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Minister Osborne Announces Establishment of Muskrat Falls Monitoring and Health Management Oversight Committee

Press Release

September 13, 2022

The Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Health and Community Services, today announced Dr. Ray Copes, as the Independent Chair to oversee the work of the Muskrat Falls Monitoring and Health Management Oversight Committee (MHMOC).

Dr. Copes is a physician with a Master’s Degree in Epidemiology. He was selected as the Independent Chair by the members of the MHMOC, comprised of federal, provincial, municipal, Nunatsiavut Government, Innu Nation, NunatuKavut Community Council and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro representatives. The biography of the Independent Chair can be found in the backgrounder below.

The members of the MHMOC committee comprised of scientific and traditional knowledge experts are:

  • Raymond Copes – Independent Chair
  • Peter Penashue – Innu Nation
  • Jim Goudie – Nunatsiavut Government
  • George Russell – NunatuKavut Community Council
  • Jackie Wells – Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro
  • Beverly Ramos-Casey – Health Canada
  • Douglas Howse (acting member) – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Member for affected communities (Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Northwest River, Mud Lake, Sheshatshiu, Rigolet, and Cartwright)  – To be determined

On April 11, 2018, the Provincial Government received the final recommendations of the Independent Expert Advisory Committee (IEAC) to address concerns related to methylmercury at the Muskrat Falls project. The IEAC recommended an independent body to oversee the design and implementation of a monitoring program for the Lower Churchill Project, ensuring that it is community-based, and that it provide information that is relevant to the protection of human health.

Quotes
“Thank you to Dr. Copes for agreeing to take on the important role of Independent Chair. By establishing an independent group, which includes individuals from the Provincial and Federal Government, Innu Nation, Nunatsiavut Government, and the NunatuKavut Community Council, we are providing another outlet to provide ongoing oversight to the implementation of the monitoring program and interpretation of monitoring results.”
Honourable Tom Osborne
Minister of Health and Community Services

“I commend Dr. Copes for taking on the role of Independent Chair of the Monitoring and Health Management Oversight Committee. The committee will play a critical role in continuing the oversight and monitoring of methylmercury at the Muskrat Falls site. Dr. Copes and all MHMOC committee members bring a wealth of scientific and traditional knowledge to inform this important work.
Honourable Bernard Davis
Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“I am pleased to have been selected as the independent Chair of the Muskrat Falls Monitoring and Health Management Oversight Committee. I look forward to working with representatives of the Innu Nation, Nunatsiavut Government,  NunatuKavut Community Council, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Health Canada and the Provincial Government to ensure that the monitoring done in connection with Muskrat Falls addresses questions that local residents have about potential impacts on their health and that the results are shared with them in a timely manner.”
Dr. Raymond Copes
Independent Chair, MHMOC

– 30 –

Learn more

Independent Expert Advisory Committee

News Release: Final Recommendations Provided by Independent Expert Advisory Committee

Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee

Methylmercury Monitoring Plan

Methylmercury Monitoring in the Muskrat Falls Reservoir, Churchill River, Goose Bay, Lake Melville

Media contacts
Tina Coffey
Health and Community Services
709-729-6554; 687-9903
[email protected]

Lynn Robinson
Environment and Climate Change
709-729-5449, 691-9466
[email protected]

BACKGROUNDER

Biography – Dr. Raymond Copes
Dr. Raymond Copes is a licenced physician and has a Master’s Degree in Epidemiology. He is an Adjunct Professor of Public Health Sciences with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Dr. Copes worked at the BC Centre for Disease Control as Scientific Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health. He also worked in Environmental and Occupational Health in Public Health Ontario. Dr. Copes worked as an Environmental Health Physician with First Nations Inuit Health Branch BC, Yukon region, Health Canada. He reviewed datasets on mercury, other metals and organic pollutants in fish and other country foods. Dr. Copes has completed consulting projects for several governments including: Health Canada, Saskatchewan Department of Health, Nunavut Department of Health, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Health and Community Services.

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