Centralized water and wastewater operator training at Yukon University to benefit First Nations and operators in the region

News release

July 28, 2022 — Kwanlin (Whitehorse), Yukon — Indigenous Services Canada 

Water and wastewater operators play a critical role in ensuring drinking water safety by helping to prevent and reduce risks to water and wastewater systems. Access to ongoing training, mentoring and support is key to building First Nations’ capacity to manage water systems, and recruit and retain qualified water operators.

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and Yukon University today announced a new program delivery model to enhance water and wastewater operator training and support in the region.

This year, Yukon University has started to deliver ISC’s Circuit Rider Training Program (CRTP) for First Nations water and wastewater systems operators, in addition to its existing role in delivering the Yukon Water and Wastewater Operator Program (YWWOP), which is open to all operators in the region.

The CRTP provides First Nations water and wastewater operators with hands-on training on their own community water systems and training to obtain their certification. The program also provides 24/7 emergency response services to First Nations in the region who manage community systems.

Centralizing delivery of the CRTP and YWWOP programs within Yukon University is expected to enhance the delivery of both programs, benefiting water and wastewater operators and the communities they serve by:

  • increasing opportunities to promote water and wastewater operator collaboration, recruitment and retention;
  • increasing participation by First Nations in both programs;
  • improving support to First Nations leadership and managers who oversee community water and wastewater systems management; and
  • increasing opportunities for applied research on northern community water and wastewater systems.

In 2022-23, ISC is investing over $411,000 for water and wastewater initiatives at Yukon University, including over $331,000 for delivery of the CRTP. This builds on the approximately $168,000 provided in 2021-22 for Yukon University to recruit a CRTP Coordinator to deliver the program this fiscal year.

Yukon University’s enhanced role in First Nations water and wastewater system operator training also supports the institution’s commitment to partnering with First Nations, helping to advance reconciliation, and continuing to develop northern expertise.  


“We continue to work with First Nations on long-term solutions to ensure access to clean, safe drinking water. By assuming delivery of the Circuit Rider Training Program, Yukon University is supporting First Nations to build capacity and foster strong, healthy communities. This federal investment of over $400,000 will support water and wastewater operator training that will benefit the greater Yukon region.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

“We are pleased to deepen our partnerships with Indigenous Services Canada and First Nations governments in the Yukon and northern BC through offering the Circuit Rider Training Program (CRTP) for First Nations water and wastewater systems operators. We look forward to the opportunities for educational outreach, water and wastewater management and infrastructure support, and the training and research that can flow from this consolidated delivery model.”

Dr. Lesley Brown
Yukon University President and Vice-Chancellor

Quick facts

  • Yukon University received university status in the spring of 2020 and is Canada’s first university located north of the 60th parallel. It is a hybrid institution that offers trades programming, academic upgrading, certificates, diplomas, degrees and applied research.

  • Yukon University has been delivering YWWOP since 2009, helping current and prospective water operators gain and enhance the skills and certifications needed to work and succeed in the drinking water and water sanitation sectors. YWWOP is funded by ISC in partnership with the Government of Yukon.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

Michael Vernon
Senior Communications Coordinator
Yukon University

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