TORONTO—Ontario’s aboriginal affairs minister says he’ll push for a review of a board that oversees compensation for First Nations’ residents suffering health issues from mercury poisoning.
David Zimmer said he’ll work with the federal government and Wabaseemoong First Nation to get their approval to conduct a review to determine how best to help those with mercury-related health issues.
Zimmer noted the province also would look at options for more on-site treatment for Grassy Narrows First Nation residents.
Grassy Narrows Elder Steve Fobister said Zimmer’s comments provide “some level of comfort,” but more work needs to be done.
Water around Grassy Narrows has been contaminated with mercury since a local paper mill dumped an estimated 10 tonnes of neurotoxins into the system between 1962 and 1970.
The First Nation said yesterday it had obtained an unreleased report that said the board’s criteria to determine whether someone had symptoms consistent with mercury poisoning were based on science from the 1980s.
The report, which was commissioned by the board in 2009, also said there was “no doubt” people in the community near Kenora suffered from mercury-related neurological disorders.