The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development announced the beginning of a study on freshwater in Canada.

In response to a motion of instruction adopted by the House of Commons on February 3, 2020, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development will be conducting a comprehensive study of the role of the federal government in protecting and managing Canada’s freshwater resources.

“Freshwater security is vital for the health of Canadians, for the environment, and for our economy,” said Francis Scarpaleggia, chair of the committee. “The protection and management of freshwater is particularly important in the context of climate change.”

“Water governance is complex and multi-jurisdictional,” added Scarpaleggia. “Even within the federal government itself, decision-making related to freshwater cuts across many departments and agencies. This study aims to examine options for streamlining the federal role with respect to freshwater and improving collaboration with other levels of government and non-governmental stakeholders.”

In considering responsibilities for freshwater protection and management throughout Canada, the study will examine such topics as the relationships among federal departments, as well as between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous Peoples, and local governments. It will also consider Canada’s international obligations relating to freshwater, pressures on the country’s freshwater resources, and present and future freshwater-related research needs.

The committee invites individuals and organizations to submit briefs related to this study. Key questions about which the committee would like to hear from witnesses have been published on the committee’s website.

It is recommended that briefs be submitted early in the process as the committee may use briefs received by May 7, 2021 to inform its selection of witnesses to appear as part of the study.

Questions about the study or process may be directed to the committee clerk by sending an e-mail to ENVI@parl.gc.ca.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for this study consists of 12 MPs. It is chaired by Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis). The Vice-Chairs are Dan Albas (Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola) and Monique Pauzé (Repentigny). The other members are Yvan Baker (Etobicoke Centre), Laurel Collins (Victoria), Matt Jeneroux (Edmonton Riverbend), Lloyd Longfield (Guelph), Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo), Brad Redekopp (Saskatoon West), Raj Saini (Kitchener Centre), Ya’ara Saks (York Centre), and Peter Schiefke (Vaudreuil—Soulanges).

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