Compensation for Civilian Employees—Chalk River Decontamination

Compensation for Civilian Employees—Chalk River Decontamination

Hon. Nancy Greene Raine: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Senator Harder, in 1952 and 1958, there were two serious accidents at the Chalk River nuclear reactor. In 2008, the government decided on a special compensation for personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces and employees of the Department of National Defence who assisted in the decontamination work, but civilian volunteers and employees were excluded from this compensation.

In March 2016, the Senate unanimously passed a motion calling on the government to offer similar compensation to the excluded civilians who, it should be noted, were the first on the scene to begin the cleanup and faced the highest risk.

Senator Harder, to date — more than 18 months later — we still have not heard that those civilians will be compensated. When will the government rectify this unjust situation and establish a program to compensate civilians who assisted in decontamination work at the nuclear reactor in Chalk River? I might add that this was brought to my attention by the child of one of those people who is dying of cancer.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for bringing this to my attention. I share the concerns that the honourable senator has passed on with respect to persons affected.

Let me simply undertake to determine the situation with respect to the government’s intentions and report back.