Claims Deadline is approaching for the First Nations Drinking Water Settlement

1353
Neskantaga FN Water, before evacuation and after evacuation .. you see it’s not impossible to get clean water .. there’s just a lack of will - Neskantaga Chief Moonias
Neskantaga FN Water, before evacuation and after evacuation .. you see it’s not impossible to get clean water .. there’s just a lack of will - Neskantaga Chief Moonias

The First Nations Drinking Water Settlement provides compensation for First Nations impacted by long-term drinking water advisories that lasted continuously for at least one year between November 20, 1995 and June 20, 2021.​ Compensation is available for individuals and includes additional compensation for health harms (Specified Injuries) sustained by those following drinking water advisories. Personal representatives can claim on behalf of eligible minors, those with mental incapacity (under disability) and those who passed away​ on or after November 20, 2017. The deadline for individuals to submit a claim is March 7, 2023.

Individual claims for compensation

There is an online claims assessment tool that helps individuals understand if they are eligible by answering a few quick questions. To be eligible for compensation individuals must:

  • not have passed away before November 20, 2017;
  • be a member of a First Nation; and
  • have been impacted by a long-term drinking water advisory (boil water, do not consume or do not use) that lasted at least a year between November 20, 1995 and June 20, 2021.

If born before November 20, 1995, the claimant must have ordinarily resided / lived on an Impacted First Nation during a long-term drinking water advisory that lasted continuously for a year or longer, anytime between November 20, 2013 and June 20, 2021.

If born on or after November 20, 1995, the claimant must have ordinarily resided / lived on an Impacted First Nation during a long-term drinking water advisory that lasted continuously for a year or longer, anytime between November 20, 1995 and June 20, 2021.

A list and map of the Impacted First Nations are available at firstnationsdrinkingwater.ca.

Individuals can also apply for Specified Injuries compensation for injuries they experienced as a result of drinking water advisories. Any individuals seeking compensation for Specified Injuries must submit a Claim Form. Only those who are eligible will receive Specified Injuries compensation.  

Resources and supports available for individual claimants

Individuals can call the Administrator for Claim Form support and Class Counsel for legal questions about the settlement, or visit the website where they can access the online claims assessment tool and an interactive guide, which is a step-by-step guide to completing and submitting the Claim Form.

“We are encouraging individuals to submit a claim for compensation as soon as possible and are offering real support to help them in the process,” says Darian Baskatawang from Class Counsel. “Claimants can ask us as Class Counsel questions related to this settlement and for assistance making a claim for Specified Injuries. Claimants can also contact the Administrator to understand how they may apply for compensation and access free support completing their Claim Form. There are on-demand webinars and other community resources on the website to provide additional information.”

Band Council compensation and support 

Impacted First Nations who want to participate in the settlement must submit a Band Council Acceptance Resolution to receive $500,000 from the settlement. The deadline for this submission has been extended to March 7, 2023. They can also submit a Band Council Confirmation List on behalf of their community members, so they do not have to fill out a Claim Form, unless they want to make a claim for Specified Injuries. There is support and funding available for Band Councils to complete and submit this list by March 7, 2023. Band Councils wishing to participate can visit the website for additional information and/or call the Administrator or Class Counsel.

Resources available

  • For questions about the claims process and assistance with the Claim Form, contact the Administrator toll-free at 1-833-252-4220
  • For legal questions related to the settlement or assistance with making a claim for Specified Injuries, contact Class Counsel at no cost: counsel@firstnationsdrinkingwater.ca and toll-free at 1-833-265-7589
  • Emotional support is available through Hope for Wellness toll-free at 1-855-242-3310, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or by online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca
  • Additional information on this settlement as well as the interactive guides and webinars can be found atwww.firstnationsdrinkingwater.ca, and individuals can use the online claim assessment tool to guide them through the claim process journey

About the Settlement

 On December 22, 2021, Courts approved a settlement between Canada and First Nations and their members who were subject to a drinking water advisory that lasted at least one year, between November 20, 1995 and June 20, 2021.

The settlement includes compensation for Impacted First Nations and eligible individuals as well as commitments to fund the construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure needed to provide regular access to clean, safe drinking water in their homes in a quantity sufficient for everyday use.