So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First Nation, about 130 kilometres away. Fobister said a water test showed chemical compounds known trihalomethanes (THMs) that form when the chlorine used to disinfect water reacts with natural organic matter such as vegetation and dead leaves. The new plan in the fiscal update would see the feds devote $28 million to the projects in 2021-22, $32 million the following year, and $70 million in each of the next two years. They also found two other disinfectant byproducts considered possible carcinogens. On Sept. 20, Japanese researchers released findings showing that more than 90 per cent of residents in Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nation displayed signs of mercury poisoning, with the majority experiencing sensory deprivation through the loss of feeling in their fingers and toes. By: Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press Posted: 12/6/2020 6:06 AM “When the fish are healthy, the land is healthy, and maybe, maybe then the youth, 50 years from now, they’ll have good health.”. Miller pegged the timeline to finish the buildings at between 18 and 36 months. The other project will see the community's current health facility expanded and renovated. The study is the first to directly support Grassy Narrows’ long held belief that their people are dying young because of the ongoing impact of mercury poisoning … File photo by The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson. “From birth, even today, you get stuff that affects the nerves,” Fobister said. “Our community members have suffered for so long,” Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Randy Fobister said in a recent interview. The work to build a mercury treatment facility in Grassy Narrows First Nation will continue in 2020, with a renewed commitment from the federal government. Now, Ottawa has greatly increased the size of the commitment. The fiscal update said the funding, set to start flowing in fiscal 2021-22, would allow community members from both Wabaseemong and Grassy Narrows, also known as Asubpeeschoseewagong, to stay close to home while receiving treatment. His mother had mercury poisoning in her system when she gave birth to her son, Shane. Grassy Narrows declared a state of emergency over its unsafe drinking water in 2015, after a boil-water advisory had already been in place for nearly two years, as it tried to get more information from the federal government about the safety of its water. 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. Fobister said a water test showed chemical compounds known trihalomethanes (THMs) that form when the chlorine used to disinfect water reacts with natural organic matter such as vegetation and dead leaves. Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press He said he hopes to see both projects begin in the spring. Grassy Narrows signs deal with Ottawa on mercury poisoning treatment centre. The mercury care home is one of two distinct projects that the federal government has been working on with Grassy Narrows First Nations leadership. The Grassy Narrows people have a special relationship to the river. OTTAWA — 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. 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. Meanwhile, Fobister said he fears his community will bear the consequences of the mercury contamination until the river is cleaned up, noting such a process could prolong the ordeal for several more generations of Grassy Narrows residents. The mercury care home is one of two distinct projects that the federal government has been working on with Grassy Narrows First Nations leadership. So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First Nation, about 130 kilometres away. Grassy Narrows First Nation community members have been dealing with the poison for decades. So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First Nation, about 130 kilometres away. Fobister said ground testing is already taking place in the area where the two facilities should be built. “The promises are great, but we need to see solutions, we need to see actions, we need to see these problems actually solved,” Conservative MP Gary Vidal, his party’s critic for Indigenous Services, said in an interview. By Maan Alhmidi | News, Politics | December 7th 2020. The fall economic statement released last week saw the Liberal government earmark $200 million up to fiscal 2024-25, plus $300,000 ongoing, to support the building and operation of mercury treatment centres in both communities. 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. By: Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press Posted: 12/6/2020 6:06 AM “It’s great news for a whole community … We’re finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”. Two weeks ago, a test found lead in the tap water at the community’s school, Fobister said. 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. He said his community will allow construction workers to enter the community despite the fear of COVID-19. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The mercury care home is one of two distinct projects that the federal government has been working on with Grassy Narrows First Nations leadership. Now, Ottawa has greatly increased the size of the commitment. 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. OTTAWA — New money for a treatment centre for those living with the effects of chronic mercury poisoning comes as a ray of hope for a northern Ontario First Nation that has spent the past six decades in the shadow of a decades-old water contamination scandal. But he said community members are still leery of using tap water, relying instead on shipments of bottled water delivered to the community each week. Miller pegged the timeline to finish the buildings at between 18 and 36 months. your subscription today. The $17 million project was announced in 2017, but only two per cent of the work has been completed. