Peter Tabuns MPP, Toronto-Danforth

Government of Ontario


Published on May 23, 2024

QUEEN’S PARK –– A new report reveals that effluent from the Dryden mill is worsening mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows. Despite no new mercury being released, bacteria in the effluent is generating dangerous methylmercury, doubling the mercury levels in fish.

Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong), Official Opposition NDP Deputy Leader and MPP Sandy Shaw (Hamilton West - Ancaster - Dundas), critic for Environment, Conservation and Parks are calling on the Conservatives to take swift action and respond to the alarming information in these findings.

"It has been over 50 years since the dumping of mercury into the Wabigoon River commenced, and it remains one of Canada's worst natural disasters. The only thing that has changed is the people at the top exploiting First Nations land and resources and poisoning our people,” said Mamakwa.

“Living in these conditions and suffering intergenerational health complications has become normal for the people of Grassy Narrows, but it shouldn't be like this. Our children shouldn't be committing suicide or living in bad health because companies and governments don't respect First Nations' rights to live a healthy life, a life without corporate greed exploiting Indigenous land and resources.

“History has shown us that this isn't an isolated incident. Earlier this month, a mill in Sarnia released toxins into the air, and now it is appealing a provincial order to reduce toxic emissions. These companies don't care.

We need this government to act immediately and stop releasing this effluent that’s making the mercury problem even worse and to respond to the needs of the people of Grassy Narrows, as stated by them, with the levels of urgency and care deserved.”


“These findings are deeply troubling and reinforce the NDP's long-standing calls for stronger environmental oversight and enforcement, justice for Grassy Narrows and ending the health inequalities imposed on First Nation. Time and again the government has ignored this disastrous and generational long public health crisis. We need Immediate action to stop these toxic discharges. Addressing the health and wellbeing of Grassy Narrows First Nation must be a top priority."
  • MPP Sandy Shaw (Hamilton West - Ancaster - Dundas), Official Opposition NDP critic for Environment, Conservation and Parks


  • Youth suicide attempts in Grassy Narrows are three times higher than other First Nations in Canada today. Before 1970, no suicide had ever been recorded in Grassy Narrows.
  • During the 1960s and 1970s, the chemical plant at Reed Paper mill, upstream from Grassy Narrows, dumped 9,000 kgs of mercury into the English-Wabigoon River.
  • 90 percent of the population in Grassy Narrows now experiences symptoms of mercury poisoning
  • Once ingested, mercury poisoning never goes away – it passes from one generation to the next.