“Ontario pledges $1 million to help ailing miners exposed to toxic dust.” / Sara Mojtehedzadeh (Toronto Star, Oct. 11, 2017)
Ontario’s Ministry of Labour is expected to announce today funding for the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) to assess whether miners’ health conditions are related to exposure to the aluminum dust McIntyre Powder and, where possible, make occupational disease claims for workers’ compensation. Inhalation of the powder, intended as a protective measure against silicosis, was mandatory in Ontario mines for over 36 years from 1943. While half the amount requested by OHCOW, Janice Martell, co-founder with her father, the late Jim Hobbs, of the McIntyre Powder Project, applauded the funding for claim support.
Policy not retroactive
Although the McIntyre Powder Project’s registry reveals an unusually high prevalence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) among exposed miners, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s (WSIB) recently released review of scientific research, while reporting findings from the literature were inconsistent, failed to find a link between exposure and neurological impacts. The Board, noting questions remained about the association of the powder with neurological impacts, in August commissioned a further study using historical health records. The WSIB also then rescinded its policy, in place since 1993, which prevented miners exposed from seeking compensation for neurological disease. Unfortunately however the Board has informed advocates for compensation justice that it won’t reconsider compensation claims made under the old policy.
For the repeal of a policy to have any meaning at all, it must apply retroactively,”“For the repeal of a policy to have any meaning at all, it must apply retroactively,” (Marty Warren, USW)
Note: an update story will be broadcast on the Fifth Estate this Friday, October 13th on CBC television (9 p.m. EST)
- Kelly, Lindsay. 2017 Sep. 19. ” ‘Fired Up’ to Keep Searching For Justice.” Northern Ontario Business
- CBC News Sudbury. 2017 Sep. 7. “WSIB ‘Missing Massive Opportunity to Reverse Course’ on Aluminium Dust Exposure Claims.”