Drinking Water Advisories: Background Content

Federal Budgets


April 7, 2022


Fed. Govt.

Federal Budget for Water and Water Infrastructure

Budget 2016 provided $1.8 billion over five years toward water and wastewater infrastructure. These investments have supported 468 water and wastewater projects in 580 First Nations communities, serving 458,000 people.

Budget 2018 provided 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 proposes support for repairs to high risk water systems, recruitment, training and retention initiatives, and the establishment of innovative First Nations-led service delivery models.

Budget 2019 commits an additional $739M over 5 years beginning in 2019-20 with $184M per year ongoing

Budget 2020 commits an additional $1.5B over 6 years and $114.1M per year ongoing beginning in 2026-27 fiscal year:

  • $616.3M per years for six years to support daily operations and maintenance starting in 2020-2021 and $114.1M each year thereafter
  • $553.4M per year for six years to continue funding water and wastewater infrastructure on reserve to prevent future drinking water advisories from occurring.
  • $309.8 million per years over six years will be allocated to support and accelerate on-going work to lift all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves by helping to respond to project delays including those due to COVID-19.

This funding will support First Nations in their work to provide reliable and secure access to clean water in their communities. It will also offer stable and long-term funding for the cost of operations and maintenance; an area that has been under-funded for far too long, yet is critical to ensuring the lasting impacts of these investments.

Budget 2021

  • $125.2M over 4 years beginning in 2022-23, to continue to support First Nations communities reliable access to clean water and help ensure the safe delivery of health and social services on reserve

Budget 2022

  • $398 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to Indigenous Services Canada to support community infrastructure on reserve, of which at least $247 million will be directed toward water and wastewater infrastructure.
  • $173.2 million over ten years to Indigenous Services Canada starting in 2022-23, to support the transfer of water and wastewater services in 17 communities to the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority. By putting service delivery into the hands of communities themselves, this first-of-its-kind, First Nations-led initiative will help chart the path to self-determination, while strengthening the management of water and wastewater infrastructure on reserves.

December 7, 2017


Fed. Govt.

Parliamentary Budget Office

The parliamentary budget officer estimates it will cost at least $3.2 billion in capital investment to bring First Nations water systems up to the standards of comparable non-Indigenous communities in order to eliminate boil-water advisories by 2020. The spending watchdog’s latest report estimates the cost of updating drinking water systems at $1.8 billion, with another $1.4 billion needed for wastewater treatment and annual operating and maintenance costs of $361 million _ $218 million of which would be for drinking water alone. The PBO says the total spending by the federal government and others since 2011-12, combined with spending measures announced in the 2016 budget, can only cover 70 per cent of the total investment necessary.


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