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2020. After years of advocacy by the communities, Ottawa reached agreements with both Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong earlier this year. First Nations people from Grassy Narrows, Ont., continue to suffer the effects of mercury poisoning more than 40 years after commercial fishing was closed, a new report shows. 50 years on, the community’s youth are determined to get justice. My kids have mercury poisoning. A nearby paper mill dumped the neurotoxin into the nearby Wabigoon River in the 1960s, contaminating the fish there and poisoning the people from Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation) … Grassy Narrows elder Bill Fobister Sr. and youth representative Rodney Bruce look on as Chief Rudy Turtle speaks during a news conference at … The lack of clean drinking water in First Nations communities across Canada exacerbates an already dismal situation … Shane Pennells originates from Grassy Narrows First Nation in Ontario. New money for a treatment centre for those living with the effects of chronic mercury poisoning comes as a ray of hope for a northern Ontario First Nation that has spent the past six decades in the shadow of a decades-old water contamination scandal. Last Updated Apr 3, 2020 at 1:28 pm EDT. The other project will see the community's current health facility expanded and renovated. The Indigenous community of Grassy Narrows, Canada, has been devastated by mercury poisoning. Hundreds of residents have suffered chronic health problems related to mercury exposure since the 1960s, when a chemical plant at the Reed Paper mill in Dryden, Ont., dumped 9,000 kilograms of mercury into the river community members rely on for fishing. 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. Grassy Narrows First Nations chief hails more funding for mercury treatment centre. Grassy Narrows unveils mercury treatment centre design but wonders whether government is committed to building it. The government promised to fund the building of a new water treatment plant in the community next to the mercury treatment centre. December 9, 2020 In a Facebook post released Thursday, Chief Turtle said the agreement was for a 24-bed facility that will allow Grassy Narrows residents suffering from mercury poisoning to seek treatment in their home communities. The fall economic statement released last week saw the Liberal government earmark $200 million up to fiscal 2024-25, plus $300,000 ongoing, to support the building and operation of mercury treatment centres in both communities. “It affects the youth (with) common signs of symptoms like what you get from mercury poisoning like rashes.”, Last week, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller described the lack of action on the local mercury contamination as “an aberration in our history.”. "When the fish are healthy, the land is healthy, and maybe, maybe then the youth, 50 years from now, they'll have good health.". The mercury care home is one of two distinct projects that the federal government has been working on with Grassy Narrows First Nations leadership. Miller said the mercury treatment facilities have potential to fill a unique place in the Canadian health-care system. The water was deemed fit for human consumption again just this October, which Fobister said came after years of work on water treatment facilities and local pipes. Hundreds of residents have suffered chronic health problems related to mercury exposure since the 1960s, when a chemical plant at the Reed Paper mill in Dryden, Ont., dumped 9,000 kilograms of mercury into the river community members rely on for fishing. The new plan in the fiscal update would see the feds devote $28 million to the projects in 2021-22, $32 million the following year, and $70 million in each of the next two years. Opposition critics said they will wait to see it take concrete shape before offering praise. File photo by The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson. Early death linked to mercury in Grassy Narrows. OTTAWA — New money for a treatment centre for those living with the effects of chronic mercury poisoning comes as a ray of hope for a northern Ontario First Nation that has spent the past six decades in the shadow of a decades-old water contamination scandal. (Courtesy Michael Perley) The work to build a mercury treatment facility in Grassy Narrows First Nation will continue in 2020, with a renewed commitment from the federal government. Fishing is central to their culture, traditions and economy. Kenora-Rainy River MP Greg Rickford offers insight and comments on this important move to help the people in Grassy Narrows. “We’ve seen the announcements, but we haven’t seen the outcomes,” he said. “Part of that trust is putting the money away in a trust (fund) to be used for the community to treat their people, so that they can live in dignity.”. 10, 2020 Star Exclusive In the 1960s, a pulp mill upstream dumped an estimated nine tonnes of mercury into the river system, contaminating the fish and making them dangerous to eat. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020. Grassy Narrows First Nations chief hails more funding for mercury treatment centre 2020-12-06 Wildfires take over from industry as major source of cancer-causing air toxins: study Share on Facebook; Share on Twitter; ... Chief Turtle said the agreement is for a 24-bed facility that will allow the people of Grassy Narrows suffering from mercury poisoning to … ", Last week, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller described the lack of action on the local mercury contamination as "an aberration in our history.". Fobister said his community of about 1,200 residents continues to struggle with tainted water long after the initial mercury contamination took place. Young people from the Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwest Ontario are fighting for a healthy future for themselves and their community. Opposition critics said they will wait to see it take concrete shape before offering praise. Jul. He said his community will allow construction workers to enter the community despite the fear of COVID-19. The water was deemed fit for human consumption again just this October, which Fobister said came after years of work on water treatment facilities and local pipes. Miller said previous plans for treatment facilities were delayed as Indigenous communities pushed for more comprehensive federal funding. