No one told Grassy Narrows about this poison until 1970. Short Title Titre abrégé. Grassy Narrows’ legacy of mercury poisoning began in 1962, when the paper plant in Dryden, then owned by Reed Paper, began to dump mercury into the river about 100 kilometres upstream from the First Nation’s home. Mercury Disability Fund, the payment of benefits to Band members and, subject to certain exceptions Grassy Narrows Chief Simon Fobister said: “For decades I have been seeking justice for my people for mercury poisoning, searching for answers, searching for help. The plant used mercury to manufacture chlorine, which was in turn used to bleach paper at the Dryden Paper Company Ltd. Grassy Narrows wanted the government to set up a $88.7-million trust to pay for construction and maintenance of a survivor’s home as well as a care centre for people with mercury poisoning. Mercury levels higher in Grassy Narrows residents who died young, new study finds. Over the past three years, the Star and scientists have revealed that fish near Grassy Narrows remain the most contaminated in the province, that there are mercury-contaminated … But that barrier cleared in May 2019 after a northern Ontario health official committed to covering the cost of doctors and other specialists. Grassy Narrows and Whitedog First Nations In the late 1960s, people in the Grassy Narrows and Whitedog First Nations populations started to suffer symptoms of mercury poisoning. presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution Grassy Narrows First Nation received a settlement in 1985 from the Government of Canada and the Reed Paper Company that bought-out the Dryden Pulp and Paper Company and its sister-company Dryden Chemical Company. En 2017, le gouvernement promettait de traiter la crise « une bonne fois pour toutes ». Toronto Star articles, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com, Ontario knew about Grassy Narrows mercury site for decades, but kept it secret, Ottawa’s funding offer for mercury care home in Grassy Narrows far less than needed, chief says, Supreme Court says companies must pay for Grassy Narrows mill-site maintenance, The Toronto Star and thestar.com, each property of Toronto Star to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about By the time it stopped in 1970, about 10 tonnes of the toxin had been released. In the early 1960s, 10 000 kg of mercury (Hg) was released into their aquatic ecosystem. Scientists strongly suspect that old mercury still contaminates the mill site and pollutes the river. The facility will include rooms for 22 full-time residents, a rehabilitation room and customized showers and tubs — not currently offered by the community clinic. The community of Grassy Narrows First Nation has signed an agreement with the federal government to build a $19.5 million, 24 bed care facility for those suffering from mercury poisoning. The community’s residents developed tremors, slurred speech, impaired hearing, tunnel vision and lost muscle co-ordination. Grassy Narrows reminds Canada of unkept promises as AFN sets its priority agenda. Grassy Narrows is at the centre of one of the worst toxic sites in Canada. I was told over and over that the mill site was cleaned up and that the problem ended in the ’70s. Republication or distribution of this content is You are using an outdated browser that is no longer supported by Ontario.ca. Reflecting on what should have happened a long time ago, I take great pride and promise in what can be done so that specialized care can be accessed and close to home,” Miller said in a statement. Toronto Star, April 27, 2020. Several Japanese doctors who had been involved in studying Minamata disease in Japan travelled to Canada to investigate the mercury poisoning in these people. So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First Nation, about 130 kilometres away. Mercury poisoning in Asupeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows), an Anishinaabe community in Northwestern Ontario, is an important example of environmental injustice. permissions/licensing, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com. Grassy Narrows First Nation moved closer to its goal of building a care home on reserve for those sickened by industrial mercury poisoning after the federal government signed an agreement to cover the entire projected cost of construction. Residents of Grassy Narrows First Nation, about 100 kilometres northeast of Kenora, Ont., have grappled with long-standing mental and physical health issues due to toxic mercury levels in the nearby English-Wabigoon River. This bothered Turtle, who said the proposed agreement did not offer the certainty that O’Regan had been promising: the money was “booked” and “approved,” and the funding agreement the government wanted the Indigenous community’s leaders to sign was “for keeps” and “legally binding,” O’Regan had said publicly. The federal government had pushed for a design that was more like an assisted-living home, while Grassy Narrows had drawn up its own blueprint for a facility that gave specialized care to mercury poisoning patients. Construction of the home is expected to take two to three years. The new deal also commits Ottawa to provide long-term funding for operations and maintenance, including federally funded services such as nursing, personal support workers, dieticians, palliative care and mental health counselling programs. Articles . APTN News, December 3, 2019 . Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. Soil samples that showed hundreds of times the mercury level of a nearby uncontaminated site were taken from an area behind the Dryden paper mill where former mill worker Kas Glowacki said he buried 50 barrels of mercury and salt in 1972. 1-2 Current to November 2, 2020 2 À jour au 2 novembre 2020. The agreement, reached Thursday night between Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Grassy chief Rudy Turtle, commits Ottawa to spend $19.5 million to build the home, which is expected to offer palliative care, physiotherapy, counselling and traditional healing. “The minister has solemnly promised to me that he will do what is in his power to get us the funding amount that we need fast, and to give 30 years of funding up front so that we can be sure that our loved ones will be cared for properly,” Turtle said. More, We Have Never Experienced Such Concern: Transnational Bonds of Solidarity from Minamata to Grassy Narrows and Whitedog First Nations, Grassy members remain vigilant about logging, Grassy Narrows First Nation fears further mercury poisoning as Ford government ends assessments for clear-cut logging, Mercury levels higher in Grassy Narrows residents who died young, new study finds, Grassy Narrows signs deal with Ottawa to build mercury care home, Grassy Narrows reminds Canada of unkept promises as AFN sets its priority agenda, Grassy Narrows chief calls on Ottawa to end delays on mercury treatment centre. The Grassy Narrows First Nation community have lived with the consequences of one of the worst environmental disasters in Canadian history. In 2016, Sneaky and her compatriots at the youth complex made a music video, Home to Me, to show pride in Grassy Narrows and tell others that their home is more than the site of a mercury … In 1962, Dryden Chemicals Ltd. began operating a chlor-alkali plant in Dryden, Ontario. The mercury contaminated the fish … Feel free to edit and add your personal thoughts. Feel free to personalize your message. Star Newspapers Limited and/or its licensors. For years, Grassy Narrows leaders have asked for help for survivors of the pollution. Sections . 1-2. Turtle had said officials told him Ottawa wouldn’t spend more until the provincial government committed to covering some of the medical care provided in the home. The government said at the time that the draft agreement contained standard contractual wording and was not a reflection of Indigenous Services’ record on following through on its promises. I am proud of my people.”. A UN human rights expert says the need to address mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows dates back some 50 years. Many residents have had to leave the community to get the care they need in Kenora, Ont. Grassy Narrows First Nation has signed an agreement with the federal government that will see them receive a treatment centre for residents with mercury poisoning in the community.Chief Rudy Turtle signed the framework agreement with Indigenous Services Canada on Thursday, April 2. The federal money commitment was a sticking point in a previous, failed attempt to reach an agreement. Supreme Court rules companies are responsible for cleanup of Grassy Narrows site | Globalnews.ca The mercury contamination has caused health problems for … My grandkids have mercury poisoning,” Grassy Narrows elder Bill Fobister said in December 2019. Turtle refused to sign. So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First Nation, about 130 kilometres away. Between 1962 and 1970, a paper plant in Dryden, Ont., dumped 10 tonnes of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, in the Wabigoon River, upstream from Grassy Narrows. expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Toronto All With the full building cost committed, we can finally move forward with the vision that our elders, youth and community members have tirelessly pursued. Mercury concentrations in walleye (Sander vitreus), a fish embedded in their cultural identity, as well as their dietary mainstay, were among the highest every reported, and remain today the highest in the province of ON, Canada. “This historic framework agreement is the beginning of an important turning point. For political parties, it’s a federal election issue. rights reserved. To order The deal signed Thursday says that 14 days after the next federal budget is passed, Miller will meet with Turtle to finalize the projected operations costs over the next 30 years, then Miller will ask the Treasury Board or Cabinet to fund these services through an upfront payment or trust. Grassy Narrows signs deal with Ottawa to build mercury care home. Over the past three years, the Star and scientists have revealed that fish near Grassy Narrows remain the most contaminated in the province, that there are mercury-contaminated soil and river sediments at or near the site of the old mill, and that the provincial government knew in the 1990s that mercury was visible in soil under that site and never told anyone in Grassy Narrows or nearby Wabaseemoong (Whitedog) Independent Nations. Newspapers Limited, One Yonge Street, 4th floor, Toronto, ON, M5E 1E6, The new deal also commits Ottawa to provide long-term funding for operations and maintenance, including federally funded services such. For Grassy Narrows families, mercury is an intergenerational trauma. The federal government has signed an agreement with Grassy Narrows First Nation that will see a long-promised treatment centre for residents with mercury poisoning finally built in the community. Grassy Narrows elder Bill Fobister Sr. and youth representative Rodney Bruce look on as Chief Rudy Turtle speaks during a news conference at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa on December 3, 2019. “I expect him to honour his word.”