Canada and United States launch negotiations to renew Columbia River Treaty

News release

May 22, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada and the United States will launch negotiations on May 29, 2018, to renew the Columbia River Treaty.

For more than 50 years, the Columbia River Treaty, an agreement on the management of shared water resources, has been a model of efficient work and cooperation benefiting both Canada and the United States.

The Government of Canada has been working closely with the Province of British Columbia, Columbia Basin First Nations, and local communities to ensure that all interests are heard, represented and addressed in these negotiations. 


“Our objective in these negotiations is to ensure that the Columbia River Treaty continues to be mutually beneficial for both countries. We will also address environmental considerations and the interests of First Nations. I am confident that we will be able to renew this agreement for the 21st century.”

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • In 1964, Canada and the United States implemented the Columbia River Treaty to develop the hydroelectric potential of the Columbia River Basin and to control against flooding. 

  • While the original Columbia River Treaty provided increased power generation and reliable flood protection, there have been many other benefits, particularly in the United States, such as water flows for fisheries, as well as navigation, irrigation and recreation.

  • All commitments and financial returns pertaining to the treaty were assigned by Canada to British Columbia through the 1963 British Columbia-Canada agreement (and 1964 supplementary agreement). British Columbia has designated BC Hydro as the “Canadian entity” to deliver on the treaty’s river management terms.

Associated links


Adam Austen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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