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Trudeau walks back pledge to end boil-water advisories on First Nations by 2021

Last Updated Oct 23, 2020 at 1:24 pm EST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is walking back a long-standing promise to lift all boil-water advisories in First Nations by 2021. 

He says the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions have led to delays.

He wouldn’t commit today to meeting the March 2021 deadline, but says the government is working to lift the advisories “soon.”

Trudeau made the comments when asked about the situation in Neskantaga First Nation, where an unknown contaminant in the water prompted officials to shut off the pipes earlier this week.

That has left the remote community in northwestern Ontario without running water and forced a partial evacuation. 

The First Nation has been under a boil-water advisory for 25 years, and even before this week’s discovery of an “oily sheen” in the reservoir, Chief Chris Moonias says the community had to turn off the taps overnight to build up a water supply that’s depleting due to leaks.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press