Monthly progress update through November 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 November 2019, two short-term drinking water advisories at risk of becoming long-term were lifted from public systems on reserves and one drinking water advisory became long-term.

Short-term drinking water advisories lifted before becoming long-term:

  • Woodland Cree-Marten Lake (Alberta) lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from their Marten Lake Community Hall Semi-Public Water System on November 14, 2019. The drinking water advisory, in effect since August 16, 2019, was lifted following repair and cleaning of the cistern and successful water testing.
  • Biigtigong Nishnaabeg (Ontario) lifted a short-term drinking water advisory from their Pic River Public Water System on November 12, 2019. The drinking water advisory, in effect since November 15, 2018, was lifted after a UV disinfection unit was installed to provide adequate disinfection for the building.

A drinking water advisory at Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan became long-term on November 14, 2019, after being in place for more than 12 months. The advisory was put in place in November 2018 due to mechanical and electrical issues. ISC continues to work with the First Nation to resolve the existing issues and on an expansion and upgrade project.

Since November 2015, 87 long-term advisories affecting public systems on reserves have been lifted.

In total, 552 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, 226 projects have been completed and another 326 are underway benefitting 581 First Nations communities across the country.


“Our commitment to lifting every long-term drinking water advisory on public systems on reserves by March 2021 is unwavering. Since November 2015, 87 have been lifted. 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. First Nations and the Government of Canada will continue to work to lift the remaining long-term drinking water advisories, complete the water and wastewater projects underway now, and bridge the gap in essential infrastructure on reserves.”

The Honourable Marc Miller, P.C., M.P.

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.

  • Between November 2015 and November 2019, 87 long-term advisories have been lifted, 41 have been added, and two systems with long-term drinking water advisories were 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 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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