Have you ever tried living with no drinkable water for a week?
According to Human Rights Watch, Indigenous Services Canada officials told Neskantaga that no precedent or policy existed to provide evacuation or other forms of assistance to remote communities affected by a major infrastructure failure. The cost to the community of dealing with the evacuation alone puts it at risk of losing control of its finances.
Human Rights Watch is demanding that the next Canadian government compensate Neskantaga First Nation for the costs associated with evacuating the community after a water infrastructure failure. The government should also have a mechanism to deal with major infrastructure failures in remote First Nations communities.
Let's make sure that there are letters waiting for whoever takes power after the federal election. Write to
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Public Enquiries Contact Centre
10 rue Wellington
Gatineau QC K1A 0H4
Phone (toll-free): 1-800-567-9604
TTY (toll-free): 1-866-553-0554
In 2016, Human Rights Watch documented the impact of serious and prolonged drinking water and sanitation problems for thousands of First Nations people -- Indigenous peoples in Canada -- living on reserves. The findings detailed problems with safe water and sanitation on reserves, including a lack of binding water quality regulations, insufficient funding, faulty or substandard infrastructure, and degraded source waters. The federal government's own audits over two decades show a pattern of overpromising and underperforming on water and sanitation on reserves.
It is good that certain leaders are addressing this as a priority, now we need to force action.
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