6. Workers' Rights at the Mary River Mine – Full Finding
Workers’ rights are one of the areas that the Baffinland company has the greatest amount of control over its impacts. It is also an area where the Inuit have expressed hope and expectations for positive benefits in terms of job opportunities—which can be understood in terms of the right to work and other labour rights. One of the biggest challenges for Baffinland will be non-discrimination in the workplace, especially in terms of hiring, promoting and retaining Inuit and female employees at the Mary River mine.
International Standards related to Workers’ Rights
Labour rights are a central issue in all human rights impact assessments. This is because labour rights are protected by international law (the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, as well as by the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples Rights), and because companies have control over how their workers are treated. Companies should also make sure that their suppliers and contractors respect their workers.
Overview of workers’ rights
Equality and non-discrimination (articles 2 and 3 of the ICCPR and ICESCR)
Non-discrimination is a fundamental and overarching principle of international human rights. Everyone is entitled to enjoy human rights irrespective of his or her colour, gender, religion, ethnic, social or national origin, political or other opinion, property, birth, or other status. The Human Rights Committee, which monitors and interprets the ICCPR, has further interpreted the principle of non-discrimination to include other grounds of discrimination such as age, nationality, disability and sexual orientation. Article 2(1) obliges States to prohibit any distinctions, exclusions, restrictions and limitations by both public authorities and private bodies on those grounds in the enjoyment of the rights set out in the ICCPR. This means that States have a responsibility to ensure that businesses carry out their activities and provide services in a non-discriminatory way. Reasonable and objective distinctions are permitted.
States must ensure that all rights are enjoyed equally by men and women. States are allowed to adopt positive action to eliminate conditions that contribute to gender discrimination. Similarly, companies can have affirmative action policies for women and other vulnerable groups.
Within indigenous communities, women, the elderly, youth and children and persons with disabilities may be particularly vulnerable, and accordingly Article 22 requires that, in implementing the UNDRIP, these groups are afforded special consideration. States have a duty to protect these groups from harm, violence, discrimination and any other activities or lack of actions that could compromise their well-being. Article 44 states that all rights and freedoms recognized in the UNDRIP are equally guaranteed to male and female individuals.
In designing and implementing activities and engaging in business relationships with others that may impact indigenous peoples, and in engaging with indigenous peoples about such activities or business relationships, businesses must ensure that any particular vulnerabilities of these groups are identified and addressed within the due diligence process. This may require separate consultation with such groups.
Social security (article 9 of the ICESCR)
The right to social security encompasses the right to access and maintain benefits without discrimination. Governments are obliged to make available a system of social security. Such systems may involve contributory or insurance-based schemes, which normally entail compulsory contributions from the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s employer (and sometimes the State), as well as universal or targeted schemes funded out of the public purpose. Social security benefits should be available to cover the following areas: health care and sickness, old age, unemployment, employment injury, family and child support, maternity, disability, and survivors and orphans. Social security systems should be affordable and sustainable, so as to provide for present and future generations, and should also provide for adequate benefits. The right is essential in combating poverty, given its redistributive character; its realisation can, for example, have a significant impact on the enjoyment of other related rights, such as the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to health.
The role of companies in relation to the right to social security will vary depending on the national context. Generally, companies have a basic duty to ensure that legally mandated contributions to the system, in ad- dition to those deducted from employee salaries and wages, are paid promptly to ensure that the govern- ment’s ability to deliver social security payments or ser- vices is not undermined. Increasingly, employment laws also create obligations on companies to provide income and benefits on maternity, injury and the like. If compa- nies operate private social security schemes, they have the responsibility to do so in a non-discriminatory man- ner and they should not impose unreasonable eligibility conditions. Finally, if a company denied its workers their contractually agreed employment injury benefits, its actions would impact negatively on the workers’ rights under Article 9.
Right to work (article 6 of the ICESCR)
The right to work recognises the right of everyone to the opportunity to make their living by work which they freely choose or accept. This implies that one should not be forced to engage in employment and that States develop a system designed to guarantee all workers access to employment. Workers should not be unfairly deprived of employment. Work as specified in Article 6 must be ‘decent work’, that is work that respects a per- son’s human rights including workers’ rights regarding conditions of remuneration and work safety. The right to work includes the prohibition of arbitrary dismissal.