. Moreover, in June 2017, the Ontario government pledged $85 million to clean up the industrial mercury contamination. Dryden is located about 130 km upstream from Grassy Narrows. This site is maintained by supporters working with Grassy Narrows organizers. Shortly after taking over the job as Indigenous Services minister, Miller met with Turtle in Ottawa on Dec. 4 and committed to fully fund the construction of the mercury care home, according to a Grassy Narrows news release. To order copies of Please send an email message to Premier Ford and Prime Minister Trudeau calling for mercury justice in Grassy Narrows. Although Hg concentration in fish, their dietary staple, decreased over time, it remains high. And please tell your friends. Ils ont perdu leur moyen de subsistance et ont développé de graves problèmes de santé. Toronto Star, April 3, 2020. Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Bandes indiennes de Grassy Narrows et d’Islington. The potent neurotoxin contaminated the river’s fish and poisoned the people who ate them. Grassy Narrows lies about 120 miles east of Winnipeg, with an approximate population of 1490 people (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in Canada 2012). During the 1960s, the Dryden pulp and paper mill, operated by Reed Paper, dumped 10 tonnes of mercury into the Wabigoon River that feeds Grassy Narrows downstream. Never once was I told that mercury poison is still under the mill, right next to our river. Grassy Narrows mercury victims up to 6 times more likely to have debilitating health problems, report says. Grassy Narrows avait également demandé 88,7 millions de dollars à Ottawa pour l’ouverture et le fonctionnement du centre de traitement pendant les 30 prochaines années. April marks the 50th anniversary of the fishing industry being shut down in Grassy Narrows due to mercury contamination of the river system. The feasibility study estimated that, after construction, the care home would cost close to $70 million to operate for 30 years. Last week, environmental organization Earthroots came out with evidence of mercury contamination upstream from the Grassy Narrows First Nation. In 1970, the Ontariogovernment ordered th… Residents of Grassy Narrows First Nation, about 100 kilometres northeast of Kenora, Ont., have grappled with long-standing mental and physical health issues due to toxic mercury levels in the nearby English-Wabigoon River. Construction was scheduled to start in the fall, but by December that hadn’t happened and Turtle, along with other community members, were in Ottawa criticizing the government for taking so long. Between 1962 and 1970, the company dumped an estimated 9,000 kg of untreated mercury into the English-Wabigoon river system, upstream from Grassy Narrows and Whitedog First Nations. In 2017, while these findings were coming to light and soon after the Star found mercury-tainted soil behind the mill, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office said that Ottawa wanted to help “deal with this issue once and for all.” In a letter to the chief later that year, then-Indigenous Services minister Jane Philpott committed to funding a feasibility study of a care home “as well as the construction and operation … once the design work and programming is ready.”. — an hour-and-a-half drive to the southwest — or other towns and cities farther from home. It will offer both in- and outpatient services. For almost 50 years, the river system—a foundational element of the Grassy Narrows culture—-that the community relies on for food and water has been contaminated with mercury as a result of industrial pollution. By the summer of 2019, Turtle was concerned that development of the home had stalled, with the government only paying for the feasibility study. Grassy Narrows First Nation, or the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation, is a small First Nations community in northwestern Ontario. Between 1962 and 1970, a paper mill dumped 9,000 kg of mercury into the Wabigoon River upstream from Grassy Narrows, with the Province’s permission. Last summer, then-minister Seamus O’Regan went to Grassy Narrows with a draft agreement that called for $10.5 million toward construction — far less than the total cost to build, according to a feasibility study — and that said Ottawa could walk away from the deal for any reason with 60 days’ notice. Please fill out this form to send an email to Doug Ford. This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. Asked why he signed this version of the agreement, Turtle told the Star: “Canada has accepted our plan for the Mercury Care Home. After a long battle with a degenerative neurological disorder, former chief and care home advocate Steve Fobister died in 2018, not at home close to his relatives and culture, but in a Kenora hospital after shuttling between there and a Thunder Bay facility 600 kilometres from Grassy Narrows. October 10, 2019 . Residents of Grassy Narrows First Nation, about 100 kilometres northeast of Kenora, Ont., have grappled with long-standing mental and physical health issues due to toxic mercury levels in the nearby English … À Grassy Narrows, 9 habitants sur 10 présentent des symptômes liés à un empoisonnement au mercure, parmi lesquels des troubles neurologiques. It commits $19. 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