An Occupational Disease Cluster Investigation
Neelon Casting Project
The Neelon Casting Project investigates occupational exposures and working conditions at a steel foundry that produced brake parts in Sudbury, Ontario.
After opening in 1975 as Neelon Casting, it later changed ownership to become Dana Brake Parts and finally Affinia Canada Corp.
In 2007, its US-based parent company and former competitor, the Affinia Group, closed the plant, which then employed 240 workers.
During the 32 years of Neelon’s operations, over 2000 unionized workers were employed there.
OHCOW’s investigation aims to better understand the relationship between the working conditions, the chemical exposures and the large number of health issues seen in former workers.
• Extreme Heat • Night Shift Work
• Extended Work Shifts
• Silica • Carbon Monoxide
• Contaminated Green Sand
• Lead • Antimony • Nanoparticles
• Triethylamine Gas (TEA)
• Diisocyanates and Solvents
Cancers • Respiratory Diseases • Autoimmune Disorders • Cardiovascular Diseases
• Neurological Diseases • Birth Defects • Miscarriages
In June 2020 OHCOW received a request for assistance from USW local 2020.
OHCOW immediately established a framework for working with Local 2020, and began consolidating information from previous OHCOW work with Neelon workers.
OHCOW also organized government inspection records and other historical information gathered by the local union
into an electronic library for reference and for sharing with the WSIB.
In October 2020, OHCOW organized a web-based virtual information session in partnership with USW, MLTSD and WSIB to inform former Neelon workers and family members on health conditions of concern, the roles of the different organizations, and how to initiate occupational disease claims through Local 2020 (video available on our Blog).
In addition to gathering medical records and work histories from individual workers, OHCOW committed to producing a historical exposure report detailing the work processes and conditions throughout the history of the Neelon Casting facility.
To that end, an advisory committee of Neelon workers were assembled with the help of Jessica Montgomery and USW 2020 staff, with group meetings and drafting led out by Dale and Bob DeMatteo*.
*Dale and Bob have developed similar reports on the General Electric and Pebra/Ventra Plastics plants in Peterborough
OHCOW is currently in the final stages of preparing the historical exposure report.
This report is expected to be publicly released in 2023.
It will serve as a reference for numerous similar Ontario workplaces, many of which have also ceased operations in recent decades.
Over 180 claims have been initiated by this Project
Current project participants can provide their personal work history to OHCOW using the button below.
Your work history is the first critical piece of information that must be gathered before any more detailed assessments can be conducted.
This information is also very useful, regardless of whether you have an occupational disease claim with the WSIB.
* Before starting this questionnaire, gather records of your employment to help you recall the answers to some of the questions.
If you, a family member, or a friend have ever worked at Neelon Castings and would like to contribute to this project, please phone 705-675-2461 ext. 229 or email Stephanie Gunson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ashley Gibson-Taylor at Dissupport2@uswlocal2020.ca
Using Science in Cancer Adjudication and Policy-Making: Cluster Project Implications
In January 2021, OHCOW hosted a public information session webinar and Facebook Live event for all occupational disease cluster groups in Ontario including all OHCOW’s current occupational disease cluster group projects. These groups included General Electric Peterborough workers, Pebra/Ventra Peterborough workers, Kitchener Rubber workers, McIntyre Powder exposed miners, Neelon Casting workers and anyone suffering from an occupational disease.
The following videos are recordings of each of the sessions:
Using Scientific Evidence to Drive Prevention and Compensation
Dr. Paul Demers
Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Ontario Health Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Workers’ Compensation for Occupational Disease: Medicolegal Challenges
Prof. Katherine Lippel
CRC in OHS Law, University of Ottawa
A Labour/Worker Point of View