Ottawa on Monday reached an agreement with the Aboriginal community in Grassy Narrows, located in northwestern Ontario, to provide $68.9 million in funding to operate a care center for those who have contracted mercury.
The funds will be used to cover the long-term costs of providing care and services at this institution, which is expected to open in 2023.
With this new amendment, the Indigenous community will be able to put the earmarked funding in the form of a lump sum into a trust fund.
“This is an important step for my people on the path to attaining the dignified care of our people and full mercurial justice. I pay tribute to the many members of our community who have worked over decades to make this happen through good and bad,” Randy Faubester, president of Grassy Narrows, said in a statement Monday.
We expect Canada to continue to honor this sacred promise, and we will ensure it. Our work is not over yet. There is still a long way to go to fix the damage mercury has done to our society.”
This revision of the Framework Agreement initially signed on April 2, 2020, states that $68.9 million may not be sufficient, and therefore allows for additional funds to be added in the future if necessary.
Set to begin construction in the spring of 2022, the health center should be able to “accommodate 22 hospitalized patients and provide outpatient services to Grassi Narrows residents suffering from multiple aspects of mercury poisoning.”
Remember that the water in the original community was contaminated with mercury for nearly fifty years and that members of Grassy Narrows are still suffering from the consequences of the poisoning.
“Grassy Narrows continues to demand fair compensation to the entire community for the massive effects of the current mercury crisis,” the statement said.
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