Several First Nation and Metis groups from Saskatchewan will be eligible for funding for their involvement in the early stages of Canada’s plan for used nuclear waste.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is making the funding available for groups involved in the first phase of the assessment stage for a potential nuclear waste site selection.

$250,000 is available for the communities while $150,000 is available for the groups.  The funding is being aimed to well-being initiatives such as programs for youth, elders and community sustainability.

The funding is an optional one-time initiative and eligible community’s only need to establish a reserve fund to administer the funding.

Mike Kriznac, with the NWMO, says the program is simply to acknowledge Aboriginal contributions to the conversation.

“There is no obligation for them to continue their involvement in the process,” said Kriznac.  “The communities were quite willing to lend their thinking whether or not the supported the process and we just wanted to express our acknowledgement of that work.”

Kriznac says the communities were unaware of the NWMO’s intention to set this program up.

“We began to develop the program as that first phase of study was being completed and it is gratifying to see that regardless of whether the communities supported the project they were open to sharing their views and we wanted to recognize that participation,” said Kriznac.

Saskatchewan communities and groups eligible for the funding are as follows: Cumberland House Cree Nation, Buffalo River Dene Nation, Metis people in the Northern Villages of Sandy Bay and Cumberland House, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Prince Albert Grand Council.