Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council has applied to be part of the $8 billion federal First Nations Drinking Water Settlement after originally being left out of the class-action suit.
Only a handful of First Nations across the country were deemed to have bad enough drinking water to receive compensation from the federal government and Six Nations wasn’t one of them.
A massive list of stipulations prevented from Six Nations, and other First Nations, from being part of the settlement.
Six Nations is now working to convince settlement administrators that the community faced a decades-long boil water advisory that occurred during the stipulated claims period that began in the 90s.
Six Nations argues that it did, in fact, have a community-wide boil water advisory for private water systems during the claim period (November 1995 to June 2021), thereby meeting the minimum one-year criteria for claims at the individual level.
Compensation is available for both communities and individuals affected by bad drinking water.
The settlement also includes commitments to fund the construction, operation, and maintenance of infrastructure to help First Nations enjoy safe drinking water.
Six Nations has applied to opt in to the settlement as an impacted community and once a decision is made, the community will be notified.
Elected council is encouraging individual homeowners to visit the water settlement website, which contains an assessment tool to help people learn if they are eligible for compensation.
Elected Council said it has staff available to help community members with questions about the claims process.
Compensation includes $1.8 billion to individuals and impacted First Nations and an extra $50 million for individuals who experienced particular harm or injuries from drinking bad water during the claims period.
The bulk of the settlement, $6 billion, is going towards upgrading community infrastructure on First Nations to provide safe drinking water to all.
The federal government is also promising, again, to lift all boil water advisories on First Nations and will create a national First Nations Advisory Committee on safe drinking water.
People can also apply on behalf of minors and deceased persons.
The ranges of compensation depend on the type of water advisory experienced, the remoteness of the community, and the number of years class members lived on the First Nation.
The deadline to opt in was extended to March 2024 after complaints that this year’s deadline did not give First Nations enough time to opt in.