NTI collected royalties but never invested, except QIA is planning to build a museum in Iqaluit. GN likely charges Property Tax and CGS and other departments fight over federal funds. GN, QIA, NTI has been operating long before BIM opened its mine

      • Posted by Tusu on


        The GN does NOT charge property taxes anywhere in Nunavut. The City of Iqaluit is the ONLY tax-based community in all of Nunavut and is the ONLY hamlet or city to charges property taxes to homeowners and business owners who own houses or buildings on leased properties.

        • Posted by YUP on

          The GN absolutely does charge property taxes for property outside of Iqaluit. But Iqaluit is the only municipality to charge taxes.

        • Posted by Cambaymiut on

          This will no doubt come as a surprise to all of us who pay property taxes to the GN every year.

  14. Posted by Observer on

    I’m sure that everyone who claimed Baffinland was just bluffing will publicly state that they were incorrect. Right?

  15. Posted by Name Withheld on

    So it’s like, if your not nice you cannot have candy?

    Typical of a mining company. I knew this was coming after I’d seen Quassa on Igaalaaq.

    I guess he will regret quitting his speaker position now….

  16. Posted by Lemonaid Man on

    1,100 construction workers are needed in Nunavut to build houses.
    When you get lemons, make lemonaid.

  17. Posted by Edward Stanley on

    Could have saved a lot of time, and just said, give us another 1% of the profits.

  18. Posted by Ragin Ronnie on

    Nunavut meets the real world.

  19. Posted by Unionized on

    For all the unionized workers, you’ve been paying union dues and fees. Tell the Union to put you on their out-of-work list and dispatch you to the next job that you’re in line for; that’s one of their obligations to their members. Any out-of-province workers, they can provide travel cards so you can work in your home province and be dispatched to an OE local there. You’ve been paying 2% of your wages to them, get something back from it.

  20. Posted by Terry Dobbin on

    The Inuit organizations and land owners from Nunavut attend mining symposium annually inviting mining companies to come invest in Nunavut. However, once they arrive the red carpet is pulled back and the companies is a target of constant criticism Wake up people, mining is a business and as to be profitable to be sustainable. There are more friendly jurisdictions with high quality iron ore out there. If this project fails no other company in their right mind will touch Mary River with a ten foot pole!

    • Posted by Some Inuit want to have there mataaq and eat it too on

      Some Inuit like their mataaq and pass on their traditions and have pride. Mining jobs come and go, so they can choose to place some controls to ensure their wildlife is protected. There are other mines to showcase, who have done it in a more environmentally sustainable way in Nunavut. Let Baffinland be the lesson for all on how not to mine inNunavut. The heck with your constant blackmail crap, we have heard it every single time and it is getting old.

  21. Posted by Igunaaqi on

    Knock, knock.
    who’s there?
    who’s MHTO, NIRB?

  22. Posted by Michel G. on

    With Aditya Mittal, founder of ArcelorMittal SA, as president, this move is not a surprise. Baffinland Iron Mines Corp don’t care the miners & their families, only profit matter. Mr Mittal think he can do anything he wants, “I don’t care about the procedures, give me my six million tonnes permit right now, or I make massive layoff.

  23. Posted by Silas on

    This is called blackmail by Baffinland Iron Mines; threatening the minister to comply with their request. If we don’t get our way then we will lay off employees.
    It means that it will take longer to excavate the iron and BIM will earn less, but those Inuit employees who remain will be employed for a longer period.

    • Posted by Southerner in the North on

      Once Baffinland reaches their 4.2 million tonnes limit, they cannot legally mine any more ore until the new year. They are estimating that they will hit that limit in October. Thus, they are issuing layoff notices.

      Should they have made the application for 6 million tonnes sooner? Probably. I’m not knowledgeable about the legalities of that process. But unless they get approval for 6 million tonnes for 2022, there is no work to be done after October except for the care and maintenance of the equipment and facilities.

