The lack of safe drinking water in three northwestern Ontario First Nations is on the agenda Monday at the United Nations Committee meeting on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Shoal Lake 40, Neskantaga and Grassy Narrows (Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek) First Nations were all planning to make presentations to the committee in Geneva, Switzerland.
None of the First Nations have tap water that is safe to drink.
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- Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne won't commit to Grassy Narrows mercury cleanup
- 10 First Nations with more than 10 years of bad water
Grassy Narrows wants that recognized as a violation of several rights including the right to health. Community member Judy DaSilva is also expected to speak to the committee about the mercury contamination at Grassy Narrows, dating back to the 1960s.
"Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau says that 'Canada is back' as a leader on the world stage," said Grassy Narrows Deputy Chief Randy Fobister.
"But how can Canada lead while mercury poison sits in our river and while our families drink unsafe water for 20 years?It is time for Canada to walk the talk and act now to clean our river and provide safe tap water for our people."
A "do not consume" order was issued for well water at Grassy Narrows in 2013. Water from the treatment plant in the community needs to be boiled before it is safe for drinking. That order was issued in 2015.
Neskantaga has the longest-standing boil water advisory in Canada. The community has been without safe water since 1995.
Shoal Lake 40 First Nation has been under a boil water advisor since 1997.