Nunavut adds name to book of mourning: Vincent Crowe, father of 2

Crowe and Gahcho Kue employee Max Paczulla commemorated for National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job

Geoff Ryan spoke on behalf of the Northern Territories Federation of Labour at Friday’s ceremony at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly for the Day of Mourning ceremony for workers killed or injured on the job. He is shown with the official book of mourning that contains the names of those workers. (Photo by David Lochead)

By Madalyn Howitt

Updated April 28 at 5 p.m.

Friday was a difficult day for Wendi Graham Crowe.

It was the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job, a time that holds special significance for Wendi and her family.

Vincent Crowe, a Nova Scotia man who died while working at a Nunavut gold project in 2022, is being remembered by family Friday. Crowe’s name has been added to a book of mourning in Iqaluit for workers killed on the job. (Photo courtesy of Wendi Graham Crowe)

That’s because it was the day her husband’s name was added to an official book of mourning at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly.

Vincent Crowe, 48, died Jan. 17, 2022, when the bulldozer he was driving at the Sabina Gold & Silver Back River gold project near Bathurst Inlet fell through ice.

“Vince was a great husband, father, and son. He was a friend to all who had the pleasure of knowing him,” Wendi said on Friday.

The couple raised two children together, and Vince was a beloved uncle to several nieces and nephews, she said.

“Lots of days are hard, but today, especially,” she said.

The Nunavut Legislative Assembly commemorated the day with an official book of mourning made available for the public to view, with two new names added for 2022: Vincent Crowe and Max Paczulla, a worker who died at N.W.T.’s Gahcho Kué Mine.

In Vincent’s obituary, family remembered him as friendly and easygoing, with a moral compass that guided him well.  “Vince,” as he was also called, was known to be “a MacGyver,” a welder by trade and a handy guy.

Described by his brother-in-law in the obituary as “a little rough, and a whole lot of tough,” Vincent was content with himself, and “didn’t need to impress anyone and didn’t invest in those who required it.”

“We loved how he loved us. Be like Vince,” his family wrote.

Four companies now face numerous charges related to the death of Vincent Crowe.

Sabina Gold & Silver Corp., Matrix Aviation Solutions Inc., Matrix Kitikmeot Ltd., and Gallant Restorations Inc. were charged in January with multiple violations of Nunavut’s Safety Act and Mine Health and Safety Act.

The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission said the charges allege a failure to implement and maintain workplace practices, failure to ensure the health and safety of all persons at the worksite, and neglecting or refusing to provide information relating to the safety investigation, among other possible offences.

It took a month for Vincent’s body to be recovered, Wendi said, due to the extreme conditions of the environment.

The bulldozer Vincent had been operating sank through nearly two metres of ice, and plunged to a depth of 159 metres.

The B.C. RCMP Underwater Recovery Team worked with the RCMP National Underwater Recovery Training Centre to recover Vincent’s body in temperatures of -41 C with a wind chill below -53 C.

It was the deepest underwater recovery the RCMP had done, and the first RCMP operational dive conducted above the Arctic Circle.

Reflecting on the pain of losing a loved one in a work-related incident, Wendi urged employers to ensure safer working conditions for their employees.

“Worksites need to be managed by qualified people following policies regardless of how remote the site is,” she said.

“We want to make sure he is never forgotten and that others don’t have to go through the pain that we have,” she said of Vincent.

“Every day, we think of him and miss him. We hurt.”

This article was updated to include details of the effort to recover Vincent Crowe’s body from beneath the ice on the Arctic Ocean

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(1) Comment:

  1. Posted by Jamie on

    Vince, you were a true kind soul and one of a kind. You made many friends all over the north and a friend and family man who is dearly missed. May you continue to watch over your family.

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