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Former Cold War Radar Sites Being Cleaned Up

Archived News Release

Former Cold War Radar Sites Being Cleaned Up

McGuinty Government Improves Northern Environment and Creates Jobs

Ontario will create jobs, improve the environment and provide economic opportunities for local First Nations communities in Northern Ontario by cleaning up 16 abandoned radar sites over the next six years.

Most of the sites are located along the coasts of Hudson Bay and James Bay in the Far North boreal region of Ontario. They are part of the Mid-Canada line that dates back to the Cold War.

Ontario will lead a six-year plan to clean up 16 sites that over the years have become contaminated with toxic materials. The federal government has agreed to share some of the costs. This includes:

  • Up to $73 million from Ontario to clean up all of the sites
  • Up to $30 million from the federal government to assist with 11 sites that are highly contaminated.

Quick Facts

  • The Mid-Canada Line was an early warning radar system built across Canada mainly by the Department of National Defence in the mid-1950s; ownership of the land was transferred to Ontario in the 1960s.
  • The sites are contaminated with toxic materials such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), hydrocarbons, mercury and asbestos.
  • Ontario proposes to protect at least 225,000 square kilometres of the boreal region through the Far North Act, which was introduced in the Ontario legislature on June 2, 2009.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“These sites must be cleaned up as part of our broader efforts to conserve the unique ecology of the vast boreal region. Through the proposed Far North Act that I recently introduced, we are aiming to contribute to an environmentally sustainable economic future and greater prosperity for First Nations communities in the Far North.”

Donna Cansfield

Minister of Natural Resources

“The Mushkegowuk Council applauds the governments for coming to an agreement for the clean up of the 16 sites in northern Ontario. This environmental pollution has gone on for too long.”

Stan Louttit

Grand Chief of the Mushkegowuk Council

“The Weenusk First Nation is ready to help with the project and to work directly with the Ministry of Natural Resources to ensure the military bases are cleaned up thoroughly. Our intent has always been about the health of our people and not just about the economic opportunities.”

Chief George Hunter

Weenusk First Nation



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