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Rainy River Mine

Last updated on May 5, 2021

The Rainy River Mine has shared action plans and preventative measures being implemented, while seeking and considering input from our employees, contractors, and communities to ensure we are delivering responsive actions consistent with broader efforts.

CBC National Interview on New Gold Rapid COVID-19 Testing at Rainy River

At our Rainy River Mine we have implemented a number of measures including, but not limited to:

Site-Wide Practices:

  • Management continues to consult with local government officials and Indigenous communities to incorporate and coordinate actions that will mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Biomeme SARS-CoV Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests and rapid mobile detection platforms, approved by Health Canada, were implemented in July 2020 as a tool for initial screening of our workforce, adding another level of protection against the transmission of COVID-19.
  • The COVID-19 on-site RT-PCR tests are conducted in the following conditions:
    • An employee/contractor/visitor on New Gold business volunteers for a test
    • An employee/contractor/visitor on New Gold business with symptoms of COVID-19 is flagged for a test
    • An employee/contractor/visitor on New Gold business has travelled outside the Northwestern Health Unit Region in the last five days
  • Individuals with positive results from the on-site RT-PCR testing are directed to take a second test administered by the North Western Health Unit (NWHU), which confirms the result with a separate test. 
  • We have implemented the use of contact tracing by our team as well as through Public Health to isolate any infected individuals and limit further exposure. 
  • In late 2020, Rainy River Mine participated in an Antigen Screening Rapid Test pilot project sponsored by the Government of Ontario, which focused on Antigen Rapid COVID-19 tests for asymptomatic workers in Ontario workplaces. Rainy River Mine was accepted into the Provincial Antigen Screening Program when the provincial government formally launched it February 2021. 
  • With the introduction of the Antigen rapid tests, Rainy River Mine was able to expand testing capabilities and are now testing all employees at the beginning of each rotation. 
  • To accommodate higher numbers, a testing schedule was implemented with the majority of the testing taking place in the Fire Hall. 
  • We have partnered with Seven Generations Educational Institute to provide community-based testing in the Rainy River area, including in the local Indigenous communities.  
  • We have implemented a Consent to Disclose Personal Health Information form in which employees/contractors/visitors who receive a COVID-19 rapid test consent to sharing their result with the Nurse Practitioner on site. While authorization is voluntary, the personal health information is used by New Gold to address health and safety concerns within the workplace, to perform timely sanitization of affected work areas, to ensure safe entry to the worksite and to determine eligibility for workplace benefits, where applicable. 
  • Employees and contractors who are members of communities serviced by the Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services (FFTAHS) are offered the opportunity for voluntary referral and monitoring by FFTAHS community nurses for 14 days if they have any symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • A modified COVID-19 online screening tool is required to be completed daily by the employees and contractors prior to the start of their shift. 
  • COVID-19 questionnaire responses on the daily screening form generates a report, which is reviewed by the COVID-19 health and safety team and all flagged entries are followed up by the Nurse Practitioners on-site. 
  • Employees with symptoms are instructed to not report to site and contact or visit a COVID-19 assessment center as per Public Health's directions. 
  • Posters have been posted at site and camp to raise awareness about self-monitoring and self-isolation practices, proper hand washing and mandatory face masks.
  • A COVID-19 information resource hub for employees has been created on our internal employee communication site, including information about health and safety and employee benefits. 
  • We partnered with Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services to promote the flu vaccination and its importance during a pandemic. Rainy River Mine offered the flu vaccine on site for free to employees and contractors.
  • We have secured a supply of surface wipes, sanitizing sprays, hand sanitizers, soaps, dispensers, which employees will use to sanitize their workstations and equipment.
  • The Supply Chain Department is in regular contact with our suppliers to mitigate any potential disruption to our PPE inventory.
  • Physical distancing strategies have been implemented, such as staggered lunch breaks and start times, holding smaller crew meetings, posting maximum occupancy notices for individual offices and meeting spaces, and relocating employees that regularly share an office into available empty offices. 
  • Signs are spaced around conference room tables to remind employees of proper physical distancing during meetings.
  • Modified recruitment, onboarding, and training to enable proper physical distancing.
  • The Supply Chain department ensured that the mine site has adequate supply of medical grade masks. Medical grade face masks are the standard safety protocol when 6feet/2 metres physical distancing is not possible. 