A company that has significant activities as one of the ‘main players’ regarding the provision of employment, in areas where a government lacks the capacity or willingness to fulfil its commitments, may be expected by stakeholders to play a part in helping to secure fulfilment of the right to work. Companies of all sizes and in all locations may impact on their workers’ right to work if they arbitrarily or unfairly dismiss workers. Even where such practice may be legally permissible under local law, many stakeholders now expect companies to exhibit a higher standard of behaviour in line with international standards and good practice.
The right to work is closely linked to rights in Article 7 to just and favourable working conditions and trade union rights in Article 8. These rights are components of the overall right to work.
Right to just and favourable working conditions (article 7 of the ICESCR)
The right to enjoy just and favourable working conditions has various components, which are all highly relevant to the actions of companies as they concern the treatment of employees. This Article recognises that States must protect the right to remuneration that provides workers with fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value, and that women must be guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men. Remuneration must also be enough to provide workers with a decent living for themselves and their families. Article 7 furthermore comprises a right to healthy and safe conditions of work, a right to equality of opportunity for promotion, and a right to rest, leisure and holidays as part of conditions at work.
The interpretation of Article 7 is influenced by the corresponding International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions, which elaborate in greater detail the labour standards set out in the Covenant:
• ILO standards generally prescribe that employees should not be required to work more than 48 hours per week, or ten hours a day, though these rules are subject to some exceptions.
• ILO conventions relating to the issue of rest and leisure are also relevant to the issue of working hours. For example, it is specified that there should be at least one day off in every seven, and that a minimum of three weeks’ paid holiday (not including public holidays) be available for every year of full-time service.
• A minimum wage should be ‘fair’ and enable families to enjoy the right to a standard of living that includes adequate food, clothing and housing (Article 11 of the Covenant). This is reinforced by the corresponding ILO convention, which dictates that the setting of minimum wages should, for example, take into account issues such as the cost of living and the needs of workers and their families. Companies should at least comply with minimum wages mandated by government minimum wage legislation. Wages should be paid regularly and in full, without unauthorised deductions or restrictions.
With regard to all working conditions, States should require employers to co-operate with independent inspection services to ensure compliance with legal requirements.
Companies can have a significant impact on the enjoyment of the various rights in Article 7 in their capacity as employers.
Right to collective bargaining (a component of trade union rights in article 9 of the ICESCR)
This Article concerns the right of everyone to form trade unions and to join the trade union of his or her choice, subject to the union’s own membership rules. This right may only be restricted by States in circumstances that are set down in law and are necessary to protect national security, public order, or the rights and freedoms of others. Trade unions themselves have rights to establish national federations or confederations, and for the latter to form or join international trade union groupings. Trade unions are permitted to function freely, subject only to limitations that are lawful and necessary to protect national security, public order or the rights of others. Finally, the Article recognises a right to strike, which must be exercised in conformity with the reason- able requirements of a particular country’s laws.
The core ILO Conventions governing freedom of association, the right to organise and collective bargaining complement the interpretation of this right. (See: ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organise (1948) and ILO Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (1949)).
These Conventions dictate that workers should not be dis- criminated against because of trade union membership. Governments should implement measures and develop appropriate mechanisms to promote voluntary good faith negotiations between employers and employees’ organisations, with a view to enabling them to work out collective agreements regarding the regulation of employment.
Company actions may impact on these rights if they prevent union membership and activity amongst employees or are in any way complicit in actions that restrict employees’ rights to participate in union activity.
Related rights: freedom of association, right to work and the right to just and favourable conditions of work.
Freedom from Child labour (related to child protection in article 24 of the ICCPR)
Children may not be engaged to do work that is hazardous, arduous, and for which they are underpaid, or to work for the same number of hours as adults. Child labourers are frequently denied the opportunity to undertake education as a result of going to work, and their mental and physical health can suffer due to poor working conditions, long hours of work, and ill-treatment by employers.
The term “child labour” should not be confused with “youth employment” or “ student work.” Child labour is a form of exploitation that is a violation of a human right, and it is recognized and defined by international instruments. It is the declared policy of the international community and of almost all governments to abolish child labour.
