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Old 10-31-2005, 04:26 AM   #1
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action plan to assure the health of residents of Kashechewan and the long term

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
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FROM: CANADA NEWS WIRE TELBEC WEBSITE
_http://www.cnw.ca/en/releases/archive/October2005/28/c7606.html_
(http://www.cnw.ca/en/releases/archiv.../28/c7606.html)

Attention News Editors:
Government of Canada announces plan to resolve situation in Kashechewan
OTTAWA, Oct. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada has announced an

action plan to assure the health of residents of Kashechewan and the long term

well being and sustainability of their community. Details of the plan were

revealed after a meeting between the Minister of Indian Affairs and First

Nations leaders in Ottawa this evening.

"We are working with our partners to improve not only water quality but

the quality of life in Kashechewan," said Andy Scott, Minister of Indian and

Northern Affairs and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians. "A

successful resolution of this situation requires a collective effort, and

tonight's meeting is an important commitment to that process."

The plan includes steps to support the residents of Kashechewan by

providing the following:

- increased and accelerated integrated health services;

- shipments of bottled water;

- stepped-up water monitoring;

- stabilization and long-term fix of water treatment facilities;

- additional water safety in the community through the deployment of a

portable water purification system (mini-DART);

- deployment of certified water treatment operators;

- availability of federal facilities to house evacuees;

- additional housing; and

- enhanced social services.



The Government of Canada is also strengthening the $1.6B First Nations

Water Management Strategy, including accelerating the development of a

regulatory and testing regime for all reserves.

"We commend Chief Friday of Kasheshewan for bringing national attention

to a national issue," said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil

Fontaine. "We've agreed to a comprehensive response to the drinking water

crisis in Kasheshewan as well as the beginnings of a national strategy to

address the critical needs across the country."

"The community has suffered long enough. A lot of people didn't expect

this to happen. I am so thankful that it is," said Chief Leo Friday. "I'd like

to thank National Chief Phil Fontaine, Dr. Murray Trussler, Charlie Angus,

M.P., Grand Chief Stan Louttit, and Nabil Batrouny. Also I'd like to thank my

deputy chief and council and the people of Kashechewan."



This release and the plan are also available on the Internet at

_http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca_ (http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/) .





A Plan to assure the health of residents of Kashechewan and the long-term

well being and sustainability of their community.





The Government of Canada is committed to the development and delivery of

this plan in a partnership of consultation, engagement and shared decision-

making with the people and leadership of Kashechewan.



1) Water:

a) Guarantee of pure water in ample supply for drinking and bathing

for the period of time that it is required;

b) Stabilization of the water treatment system as soon as possible and

assurance of its reliability for the near and medium term;

c) Utilization of DND water purification capacity;

d) Completion of the engineering and environmental work necessary to

assure a long-term reliable water fix for the community. The

Government of Canada will take any and all measures necessary to

ensure safe drinking water including, as required, addressing the

water intake issue, the waste water treatment process and location

issue, possible use of alternative technologies, and major upgrade

or building of new water treatment plant;

e) Certified operators will be available to meet community needs until

local operators are fully trained;

f) Engagement of Province of Ontario water management expertise;

g) Increasing the frequency of water monitoring.



2) Health:

a) Accelerate efforts with First Nations and the Province of Ontario

to reach an agreement by April 2006, to create a First Nations

Health Organization that will better integrate health services on

the James Bay Coast, and be more responsive to the unique health

needs of communities in the region. This will result in major

improvements to health services for the First Nations, including

the residents of Kashechewan.

b) Immediate measures will build on recent investments and:

- increase the number of nurses in Kashechewan to twelve, including

the appropriate accommodations to improve primary health care

services;

- provide the full array of routine childhood and adult-required

immunizations; and

- install a telehealth-enabled x-ray system.



3) Housing:

a) Funding will be made available for 50 new units to be built in 2006

in a new sub-division of the community, in a location most

conducive to stable, healthy housing and the long-term well being

of the community;

b) Additional funding for up to 50 new housing units will be made

available in subsequent years to further the strategy of stable,

healthy living accommodation;


c) Funding will be made available in 2005 and 2006 for

repairs/renovations to a minimum of 60 houses.



4) School:

- Immediate, independent assessment of the Kashechewan school to

determine measures needed (renovation or new build - and appropriate

location if new build) to meet community needs.



5) Social:

- Enhance child, youth and family services;

- Enhance counselling, psychological supports and youth outreach;

- Enhance family violence and suicide prevention services;

- Availability of federal facilities to house evacuees, and

-Conduct a census of the community.



First Nations Water Management Strategy:

The Government of Canada is implementing a $1.6 billion First Nation

Water Management Strategy to address crucial elements of sound water quality

management using a multi-barrier approach. The strategy will improve the

quality of life of the First Nations people through the provision of clean,

safe, reliable drinking water and wastewater services in First Nations

communities, as well as enhance the capacity of First Nations to manage water

and wastewater systems.



The seven part strategy includes:

- upgrading and building water and wastewater facilities;

- effective water quality monitoring combined with a comprehensive

and coordinated compliance and reporting regime;

- an effective and sustainable operation and maintenance program

designed to ensure the quality of water supplies;

- continued expansion and enhancement of operator training and

certification programs;

- integrated water quality management protocols;

- a public awareness campaign targeted at First Nation leaders,

administrators and individual householders;

- and the establishment of a set of clearly defined standards,

comprehensive protocols and policies.



As a result of the Strategy, the number of high-risk water systems will

be reduced from an estimated 29% in 2003 to zero by March 2008. In addition,

the number of medium-risk systems will be reduced from 46% to 16%. Since 2003,

the number of certified operators for both water and wastewater treatment

systems has increased from 8% to 39%. Also, 86% of all current operators have

received training.



In addition, the Government of Canada will:

- Accelerate the development of a regulatory and testing regime, working

in cooperation with First Nation leadership;

- Accelerate plans to have certified water operators available to support

communities, while continuing to train local operators.





For further information: Campbell Morrison, Press Secretary, Minister

Andy Scott's Office, INAC, (819) 997-0002
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