$36 million environmental class action

It is the first environmental class action suit in Canada. July 20 2010 saw Ontario Superior Court Justice Joseph Henderson award a total of $36 million to more than 7,000 households.

The environmental class action suit was for diminished property values due to pollution. The damage came from the nickel refinery of Inco Limited (now Vale) when the properties were pollution with airborne metals, particularly nickel.

The split for the property owners worked out so that the homes in the shadow of the plant each got $23,000; the ones on the east side received $9,000 and the homeowners on the west side received $2,500.

The original lawsuit was for $750 million in damages to health, property values and quality of life. This lawsuit was presented to the courts twice and named the defendants Inco, Ontario Ministry of Health, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Niagara District School Board, City of Port Colborne and the Niagara Catholic School Board.

This lawsuit was settled out of court with all defendants except Inco. Inco had tried to stop the suit unsuccessfully.