While the term "child" covers all girls and boys under 18 years of age, not all under-18’s must be removed from work: the basic rules under international standards distinguish what constitutes acceptable or unacceptable work for children at different ages and stages of their development. ILO conventions (Minimum Age Convention No. 138 and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention No. 182) provide the framework for national law to prescribe a minimum age for admission to employment or work that must not be less than the age for completing compulsory schooling, and in any case not less than 15 years. Lower ages are permitted for transitional periods – in countries where economic and educational facilities are less well-developed the minimum age for regular work generally is 14 years, and 12 years for “light work”. The minimum age for hazardous work is higher, at 18 years for all countries.
If an occurrence of child labour is identified, the children need to be removed from the workplace and provided with viable alternatives. These measures often include enrolling the children in schools and offering income-generating alternatives for the parents or above-working age members of the family. Companies need to be aware that, without support, children may be forced into worse circumstances such as prostitution, and that, in some instances where children are the sole providers of income, their immediate removal from work may exacerbate rather than relieve the hardship.
Safe and healthy working conditions (related to the right to work and the right to just and favourable working conditions in Articles 6 and 7 of the ICESCR)
ILO standards require governments to adopt, in consultation with appropriate employer and employee organisations, a national occupational health and safety (OHS) policy aimed at reducing accidents and injuries to health arising in the course of employment, and to minimise the causes of inherent workplace hazards. That policy should address, for example, the provision of adequate OHS training regarding the use and maintenance of the ‘material elements of work’, including workplace environment, tools, machinery and equipment. Workers must be able to remove themselves from work situations where imminent and serious health dangers are reasonably perceived, without undue consequences.
With regard to all working conditions, States should require employers to co-operate with independent inspection services to ensure compliance with legal requirements.
See ILO Convention 155 Concerning Occupational Health and Safety and the Working Environment (1981), Articles 4, 5 and 13. See also ILO Convention 161 on Occupational Health Services (1985).
Right to education (articles 13 and 14 of the ICESCR)
The aim of the right to education is “the full development of the human personality and sense of dignity”. Articles 13 and 14 guarantee all children the right to free and compulsory primary education. The right also requires progressive steps from governments aimed at the provision of secondary and higher education, including the provision of ‘fundamental’ education for those who could not complete primary education. The right to education also includes the right of equal access to education and equal enjoyment of education facilities, the freedom of parents and children to choose the type of education the children receive, and the freedom to establish educational institutions (subject to minimum educational standards). Educational facilities should be available, accessible, culturally and ethically acceptable, and flexible so as to be able to adapt to society’s changing needs.
Companies have a vested interest in promoting the right to education for the development of skilled workforces. Companies may impact on the right to education where child labourers are directly employed or operate in their supply chains in a way that prevents those children from attending school. This right is also relevant in the context of any commitments made by a company to provide education to the children of workers or others in the local community. Companies that organise or provide such education should respect equality of access to education. Companies may also impact on the enjoyment of the right if, for example, their involvement with heavy construction or infrastructure projects limits access to nearby schools or results in damage to, or the destruction of, educational facilities.
Freedom of association (article 22 of the ICCPR)
Article 22 protects the right to form or join all types of association such as political parties, religious societies, sporting and other recreational clubs, non-governmental organisations and trade unions. This right shall not be restricted, except by lawful regulation necessary to protect the interests of national security, public safety, public order, public health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Companies’ activities are most likely to impact on the right insofar as it relates to trade unions and other employee representative bodies. Article 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) focuses on trade unions alone. Companies respect the right when they respect the right of workers to form trade unions or, when operating in countries where trade union activity is unlawful, they recognise legitimate employee associations with whom the company can enter into dialogue about workplace issues. Companies should also ensure that their activities do not undermine other legitimate organisations, such as political parties. Companies may also promote enjoyment of the right by speaking out in appropriate circumstances, publicly or privately, about laws that curtail the right.
Right to health (article 12 of the ICESCR)
This Article recognises the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States must take measures to prevent, treat and control diseases, reduce infant mortality and provide for the healthy development of children, improve all aspects of industrial and environmental hygiene, and to create conditions that will ensure universal access to appropriate medical services and medical attention in the event of sickness. The right includes the right to control over one’s health and body, including reproductive and sexual rights, and freedom from interference, such as freedom from non-consensual medical treatment and experimentation. People must have access to the underlying building blocks of good health, such as adequate nutrition, housing, safe and potable water, adequate sanitation, medical supplies, healthy working conditions and a healthy environment.
