Wabaseemoong Independent Nations and Canada Sign Health Center Agreement

Mercury Wellness Center to be funded

INDEPENDENT NATIONS OF WABASEEMOONG, TRADITIONAL OJIBWAY, TREATY TERRITORY # 3 – Friday, Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services and Chief of the Independent Nations of Wabaseemoong (WIN) Waylon scott signed a Relationship Agreement: Comprehensive Response to Mercury and Human Health in the Independent Nations of Wabaseemoong.

Chief Waylon Scott, The Independent Nations of Wabaseemoong said: “At Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, we are delighted to participate in this signing agreement today. The health and well-being of our community has always been and will continue to be a top priority for us. In order to move forward in addressing these health issues, we must have a strong relationship based on trust and mutual respect, and we are satisfied with the actions taken by the federal government today. We will continue to advocate for the well-being of our community members and we are delighted to finally see this much needed wellness center developed here and inclusive for all of our members.

Under the relationship agreement, Canada intends to provide up to $ 19.5 million to support the design and construction of a Mercury wellness center in the community.

Under the relationship agreement, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and WIN will work together to meet the unique health needs of all residents of WIN, supporting those living with the effects of mercury exposure, and to develop health systems that recognize the unique challenges facing the community. residents.

The community health assessment, which is currently underway, will identify the specific health needs of community members and provide a way forward to meet and support those needs.

Strong relationships with First Nations are critical to addressing long-standing health issues that have impacted the well-being of their people. Canada is committed to supporting First Nations as they lead the development of unique solutions to address existing health care gaps and meet the health needs of their members.

Fast facts

  • Mercury contamination in the English-Wabigoon River system, discovered in 1970, caused exposure in people residing at WIN. Many community members were exposed to methylmercury in the late 1960s and 1970s, leading to the negotiation and signing of a memorandum of understanding in November 1985. This agreement was supported by the passage of federal law Grassy passage and the Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Resolution Act, in 1986, and the Ontario English and Wabigoon River Systems Mercury Contamination Settlement Agreement Act, 1986. These laws provided for the creation of a Mercury Disability Fund and a Mercury Disability Board to oversee the administration of the trust fund for benefits paid to claimants with symptoms of past exposure to mercury.
  • federal and Ontario provincial governments, as well as two pulp and paper mills (Reed Limited and Great Lakes Forest Products Ltd), paid a total of $ 16.67 million in a one-time compensation payment to WIN and Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek.
  • WIN is currently leading a community health assessment, expected to be completed in 2022, which will identify the health needs of community members, including infrastructure, in the form of a Mercury Wellness Center, programs and services. This assessment will guide the development of a comprehensive, distinctions-based health service delivery plan.

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