The Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is continuing with the protocols that it developed in spring 2020 with regards to deeming various services and industry sectors as essential.
Canada’s National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure defines critical infrastructure as the processes, systems, facilities, technologies, networks, assets, and services essential to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians and the effective functioning of government. The Strategy classifies critical infrastructure in Canada according to ten sectors (called Annex A): Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing.
This set of essential services and functions was developed in consultation with industry representatives. Although the list was developed on the federal level, each province and territory has developed their own restrictions as well.
In a January 15, 2021 press release, the Canadian government still deemed mining an essential service during the current COVID-19 outbreak. This includes primary metal producers (e.g. steel and aluminum), workers in mining and forestry, including workers on abandoned mines as well as workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for the oil and gas sector.
The mining-related essential services protocol also includes mining supply and services that support supply chains throughout the mining industry.
Nevertheless, although deemed “essential”, Canadian-based exploration and mining management teams with projects located in other countries, including the United States, face difficult situations due to cross-border travel restrictions. This has resulted in Canadian management teams remaining in Canada and running their foreign projects by telephone and email while their foreign employees advance their projects.