The Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) has announced the formation of a First Nations Advisory Circle.

“OCWA would like to gain a better understanding of the challenges that First Nations face, not only with respect to addressing water and wastewater treatment in their communities but also in the context of their unique experiences, culture, and history in Canada,” said Joseph Pennachetti, chair of OCWA’s Board of Directors. “The Agency is committed to strengthening its current First Nations partnerships and developing new partnerships based on mutual trust, respect, and collaboration.”

The Circle will provide advice and recommendations on how the Agency can enhance its partnerships with First Nations communities. It will also provide advice and recommendations on how OCWA can better support the water and wastewater needs and concerns of First Nations communities.

“We are excited to welcome this diverse group of individuals to the Advisory Circle,” said Melanie Debassige (M’Chigeeng First Nation), a member of the Agency’s Board and chair of its First Nations Committee. “Their collective expertise and knowledge will be an incredible asset to OCWA. I’ve been speaking with the Circle members and they are very enthusiastic to get started. OCWA’s Board and Executive Team shares their enthusiasm and looks forward to collaborating with Chair Watts and the other Advisory Circle members.”

The First Nations Advisory Circle is made up of the following members:

Robert Watts (Chair)

Vice president of Indigenous relations and strategic planning

Nuclear Waste Management Organization

From Six Nations of the Grand River

Gary Naponse

Director of housing and infrastructure

Atikameksheng Anishnawbek

From Atikameksheng Anishnawbek

Sylvia Plain


Great Lakes Canoe Journey Education Program

From Aamjiwnaang First Nation

Phil Tangie

Hub manager

Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag Resource Council

From Michipicoten First Nation

Joseph Wabegijig

Founder and CEO

Phoenix Smart Infrastructure

From Wikwemikong Unceded Territory

Amy Waboose

Water quality analyst

Whitefish River First Nation Water Treatment Plant

From Whitefish River First Nation


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