Ontario Mine Rescue announces provincial champions of 2024

2024 Provincial Champions

Agnico Eagle Macassa Mine Rescue Team of the Kirkland Lake District took first place in the provincial competition this year – back row, left to right: Mine Rescue Officer Nick Schwehr, Carlie Dewar, Coach Jonathan Boutin, Denis Dion, Nick Perrier, Hubert Gour, Colin Price, Mine Rescue Officer Shawn Shail; Front Row: Jason Dicaire, Jean-Francois Racine, April Belecque, Jackson Lafrance, Alamos Gold Technician Garry Bennett

Agnico Eagle Macassa team claim gold hard hats

Mine rescue competitions concluded at the awards ceremony on Friday, after mine rescue volunteers across Ontario competed at the provincial championship in Thunder Bay. Out of eight teams, it was announced during the awards ceremony that Agnico Eagle’s Macassa Mine came out on top – the first provincial victory for the mine since 1986.

Every year, mine rescue competitions evaluate mine rescue volunteers on an essential set of emergency response skills, from firefighting to first aid, through both live-action scenarios and a theory test. This year’s provincial competition saw a scenario that began with a motor vehicle collision, which tested their ability to use hydraulic rescue tools and provide first-aid treatment. 

After safely extricating two casualties from the vehicles, teams navigated their way through a complex simulated mine to secure the location of a fire that had already been stopped by a foam generator. At this section, the most challenging part of underground scenario began, as teams discovered smoke fuming from a vent. Observation skills were key as they searched for clues in dark, smokey conditions to locate and extinguish the mystery fire.

“We’re happy to announce that all teams completed the problem safely and successfully,” says Shawn Rideout, Chief Mine Rescue Officer, at the awards ceremony. “There is only one winner, but in a sense, all volunteers have won something – they all persevered through the problem, learned from it, and are better first responders because of it. At the end of the day, that’s the goal of mine rescue competitions.”

The overall winning teams of the competition, including the champions, are as follows:

Provincial Champion – Agnico Eagle Macassa Mine

Captain Nicholas Perrier
#2 Jackson Lafrance
#3 Jean-Francois Racine
#4 Denis Dion
Vice Captain Hubert Gour
#6 Carlie Dewar
#7 Colin Price
Briefing Officer April Belecque
Coaches: Jonathan Boutin and Cliff McGill
Mine Rescue Officers: Nick Schwehr and Shawn Shail

Runner Up – Lake Shore Gold Timmins West Bell Creek Mines

Individual Technician Competition

1st – Dan Rioux, Glencore Sudbury INO Fraser and Nickel Rim South Mines
2nd – Kyle Oullette, Alamos Island Gold Mine
3rd – Nick Fram, Vale Sudbury West Mines

Team Special Equipment Award – Canadian Gypsum Corporation Hagersville Mine

Team First Aid Award – Lake Shore Gold Timmins

Team Firefighting Award – Lake Shore Gold Timmins

Briefing Officer Award – Tyler Williams, Lake Shore Gold Timmins

Team Theory Exam Award – Glencore Sudbury INO

Mine rescue competitions have occurred annually since 1950, acting as a province-wide, standardized evaluation of mine rescue volunteers across Ontario. The event, which spans two months, showcases the unwavering dedication of mine workers who constantly train to improve their knowledge and capabilities for the safety of their colleagues and communities.

Ontario Mine Rescue (OMR), a part of Workplace Safety North (WSN), operates under the authority of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. OMR delivers training and ensures standards are maintained across the province. Over nine decades, OMR has become a leader in mining emergency preparation and response.

Learn more about OMR and its competitions at https://www.workplacesafetynorth.ca/en/ontario-mine-rescue