SUDBURY -- The mining sector in Sudbury – among the industries declared essential at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – has managed to retain most of its workforce, says a report headed to city council June 23.

The report from the city's economic development department outlines initial business impact from the pandemic, which has forced several industries to close or dramatically change the way they do business.

Economic development staff contacted 276 local businesses between mid-March and the end of May in all sectors to gauge the impact of COVID-19.

 "Some of the biggest concerns expressed by businesses were the ability to meet immediate cash flow requirements such as rent and payroll," the report said.

"One of the positive findings discovered through these outreach efforts was the fact that most companies in the mining and mining supply sectors are still operating (mining was designated an essential industry) and most have retained their entire workforces while acquiring more PPE and adopting measures to accommodate physical distancing."

According to, Sudbury has nine operating mines, two mills, two smelters, and a nickel refinery employing a combined 5,500 people. There are also more than 300 mining supply firms employing more than 12,000 people.

While unemployment has risen in the city, Statistics Canada reported that in May, Sudbury's jobless rate of 8.4 per cent was better than Ontario (13.6 per cent) and Canada (13.7 per cent).

Overall, out of all the businesses economic development staff contacted, 32 per cent said they are still operating, 51.6 per cent are still operating but with reduced hours/capacity, and 16.4 per cent have closed their doors temporarily.

Of the businesses who have taken measures to adapt to the pandemic:

  • 48.3 per cent are working remotely.
  • 29.9 per cent have transitioned to online ordering.
  • 39.1 per cent are offering curbside pickup.
  • 2.3 per cent are offering virtual experiences.
  • 29.9 per cent have implemented other measures such as, COVID specific work and operating by appointment only.

"With the economy beginning to reopen, as of June 1, economic development staff are continuing to call businesses to better understand the economic recovery underway," the report said.

"The aim of these calls is to ascertain whether businesses are reopening and recalling staff, as well as learning what new challenges they face and sharing the necessary information and resources to assist them through this process."