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CLEANING UP MID-CANADA LINE RADAR SITES IN ONTARIO

Archived Backgrounder

CLEANING UP MID-CANADA LINE RADAR SITES IN ONTARIO

Ontario will launch a six-year cleanup of 16 Mid-Canada Line radar sites in the Far North after reaching a cost-sharing agreement with the Department of National Defence.

The Agreement

  • Under the agreement between the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Department of National Defence, Ontario will undertake the cleanup, and the federal government will contribute 50 per cent of eligible costs to a maximum of $30 million.
  • Costs eligible for federal funding include the cleanup of environmental contaminants. Ontario will pay the costs of removing derelict structures and equipment.
  • Of the 16 Mid-Canada Line radar sites in Ontario that still require work, 11 have contaminant levels high enough to qualify for federal funding.
  • The total cost of cleaning up all 16 sites, including contaminants, structures and debris, is estimated to be $87 to $103 million.

First Nations

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources has worked closely with local First Nations communities through a Technical Advisory Committee to discuss the proposed cleanup strategy. These communities include Fort Severn, Peawanuck (Weenusk First Nation), Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany, Taykwa Tagamou Nation and Moose Cree, as well as the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council.
  • The province will provide training and job opportunities to local First Nations people and businesses during the six-year cleanup.

History of the Mid-Canada Line

  • In the mid-1950s, at the height of the Cold War, the Department of National Defence built 98 radar sites across Canada, mainly along the 55th parallel of latitude.
  • Known as the Mid-Canada Line, the purpose of the radar line was to provide early warning of attacks by air.
  • The Ontario sites were not used by the Department of National Defence after the mid-1960s, and ownership of the land was transferred to Ontario.
  • Derelict buildings, radar towers, fuel tanks, metal drums and a variety of other equipment and debris remain at the sites, as well as toxic materials.

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