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The Independent Fact-Finding Panel On Herbicide 2,4,5-T Terms Of Reference

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The Independent Fact-Finding Panel On Herbicide 2,4,5-T Terms Of Reference

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

BACKGROUND

2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) herbicide was widely used in Ontario, dating back to the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and possibly the 1980s.  The Government of Ontario is concerned with the potential effect this herbicide may have on human health.  2,4,5-T is no longer registered for use in Canada.

The Ontario government takes the health and safety of Ontarians, including members of the Ontario Public Service past and present, very seriously. Therefore, the government is committed to fully understanding where, when and how 2,4,5-T was used in this province.

OBJECTIVE

The Independent Fact-Finding Panel on Herbicide 2,4,5-T will investigate its use by Government of Ontario ministries and agencies and examine whether exposure to 2,4,5-T herbicide may have potential health impacts.

The findings of the panel will be submitted to the Minister of Natural Resources and will be made available to the public.

MANDATE

The panel will, based on the information available:

  • Investigate and document the scope and scale of the use of 2,4,5-T herbicide in the province by Ontario government ministries and agencies, including those acting as agents or as contractors;
  • Determine the specific time period when 2,4,5-T herbicide was used in the province by Ontario government ministries and agencies;
  • Determine the geographic area where 2,4,5-T herbicide was used in the province by Ontario government ministries and agencies;
  • Examine whether exposure to 2,4,5-T herbicide in the affected areas may have potential health impacts; 
  • Document the methods 2,4,5-T herbicide was deployed by employees of provincial ministries and agencies, and the interaction of those employees and the general public with 2,4,5-T herbicide application operations in affected areas;
  • Review the preparation, application and storage of 2,4,5-T herbicide as well as provincial occupational health and safety, and laws, standards and workplace practices including the use of personal protection equipment and applicable training in place at that time; and
  • Refer, where appropriate, to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board any findings that could assist its work.

MEMBERSHIP

There will be a full-time chair to manage, direct and oversee the day-to-day activities of the panel.

The chair will be supported by panel members who will serve on a part time, as needed basis. Panel members shall be selected based on the specific expertise required for the panel to execute its mandate.

The panel will be supported by a small team of support staff and be given the authority to appoint experts to complete research and studies.

REPORTING

The findings of the panel will be published in a report that will be submitted to the Minister of Natural Resources. The report of the panel will be released to the public.

The panel will work towards a final report by June 2012.

The panel may choose to develop interim reports and submit them to the Minister of Natural Resources. All interim reports will be released to the public.

The panel must also ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected as required by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

In delivering its report(s) to the Minister, the panel shall be responsible for translation and printing and shall ensure the report is available simultaneously in both English and French, in electronic and printed formats, and in sufficient quantities for public release.  The Ministry of Natural Resources shall be responsible for making the report available to the public.

PANEL ACTIVITIES

The panel shall perform its duties without expressing any conclusion or opinion about the liability of any person or organization and will not make any assessment regarding entitlement benefits.

In conducting its work, the panel shall follow Management Board of Cabinet directives and guidelines and other applicable government polices in obtaining services and goods considered necessary in their performance of their duties.

Within an approved budget, the panel chair may retain staff, investigators and expert advisers, as the chair considers necessary in the performance of the mandate at rates of remuneration approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and will work with the Ministry of the Attorney General to obtain appropriate legal assistance where required.  Persons retained shall be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in connection with their duties in accordance with Management Board of Cabinet directives and guidelines.

ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND COOPERATION BY THE ONTARIO PUBLIC SERVICE

The panel chair may request any person to provide information or records to him, and hold public and or private meetings.

All ministries, Cabinet Office, the Premier's Office and all boards, agencies and commissions of the Government of Ontario shall, subject to any privilege or other legal restrictions, assist the panel to the fullest extent so that the mandate may be met.

The panel may request such information from the Ministry of Natural Resources and other government ministries it considers necessary to fulfill its mandate and, subject to any privilege or other legal restrictions, the Ministry of Natural Resources and other government ministries will cooperate with and assist the panel.

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