Monthly progress update through December 2019 on drinking water advisories on public systems

From: Indigenous Services Canada

The Government of Canada is on track in its commitment to end all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves by March 2021. Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, provided the department’s monthly progress update.

In December 2019, two short-term drinking water advisories were lifted from public systems on reserves and one drinking water advisory became long-term.

Little Red River Cree Nation (Alberta) lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from their John D’Or Prairie Public Water System on December 4, 2019. The drinking water advisory, in effect since September 12, 2019, was lifted following planned system maintenance.

Wahpeton Dakota Nation (Saskatchewan) lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from their Wahpeton Dakota Nation Public Water System on December 19, 2019. The drinking water advisory, in effect since March 6, 2019, was lifted following improvements in water treatment plant operations and monitoring.

Since November 2015, 148 short-term drinking water advisories have been lifted before becoming long-term.

A drinking water advisory in Shamattawa First Nation, in Manitoba, became long-term on December 6, 2019, after being in place for more than 12 months. The advisory was put in place in December 2018 due to mechanical and operational issues with the water treatment infrastructure. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) continues to work in partnership with the First Nation to identify and implement a short-term solution. Plans to expand and upgrade the public water system for the long-term needs of the community are currently in early stages.

Between November 2015 and December 2019 87 long-term advisories affecting public systems on reserves have been lifted. Since then another long-term advisory has been lifted. For the most recent updates on lifting drinking water advisories please visit Ending long-term drinking water advisories.

In total, 574 water and wastewater projects have either been initiated or completed since Budget 2016. These projects include new, upgraded or repaired infrastructure, and 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.

Quotes

“First Nations and the Government of Canada continue to work in partnership to lift the remaining long-term drinking water advisories on reserve. The hard work on short-term advisories is also an essential part of our goal to expand access to clean and safe drinking water. I’m glad that during December, two short-term drinking water advisories were lifted in a timely manner therefore ensuring that more communities have access to safe drinking water.”

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.

  • 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 commits 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.

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