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First Nations achieve C$8B class action settlement agreement with Canadian Government over drinking water advisories

Date Announced

July 30, 2021

Lead Office



8.00 Billion CAD

Curve Lake First Nation, Neskantaga First Nation and Tataskweyak Cree Nation achieved an C$8 billion settlement agreement with the federal government to settle two class actions regarding unsafe drinking water. The settlement will provide C$2 billion in cash to approximately 142 000 Canadians living in 251 First Nations, who, taken together, lived under drinking water advisories for three-quarters of a million person-years. At least C$6 billion will be put towards water and wastewater infrastructure. 

The settlement commits Canada, for the first time, to make all reasonable efforts to ensure that class members have regular access to safe drinking water in their homes. The settlement also ensures that class members have a means of enforcing this right in an arbitral process that incorporates Indigenous legal traditions.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP advised the representative plaintiffs with a team led by Michael Rosenberg and Eric Block that includes Bryn Gray, Alana Robert, Patrick Williams, Stephanie Willsey, Kosta Kalogiros, and Heather Maki (Litigation), and John Brown (Legal and Strategic Advisor, Indigenous Initiatives).