Should we be concerned about Canada’s drinking water standards? Credit: Joost Nelissen.

Ecojustice has released a new report suggesting Canada’s drinking water standards are lagging behind international benchmarks. The report, Waterproof: Standards, examines maximum allowable levels of contamination in Canadian drinking water, as set out in Health Canada’s Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. It then compares these regulations with frameworks in the United States, European Union, and Australia, as well as those set out by the World Health Organization.

The report states that Canada has or is tied for the weakest standards in 27 instances, although it also has or is tied for strongest in 24 instances. It also found 105 situations where Canada has no standard when at least one other country does.

“There is no reason Canadians shouldn’t have the safest drinking water [in] the world,” said Randy Christensen, Ecosjustice staff lawyer and co-author of the report. “But regulatory efforts required to create, implement, and maintain strong, world-class standards are sorely lacking.”

In the report, Ecojustice lays out five recommendations for improving Canada’s drinking water quality standards: review problem standards immediately; incorporate health-based objectives; introduce treatments standards; introduce a special review policy; and create a national approach to drinking water standards.


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