Company activities and products can impact on the right to health of employees, and are expected to ensure that their operations and products do not impact on the right to health of people, such as workers, consumers and local communities. Special consideration should be made in relation to vulnerable sectors of society, such as children and adolescents, women, disabled people and indigenous communities. Companies are expected to ensure compliance with national legislation (including occupational health and safety regulations, and consumer and environmental legislation) and international standards where domestic laws are weak or poorly enforced. Even though informal workers are often not covered by domestic legislation, companies should take steps to ensure that any persons within their supply chains are not exposed to occupational health and safety dangers.
UNDRIP, article 24: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their traditional medicines and health practices, while retaining access to all health services, so that they may enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. This right allows indigenous peoples to conserve and protect their medicinal plants, animals and minerals (and their knowledge in relation to these; see also Article 31 in relation to traditional knowledge), but also provides that they shall not be barred access to other social and health services.
The health of indigenous peoples is often significantly lower than that of the overall population. Factors such as proximity to health services, affordability and language proficiency are just a few reasons that contribute to this problem. In some instances, indigenous people may suffer from health risk factors such as poor nutrition, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and the abuse of other drugs and substances. For this reason, protecting indigenous peoples’ right to all social and health services is crucial to the survival of their communities and cultures, and their development opportunities.
Businesses should ensure that they do not access indigenous medicinal resources without consent, and do not adversely impact indigenous peoples’ intellectual property rights through, for example, patenting their knowledge of traditional medicines without consent. Where companies are accessing indigenous medicinal resources, they must ensure that their activities do not damage stocks (of relevance to those conducting activities on lands occupied or used by indigenous peoples). Businesses should consider ways in which access to health services and products by indigenous peoples could be enhanced where it is insufficient (of relevance to companies in the health industry, and also those with appropriate distribution channels which could be used to assist in this respect). It is also important for companies to respect the health of indigenous employees, and provide them with the same health benefits (e.g., health insurance and workplace health programs) as all other employees.
There are several ways businesses can respect and support the health of indigenous peoples. Businesses that manufacture pharmaceuticals have the unique ability to provide indigenous peoples with access to medicines they produce. Businesses that work in areas with indigenous communities can assist in the creation and maintenance of health service facilities. Businesses that work in the areas with indigenous communities can also engage with them to assist in the preservation of their medicinal plants, animals and minerals.
Laws and institutions that protect workers’ rights in Nunavut
• Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. (2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
• Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms, section 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (d) freedom of association.
• Canada Labour Code, Part One (Industrial Relations): The Canada Industrial Relations Board has jurisdiction in regard to some 800,000 employees engaged in federal jurisdiction industries, which include interprovincial transportation (air, land and water), broadcasting, banking, longshoring and grain handling, and to private sector employees in Nunavut, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.
• Nunavut Human Rights Act (2003), section 9: Employment: Prohibited grounds of discrimination and harassment
• Nunavut Labour Standards Act provides regulations for basic wage, overtime, holidays, maternity leave, etc.
• Workers’ Safety and Compensation Board of NWT and Nunavut
• Mine Health and Safety Act (Nunavut), S.N.W.T. 1994, c. 25, in force December 15, 1995, as amended.
o S. 2: Duties of owner to protect the health and safety of employees at the mine, etc.
o S. 11: Occupational health and safety committee
o S. 15: Duties of contractors
o S. 17: Workers to comply with Act
o S. 18: Right to refuse work
o S. 19: Non-discrimination for refusal to work
o S. 21 ss.: Investigation and inspection
o S. 45: regulations
• Mine Health and Safety Regulations, R-125-95, as amended
• Explosives Use Act
Company Policies relevant to Workers’ Rights
ArcelorMittal Human Rights Policy
Eliminating Forced or Compulsory Labour: ArcelorMittal opposes the use of forced or compulsory labour. We will also work with our subcontractors and suppliers to avoid indirectly benefiting from or promoting such illegal practices.
Abolishing Child Labour: ArcelorMittal opposes the use of child labour. We will work in collaboration with subcontractors and suppliers to prevent and remove any instances of child labour in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of the child.
Eliminating Unlawful Discrimination in the Workplace: ArcelorMittal is committed to ensure that each employee and potential employee is treated with fairness and dignity. Accordingly, any unlawful discriminatory practice based on race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, ethnicity, national or social origin, property, political or other opinion, disability, birth or any other basis will not be tolerated. The Company seeks to provide each employee with equal opportunity for advancement without discrimination.
