SUDBURY — Jamie West, NDP MPP for Sudbury, is asking for an official statement of apology from the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to the 25,000 mine workers who were forced to breathe in harmful aluminum dust or lose their jobs, between 1943 and 1979. Many mine workers suffered immediate and long-term health effects as a result.
West held a press conference on Tuesday with former mine workers who were subjected to the neurotoxic aluminum dust known as “McIntyre Powder,” and family members of those workers.
“No human has ever experienced what three generations of the McIntyre Powder Project mine workers were subjected to,” said Janice Martell, founder of the McIntyre Powder Project.
Martell started the McIntyre Powder Project to raise awareness of the ongoing health risks of the neurotoxic aluminum dust. Her father, Jim Hobbs, was one of the 25,000 mine workers who inhaled the powder. Sadly, he passed away in 2017 of Parkinson’s.
“Healing starts with acknowledgement,” said Martell. “A statement of apology from the Ontario Legislative Assembly to these workers and their families — while the last of them are still alive to hear it — is deeply meaningful to them and to my own family.”
The Ontario government supported and sanctioned the use of McIntyre Powder between 1943 and 1979 despite expert evidence that recommended against it.
West has tabled a motion formally requesting an apology from the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and written an open letter to the Government House Leader, the Minister of Mines, and the Minister of Labour calling for the same.
West has tabled the following motion:
That, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario should provide an official statement of apology to the McIntyre Powder Project miners for their subjugation to the inhalation of finely ground aluminum dust known as “McIntyre Powder” and for the immediate and long-term health effects these miners suffered as a result.