About the Mercury Disability Board

The Mercury Disability Board is a non-profit, legislation and community based organization.

The purpose of the Mercury Disability Board is to implement the terms of the settlement arising out of the contamination by mercury and other pollutants of the English and Wabigoon and related river systems per the Memorandum of Agreement signed in November 1985 and the Mercury Contamination Settlement Act assented to in July of 1986. Per the legislation, an independent Administrator of the Fund was to be appointed. Said Administrator is the Canada Life Assurance Company (formerly Great West Life Assurance Company). The Administrator is to manage the Fund in accordance with the “Plan Document” which delineates the responsibilities of the Administrator. The document is also a service agreement between the Board and the Administrator and contains schedules the prescribed criteria with respect to award eligibility and levels.

The Board supervises the administration of the Mercury Disability Fund and makes or supervises the making of mercury disability awards, pursuant to the Act. The Board also hears appeals of applications that have been denied and also appeals concerning the level of awards.

Meetings of the Board are held quarterly at a location convenient to all involved with the consent of all involved.

The Board consists of seven members composed of a Chairman, one member from each affiliated first nation, two duly qualified physicians and two members who are not representatives of the above noted groups.

Principles of the Board

  1. To provide services in accordance with the English and Wabigoon River Systems Mercury Contamination Settlement Agreement Act, 1986 (Ontario) and the Grassy Narrows and Islington Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act, 1986 (Canada).
  2. To base all claimant decisions on medical opinion and independent, individualized assessments.
  3. To act in good faith in relation to any aspect of the proceedings of the Board.

Subcommittees of the Board

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee of the Board meets quarterly. It is responsible for: reviewing the investment of the Fund and its status in relation to reports provided by the Administrator of the fund and claims paid; reviewing Board expenses in relation to the approved budget amounts per fiscal year; and reviewing the Statement of Investment Policy entered into with the Administrator in regards to the investment strategy of the Fund annually. Committee membership is decided by the Board through motion.

Service Committee

The Service Committee has been mandated by the Board to assess appeals when received from claimants of the Mercury Disability Fund and to hear claimant presentations on behalf of the Board. The Service Committee of the Board meets as needed to fulfill its mandate.

Current Board Membership:

Doug Devlin, Chair

Aaron Kokopenace, Grassy Narrows First Nation rep

Gloria Paishk, Wabaseemoong Independent Nations rep

Dr. Sara Goulet, Physician rep

Dr. Lisa Monkman, Physician rep

Search Committee

The Search Committee is responsible to:

  1. Review, revise or re-appoint (unanimously) membership on the Mercury Disability Board as needed. It is the sole discretion of the Search Committee to appoint/change appointments at any time.
  2. Review the proposed budget for Board expenses for the upcoming fiscal year. Submit the approved budget to their respective governmental body to review and recommend changes to or approve the proposed budget.
  3. Review and approve the workplan for the upcoming fiscal year.
  4. Review the audit of the Fund and Board expenses presented annually at the conclusion of each fiscal year.
  5. Review statements of financial position of Board expenses; review the activities of the Board and review claims and appeal statistics in relation to the approved budget, workplan and usage of the Fund in the payment of claims.

Meetings of the Search Committee are held semi-annually and additionally as needed at a location convenient to all involved with the consent of all involved.

Current Search Committee Membership:

Chief Rudy Turtle, Grassy Narrows First Nation

Chief Waylon Scott, Wabaseemoong Independent Nations

Jemerson James, Ministry of Indigenous Affairs (provincial) representative

Valerie Flynn, Indigenous Services Canada (federal) representative

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