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Ten thousand four hundred eighty-five and counting: that’s how many days Neskantaga First Nation has been under a boil-water advisory, according to its website.
Located more than 400 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay and accessible by air or winter road, the Anishnaabe community has an on-reserve population of 374. The boil-water advisory, which affects 76 households and six community buildings, was set in February 1995 and became long-term a year later.
The federal government pledged to end all long-term drinking-water advisories on public water systems on First Nations reserves by the end of March 2021, yet only 143 such advisories have been lifted since November 2015. That leaves 28 advisories still in effect in 26 communities across Canada, including Neskantaga.