Drinking Water Settlement: How to apply for compensation

Overview of the Settlement

Canada and certain First Nations, including Huu-ay-aht First Nations, have entered into an agreement providing that Canada will compensate First Nations and their members that were subject to a drinking water advisory lasting at least one year between 1995 and 2021. Part of the compensation includes money payments to eligible individuals. An individual’s claim for compensation must be filed with the Drinking Water Settlement Administrator who will decide if the applicant is eligible. Eligible individuals will receive an estimated $1300 – $2000 per year of eligibility.

This information sheet seeks to provide information to individuals who may be eligible for compensation in order to help you decide whether to apply for a claim and how to do it. Contact information is provided below if you need more information.

Am I eligible?

Individuals may be eligible to receive compensation if they:

  • Are a member of a First Nation (do not have to be a citizen
    of Huu-ay-aht);
  • Were alive on November 20, 2017; and,
  • Were ordinarily resident for at least one continuous year
    on Huu-ay-aht lands during at least one of the following time periods:
  • October 1, 2001 – April 1, 2003
  • July 30, 2004 – November 18, 2005
  • August 14, 2015 – June 20, 2021

These time periods are when there were long-term drinking water advisories in place for Huu-ay-aht.
Representatives of deceased individuals meeting the above criteria can apply for compensation on behalf of the estate of the deceased.

Ordinarily resident, as set out above, means that you lived
on Huu-ay-aht lands for more than six months over the course of one year during the relevant period, or, you were eighteen or younger during one of the relevant time periods and
normally lived on Huu-ay-aht lands but were living elsewhere for most of the year to attend an educational facility.

Huu-ay-aht lands, as set out above, means Huu-ay-aht treaty settlement lands, or Huu-ay-aht reserves prior to treaty. If, during the above pre-treaty time periods, you lived on lands that became treaty settlement lands post-treaty but were not at that time part of a Huu-ay-aht reserve, you are encouraged to attempt to claim compensation for that time period. The claim Administrator will make a determination on your eligibility.

If you have lived on lands of another First Nation, we suggest asking that First Nation to find out about whether residents on that First Nation’s lands are eligible for compensation and if so what the eligible time periods are.

Those who meet the above qualifications are encouraged to submit claim forms, but it is important to note that compensation is not guaranteed. The Administrator will assess all the information you provide, and then make a determination on eligibility. It is important to be as detailed as possible with the information that you provide.
Refer to the website firstnationsdrinkingwater.ca for more information, including on eligibility.

How do I apply for compensation?

Individual claims for compensation must be submitted to the Administrator, not to Huu-ay-aht. You can apply for compensation by submitting an Individual Claim Form. If you are submitting on behalf of a person under disability, a minor child, or a loved one who has died, you will submit a Representative Claim Form. These forms can be found on the drinking water settlement website: firstnationsdrinkingwater.ca. They can either be printed and submitted by email, fax or mail to the addresses on the website, or filled in online and submitted through the website portal.

You have until March 7, 2024 to submit your claim form.

Huu-ay-aht may also submit a list of individuals that it believes to be eligible to the Administrator, but all individuals are encouraged to submit their own claim forms rather than rely on the list submitted by Huu-ay-aht. The Settlement Agreement prevents you from claiming against Huu-ay-aht (or the claim Administrators) if there are errors in the information Huu-ay-aht provides in its list.

Releasing Canada from claims made against it

Unless you previously opted out of the class action law suit that led to the Settlement Agreement, eligible individuals can only obtain compensation from Canada through the Administrator and the process described in this information sheet for Canada’s failure to provide safe drinking water on Huu-ay-aht lands for any long-term drinking water advisories in effect before June 20, 2021. The Settlement Agreement otherwise releases Canada from separate claims – you cannot make a claim against Canada separately if you are eligible for compensation in this process, whether or not you submit a claim form.

Questions and assistance

If you need help with the claim form, you can contact the Administrator: 1-833-252-4220

For legal advice, contact class counsel: 1-833-265-7589; counsel@firstnationsdrinkingwater.ca

Emotional support is available through Hope for Wellness free of charge: 1-855-242-3310

For FAQs, see the drinking water settlement website: firstnationsdrinkingwater.ca