Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

November 30, 2011 16:47 ET

Update on Attawapiskat: Statement from Minister Duncan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2011) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, issued the following statement today:

"Our Government remains deeply concerned with the situation in Attawapiskat First Nation. Departmental officials have been in the community since November 28th to assess the situation and immediate action needed to ensure that residents of Attawapiskat have access to warm, dry and safe shelter.

An on-the-ground assessment has determined that urgent health and safety issues demand immediate action. The Government of Canada has informed the Chief that we are placing the community in third party management to ensure community needs are addressed. Part of the manager's role will be to directly administer my department's funding which is normally managed by a First Nation.

Department officials will continue to work with the Province of Ontario and the community to implement the community's existing emergency management plan and address immediate needs.

I have also requested that a comprehensive audit be undertaken to identify how money has been spent and what oversight measures have been taken over the past five years.

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has invested over $90 million in the community of Attawapiskat of which Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has contributed approximately $80 million. This does not include the funding the community will receive in fiscal year 2011-2012 or the $500,000 flowing to the First Nation to take immediate action for urgent housing repairs.

Our Government's commitment remains to improve the quality of life of Attawapiskat residents. We are investing in education, healthcare and infrastructure for the long term. We will continue to work with the community to find solutions, improve conditions and ensure the First Nation does not find itself in this situation again."

This statement is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.

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Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Moira Wolstenholme
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable John Duncan
    819-997-0002

    Media Relations
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
    819-953-1160