Eliminating Harassment and Violence: ArcelorMittal is committed to promote a work environment free of any form of harassment, exploitation, abuse or violence as defined by the laws of each country in which we operate.
Providing Competitive Compensation and Remuneration: ArcelorMittal aims to pay competitive wages based on local market assessments and at a minimum seeks to provide a commensurate compensation for each employee.
Upholding Conditions of Employment: ArcelorMittal complies with all laws regarding conditions of employment including basic and over-time working hours, and will abide by agreements negotiated with our employee representatives.
Promoting Freedom of Association: ArcelorMittal upholds freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. We also work with our subcontractors and suppliers to promote the achievement of this principle.
ArcelorMittal Health and Safety Policy
• All injuries and work related illnesses can and must be prevented.
• Management is accountable for the Health & Safety performance.
• Communication, involvement and training of all employees are essential in Health & Safety excellence.
• Everyone has a role to play in preventing injuries and illnesses.
• Excellence in Health & Safety supports excellent business results.
• Health & Safety must be integrated into all business management processes.
• Product Stewardship aiming at eliminating Health & Environmental impact for customers.
To achieve this we will:
• Identify, evaluate and eliminate Health & Safety risks to ensure that hazards are managed.
• Establish an effective process for preventing all injuries and work related illnesses.
• Build a supportive culture that requires visible Leadership with clear accountability.
• Provide everyone with effective training so that we are all able to work safely.
• Investigate all incidents in order to prevent a recurrence.
• Establish a culture where work will be stopped if it is unsafe.
• Establish measurable objectives to monitor progress through regular audits and reporting.
• Comply fully with all legal requirements and meet or exceed these expectations wherever we operate in the world.
• Update and test emergency procedures.
ArcelorMittal Employee Relations Policy
1. To regard our employees as an important and highly valued resource to be cared for, empowered and rewarded.
2. To view trade unions as constructive role players in the organisation and to subscribe to the principle of freedom of association.
3. To establish structures through the organisation to proactively engage trade unions and employees with a view to create and strengthen constructive relationships. The competitive advantage of ArcelorMittal’s’ business is dependant on our ability to harness and optimise the human capital within the organisation.
4. To implement and maintain non-discriminatory employee practices and internationally recognised employment standards.
5. To encourage the implementation of formal communication to all employees through the implementation of communication channels and systems in all of our operations. Regular interaction and consultations will take place with employee representatives.
6. To operate within and adhere to the legislative and collective bargaining framework of the countries in which it operates. Group operations will enter into Collective Agreements with any representative trade union. Nothing contained herein will prevent any of the Group operations to have dealings with other unions and non-union members.
7. To introduce procedures and structures at operations level to give expression to the need to institutionalise employee relations in a mutually beneficial way, with the aim to build productive relationships and to achieve business goals. The accountability for managing employee relations rests with the management teams of the each of the Group’s operations. The Corporate Employee Relations has a specific role to establish policies and procedures, support operations by providing guidance on employee relations processes and procedures, facilitate relationship building, employee relations strategy development and build employee relations capacity.
8. To recognise the right of employees to lawfully withhold labour. This policy statement must be read within the context of the provisions of local legislation and the provisions of applicable Collective Labor Agreements that are in force.
9. Notwithstanding the above, to promote agreements on continuity of sensitive units like blast furnaces or coke ovens that by design should not stop under any circumstances.
10. To continuously develop the capacity of the various role players to effectively manage Employee relations, to provide applicable training programmes on an ongoing basis. These programmes will include training in the application of processes, policies and procedures.
11. Corporate Employee Relations will regularly monitor and assess the application of the Group’s Employee relations policy.
Baffinland’s Sustainability Policy
1.0 HEALTH AND SAFETY
We strive to achieve the safest workplace for our employees and contractors; free from occupational injury and illness from the very earliest of planning stages. Why? Because our people are our greatest asset. Nothing is as important as their health and safety. We report, manage and learn from injuries, illnesses and high potential incidents to foster a workplace culture focused on safety and the prevention of incidents.
We foster and maintain a positive culture of shared responsibility based on participation, behaviour and awareness. We allow our workers and contractors the right to stop any work if and when they see something that is not safe.
