Bertrand said the minister wants a “review” of mining safety, whereas the Steelworkers are asking for an inquiry much like the one currently being held in Elliot Lake to probe the collapse of the community's mall last year.
“Minister Naqvi believes we're very, very close on what they're requesting and what we want to do,” he said. “He feels the inquiry we're asking for is the same as what he's requesting to have a review.”
The Steelworkers have asked Naqvi to provide them with documentation about what such a review would entail, Bertrand said.
“Some of the stuff mentioned was to have public consultations in different towns, reviewing the health and safety and some risk assessments of undergrounds," he said. “So we're going to have to wait and see what that is.”
In the meantime, though, the Steelworkers are going to continue to push for a full inquiry, he said.
Earlier this week, the union put out a press release saying they'd heard from a senior government source that the inquiry had been officially rejected, and an announcement would be made as soon as this week.
Bertrand said it's now “difficult to say” if and when the government will make an announcement on the subject. All he knows is the province has agreed to provide the Steelworkers with more information about the review process.
Naqvi, who told Northern Life last month he doesn't think an inquiry into mining safety is needed, also said he thinks the meeting with the Steelworkers was positive.
“We had a productive meeting with the United Steelworkers this afternoon,” he said in an email statement.
“We share the same goal of improving mine safety to ensure miners go home safe to their families at the end of their shift.
“I look forward to continued discussions with them about how to best achieve our shared goals in a way that is collaborative, thorough and gets results.”
Bertrand said he's hoping to meet with Naqvi again, although no firm plans have been made just yet. Naqvi may come to Sudbury and do some underground tours, he said.
The Steelworkers had previously requested a meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne, but she turned down their request last month.
Bertrand said the union would still like to meet with the premier, but it's been made clear that Naqvi will be making the decisions about what will be done to improve mining safety in the province.