Iran says that its military "unintentionally" shot down a Ukrainian jetliner earlier this week, killing all 176 people aboard.

At least eight people from Winnipeg were on board the plane when it went down.

The announcement came Saturday morning in Iran after government officials had initially denied the possibility.

According to reports, the Iranian government made the announcement through state TV. They cited human error as the cause.

On Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the Canadian government was leading a group of nations that lost citizens in the crash of a plane outside Tehran to advocate with "one single voice."

The federal government has deployed a team of consular officials while the Transportation Safety Board says it is deploying two investigators to participate in the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Champagne says Iran has so far issued two visas for Canadian officials, and that the immediate priority is getting access to the country and ensuring a thorough and transparent investigation.

He says the government is also creating a task force of top public servants to make sure Canadian families affected by the crash get the support and information they need.