Media Statement

Re: international travel exemptions

This afternoon we were informed that previously approved international travel exemptions for a limited number of employees of Irving Shipbuilding have now been revoked by the Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health.

We wish to make it clear that all requirements of the pre-approved travel exemptions were followed at all times. Also, the exemptions were approved in advance of the travel. We fully satisfied the very specific protocols mandated by these pre-approvals, including PCR Covid-19 testing immediately before returning to Canada and the requirement to self-quarantine until negative test results were obtained. While today’s reversal of the approvals is disappointing, we will continue to follow all public health guidance, just as we have since the start of the current pandemic.

During this pandemic we instituted world-class controls to prevent Covid-19 infection. We have had no positive COVID tests among our employee population. We quickly implemented work from home protocols, appropriate 2-meter physical distancing, rigorous cleaning, implemented staggered shifts to reduce employee congestion, daily temperature screening and other health evaluations. We were able to keep all 850 of our staff employees safely working during the pandemic and have recalled over 800 of our approximately 1,000 trades employees to continue our essential work for the Royal Canadian Navy and support the economic health of our shipbuilders’ families and the Province.

From time to time we require skill-specific technical specialists to come from outside Nova Scotia into the shipyard to support our operations. The changing and very restrictive nature of the response to the pandemic makes it difficult for us to efficiently plan ahead and accomplish our mission, requiring us to regularly evaluate whether we can continue efficient operations in the shipyard.