The Government of Canada today announced a $330 million two-year investment in a First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan, which builds on its Plan of Action that was launched in March 2006 and led to 108 First Nation water systems being removed from a high-risk category.“Our Government launched a water action plan in 2006 because conditions were unacceptable and, as a result, we have seen more than half of high-risk systems removed from the high-risk list,” said Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. “We want First Nations to have increased confidence in the quality of their drinking water, and we are committed to working in partnership with First Nations day-by-day to complete the work required on this important priority.”
The Government of Canada said it will:
- Nearly double the number of trainers in the Circuit Rider Training Program, which provides training to First Nation water operators;
- Conduct a national assessment of water and wastewater systems in all First Nations communities to help establish our future, long-term investment strategy;
- Set clear standards to guide First Nations in the planning, design and operations of water and wastewater systems, as well as small facilities including wells and septic systems; and
- Consult with First Nation communities, regional First Nation organizations and provincial/territorial governments on the creation of a federal legislative framework for drinking water and wastewater on reserve.
In addition, a Drinking Water Advisory Toolkit was announced by parliamentary secretary Steven Fletcher. The kit, which includes public service announcements, print advertisements, posters and door hangers, has been designed to make it easier and faster for community leaders to communicate essential information to residents about the quality of their water supply. It will be distributed to Environmental Health Officers, Chiefs and Councils.
“Public awareness is an essential part of our work, and we will continue to develop effective tools with input from First Nations, so that residents can understand drinking water quality issues and make informed choices about how to protect their health,” Fletcher said.
For more information on the government’s Action Plan to improve drinking water in First Nations communities, click here.