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Development of the oil sands in northern Alberta has become an issue of growing public interest in recent year, with highly polarized views being presented by different stakeholders, including First Nations, environmentalists, industries and governments, about the merits of oils sands development in relation to its environmental and health impacts. Regardless of what any individual chooses to believe about these divergent views, the scale of investment and development in the oil sands is a major factor in Canada’s economy, making the issues involved of vital importance to Canadians. On October 5, 2009, the Royal Society of Canada announced the commissioning of an Expert Panel, consisting of eminent Canadian scientists and chaired by Dr. Steve E. Hrudey, FRSC, Professor Emeritus, Analytical and Environmental Toxicology, University of Alberta. The Expert Panel was given a mandate to review and assess available evidence bearing on these issues and identify knowledge gaps to provide Canadians with a scientific perspective in a summary report.

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