Monthly progress update through March 2019 on long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve

News release

April 3, 2019 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, ON — Indigenous Services Canada

The federal government remains steadfast and on track in its commitment to end all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve by March 2021.

Today, the Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, provided the department's monthly progress update on the government's commitment to end long-term drinking water advisories.

In March 2019, one long-term drinking water advisory was lifted. Two short-term drinking water advisories at risk of becoming long-term were also lifted, from public systems on reserves. No long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves were added.

Long-term drinking water advisories lifted in March 2019:

  • Nekaneet, in Saskatchewan, lifted a long-term drinking water advisory on March 4, 2019, following operational improvements and repairs to the community's water treatment and distribution system. The advisory had been in effect since October 26, 2017.

Short-term drinking water advisories lifted before becoming long-term:

  • Buffalo River Dene Nation, in Saskatchewan, lifted a short-term advisory from the Peter Pond No. 193 Public Water System on March 20, 2019, after the installation and commissioning of a new water treatment process in the existing water treatment plant. A new process allows for proper treatment of the lake water to meet the demands of the community. The advisory had been in effect since April 30, 2018.
  • The Key First Nation, in Saskatchewan, lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from the Key No. 65 Public Water System on March 7, 2019, after repairs to the water treatment system. The advisory had been in effect since December 14, 2018.

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 59 as of March 31, 2019.

Across the country through Budget investments in water and wastewater infrastructure on reserve, 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.

Quotes

"We will continue to work in partnership with First Nations to lift all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves by March 2021. More progress was made in March, with more work to come. Canadians can continue following our progress at Ending long-term drinking water advisories."

The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services

Quick facts

  • A drinking water advisory becomes long-term when it has been in place for over a year.

  • The number of long-term drinking water advisories on public drinking water systems on reserves decreased from 105 in November 2015 to 59 as of March 31, 2019.

  • In total, 81 long-term advisories have been lifted, 36 have been added, and one was deactivated.

  • Working in collaboration with First Nations, the Government of Canada has committed to ending all long-term advisories on public systems on reserves by March 2021.

  • Since November 2015, 120 short-term drinking water advisories (lasting between two and 12 months) were lifted before becoming long-term.

  • Budget 2016 provided $1.8 billion over five years toward water and wastewater infrastructure.

  • Budget 2017 committed an additional $49.1 million over three years towards improving access to safe drinking water.

  • Budget 2018 provides an additional $172.6 million over three years to help accelerate progress on lifting drinking water advisories and to ensure more infrastructure projects can be completed prior to 2021. Budget 2018 also provides support for repairs to high risk water systems, recruitment, training and retention initiatives, and the establishment of innovative First Nations-led service delivery models.

  • Budget 2019 proposes to invest an additional $739 million over five years, beginning in 2019-2020, with $184.9 million per year ongoing. The investment will support ongoing efforts to eliminate and prevent long-term drinking water advisories – funding urgent repairs to vulnerable water systems, and providing water operator training and support programs, so that First Nations communities can effectively operate and maintain their public drinking water systems.

  • Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada's rural and northern communities.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Rachel Rappaport
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Seamus O'Regan
Minister of Indigenous Services
819-934-2796

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
819-953-1160
SAC.media.ISC@canada.ca


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