SD5 board votes not to appeal mercury ruling


Following a special meeting of the Board on Friday, December 21, 2012, School District 5 (SD5) has decided not to appeal the decision of Supreme Court Justice A. Saunders to grant a new court-ordered compensation board hearing to six Cranbrook teachers.

The teachers claimed they were poisoned by mercury during their teaching time at Mount Baker Secondary School. In 2010 Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) ruled that the teachers did not suffer mercury poisoning at Mount Baker.

Justice Saunders granted a new hearing on December 4th, stating the decision handed down by the Tribunal was “patently unreasonable in failing to weigh all of the relevant evidence and in imposing a requirement that mercury poisoning be proven, as that diagnosis would be made by physicians.”

According to SD5 Board Chair Frank Lento the ruling itself does not involve SD5.

“Strictly speaking the Judge was dealing with the WCAT decision and how it was made” says SD5 Board Chair, Frank Lento. “The District’s responsibility in this matter was to determine if there was a safety concern and if so to properly address it. The Board of the day did exactly that.”

Following the initial BCTF claim in 2006 School District 5 undertook a $200,000 investigation into mercury at Mount Baker and completed the necessary upgrades to ensure the building’s continued safety. No concerns regarding mercury have since been reported.

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