Current Problems

Drinking Water Advisories

Sask. First Nation a late addition to federal settlement over unsafe drinking water

March 28, 2024

(Rory MacLean / CTV News)(Rory MacLean / CTV News)

First Peoples Law Report: CTV News Saskatoon – A new Saskatchewan community has just been included in the settlement of a class action lawsuit over unsafe drinking water in Canada’s First Nations.

The settlement compensates people living in communities that were subject to a drinking water advisory of at least one year between November 1995 and June 20, 2021, and now includes a total of 38 reserves across Saskatchewan.

The deadline for most claims passed on March 7, but a spokesperson for the First Nations Drinking Water Settlement said Ochapowace Indian Reserve 71 was added just before it closed.

Members of that community, located about 173 kilometres east of Regina, can now file claims until April 15 through the settlement organization’s website.


The class action lawsuit was initiated in 2019 by three bands in Ontario and Manitoba — Neskantaga First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation and Tataskweyak Cree Nation.

Tataskweyak Chief Doreen Spence told the Canadian Press the class-action lawsuit was intended to make the federal government aware of the injustice faced by Indigenous people.

The court approved the settlement agreement on Dec. 22, 2021.

Payments are supposed to be made based on the length of the water advisory, with special compensation for those who suffered illness or injury from tainted water.

The process has drawn criticism from community members across the country — some were told they are only eligible for compensation for a fraction of the time they lived under an advisory.

One Neskantaga member told Canadian Press in 2022 he was only allowed to claim compensation for six years, even though his community had been under a water advisory for 27 years.

-With Canadian Press files from Sarah Ritchie


(Rory MacLean / CTV News)
(Rory MacLean / CTV News)

Rory MacLean, Web Journalist

Follow |Contact