Seamus O’Regan, minister of indigenous services, has provided the department’s monthly progress update on the government’s commitment to end long-term drinking water advisories.
In April 2019, four long-term drinking water advisories and one short-term drinking water advisory at risk of becoming long-term were lifted from public systems on reserves. Two long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on a reserve were added.
“Success lifting all long-term drinking water advisories on reserves requires sustained effort,” said O’Regan. “This month’s progress report demonstrates the scope of the challenge and our commitment to working in partnership with First Nations to lift all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves by March 2021. Follow our progress at www.canada.ca/water-on-reserve.”
Long-term drinking water advisories lifted in April 2019:
- Pinaymootang First Nation, in Manitoba, lifted a long-term drinking water advisory from the Pinaymootang Arena Semi-Public Water System and the water was safe to drink as of April 17, 2019, following upgrades to the water treatment system. The advisory had been in effect since August 17, 2015.
- Mishkosiminiziibiing (Big Grassy River), in Ontario, lifted a long-term drinking water advisory from the Big Grassy Public Water System on April 17, 2019, following maintenance and repairs to water treatment system. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) has supported the community’s efforts to address the safe drinking water needs of its 277 residents. The advisory had been in effect since March 1, 2017.
- Eel Ground, in New Brunswick, lifted a long-term drinking water advisory from the Big Hole Tract Public Water System (#17197) on April 10, 2019, following the completion of a new water treatment system. The advisory had been in effect since October 8, 2008. Work continues on the community’s new septic system.
- Stellat’en First Nation, in British Columbia, lifted a long-term drinking water advisory on April 1, 2019, following the completion of a new water treatment plant. The advisory had been in effect since March 13, 2012.
A short-term drinking water advisory was lifted before becoming long-term:
- Red Sucker Lake, in Manitoba, lifted a short-term advisory from the Red Sucker Lake Band Office Semi-Public Water System on April 8, 2019, after repairs were completed. The advisory had been in effect since May 25, 2018.
Advisories that reached more than one year in duration and became long-term:
- Two drinking water advisories at Ojibway Nation of Saugeen, in Ontario, became long-term on April 26 and 27, 2019 after being in place for more than 12 months. ISC is working with the community to restore safe drinking water at the Saugeen School and Saugeen Health Clinic.
Through Budget 2016, the Government of Canada committed $1.8 billion over five years to improve water and wastewater infrastructure and set a goal of March 2021 to end all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves.
The number of long-term drinking water advisories affecting public systems on reserves has declined from 105 in November 2015, to 57 as of April 30, 2019.
Through budget investments in water and wastewater infrastructure on reserves across the country, 505 projects are either underway or have been completed.
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.