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Impala Canada mandates vaccinations for Lac des Iles Mine workers

Staff at northwestern Ontario mine must fully vaccinated by Nov. 2
Impala LDI pit
(Impala Canada photo)

Want to keep working at Impala Canada's Lac des Iles Mine? Better get your vaccination.

Come Nov. 2, it will be required that any individual who enters the palladium mine site, 90 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the company said in a Sept.  24 news release.

Any individuals not fully vaccinated were required to have the first shot by Sept. 21, providing enough time for a second shot to be received by Oct. 19 with full vaccination status achieved two weeks later on Nov. 2.

Individuals with medical or legally qualified exemptions will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis, the company said.

In a statement, Impala said given that LDI is classified as an essential business and a semi-remote operation with a transient workforce their workforce is at a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.

In the spring of 2020, LDI suffered a large outbreak of COVID-19 among its workforce, documenting 25 workers who tested positive, include one Lac des Iles worker who died from complications related to the virus. 

The mining company reports 85 per cent of Lac des Iles (LDI) Mine team members have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. And 91 per cent of its workforce have one dose.

The company launched a vaccine roll-out plan delivered by its LDI Health Centre team in conjunction with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.  

For every jab, Impala  awards a $100 gift card to an employee. Work crews that are fully vaccinated are entered into a draw to win up to $1,000 per crew member.

"Through this challenge, we further encouraged the prioritization of workplace health and safety and we committed to deliver up to $37,500 in prizes to fully vaccinated crews," said the company in a news release.

“The best action we can take today is to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” said mine manager Bryan Wilson in a statement.

“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.”

The company said the decision to require full vaccination at LDI follows action taken in August to mandate vaccinations for employees of the Impala Canada corporate offices in Thunder Bay and Toronto and the LDI Management Team.

As of September 12, 100 per cent of Impala Canada corporate employees and LDI managers were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.