READ MORE: Victims of mercury poisoning within the Grassy Narrows community were promised ongoing legal compensation in 1985 after a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was finalised between the federal government, the Ontario provincial government and the two companies in charge of the paper mill at the time of contamination, Reed Limited, and Great Lakes Forest Products. The operation’s ownership changed over time as a result of various transactions. Here’s what you need to know, Visit restrictions amid COVID-19 caused ‘spike in depression’ in long-term care homes, Ontario reports 2,005 new coronavirus cases, 18 more deaths, Queen Elizabeth’s deepfake Christmas message a ‘stark warning’, Republican leaders seek restrictions to American voters despite smooth U.S. election, Unemployment benefits for millions expire as Trump refuses to sign COVID-19 relief bill, Ontario’s lockdown kicks in as UK COVID-19 variant arrives in Canada, COVID-19 unemployment benefits expire as Trump stalls aid bill, Coronavirus: First shipment of Moderna’s vaccine arrives in Canada, Ontario’s lockdown timeline sparks criticism and concern, Trump keeps pedalling doubts about election results, UK’s Channel 4 airs Deepfake version of Queen’s Christmas message, Grassy Narrows chief urges Ottawa to get down to business on mercury care centre. S.C. 1986, c. 23. Two forest-product companies are on the hook for looking after a mercury-contaminated site near Ontario’s Grassy Narrows First Nation, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled. The Ontario Court of Appeal agreed that the 1985 indemnity applied to the ministry’s environmental order. Marginal note:Exception to Canada Health Act. Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act (S.C. 1986, c. 23) Want to discuss? Marginal note:Government programs to continue. The federal government has promised money for a facility that would provide specialized care to Grassy Narrows community members dealing with the effects of mercury contamination. Six monitoring wells were installed and four others were added later. For Grassy Narrows families, mercury is an intergenerational trauma. Return to footnote *[Note: Act in force July 28, 1986, see SI/86-149. (c) any real or personal property purchased by a Band or by a trust or corporation for the purpose of giving effect to section 2.5 of the Agreement. Supreme Court rules companies are responsible for cleanup of Grassy Narrows site, Grassy Narrows chief calls for end to delays on building health centre to deal with mercury poisoning effects, WATCH: Grassy Narrows chief calls for end to delays on building health centre to deal with mercury poisoning effects – Dec 3, 2019, Grassy Narrows elder: ‘When you have mercury you have it for life’, Grassy Narrows elder: ‘When you have mercury you have it for life’ – Dec 3, 2019, ‘Scared to death’: Boston doctor suffers severe allergic reaction after Moderna vaccine, Ontario confirms Canada’s 1st known cases of U.K. coronavirus variant, Care home planned for Grassy Narrows mercury victims, Care home planned for Grassy Narrows mercury victims – Jun 19, 2019, Canada reports first cases of U.K. coronavirus variant. Residents of Grassy Narrows and Whitedog reserves will get almost $17 million in compensation for the killing of their waterway with mercury. The 4-3 decision Friday brought some clarity to a long-running dispute over one element of the legacy of environmental poisoning that has caused significant health problems for many residents. Marginal note:Short title 1 This Act may be cited as the Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act. The waste-disposal site was abandoned in April 2011, with court approval, during the bankruptcy proceedings. For political parties, it’s a federal election issue For political parties, it’s a federal election issue October 10, 2019 It wanted to exclude the waste-disposal site due to the possible environmental liabilities. The 2011 Ontario order obligated Weyerhaeuser and Bowater to repair disposal site erosion, do water testing, file annual reports, prevent any leaks and give the Ontario Environment Ministry $273,063 as financial assurance with respect to the site. The Mercury Disability Board website says: “In November 1985, Wabaseemoong Independent Nations (formerly Islington, formerly Whitedog) and Grassy Narrows First Nation negotiated an out of court settlement with the federal government, the province of Ontario, and two paper companies (Reed Incorporated and Great Lakes Forest Products Limited) for all claims due to mercury … 7 The Governor in Council may make such regulations as are necessary for the purpose of carrying out the Agreement or for giving effect to any of the provisions thereof. ], Full Document: Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act, Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act, French Constitutional Drafting Committee (1990), Statutes Repeal Act: Reports, Deferrals and Repeals, Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Program, Typographical and Grammatical Corrections, Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers, Consolidated Index of Statutory Instruments. This agreement was supported by passage of the federal Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act, in 1986, and the Ontario English and Wabigoon River Systems Mercury Contamination Settlement Agreement Act, 1986. 