The Environment Department coordinates multiple files and activities that are related to the Giant Mine Remediation Project. The following is an overview of the work that YKDFN participates in.
The purpose of the Health Effects Monitoring Program (YKHEMP) is to make sure that remediation activities planned to take place at Giant Mine will not have a negative impact on people’s health. The first round of testing was completed in fall of 2018 with this year’s work being focused on the University of Ottawa analysing the results. Any individual who had a high test result was contacted and follow up testing was offered/provided. In May 2019, a community meeting in Dettah was held to talk about the results of this project. Further engagement was planned however has been postponed due to Covid-19. A copy of the University of Ottawa Report is available on the YKHEMP website under Resources (https://ykhemp.ca/resources/).
The Hoèla Weteèst’eèdeè: Understanding Community Wellbeing Around Giant Mine Study Program is being developed to help in the assessment of all risk to human health and impacts of quality of life related to exposure or potential exposure to arsenic. Specifically, this study is looking into the physical and psychological effects of stress in the local population with management responses to reduce the effects and impacts of stress related to Giant Mine. Unlike the YKHEMP study, YKDFN is a research partner in the Hoèla Weteèst’eèdeè Study and has full control over research which is important for data access and recognition on publications. This year YKDFN assisted in drafting the study methodology and presented draft documents to the Giant Mine Working Group to gather input from all parties. The study methodology has gone through several versions and has now been determined and approved. The study has moved into a planning for implementation phase.
The Giant Mine Advisory Committee’s (GMAC) primary role is to analyze and comment on the Giant Mine Remediation Project progress. The members of the committee consist of seven YKDFN members, CIRNAC and GNWT representatives. This year GMAC, along with Environment staff, participated in Perpetual Care Planning workshops to begin planning for what will occur after remediation has been completed. From these meetings it was decided to create a Perpetual Care Plan Task Force made up of representatives from each party. GMAC also reviewed the Hoèla Weteèst’eèdeè Study and participated in the Giant Mine Water License Public Hearing.
In January 2020 YKDFN participated as an intervener in the Giant Mine closure and remediation plan public hearings. Environment staff represented YKDFN interests in the plan through a presentation that addressed continued concerns with the project namely that the remediation process has not accommodated YKDFN Treaty and Aboriginal rights. YKDFN is calling for the project to provide a community benefits plan, community monitoring of the site, develop a permanent solution for the arsenic waste, and have the remediation plan comply with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. YKDFN’s presentation is available through the Environment Department. Many YKDFN members attended the public hearings to express their concerns directly to the project and YKDFN would like to thank those that gave their time to participate in these processes.
For information on the apology and compensation for the legacy of Giant Mine please contact Treaty, Rights, and Governance Department.