OTTAWA — Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan says the federal government is committing more assistance for a northern Ontario reserve facing challenges with its water supply, including sending additional medical officials there this week.
O’Regan says in an interview that the officials will meet with parents and families in Attawapiskat First Nation to discuss their concerns about chemicals in their water and to ensure children get the attention they need.
Earlier this month, Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency due to concerns about disinfection byproducts called trihalomethanes in its water and last week NDP MPs visited the community and urged O’Regan to do the same.
The minister visited the community on Sunday at the request of the chief.
O’Regan says government technicians will go to the community Tuesday to take a look at the water system, noting there is a $1.5-million plan for immediate repairs to the existing treatment plant.
He also says he assured the community that by accepting short-term solutions that they are not taking away from long-term commitments.
The Canadian Press