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Local First Nations eligible for drinking water claims

Several First Nations in Northeast B.C. and their members are eligible for compensation for unclean drinking water as part of an $8-billion class action lawsuit settled last year with the federal government.

Several First Nations in Northeast B.C. and their members are eligible for compensation for unclean drinking water as part of an $8-billion class action lawsuit settled last year with the federal government.

The First Nations Drinking Water Settlement covers communities that were subject to a drinking water advisory lasting a year or longer between Nov. 20, 1995, and June 20, 2021, according to a news release.

Impacted First Nations in Northeast B.C. include Fort Nelson, Halfway River, and Saulteau.

"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,” said class counsel Darian Baskatawang in a statement.

The settlement was approved by the Federal Court and the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba in December 2021.

According to the federal government, the $8-billion compensation package includes $1.5 billion for individuals who were “deprived of clean drinking water,” as well as $6 billion for water infrastructure building and operations in First Nations.

The settlement was opened for claims earlier this year, with a deadline to submit by March 7, 2023.

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