Indigenous leaders say safe drinking water settlement with federal gov't is unfair

·1 min read

OTTAWA — The federal government has set aside about $1.5 billion to compensate Indigenous people who have been without clean drinking water, the result of a class-action lawsuit initiated by First Nations communities.

But people living in a community that's under the country's longest boil-water advisory called the settlement unfair and frustrating at a news conference today.

Chief Wayne Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation in Ontario says the 27-year-long advisory is "heartbreaking," particularly for children who've never known clean water.

Community member Roy Moonias said he's only entitled to claim six years of compensation even though he's lived under the advisory since 1995.

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu says individual compensation will never make up for the harm to people's lives, but adds the government's commitment of at least $6 billion through the settlement is meant to end all boil-water advisories "once and for all."

The claims period is open and people can apply for compensation until next March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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