Baffinland’s Human Resource Management Plan
• Section 2.0 – Human resources management principles
Baffinland’s human resource policies and procedures are based on the following principles (P 4): promoting a safe, healthy and productive workplace; promoting a work environment of continuous improvement; supporting employees’ efforts and aspirations to contribute at their full potential by promoting and rewarding workers based on merit and performance mutual trust, and providing transparent HR processes good corporate citizenship and responsibility
• Section 3.0 - Workplace preparedness
3.1 cross-cultural recognition
3.2.Inuit preparedness for the workplace
3.3. Inuktitut in the workplace
3.4. affirmative steps for attracting female employees
3.5. employee and family assistance program
3.6. availability of country food
3.7. traditional activities
• Section 6.0 - Recruitment Program
6.1. Project Human Resources Strategy
6.5. Inuit Human Resources Strategy
6.5.1. Inuit Recruitment and Selection Program
6.5.2 Retention, advancement and career development
6.5.4 Inuit Women's Access to Employment
• Section 7.0 - Occupational Heath and Safety
• Section 7.2. Medical program
• Section 8.0 - Education and Training
• List of training programs see Table 5.1. p 22).
• Section 9.0 – Employee Relations
• Section 9.3 – Employee benefits
• Section 10.0 - Contracting and Subcontracting
Baffinland Health and Safety Management Plan (FEIS - Appendix 10E)
Baffinland is committed to leadership and continuous improvement in environmental, health, and safety practices for the benefit of employees, contractors, and communities.
This will be accomplished by:
• Providing a safe and healthy workplace;
• Integrating environmentally sound practices in all processes;
• Complying with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and standards;
• Conserving natural resources and energy;
• Providing necessary resources to support environment, health, and safety goals and objectives; and
• Integrating environmental, health, and safety goals and objectives with overall business strategy.
Baffinland Environmental Health and Safety Committee Charter (appendix 10A-1)
To meet applicable legal requirements and operate at a best practices level, the EHS Committee is committed to undertake the following responsibilities with respect to the environment and health and safety of its employees:
Communicate to the company the importance of developing: (i) a culture of environmental responsibility and (ii) an awareness of the importance of health and safety.
Ensure adequate resources are available and systems in place for company management to implement appropriate environmental, and health and safety programs and request and obtain from the Chief Operating Officer periodic reports on such programs.
Establish policies, and provide oversight on development and implementation of management systems relating to environmental and health and safety matters.
Ensure management has implemented an Environmental, Health, and Safety Policy and Framework that includes defined standards and objectives, monitors effectiveness and, from time to time, reports to management any necessary improvements to such policy and its framework of implementation.
Ensure management has implemented an environmental, health, and safety performance measurement system that can be used to provide a continuous measure of environmental and health and safety performance and continuous improvement of the company.
Use the environmental, health, and safety performance measurement system to monitor compliance with legal requirements and internal targets, as well as communicate a demonstrated commitment to the environment and employee health and safety to shareholders and stakeholders, including all members of the company.
Ensure that management has implemented an environmental and health and safety compliance audit program, request from the Chief Operating Officer periodic status reports on such program, and provide feedback on necessary improvement to the program.
Receive an annual report from management that includes any environmental, health, and safety issues of a material nature.
Report on its activities to the shareholders annually in the company’s annual report or management information circular for the annual shareholders’ meeting or other disclosure documents or on the company’s website.
NIRB Terms and Conditions related to Workers’ Rights
Term and Condition no. 135 - Education and Training / Work and Study
Objective: Recognizing the 12-hour work days inherent with work at the Project site, it is not clear how employees would successfully engage in a work/study program offered by the Proponent.
Term and Condition: The Proponent is encouraged to consider offering additional options for work/study programs available to Project employees (in addition to study programs at project sites that would be offered to employees when off shift).
Term and condition 136 - Education and training / transferable skills
Objective: Offering training which results in certifications that are valid for employment at more than one site or in different fields provides an investment in the long-term employability of Nunavummiut.
Terms or conditions: The Proponent is encouraged to work with training organizations and/or government departments offering mine-related or other training in order to provide additional opportunities for employees to gain meaningful and transferable skills, credentials and certifications especially where such training of employees offered by the Proponent remains valid only at the Mary River Project sites.
Term and Condition no 137 -Education and training/ transferable skills
Objective: Offering training which results in certifications that are valid for employment at more than one site or in different fields provides an investment in the long-term employability of Nunavummiut.
