Monthly progress update through August 2019 on drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves
September 6, 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 reserves 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 August 2019, three short-term drinking water advisories at risk of becoming long-term were lifted from public systems on reserves.
Resolving short-term advisories before they become long-term is an important part of the overall work to eliminate long-term drinking water advisories. Hundreds of water and wastewater infrastructure projects on reserves are underway across the country and completing these projects will lead to lifting more advisories as clean, reliable water is restored to First Nations communities. Since November 2015, 133 short-term drinking water advisories (lasting between two and 12 months) have been lifted before becoming long-term.
Short-term drinking water advisories lifted before becoming long-term:
- Mishkeegogamang, in Ontario, lifted a short-term boil water advisory from their 63B public water system on August 19, 2019. The precautionary advisory, in effect since June 13, 2019, was put in place until monitoring of the system could confirm the quality of the water and ensure public health was protected. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) supported the First Nation to ensure proper sampling and testing was being conducted.
- Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation, in Ontario, lifted a short-term boil water advisory from their public water system on August 27, 2019. The precautionary advisory, in effect since June 15, 2019, was put in place until monitoring of the system could confirm the quality of the water and ensure public health was protected. ISC supported the First Nation community to ensure proper sampling and testing was being conducted.
- Red Earth Cree Nation, in Saskatchewan, lifted a short-term boil water advisory from their public water system on August 29, 2019. The precautionary advisory, in effect since May 7, 2019 was lifted following repairs to a water line break and successful bacteriological testing.
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. Budget 2019 committed an additional $739 million over five years, beginning in 2019-2020, with $184.9 million per year ongoing.
Since November 2015, 87 long-term advisories affecting public systems on reserves have been lifted. There are currently 56 long-term advisories affecting public systems on reserves remaining.
561 projects are either underway or have been completed as a result of the Government of Canada investments in water and wastewater infrastructure on reserves across the country.
First Nations and the Government of Canada will continue to 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.
"For the last three years we've worked non-stop with our Indigenous partners and invested the necessary resources to deliver on our commitment to clean, reliable drinking water for First Nations across the country. Our commitment to removing every long-term drinking water advisory on public systems on reserves is unwavering and has resulted in 87 long-term drinking water advisories being lifted and safe, clean water delivered to the impacted communities. Preventing short-term advisories from becoming long-term is an essential part of our goal to eliminate all long-term drinking water advisories on reserves. There are 56 long-term drinking water advisories that remain, and we'll continue to work in partnership with First Nations to address water issues in communities and ensure clean water is restored those residents."
The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services
A drinking water advisory becomes long-term when it has been in place for more than a year.
Short-term drinking water advisories are precautionary public health measures that have been in place for less than a year. They are issued when the safety of the drinking water cannot be guaranteed.
Since November 2015, 87 long-term advisories have been lifted, 39 have been added, and one system with a long-term drinking water advisory was deactivated.
Working in collaboration with First Nations, the Government of Canada has committed to ending all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves by March 2021.
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 toward improving access to safe drinking water.
Budget 2018 provided 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 provided 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 commits an additional $739 million over five years, beginning in 2019-2020, with $184.9 million per year ongoing. This investment will support ongoing efforts to eliminate and prevent long-term drinking water advisories by 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 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.
- Ending long-term drinking water advisories
- Investing in First Nations community infrastructure
- Lifecycle of a First Nation community infrastructure project
- Budget 2016 Highlights – Indigenous and Northern Investments
- Budget 2017 Highlights – Indigenous and Northern Investments
- Budget 2018 Highlights: Indigenous and Northern Investments
- Budget 2019 Highlights: Indigenous and Northern Investments
- Investing in Canada: Canada's Long-Term Infrastructure Plan
- Investing in Canada Plan Project Map
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Seamus O'Regan,
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
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