Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today said that a detailed investigative report by the Globe & Mail outlining the troubling state of fresh water systems in First Nations communities across Canada points to the urgent need for all levels of government to take immediate action to dramatically improve First Nations access to clean drinking water.
“It is completely unacceptable that there are more than 100 First Nations communities in this country that do not have access to safe drinking water,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “The last federal budget committed a welcome $1.8 billion in infrastructure for First Nations. Those resources need to reach communities and the federal government needs to work with First Nations to address housing, water and other infrastructure needs.”
AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, who holds the portfolio on Water, Housing and Infrastructure for AFN, stated: “The serious risks relating to First Nations drinking water are well-known and well-documented. It’s time for action now. First Nations citizens are suffering.”
A recent Human Rights Watch report expressed an urgent need for Canada to work with First Nations to develop a comprehensive strategy to improve First Nations drinking water and living conditions. The report pointed to 133 drinking water advisories in First Nations communities. During the federal election, the Liberal government committed to eliminating all boil water advisories on First Nations communities within five years.
The Human Rights Watch report is available at: https://www.hrw.org/node/290522/