Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy is calling for government and industry to address legacy and potential future issues of hazardous industrial wastes on Aboriginal territory in Northern Ontario.
“We need high-level action from government and industry that brought these contaminants into our territories—we need them to take responsibility for cleanup,” Beardy said in an April 3 statement.
Beardy recently attended a Chiefs of Ontario Contaminant Workshop in Timmins, the first meeting of its kind on contamination issues.
First Nations have been demanding a clean-up of waste found on or near First Nations’ territories for years.
“While new business in forestry, natural gas, energy and mining are being considered, the mess left behind on our homelands the first time around remain there. It is affecting not only the environment but our heath and our traditional way of life,” said Beardy.
Discussion at the workshop focused on potential environmental impacts caused by mining developments in the Ring of Fire, pipeline development such as the Energy East line, and remediation needed at former Mid-Canada Line radar sites.
Beardy said First Nations need to build the capacity to be able to “independently assess” these projects.