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. Bowater, which eventually became Resolute, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. 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. 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. Grassy Narrows Position The position of Grassy Narrows was that the treaty was made with the Crown, thus it is the Crown that is obliged to act in accordance with the treaty. A clear cut section of forest is seen on Grassy Narrows First Nation territory near Dryden, Ont., in this 2006 handout image. 6 (1) The benefits paid or payable to a member of a Band pursuant to the Agreement shall not be treated as income of that member for the purposes of any other Act of Parliament. In 1971, the mill owners of the day built the disposal site to contain mercury-laced waste. 4 (1) Subject to subsection (2), for the purposes of subsection 90(1) of the Indian Act. (b) for the purposes of paragraph 41(a) of Schedule A to the Agreement, in respect of any amount paid pursuant to subparagraph 40(c)(ii) of Schedule A to the Agreement or pursuant to any enactment of the Legislature of Ontario that implements that subparagraph or in respect of any personal property purchased by a Band therewith. WHEREAS the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, Reed Inc., Great Lakes Forest Products Ltd., the Islington Indian Band and the Grassy Narrows Indian Band have entered into an Agreement for the settlement of all claims and causes of action, past, present and future, arising out of the discharge be Reed Inc. and its predecessors of mercury and other pollutants into the English and Wabigoon and related river systems and the continuing presence of any such pollutants, including the continuing but now diminishing presence of methylmercury in the related ecosystems since its initial identification in 1969; AND WHEREAS the discharge of such pollutants and governmental actions taken in consequence thereof may have had and may continue to have effects in respect of the social and economic circumstances and the health of the present and future members of the Bands; AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario have assumed certain obligations under the Agreement in favour of the Bands; AND WHEREAS the Agreement provides, among other things, for the payment of certain sums to each Band, the establishment of the Grassy Narrows and Islington Bands Mercury Disability Board, the establishment of the Grassy Narrows and Islington Bands Mercury Disability Fund, the payment of benefits to Band members and, subject to certain exceptions contained in the Agreement, the abolition of all existing and future rights of action of the Bands and of every past, present or future member of the Bands, and the estates thereof, in respect of any claims and causes of action that are the subject of the Agreement, in consideration of the rights, privileges and benefits set out in the Agreement; AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are obligated, pursuant to section 2.1 of the Agreement, to recommend to Parliament and the Legislature of Ontario, respectively, special legislation to give effect to the Agreement; NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows: 1 This Act may be cited as the Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act. Introduction: Mercury Poisoning in Grassy Narrows First Nation Mercury poisoning in Asupeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows), an Anishinaabe community in Northwestern Ontario, is an important example of environmental injustice. In November 1985, Wabaseemoong Independent Nations (formerly Islington, formerly Whitedog) and Grassy Narrows First Nation negotiated an out of court settlement with the federal government, the province of Ontario, and two paper companies (Reed Incorporated and Great Lakes Forest Products Limited) for all claims due to mercury contamination in the English and Wabigoon river systems. A majority of the high court concluded the judge who initially heard the case made “palpable and overriding errors of fact.”. After years of advocacy by the communities, … Nov. 11, 2017. The accessibility of the new site increased once-limited contact with the government and White society. In 1963, the Department of Indian Affairs relocated the people of Grassy Narrows to a new reserve, roughly 8 km to the southeast. (2) Subsection 89(1) of the Indian Act or any enactment of Parliament to the like effect shall not apply, (a) in respect of any real or personal property referred to in paragraph (1)(c); or. According to the 1986 settlement agreement, the mercury pollution is the result of discharge from the Reed Paper company's operation in Dryden, which used mercury in their bleaching process for making paper. 