December 2018: More progress on long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve

From: Indigenous Services Canada

January 7, 2018 — 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.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, provided the following update as part of the department’s regular reporting:

  • Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in British Columbia lifted the long-term drinking water advisory at Lohbiee Indian Reserve No. 3 on December 11. A new water treatment system is producing drinking water that is now safe. The advisory had been in place since May 2001.
  • Cat Lake in Ontario lifted the long-term drinking water advisory at the Children’s Healing Centre on December 17. A new water treatment system was restored and commissioned to provide safe drinking water. The advisory had been in place since October 2006.
  • Weenusk in Ontario lifted the long-term drinking water advisory on the Peawanuck Public Water System on December 20. Upgrades to the system provide safe drinking water. The advisory had been in place since February 2006.

Additionally, three short-term advisories that were at-risk of becoming long-term were successfully lifted:

  • Mishkeegogamang, in Ontario, lifted a short-term drinking water advisory on December 12 after repairs to the water treatment plant were completed. The advisory had been in place since May 2018.
  • Woodland First Nation in Alberta lifted a short-term drinking water advisory on the community hall on December 17, 2018. The advisory had been in place since August 2018.
  • Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan lifted a short-term drinking water advisory on December 20 after minor repairs were made to the water treatment system. The advisory had been in place since March 2018.

As well, Grassy Narrows First Nation has decided to deactivate their teacherage well water system (#17219) which has had a drinking water advisory in place since 2013. As this system is no longer in use, it has been removed from the long-term drinking water advisory tracking. Indigenous Services Canada continues to work with the First Nation to end the other three long-term drinking water advisories on public systems in their community. It is projected those advisories will be lifted by March 2020.

Since November 2015, 78 long-term drinking water advisories have now been lifted on public systems on reserve. Work is underway to end the remaining 62 long-term advisories and prevent further short-term advisories from becoming long-term.

“In December 2018 progress continued as more long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve were lifted. There is still a lot of important work ahead as we ensure that the remaining 62 long-term advisories are lifted before March 2021. Canadians can follow progress on our government’s commitment at www.canada.ca/water-on-reserve.”

The Honourable Jane Philpott, 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 62 as of December 31, 2018 after 78 of these advisories were lifted, 36 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, 95 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 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.

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