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Ontario Increasing Mercury Disability Benefits

News Release

Ontario Increasing Mercury Disability Benefits

Payments Frozen Since 1985, Will Be Retroactively Indexed to Inflation

Ministry of Indigenous Affairs

Ontario is taking immediate action to ensure people who receive mercury disability payments are properly compensated by retroactively indexing payments to the rate of inflation. More than 200 people in the communities of Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong receive these payments that were frozen since 1985. 

"Increasing these disability payments will help change people's lives for the better," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. "These payments have been frozen for over 30 years and that is unacceptable. This is one small part of the work we are doing to address the longstanding challenges faced by people in Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong."

Ontario remains committed to cleaning up the mercury contamination in the English and Wabigoon Rivers. This includes establishing the English and Wabigoon Rivers Remediation Trust, which set aside $85 million in dedicated funding to remediate the mercury in the English and Wabigoon Rivers.

Quick Facts

  • Current beneficiaries will receive retroactive payments if they received benefits prior to March 31, 2018.
  • Indexation is a process that adjusts benefit payments to match increases in the average price of consumer goods according to inflation rates per the Consumer Price Index for Canada.
  • Mercury Disability Board benefits will be indexed for current and future beneficiaries on a go-forward and retroactive basis.
  • The Mercury Disability Board supervises the administration of the Fund. Benefit payments are calculated and paid by the Fund Administrator.

Additional Resources


“The requests from people of both communities receiving these benefits have asked if the rates can be increased, finally comes to reality.”

John Paishk

Chief, Wabaseemoong Independent Nations

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