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Mining, safety conferences cancelled over coronavirus concerns

Events set for Sudbury and Thunder Bay will be moved online
(Stock image)

Health and safety conferences slated to be held in Sudbury and Thunder Bay this spring have been cancelled amid concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Workplace Safety North (WSN) made the announcement in a brief statement on March 12.

The cancellations will impact the Mining Health and Safety Conference, which was scheduled to take place April 21-23 in Sudbury, as well as the Thunder Bay Health and Safety Conference slated for May 20.

“The health and safety of staff and attendees always comes first,” the WSN said in the statement.

“Health and safety is at the heart of who we are and what we do, so WSN will not be hosting public events during the pandemic.”

The decision comes as COVID-19 continues its circulation through the province.

Symptoms of the quickly spreading virus include a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

As of mid-afternoon on March 12, a Sudbury man in his 50s was the only confirmed case of COVID-19 in Northern Ontario. He tested positive for the virus after returning from Toronto to attend the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference (PDAC), which was held March 1-4.

The general public is being advised to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds, and cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Public health officials are suggesting anyone with symptoms should call their health-care provider for further instruction.

In lieu of the conferences, WSN said it would look into hosting online experiences instead.

“In the meantime, paid delegates, exhibitors, and sponsors can expect to receive an email within the next two weeks to initiate refunds,” the statement added.

“Thank you for your support and understanding. WSN urges everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials to keep our workplaces and communities safe and healthy.”

Workplace Safety North is an independent, not-for-profit organization providing sector-based health and safety training and services for the mining and forest products industries, as well as for businesses across Northern Ontario.