Neglected Ring of Fire-area community taking Ottawa to court over 20-year boil water advisory – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – June 29, 2021)

Road proponent Marten Falls First Nation joins national class action lawsuit over lack of potable water, calls for action on housing crisis

A First Nation community supporter of mining development in the Ring of Fire still has to boil its drinking water after two decades.

Marten Falls First Nation is joining a national class-action lawsuit against the federal government led by Olthuis, Kleer, Townshend LLP (OKT) and McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

In a June 29 news release, Marten Falls said despite its members living in mineral-rich lands coveted by mining companies, members in the community of 250 still live in poverty; dealing with homelessness or overcrowded housing conditions, suffering from inadequate fire protection, enduring challenges associated with the water treatment plant, and a boil water advisory that’s lasted for more than 20 years.

“This needs to change,” said the community in a release. Marten Falls is one of the two community road proponents working with the province to establish a 300-kilometre north-south route between the provincial highway system and the James Bay mineral belt and exploration camp.

The class action is filed against the Attorney General of Canada to failing to address prolonged drinking water advisories on reserves across Canada. Without access to clean and safe drinking water, the main allegation is that Ottawa has breached its obligations to First Nations by failing to ensure reserve communities have clean water.

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