January 2020 monthly progress update on drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves

News release

February 4, 2020 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

The Government of Canada and First Nations communities are working in partnership to improve water infrastructure on reserves and support access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water.

Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, provided the department's monthly progress update.

In January 2020, one long-term drinking water advisory was lifted, one short-term advisory was lifted and one drinking water advisory became long-term.

Lac Seul First Nation (Ontario) lifted a long-term drinking water advisory from the Kejick Bay water treatment plant on January 7, 2020. The drinking water advisory, in effect since February 2003, was lifted after the completion of a new water treatment plant in the community.

James Smith Cree Nation (Saskatchewan) lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from the James Smith Public Water System on January 10, 2020. The advisory, in effect since September 16, 2019, was lifted after membranes on the water filtration system were changed and normal operations were restored.

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, 149 short-term drinking water advisories (lasting between two and 12 months) have been lifted before becoming long-term.

A drinking water advisory put in place in January 2019 in Chippewas of Nawash First Nation (Ontario) became long-term on January 21, 2020. ISC is currently working with the First Nation toward development of a new water treatment plant.

For the most recent updates on lifting drinking water advisories, please visit www.canada.ca/water-on-reserve.

Quotes

"We are determined to take the necessary steps towards improving the health and well-being of Indigenous people across the country. As part of this commitment, we continue to work in partnership with First Nations communities to improve access to clean, safe drinking water by supporting them to build, repair and upgrade water and wastewater infrastructure that will ensure clean drinking water is accessible to all."

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

Quick facts

  • A drinking water advisory becomes long-term when it has been in place for more than a year. Between November 2015 and January 2020, 88 long-term advisories affecting public systems on reserves have been lifted. 

  • In total, 574 water and wastewater projects have been initiated or completed since Budget 2016. These projects include new, upgraded or repaired infrastructure, as well as feasibility and design studies to ensure First Nations have the right infrastructure systems in place for growing communities. To date, 265 projects have been completed and another 309 are underway, benefitting 606 First Nations communities across the country. 

  • 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. 

  • 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 improve access to clean and safe drinking water and accelerate the pace of construction and renovation of affected water systems.

  • Budget 2019 committed an additional $739 million over five years, beginning in 2019-2020 with $184.9 million per year ongoing, to support urgent repairs to vulnerable water and wastewater systems and the operations and maintenance of water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nations communities. 

  • 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. 

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Vanessa Adams
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller,
Minister of Indigenous Services
343-543-7645

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

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