Province invests $8 million to support mine rescue program

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Funding for Ontario Mine Rescue will help save lives and promote workplace safety

Mine-rescue-sudbury-2021On April 14, at the virtual mining health and safety conference hosted by Workplace Safety North, Monte McNaughton, the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, announced provincial funding of nearly $8 million to support the Ontario Mine Rescue program and help protect workers in an emergency.

The increased funding helps strengthen rescue capacity at mine sites and address gaps in the current rescue program for surface mines.

“Mining has been the backbone of northern Ontario’s economy for generations and we owe it to workers to make sure they come home safely to their families every night,” said McNaughton. “As more mining sites come into operation, this funding will ensure we can provide the resources and training needed so more brave women and men can re-enter mines in emergencies and save lives.”

Headquartered in Sudbury, the Ontario Mine Rescue program supports eight rescue stations across the province and ensures they have appropriate emergency response capabilities. The program also delivers training to volunteer first responders, certifies rescue equipment and provides advice during mine emergencies.

The additional funding allows Ontario Mine Rescue to increase training hours for volunteers and develop specialized programs to better support rescue capacity for all surface mines and mining plants, including at newly expanded and newly opened sites.

Since its creation in 1929, Ontario Mine Rescue has established an international reputation for high standards in training, equipment, and emergency response capability, as well as the development of safe, effective mine rescue practices.

Ontario Mine Rescue trains and equips thousands of volunteers to fight fires, rescue injured personnel, and respond professionally to a wide array of emergencies in the province’s mines. Workplace Safety North wishes to acknowledge the over 900 men and women across the province currently serving as active Ontario Mine Rescue volunteers. This funding ensures their training continues to meet high provincial standards.

“Ontario is home to a world-class mining sector, known for its safe and responsible mining practices," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. "Our mining industry operates according to the highest standards and is subject to the strictest rules and laws. By strengthening our mine rescue capacity, we are sending a strong signal to the world that Ontario is a safe and ideal jurisdiction for mining activity."

In addition, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development will continue to visit surface and underground mines to check for hazards that could lead to injuries and illness. This includes inspections to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Over the past year, Ontario's health and safety inspectors have conducted more than 2,250 field visits in the mining sector, issuing more than 5,100 orders and requirements during those visits.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario Mine Rescue is administered by Workplace Safety North, a designated, not-for-profit safe work association. It was founded in 1929 following a fire at Hollinger Mine that claimed the lives of 39 miners. There are presently over 900 volunteers actively certified by the program and ready to respond in the province.
  • There are currently 40 active mining operations in Ontario, most of which are located in northern Ontario.
  • Mining in Ontario supports 26,000 direct jobs, and approximately 45,000 indirect jobs associated with mineral processing and mining supply and services.
  • In 2019, Ontario’s mining industry produced more than $10 billion worth of minerals, accounting for 22 per cent of Canada's total production.

Additional Resources

Mining Health and Safety services and training – WSN

Mining Health and Safety - MLTSD

Mining Program - MLTSD

Mining Sector Compliance Plan 2020-2021 – MLTSD

Resources to Prevent COVID-19 in the Workplace - MLTSD