Term or condition: Prior to construction, the Proponent shall develop an easily referenced listing of formal certificates and licences that may be acquired via on-site training or training during employment at Mary River, such listing to indicate which of these certifications and licenses would be transferable to a similar job site within Nunavut. This listing should be updated on an annual basis, and is to be provided to the NIRB upon completion and whenever it is revised.
Term and condition no 138 - Education and training - Inuit employee training
Objective: Working together with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association to prepare effective training programs developed specifically for Inuit will assist in employee preparedness and may improve employee retention.
Term and condition: The Proponent is encouraged to work with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association to ensure the timely development of effective Inuit training and work-ready
Term and condition no 140 - Education and Training - Survey of Nunavummiut employees
Objective: Monitoring the number of employees who leave previous employment in their home communities or who leave some type of formal education in pursuit of employment with the Project is important to evaluate predictions made and the potential impacts to North Baffin communities and education rates.
Term or condition: The Proponent is encouraged to survey Nunavummiut employees as they are hired and specifically note the level of education obtained and whether the incoming employee resigned from a previous job placement or educational institution in order to take up employment with the Project.
Term and condition no 141 - Education and training - Training of Inuit
Objective: To ensure that effective training is available in a timely manner.
Term or condition: The Proponent is encouraged to work with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association prior to construction in order to prioritize the provision of training of Inuit to serve as employees in monitoring or other such capacities.
Term and condition no 142 - Livelihood and Employment - Employee cohesion
Objective: To promote cohesion between employees on site, and between employees and their families.
Term or condition: The Proponent is encouraged to address the potential direct and indirect effects that may result from Project employees’ on-site use of various Inuktitut dialects as well as other spoken languages, specifically paying attention to the potential alienation of some employees that may occur as a result of language or other cultural barriers.
Term and condition no 143 - Livelihood and Employment - Employee family contact
Objective: To enable and foster connection and contact between employees and family members.
Term or condition: The Proponent is encouraged to consider the use of both existing and innovative technologies (e.g. community radio station call-in shows, cell phones, video-conferencing, Skype, etc.) as a way to ensure Project employees are able to keep in contact with family and friends and to ward off the potential for feelings of homesickness and distance to impact on employee retention and family stability.
Term and condition no 144 - Livelihood and Employment - Requirement for employment
Objective: To ensure that the prerequisites and requirements for employment are clear and well known in work readiness program.
Term and condition: The Proponent is encouraged to make requirements for employment clear in its work-readiness and other public information programs and documentation, including but not limited to: education levels, criminal records checks, policies relating to drug and alcohol use and testing, language abilities.
Term and condition No 145 - Livelihood and Employment - Barriers to employment of women
Objective: To monitor and understand the existence of barriers to employment for women specifically relating to childcare availability and costs
Term or condition: The Proponent is encouraged to work with the Government of Nunavut and the Qikiqtaaluk Socio-Economic Monitoring Committee to monitor the barriers to employment for women, specifically with respect to childcare availability and costs.
Term and condition no 146 - livelihood and employment - Availability of childcare for project employees
Objective: To lessen the barriers to employment as relating to the availability of childcare.
Term or condition: The Government of Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association are strongly encouraged to investigate the possibility for Project revenue streams to support initaitves or programs which offset or subsidize childcare for Project employees.
Term and condition no 147 - livelihood and employment - Affordability of housing
Objective: To lessen the barriers to maintaining employment as relating to the availability and costs of housing.
Term or condition: The Proponent is encouraged to work with the Government of Nunavut and the Nunavut Housing Corporation to investigate options and incentives which might enable and provide incentive for employees living in social housing to maintain employment as well as to negotiate for and obtain manageable rental rates.
Term and condition no 149 - Economic Development and Self-Reliance, and Contracting and Business Opportunities - Impacts of temporary closure
Objective: To further the understanding of how a temporary closure may impact on the well-being of the residents and businesses of the North Baffin region.
Term or condition: Prior to the commencement of operations, the Proponent is required to undertake an analysis of the risk of temporary mine closure, giving consideration to how communities in the North Baffin region may be affected by temporary and permanent closure of the mine, including economic, social and cultural effects.
Term and condition no 151 - Economic Development and Self-Reliance, and Contracting and Business Opportunities -Access to Housing
Objective: To investigate ways that economic development and self-reliance my improve access to housing by employees
Term or condition: The Proponent is encouraged to investigate measures and programs designed to assist Project employees with homeownership or access to affordable housing options.