  24. Posted by Delbert on

    Nunavut is avery difficult jurastiction to operate in. Businesses have do deal with all the diffentt Inuit Associations, different hamlets the GN and Feds. Just to many puplic meetings, hearings and missed deadlines by all these organizations. Then more meetings more complaining. It looks to me as if the mine owners have tried to work with all the various organizations.
    This is what happens. The mine owners aren’t suffering the workers are. Perhaps the workers should look inward and pass the blame on to. Some of these organizations that are suppoesed to represent them. For debacle. There are oppurtunties for resource base companies to cone to Nunavut. But examples of what I have described. keeps them away.
    If the people of Nunavut don’t want mining or any other type of resource based business. Just put UP a closed sign

    • Posted by Silas on

      As an Inuk, that is fine. To slow the development down so that a majority of Inuit have time to become educated in all aspects of developing the territory. That is my beef and I’m sticking to it.
      If development of the territory continues in the fashion it is going all the finite resources will have been extracted by the time Inuit are capable of holding higher level jobs. The longer it is held up the more Inuit and the government will benefit from development over a longer period of time.
      The money earned will stay in the north for a longer period. As it is most of the employed are from other jurisdictions and they don’t spend a much in the communities. Only Inuit who are employed at the lower end of the spectrum spend the measly amounts that they earn in the communities; and more often than not they spend a considerable amount down south.

      • Posted by Absolutely Silas on

        Let the development be paced so the Inuit will learn more skills with each mining activity. When every bit of mineral interest is being extracted all at once then their is no opportunity to train and properly develop the skills needed for the next project. The money goes south and the local government collects a 1-2 percent of the surtax instead of an actual income tax. No need to rush the extraction of Nunavut minerals.

        • Posted by Unmuted on

          The idea that Inuit will someday be ready to run nearly all the operation, with little to no mining activity activity taking place prior to that magical day is pure fantasy.

  25. Posted by David James John-George on

    My name is David James John-George. My thought on this issue are simple. I think it’s time that the mines currently producing, put together some funds to develop a agency like that of the association of petroleum producers for the mining companies ofthe territory or wishing to enter into the territory.
    Inuit, metis and first people are not anti development, anti forestry, industry, and anti mining.
    We as a people want to be engaged in the development of our territories, participating in all aspects of the project.
    We seek sincere, social, economical environmental, and just good corporate citizens cooperation to develop our resources.
    As Nunavut strides to become independent, we all have a obligation to develop mines that will not be a Giant ecological disaster. Like the Giant mine of Yellow knife.
    This mining agency could be the bridge between community and company. The engagements consultations could all be handled by this agency saving companies time resources.
    Cooperation have to have a u derstanding of everyone that has a stake in these projects.
    The people who reside and work these projects will be impacted the most. If you cannot live where you worked and mined once. Where do you go once you destroy your home or allow the destruction of one’s home.
    Companies have a obligation to be good corporate citizens in the places that they perform there practice.
    If a company comes to a community with a little knowledge of what the community and the people of the area want or expect of the company while the life of the entity is working in there territory this would truly open the doors alot faster.
    If the understanding of what the stakeholders all want at the start and at the finish of the projects was already known.
    This would allow for more growth in the resource sector in first people territories.
    If good corporate stewardship and citizenship were front n foremost of a mining company then there projects would have a higher success and speed-up approval processes

    • Posted by Clarification Please on

      Nunavut is striving to become independent?

      Say what?

  26. Posted by Delbert on

    David being good stewards of the land and is a priority.
    I agree whole heartly. But what you are suggesting is having the mining companies use there own funds. To set up a mining association in Nunavut. This could be depramental to what you are asking for.What this association would be in all honesty is lobby. representing the miming companies.
    . It would only work in the best interest of the mining companies. The asociation would pay Inuit to be thier spokeman..
    But the words coming out their mouths would be those of the miming companies. This what companie do they hire people that have thier best interest at play.Not the interests of the population of any jursticion that they operate in. In negoations with any company. It’s better to speak with one voice. With a very clear set of priorities.
    Which benifit all the people of Nunavut. Look at the time and endless with so many different organization. That were interveners with Mary River. How could any clear path forward ever be found. I some times think that people are only on these boards for their per diems. More mettings more money. No leader ship.

    • Posted by Binky the Doormat on

      The idea that there is ‘one voice’ out there that could speak in ways that will benefit all is a partisan fiction, Delbert.

      It should be clear that perspectives on what is best for “all of us” vary widely. Just look at the groups, organizations and individuals we routinely see competing in these comments and articles, a good portion of these voices are Nunavummiut who disagree on fundamental issues. That’s normal and unavoidable.

      To suggest one perspective represents what is best is to gloss over and ignore the factions we don’t agree with, obviously they don’t have “all of our interests” at heart, only their own!

      Tricky move…

  27. Posted by Pond Inlet Resident on

    Don’t worry, the Nuluujaa Land Guardians will save us!!!!

    • Posted by Igunaaqi on

      I absolutely agree! And cover the 23% GDP for the territory. If you go hungry just call Nuluujaa Land Guardians, they will come and save you and your family.


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