The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, provided the department’s monthly progress update and noted that two years remain in the government’s commitment to end long-term drinking water advisories.
In February 2019, two long-term drinking water advisories were lifted, as well as three short-term drinking water advisories at risk of becoming long-term were lifted, from public systems on reserves. No long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves were added.
“More progress was made in the last month with partners on our government’s commitment to lifting all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve by March 2021,” said Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services. “I am confident that with the hundreds of projects underway and completed that we will be successful in this commitment in the next two years. Since 2015, the lifting of 80 long-term drinking water advisories demonstrates how dedicated funds over five years can support First Nations in their planning for the long-term and make the infrastructure investments needed to build lasting change. Canadians can continue following our progress at www.canada.ca/water-on-reserve.”
The following long-term drinking water advisories were lifted in February 2019:
- North Spirit Lake, in Ontario, lifted a long-term drinking water advisory on February 27, 2019, following repairs and upgrades to the community’s water treatment and distribution system. Also, North Spirit Lake received operational support from Keewaytinook Okimakanak Water and Wastewater Operations Hub. The advisory had been in effect since August 1, 2001.
- Northwest Angle No. 37, in Ontario, lifted the long-term drinking water advisory at Windigo Island on February 20, 2019, following upgrades to treatment technology. The advisory had been in effect since February 9, 2016. ISC and the First Nation continue to work in partnership to advance a long-term solution that will meet the safe drinking water needs of the community for the next 20 years.
Short-term drinking water advisories lifted before becoming long-term:
- Deer Lake First Nation, in Ontario, lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from the Deer Lake Public Water System on February 20, 2019, after a water main break was repaired. The advisory had been in effect since April 4, 2018. ISC funds the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Water and Wastewater Operations Hub, whose operational support to Deer Lake helped to lift the advisory
- Webequie First Nation, in Ontario, lifted a short-term advisory from the Webequie Public Water System on February 19, 2019, after repairs to the water mains were completed. The advisory had been in effect since October 24, 2018. ISC funds the Matawa Water and Wastewater Hub, whose operational support to Webequie helped to lift the advisory.
- Star Blanket Cree Nation, in Saskatchewan, lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from the Wa-Pii Moos-Toosis No. 83A system on February 7, 2019, following the installation of a new pipe. On May 15, 2018, the advisory was reduced in scope to apply to 10 houses and two public buildings. The initial advisory was set on April 19, 2018, and applied to the entire community of Wa-Pii Moos-Toosis.
First Nations and the Government of Canada will continue this important work to lift the remaining long-term drinking water advisories on public systems, complete the water and wastewater projects underway now, and bridge the gap in essential infrastructure on reserves.