Term and condition no 152 - Economic Development and Self-Reliance, and Contracting and Business Opportunities - IIBA contract requirements
Objective: To improve ability of small businesses to access Project contract and sub-contract opportunities.
Term or condition: The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is encouraged to provide the Board and the Qikiqtaaluk Socio-Economic Monitoring Committee with information regarding the effectiveness of any provisions within the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement which may require that larger contracts be broken down into smaller size in order that they are reasonably managed by smaller businesses in the North Baffin region, while respecting any confidential or privileged information
Term and condition no 153 - Human Health and Well-Being - Employee and family health and well-being
Objective: To provide adequate medical services on site, including those that contribute to the mental health and well-being of all employees.
Term or condition: The Proponent is encouraged to employ a mental health professional to provide counselling to Inuit and non-Inuit employees in order to positively contribute toward employee health and well-being.
Term and condition no 154 - Human Health and Well-being - Indirect impacts to health and well-being
Objective: To understand the indirect impacts of the Project upon health and well-being.
Term or condition: The Proponent shall work with the Government of Nunavut and the Qikiqtaaluk Socio-Economic Monitoring Committee to monitor potential indirect effects of the Project, including indicators such as the prevalence of substance abuse, gambling issues, family violence, marital problems, rates of sexually transmitted infections and other communicable diseases, rates of teenage pregnancy, high school completion rates, and others as deemed appropriate.
Term and condition no 155 - Human Health and Well-being - Employee cohesion
Objective: To encourage the on-site cohesion of employees through cultural-awareness and social programs.
Term or condition: The Proponent is strongly encouraged to provide the NIRB with an updated report on its development of mitigation measures and plans to deal with potential cultural conflicts which may occur at site as these may become needed.
Term and condition no. 156 - Human health and well-being - support initiatives
Objective: To assist with fostering well-being within point-of-hire communities.
Term and condition: The Proponent is encouraged to assist with the provision and/or support of recreation programs and opportunities within the potentially affected communities in order to mitigate potential impacts of employees’ absences from home and community life.
Term and condition no 157. - Human health and well-being - Counselling and treatment programs
Objective: To male available, necessary treatment and counselling services for employee and family well-being.
Term and condition: The Proponent should consider providing counselling and access to treatment programs for substance and gambling addictions as well as which address domestic, parenting, and marital issues that affect employees and/or their families.
Concluding observations: key issues to be monitored at the Mary River Mine
The key issues that need to be monitored from a human rights perspective include:
• Non-discrimination in employment. This means that Inuit workers and female workers should have equal chances to get hired and promoted at the mine. They should also be protected against harassment at work. This has sometimes been a challenge at other mines in Canada. Baffinland’s training activities such as the Work Ready Program are positive steps to give Inuit opportunities for jobs. Training and apprenticeships for Inuit promote the right to work and the right to education. The government and the DIOs should collaborate to provide strong training programmes to allow Inuit to take advantage of the opportunities at the Mary River mine and for future mining projects in Nunavut.
• Safe and healthy working conditions. Modern mines in Canada have good safety records and Baffinland says that safety is its number one priority. However, there are many health and safety risks related to the different aspects of the Mary River mine, so on-going training, monitoring and inspection will be very important. Particular care and counseling should be provided to support mental health at the mine in relation to potential issues related to the fly-in/fly-out working arrangements and potential substance abuse problems.
• Just and favourable working conditions. Modern mines in Canada provide excellent wages and benefits and Baffinland is expected to be an employer of choice in Nunavut. By providing just and favourable working conditions for its employees, Baffinland also provides opportunities for families and communities to enhance other human rights such as food, health and education. As many Inuit are not accustomed to working in the formal economy, they may need support to ensure that generous wages and benefits turn into positive human rights outcomes. Government, DIOs and local communities all have a role to play.
• Freedom of association and collective bargaining. It is important that workers can discuss workplace issues and concerns with management. Some mines in Canada have unions and others do not. What is important is that Baffinland allows workers to meet together and to raise individual and collective issues such as health, safety, wages and benefits.
• Preventing forced labour and child labour. It is extremely unlikely that there will be forced labour or child labour issues at the Mary River mine. However, given the school drop-out rates in some Inuit communities, attention should be paid to child labour issues for local businesses that provide services to the mine.