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Ontario Government Announces Funding to Aid Eabametoong First Nation’s Recovery After School Fire

In a proactive response to the devastating fire that engulfed the John C. Yesno Education Centre in Eabametoong First Nation, the Ontario government has announced significant financial assistance to support the community’s recovery efforts.

The fire, which occurred on January 25, 2024, left 300 students from kindergarten to Grade 9 without a school, severely impacting the remote fly-in community located 300 kilometers northeast of Thunder Bay.

Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Greg Rickford, emphasized the government’s commitment to the safety and well-being of Indigenous communities during times of crisis. “Our team mobilized quickly and continues to work closely with Eabametoong First Nation to identify the community’s needs and help rebuild crucial infrastructure to sustain the community’s strength and vitality,” stated Minister Rickford.

The funding, totaling up to $540,000, will be allocated across multiple ministries to address various critical needs of the community. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, in collaboration with the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, will provide $250,000 to respond to community needs and support students, including transition supports for Grade 9 students, emergency supplies, food, and mental health and well-being services.

Additionally, the Ministry of Education will offer $240,000 to further support the Keewatin Patricia District School Board’s Rapid Response Northern Schools Team, which provides essential services during crises. Curriculum resources will also be provided to Matawa Education to help students from kindergarten to Grade 9 complete the school year.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is contributing $150,000 in one-time funding to support children and youth affected by the loss of their school, in addition to the annual funding of $71,500 for the After School Program.

Chief Solomon Atlookan of Eabametoong First Nation expressed appreciation for the government’s swift and sincere actions, highlighting the importance of addressing deeper mental and social health issues alongside rebuilding efforts.

In conclusion, the Ontario government’s proactive response underscores its commitment to supporting Indigenous communities in times of crisis, facilitating the healing and recovery process for Eabametoong First Nation.


The announcement of significant funding from the Ontario government to aid Eabametoong First Nation’s recovery after the devastating school fire demonstrates a commendable commitment to supporting Indigenous communities during times of crisis. The coordinated efforts across multiple ministries reflect a proactive approach to addressing the community’s immediate needs while also laying the groundwork for long-term recovery and resilience. As we witness the impact of such support on the ground, it’s imperative to continue advocating for sustained assistance and resources to ensure the well-being and prosperity of Indigenous communities across Ontario.

Samantha Deschamps

Samantha Deschamps serves as the Queens Park Reporter, offering insightful coverage of provincial politics with depth and accuracy. With a keen understanding of legislative intricacies, Deschamps provides invaluable perspectives on matters affecting Ontario. For inquiries or feedback, contact Samantha at

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