Safe and proactive consultations with our Nunavummiut communities are imperative to Agnico Eagle Nunavut’s success.  With strict stay-at-home directives, one question on everyone’s minds remains: How can we continue to effectively communicate and stay connected while physically apart?

To stay connected with our Northern neighbours during COVID-19, Agnico Eagle is introducing a community-focused initiative to expand our ability to consult and engage with community members while also addressing digital challenges.

Community information sessions and consultations made possible through in-person meetings and phone-in radio communications have long been the standard for Agnico Eagle Nunavut’s project development and operations teams.  When the pandemic made these existing communications methods more challenging, and in some cases impossible, innovative thinking led the way towards identifying an alternative option and now to the implementation of a long-term, digital solution.

Understanding that internet bandwidth limitations in Nunavut make it difficult to host video conferences, the Digital Ambassador program aims to bring the technology directly to the people without the hefty price tag often associated with internet access in the North.

The program will work by recruiting and training community-based ambassadors to operate Agnico Eagle-provided iPads to offer community members access to technology; learning opportunities; support with technical issues; and video conferencing setup for people interested in attending virtual information or consultation meetings in a safe and effective manner.

As some of the COVID-19 restrictions in terms of safety protocols and limits on gathering sizes slowly start to be lifted, Agnico Eagle will collaborate with the local community to enable members to safely attend meetings in small numbers and remotely by live-streaming the video conference to small hubs.

For communities that are still under stricter measures though, as well as individuals at higher risk, who may have accessibility concerns, or who simply prefer not to join in at the smaller hubs, they will now be able to benefit from the Digital Ambassador Program. Agnico Eagle’s Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) or Community offices, will be able to arrange for a Digital Ambassador to deliver an iPad directly to their home and set up the tablet to enable them to view the conference.

While currently only available in Rankin Inlet, plans are already underway to expand the initiative. As a neighbour and partner to the Kivalliq communities we are committed to bridging the information and technological gaps – ensuring equal access to updates on our activities through easier access to technology.