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Grassy Narrows First Nations chief hails more funding for mercury treatment centre. Two weeks ago, a test found lead in the tap water at the community's school, Fobister said. "From birth, even today, you get stuff that affects the nerves," Fobister said. “Our community members have suffered for so long,” Grassy Narrows … This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020. 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. The federal government committed up to $19.5 million to each community for the construction of facilities to meet the needs of residents living with methylmercury poisoning. Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press COVID-19 vaccine will help, but the devastation will continue for many Canadians, Canada keeps its options open on future U.S. auto emissions alignment, Big movies for Christmas from Tom Hanks, George Clooney and Wonder Woman, Focus on infrastructure, involve community to fix reserve water issues: observers, Grassy Narrows, Ottawa sign agreement for mercury care home, Ottawa accused of 'stalling tactics' over mercury treatment facility, Support award-winning independent journalism with Meanwhile, Fobister said he fears his community will bear the consequences of the mercury contamination until the river is cleaned up, noting such a process could prolong the ordeal for several more generations of Grassy Narrows residents. The Trudeau administration committed to building the centre when Chief Simon Fobister and Jane Philpott, minister of Indigenous Services, met in 2017. Mercury levels higher in Grassy Narrows residents who died young, new study finds Apr. Apr 3, 2020 10:24 AM. Water bottles are seen at the local water supply site on the Grassy Narrows First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. One element sure to be included is building on progress made to address a legacy of serious health problems in the community from mercury poisoning tied to a … New money for a treatment centre for those living with the effects of chronic mercury poisoning comes as a ray of hope for a northern Ontario First Nation that … KENORA – Grassy Narrows First Nation is getting a treatment centre for Mercury poisoning and issues resulting from long-term exposure to the element from the waters of the English River – Wabigoon Water system. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020. Kenora-Rainy River MP Greg Rickford offers insight and comments on this important move to help the people in Grassy Narrows. April 3, 2020 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada Yesterday, in the spirit of collaboration, trust and mutual respect, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services and Chief Rudy Turtle of the Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation) signed a framework agreement to provide federal support … Grassy Narrows First Nation, or the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation, is a small First Nations community in northwestern Ontario. “What we found out quite quickly was that there was no trust between Grassy Narrows and the government of Canada, and in some senses, rightly so,” he said. "Our community members have suffered for so long," Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Randy Fobister said in a recent interview. Fobister said ground testing is already taking place in the area where the two facilities should be built. Campaigning against mercury poisoning. But he said community members are still leery of using tap water, relying instead on shipments of bottled water delivered to the community each week. 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. The government promised to fund the building of a new water treatment plant in the community next to the mercury treatment centre. The federal government has agreed to fund a $19.5-million mercury care home for Grassy Narrows First Nation, more than two years after Ottawa first promised the facility. The other project will see the community’s current health facility expanded and renovated. KENORA – Grassy Narrows First Nation is getting a treatment centre for Mercury poisoning and issues resulting from long-term exposure to the element from the waters of the English River – Wabigoon Water system. Water bottles are seen at the local water supply site on the Grassy Narrows First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. "What we found out quite quickly was that there was no trust between Grassy Narrows and the government of Canada, and in some senses, rightly so," he said. Miller said previous plans for treatment facilities were delayed as Indigenous communities pushed for more comprehensive federal funding. But advocates say clear-cutting will mean more mercury in the water system — which has already poisoned 90 per cent of Grassy Narrows residents. OTTAWA — New money for a treatment centre for those living with the effects of chronic mercury poisoning comes as a ray of hope for a northern Ontario First Nation that has spent the past six decades in the shadow of a decades-old water contamination scandal. So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First Nation, about 130 kilometres away. After years of advocacy by the communities, Ottawa reached agreements with both Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong earlier this year. You need an active subscription to post a comment. Phone: (403) 343-7105Newsroom: (403) 342-6397Advertising: (403) 342-8616, We strive to achieve the highest ethical standards in all that we do. The fiscal update said the funding, set to start flowing in fiscal 2021-22, would allow community members from both Wabaseemong and Grassy Narrows, also known as Asubpeeschoseewagong, to stay close to home while receiving treatment. 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