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. Ottawa’s funding offer for mercury care home in Grassy Narrows … 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.So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First Nation, about 130 kilometres away. To provide services in accordance with the English and Wabigoon River Systems Mercury Contamination Settlement Agreement Act, 1986 (Ontario) and the Grassy Narrows and Islington Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act, 1986 (Canada). Grassy Narrows and the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations negotiated an out-of-court settlement with Ottawa, the province and two paper companies in the 1980s. Grassy Narrows lies about 120 miles east of Winnipeg, with an approximate population of 1490 people (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern … It imposed a new economic order that undermined the traditional way of life for the people of Grassy Narrows. Marginal note:Conferral of rights, privileges and benefits. 1985: The governments of Canada and Ontario, as well as Reed Limited and Great Lakes Forest Products, reach a legal settlement with the Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations, providing nearly $17 million in compensation ($34 million in 2016 dollars) for the health effects of mercury in their communities. There have also been reports of Wabauskang First Nation members being impacted, as well, since they are downstream at Quibell. (2) Any person registered as an Indian pursuant to the Indian Act who was customarily resident on a reserve of a Band before October 1, 1985 and who, pursuant to paragraph 1(b) of Schedule A to the Agreement, is deemed to be an applicant within the meaning of that paragraph shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be a member of the Band. Under the MOA a portion of … The new site, accessible by road from Kenora, allowed the government to provide an on-reserve school, electricity, improved social services and more. 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 agreement dealt with the pollution between 1963 and 1970. (contrat de mise en main tierce), Marginal note:Registered Indian deemed member of Band. Eight years ago, the Ontario government ordered Weyerhaeuser Co. and a firm that later became Resolute Forest Products to care for a mercury waste-disposal site in Dryden, Ont., where toxic material from a pulp-and-paper mill’s operations entered the English-Wabigoon river system in the 1960s. Ontario knew about Grassy Narrows mercury site for decades, but kept it secret. Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act. Please read our Commenting Policy first. (2) No payment or service to which a Band or any member of a Band is entitled under any other Act of Parliament or under any program of the Government of Canada shall be reduced or diminished by reason of the payment or availability of benefits to the Band or any member of the Band pursuant to the Agreement. So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First Nation, about 130 kilometres away. An Ontario judge ruled in favour of the companies in 2016, saying the language of the indemnity should cover the two subsequent owners. The 4 … Moreover, in June 2017, the Ontario government pledged $85 million to clean up the industrial mercury contamination. 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. The English and Wabigoon River Systems Mercury Contamination Settlement Agreement Act of 1986 contained terms of a settlement negotiated by the Grassy Narrows First Nation and Wabaseemoong Independent Nations with the federal and provincial governments, and two paper companies, for claims due to mercury contamination in the English and Wabigoon river systems. Grassy Narrows chief urges Ottawa to get down to business on mercury care centre. (2) On the abolition of all rights of action referred to in subsection (3), the beneficiaries under the Agreement shall have the rights, privileges and benefits set out in the Agreement. Agreement means the Memorandum of Agreement between Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Ontario, Reed Inc., Great Lakes Forest Products Ltd., the Islington Indian Band and the Grassy Narrows Indian Band, signed by each party thereto in the month of November, 1985, tabled in the House of Commons by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development on May 21, 1986 and recorded as document number 331-7/43, as amended by the Escrow Agreement; (Convention), Band means the Islington Indian Band or the Grassy Narrows Indian Band; (bande), Escrow Agreement means the Escrow Agreement between Great Lakes Forest Products Limited, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Ontario, Reed Inc. and National Trust Company, the terms of which were approved of and consented to by the Grassy Narrows Indian Band and Islington Indian Band and by Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, dated as of the 16th day of December, 1985, tabled in the House of Commons by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development on May 21, 1986 and recorded as document number 331-7/43. 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