TORONTO – An agreement signed in Toronto today will lead to moving the Northern Ontario First Nation community of Kashechewan. Agreement reached to move Kashechewan. “This agreement is about the fight to get what you want and to achieve the prize. I feel optimistic today in signing this agreement. There will be challenges, but our future generations will be able to enjoy the spirit of the land,” said Kashechewan First Nation Chief Leo Friday.
Minister of Indigenous Services, Seamus O’Regan, issued the following statement today:
“Today, Chief Leo Friday, Minister Greg Rickford and I signed the 2019 Framework Agreement confirming the relocation of Kashechewan First Nation to higher ground. Together we are committed to a safe, healthy and sustainable future for Kashechewan.
Since 2017, when this Government signed “Together We Work for Hope” we have made significant progress together. Today’s Kashechewan Relocation Workplan Summary will guide our next steps together. This is a complex, multi-year process. While we are moving forward with this work, we have agreed that interim dyke repairs and improved drainage are important to keep the community safe. Funding has been identified for this purpose.
I hope that the people of Kashechewan– who have been evacuated for several weeks now as a precautionary measure – will soon be able to return home safely, knowing that we hear them and are acting.
I would like to thank Chief Leo Friday, Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald, Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon for their efforts to advance this crucial work together. With this Framework Agreement in place, we have a clear path forward to meet the needs of the community, both in the immediate and long term.”
Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs issued the following statement:
“The Ontario Government is committed to do everything in its authority to support the relocation of Kashechewan First Nation.
Today, Kashechewan, Ontario and the federal government signed an agreement that commits the parties to work together to develop a community planning and development process that includes necessary steps to relocate the community.
Kashechewan faces a number of challenges that affect the well-being and safety of community members, including repeated, costly, evacuations in response to annual flooding and infrastructure issues. Ontario supports the efforts of the community and the federal government to secure a new location for the community where families can build their futures together and practice their traditions.
While the federal government has ultimate responsibility for the relocation, we are proud to play an important role and I was pleased to tell Chief Friday and the federal government that we are committed to fast-tracking the provincial actions necessary to support relocation. I have had incredible opportunities to work in and with First Nation communities, as a nurse, lawyer and former federal Cabinet Minister, and I am pleased that we have now taken this important step forward to improve the long-term health and sustainability of the community.
Ontario will continue to ensure the safety of community members by working with community leaders and host communities to safely evacuate the people of Kashechewan during flood season.”