In response to residents expressing concerns about lead in soil found in ten Winnipeg neighbourhoods, the province released a report prepared by an independent third party. The 323-page report, prepared by Intrinsik Corp., reconfirms that there is a low heath risk for Manitobans when it comes to lead in soil.
Manitoba Health Seniors and Active Living (MHSAL) and Manitoba Conservation and Climate (MCC) commissioned a third-party review to determine if there are any potential risks to human health, and how best to identify and manage areas with elevated lead concentrations in soil.
The report was presented to government in December 2019, and the province has moved quickly to review its findings and prioritize the recommendations.
As recommended, the province will work towards making blood lead levels in excess of established guidelines reportable under The Public Health Act. This move will assist the province to track and better understand where lead exposure may continue to pose a problem. This new information will help focus future public health and environmental efforts where they are needed and will have the greatest impact.
MHSAL and MCC will also move forward with the recommendation to develop a communications and outreach plan that delivers a single, clear and effective message to the public and key stakeholders about how to mitigate potential risks. This could include a public webpage or social media platform with regular updates for information sharing, and training for parents and caregivers of young children, as well as child care centres, community centres and preschools.
MHSAL and MCC will continue to work with Manitoba Education and school divisions to develop a plan to address recommendations for Weston School.
Given the primary source of lead emissions in Winnipeg are no longer present, the health risk of lead for Manitobans is low. The report stressed that soil remediation was not recommended as a course of action.
To view the independent report’s findings and recommendations, visit
Lead Contamination of Soil in Winnipeg kept secret
As reported by the CBC in 2018, testing performed on soil in several other Winnipeg neighbourhoods more than 10 years ago showed potentially dangerous levels of lead — but residents were never told about the results because the government at the time withheld the information, according to documents obtained by CBC News.
Documents obtained by CBC through government sources reveal an extensive round of soil testing was conducted by the provincial government in 2007 and 2008 around Point Douglas, Wolseley, Minto and South Osborne. Residential boulevards were targeted, as were playgrounds, schools and sports fields.