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Mould causing housing crisis for First Nations across Canada: NDP

OTTAWA — The federal NDP says a housing crisis in a northern Ontario First Nation is the tip of a deep, systemic problem in communities across the country that requires the response of a task force.

Senior government officials are to meet today with community leaders in Cat Lake First Nation, several hundred kilometres north of Thunder Bay, to discuss a state of emergency the nation proclaimed earlier this month due to “profoundly poor conditions of housing.”

A community declaration listed mould, structural issues and a lack of funds for routine maintenance as the causes of health problems including invasive bacterial diseases and lung infections.

Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan has said he is committed to working with the community to find solutions for its “serious housing” situation.

Ontario MP Charlie Angus says mould in the community is a national disgrace and joined his NDP colleagues Georgina Jolibois, Romeo Saganash and Niki Ashton to say mould in on-reserve housing is an invisible crisis that the federal government has known about at least since an auditor general’s report in 2003.

Angus says a task force needs to examine the extent of mould in communities across the country, adding that children in Cat Lake have had to be removed from the community during the emergency.

The Canadian Press