Rio Tinto is partnering with the Yellowknife Women’s Society to support their COVID-19 isolation shelter with a $150,000 contribution.

The funding will provide accommodation and food for individuals who are at high medical risk of serious illness or death if they contract the virus. It will also support the hiring of three additional staff at the shelter to provide service continuity and better support the ongoing programming for residents.

Diavik President and chief operating officer Richard Storrie stated that staying safe and well is at the core of how they operate.

“We believe that we all have a role to play in protecting and supporting each other through COVID-19 and are proud to partner, on behalf of Rio Tinto, with communities and organizations that are vital in the COVID-19 response.”

The shelter, which is located at the former Arnica Inn, is currently operating with funding in place for 25 individuals and expects to transition back into its original purpose as supportive housing after the pandemic.

Yellowknife Women’s Society executive director, Bree Denning noted that the YWS is dedicated to increasing safety for the most vulnerable women and men in the community.

“We are grateful to Rio Tinto for their support in meeting the needs of our community.”

This is Rio Tinto’s most significant COVID-19 contribution in the territories to date. They have pledged $10 million in support for community partners and COVID-19 initiatives in Canada and the United States, including over $700,000 for local initiatives in the NWT.