Subject: Sandra Madray

Sandra Ann Madray
July 27, 1950 – August 17, 2018
It is with sorrow and a sense of profound loss that we share that Sandra Ann Madray passed away peacefully at home in Winnipeg, with her family at her side, on Friday August 17th at age 68. She is survived by her husband Winston, siblings and numerous nieces and nephews.

Sandra was born in Trinidad-Tobago and migrated to Canada in 1973 to further her education, graduating with a Diploma in Chemical Technology from Red River Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Manitoba.
Sandra was a pillar of strength, wisdom and hard work. She was also an avid gardener who almost single-handedly transformed the entire yard into a beautiful oasis of perennial flowers and plants that attracted bees, butterflies, humming birds…….and wasps!! She could name each of her many plants without missing a beat.  It will be a task to continue her work.
Sandra loved travel, taking her extended family not only back to their homeland but also to exotic locales, from Peru to the Islands of Hawaii to the Galapagos Islands.

In the mid-1990s Sandra suffered long-term workplace chemical injury, that awakened a commitment to environmental health. Sandra co-founded Chemical Sensitivities Manitoba (CSM) to assist others similarly injured and to prevent further harm, with government action. As the voice of CSM, Sandra worked tirelessly at every opportunity with citizens, scientists, lawyers and activists seeking healthier air, water, food and products we use. Little did people outside of a small environmental health community appreciate how her lived experience charged her to push for necessary changes to chemicals policy and law, so that people with vulnerabilities will be better protected.

With CSM as a member of the Children’s Health and Environmental Partnership (CHEP), Sandra worked to eliminate the use of cosmetic lawn pesticides, out of concern over the effects on all of us, and especially on children. In the quest for safer pest control, CSM presentations were made to City of Winnipeg and provincial politicians, including the Minister of Health, medical professionals and university students. Sandra’s efforts live on in the warning signs the City puts up when they are applying pesticides, as well as notices posted in public places asking people to refrain from using scented products.

At the beginning of the century Sandra joined representatives from coast to coast who formed the Canadian Coalition for Health and the Environment, to advocate science-based, least-toxic approaches to address the emerging threat of West Nile virus. A focus on habitat, mosquito predators and targeted mosquito larval control, with an eye to bird health, are now widely adopted by progressive jurisdictions in Canada.

Sandra advocated for progressive chemical regulation, sitting on the national Stakeholder Advisory Council for the Chemicals Management Plan, as well as the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council.

As a Prevent Cancer Now Board member, Sandra was a leader in substantive submissions on specific substances, as well as legislative change. Most recently, Sandra worked for a modern Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (1999), that would recognize that substances that affect signalling in cells or hormonal actions, are inherently toxic, and require least-toxic, safest options.

The community working at the intersections of health and environment; and of science and law, is dismayed by the loss of a valued, vibrant friend and colleague:
  • I knew Sandra as someone who worked tirelessly to counter industry spin about chemicals regulation, and took no guff from the government folks who sided with it.
  • I will miss Sandra' spirit and that mischievous little smile that came across her face whenever she was about to zing someone.
  • I remember Sandra’s fierce fight and spirit during the Siloxane D5 hearing and thinking at the time how much better off the government’s case would have been if it had listened to voices like hers.
  • I liked Sandra very much and respected her for who she was, for being an advocate for those affected by chemicals, for her professional attitude towards the issues of the Chemicals Management Plan and her deep and general knowledge of those issues. More to the point, she was such a nice person, a person you are grateful for having known and worked with.
  • Sandra’s willingness to support others’ work made her a great “partner in crime.” At Ottawa meetings she would always participate in uphill battles to make issues relevant to government staff. Successes of Sandra’s calm, clearly reasoned approach were seen as topics that had previously not been government priorities, were added to future agendas.
  • Case in point, even as her health declined Sandra continued to work with others to pull together a panel of speakers on vulnerable populations. We hope that this will be the start of changes to our national chemicals program, to consider better the developing fetus, pregnant mothers, children, workers, indigenous communities, people experiencing chemical sensitivities, etc.
  • Sandra was willing to do little things that may not be widely visible, that may not attract the attention of the media, politicians, etc.; however, there is no doubt that she contributed substantially to a foundation of work that should be celebrated.
  • Sandra will always have a special place in my heart. We became friends through our common interest in chemical sensitivities, established Chemical Sensitivities Manitoba (CSM) in 1998, to bring attention to the plight of affected Manitobans. Sandra was always well prepared and knowledgeable, armed with the latest scientific publications – she excelled at tracking those down.  Sandra was articulate, highly professional and always poised … and let’s not forget, persistent and determined. We all have a better, and chemically safer world, because of Sandra Madray.
Sandra will be remembered by all who knew her for her generosity, quick wit, infectious laugh and readiness to help those in need.

Sandra’s life will be celebrated on August 23rd, 2018 at 2pm, at the Thomson in the Park Funeral Home, 1291 McGillivray Blvd, Winnipeg, MB R3T5Y4.

Please share memories here.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you support the causes for which Sandra worked so passionately and rigorously.
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