Safe and Clean Water Must be a Priority – Ontario Regional Chief Day

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Safe drinking water is important
Chief Isadore Day
Chief Isadore Day

Fort William First Nation – Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day is calling on the Federal Party Leaders to address the lack of clean and safe water in First Nations across Ontario. Currently, there are 67 communities under boil water advisories.

“It is outrageous to think of how much wealth there is in Canada, yet at the same time thousands of First Nation people do not have access to clean, safe drinking water, a luxury most Canadians take for granted,” said Ontario Regional Chief Day. “We are hearing a lot of promises during this campaign. I want to know what party will be the first to promise 0% boil water advisory on all First Nations.”

Today at Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Keewaywin Conference, Chief Peter Moonias from Neskantaga gave both Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day and newly-elected NIshnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler direction to ensure boil water advisories are front and centre in the federal election.

NAN Grand Chief Fiddler posed the question, “What’s the difference between a boil water advisory in the City of Winnipeg and a boil water advisory in Neskantaga?” The answer is the boil water advisory in Winnipeg would be solved within a week while the Neskantaga advisory is 23 years old. This is a public health travesty”.

Despite the failure on the Federal Government to address this serious problem, Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) a Tribal Council in Ontario has launched its own Safe Water Project to address the issue.

Water Treatment
KO Safe Water Project brings the security of safe water to Northern communities in Ontario and beyond

The Safe Water Project involves employing operational personnel to supervise and support local water plant operators and deploying remote water quality monitoring technology to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of drinking water.

While it is the first for its kind for any Tribal Council in Ontario, the Safe Water Project is just the latest success for KO, an organization well known for providing a range of services to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in and around Ontario.

Safe Water Saves Tax Dollars

During the Toys for the North Trip, NAPS Officers and RCMP Officers unloaded water in Ogoki Post
During the Toys for the North Trip in 2014, NAPS Officers and RCMP Officers unloaded water in Ogoki Post that was flown in from Thunder Bay.

When communities are under boil water orders, often water is flown into the communities throughout the year. The cost is massive – in Ogoki Post / Marten Falls over the past 15 years millions of dollars have been spent to bring in bottled water. $2.3 million on getting water into the community has been the cost for this one community. Bottled water is needed to keep the school open in the community.

 

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