Camp Practices:

  • Every camp resident and employee are tested upon arrival at the camp.  
  • Mandatory hand washing and sanitization before entering dining hall facility.
  • Access to dining hall is limited to a maximum 20 minutes.
  • Dining hall capacity has been reduced and conformance to seating restrictions is monitored by security personnel during the dinner services.  
  • Implemented mandatory physical distancing of six feet between employees.
  • High touch points are sanitized every 30 minutes.
  • Tables cleaned and sanitized after each seating. Guests must turn the card from “clean” to “to be sanitized” after they finish their meals.
  • Salads, desserts and “Grab and Go” items are individually wrapped. Self-serve items are no longer available until further notice.
  • No socializing is currently permitted in the common areas.
  • Gym usage is limited to a maximum of one person per hour with advance reservation. Camp guests are required to sign and acknowledge a waiver with care instructions before entering and using on-site facilities. Access to the gym is subject to the change in provincial restrictions and COVID-19 cases in the Northwestern Health Unit region. 
  • All guests are required to take a COVID-19 test prior to arrival at camp. If guests arrive after testing hours, a COVID-19 test must be completed the next day, prior to returning to camp. A signed slip is provided to the guests as a proof of testing once test is completed. 
  • As a majority of camp guests arrive Tuesday evenings, the Rainy River COVID-19 health and safety team performs COVID-19 RT-PCT and Anitgen tests in the camp recreation centre every Tuesday between 3:00pm and 9:00pm. 
  • Three layered medical grade II masks are mandatory on-site and on company transportation, when unable to maintain physical distance.
  • Gloves are available for all employees. Cooks are required to change their gloves every ten minutes and all serving utensils are rotated every 10 minutes. 

Transportation Practices:

  • The daily employee coach service to site was suspended as of April 17, 2021 as a result of the increased number of cases in the Northwestern Health Unit region. The resumption of the bus services is subject to trending COVID-19 cases in the area. 
  • The camp to site and bi-weekly Winnipeg bus service is operating at 50% capacity. Individuals choosing to use the bus service must follow strict guidelines:
    • Passengers are required to wear masks.
    • Passengers are required to fill the bus starting from the back row to the front, while boarding the bus. 
    • The bus will be emptied from front to back while disembarking the bus. 
    • Hand sanitizer is provided at the entrance of the bus to use when entering and exiting the bus. 
    • Passengers should call the Nurse Practitioner on-site and are strictly advised not to ride the bus: 
      • If they are feeling sick or presenting with symptoms of cold/flu/COVID-19
      • If they have been in direct contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19
      • If they are required to self-isolate by a medical practitioner or Public Health. 
  • Shared strategies for workers to protect themselves if they are carpooling in a personal vehicle.
  • Camp to site shuttle service and bi-weekly shuttle service to Winnipeg are operating at reduced capacity. 

Employee & Family Support:

  • The New Gold Employee and Family Assistance Program offered through LifeWorks is available to support our employees and their families related to mental, physical, emotional, and financial well-being.
  • The 'Not Myself Today' program is available to support employee mental health and connect them to resources.
  • Human Resources provides regular communications to employees regarding benefits and mental health supports to increase awareness.
  • New Gold has one year contract with Resolution Counselling offering Mental Health one-to-one counselling and workshops for all employees. 

Please email us here if you have any questions:info@newgold.com

We all can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We encourage everyone to abide by the Health Canada basic protective measures against the virus, via this link.

Health Agency Updates