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Six Nations provides update regarding class action lawsuit

Local NewsSix Nations provides update regarding class action lawsuit

Canada settled a drinking water class action lawsuit in 2021 for its failure to provide clean and safe drinking water on First Nations’ lands.

The class action settlement agreement allows for eligible First Nations and members of First Nations to apply for compensation for the harms experienced from the lack of access to clean and safe drinking water during the claim period, November 20, 1995, to June 20, 2021. Applications for this compensation are due on March 7, 2024.

Six Nations is not eligible to join for the class action settlement because it is not an “Impacted First Nation” under the settlement agreement. An Impacted First Nation is a First Nations whose lands were subject to a long-term drinking water advisory that lasted longer than one year during the claim period. Despite Six Nations’ long history of drinking water issues, it was not included on the list of Impacted First Nations due to a lack of evidence of long-term drinking water advisories during the claims period.

Six Nations leadership sought legal advice on how to get Six Nations added to the list of Impacted First Nations. Following that advice, we gathered evidence of long-term drinking water advisories on Six Nations’ reserve lands and submitted this evidence in an application to the Claims Administrator requesting it add Six Nations to the list. Ultimately, the Claims Administrator denied Six Nations application to be included as an Impacted First Nation.

As Six Nations is not on the list of Impacted First Nations, most Six Nations’ members are not eligible to join the class action and apply for compensation. An individual is only eligible to join the class action and apply for compensation if they:

1. are a member of a First Nation;

2. did not die before November 20, 2017; and

3. lived on the lands of an Impacted First Nation during the eligibility period (November 20, 1995 to June 20, 2021) for at least one year when a drinking water advisory was in place.

Because Six Nations is not an Impacted First Nation, members who lived on Six Nations’ reserve lands during the claim period are not eligible for compensation under the settlement.

However, Six Nation members who lived on other First Nations’ reserve lands that are on the list of Impacted First Nations for at least one year while that First Nation’s lands were subject to a long-term drinking water advisory during the claim period may be eligible to join the class action and apply for compensation.

The decision to exclude Six Nations from the class action settlement by the Claims Administrator is disappointing. Leadership continues to explore options to address Six Nations’ drinking water needs and the harms the membership has suffered from not having access to clean and safe drinking water.

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