Drinking Water Advisories: Background Content

Glass Half-Empty: David Suzuki

February 1, 2017


YEAR 1 Progress towards resolving drinking water advisories in nine First Nations in Ontario

David Suzuki Foundation, Amnesty International and The Council of Canadians, February 2017

What follows is a list of issues in bold followed by recommendations:

  1. A highly complex and cumbersome federal process
    • Work with First Nations to streamline and simplify the process for capital investments in water infrastructure by identifying roadblocks and reducing bureaucracy.
  2. Lack of a regulatory framework to govern drinking water for First Nations
    • Work with First Nations to identify an appropriate regulatory framework.
    • Collaborate with First Nations in co-developing and implementing source water protection and restoration plans.
  3. Insufficient infrastructure funding and ineffective allocation process
    • Work with First Nations to establish federal funding levels and formulas for First Nations drinking water and sewage systems so that existing systems are not further degraded and water system repair and restoration is not subject to delay.
  4. Lack of adequate resources for operations and management
    • Work with First Nations to establish federal funding levels and formulas that provide sufficient operations and management capacity to meet their needs.
    • Eliminate the pay gap between water systems operators in First Nations and comparable municipalities
  5. Lack of First Nations decision-making power over resolving drinking water issues in their communities
    • Support First Nations-led approaches to drinking water that recognize the leadership of First Nations governments and organizations.At the request of First Nations, support development of collaboration between First Nations and provincial governments
    • Take into account context-specific issues for First Nations, such as appropriate construction seasons.
    • Fulfill government commitments to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly free, prior and informed consent for laws and regulations related to First Nations water, and the UN-recognized human right to safe drinking water and sanitation endorsed by Canada.
  6. Lack of transparency in federal monitoring of progress toward ending DWAs
    • Increase federal transparency and reporting of budget spending and progress toward ending long-term DWAs in First Nations.
  7. Lack of holistic approach to addressing clean drinking water
    Ensure that water issues are not addressed in isolation but are linked to wider issues such as housing, infrastructure, training and the impacts to watersheds from industrial activities.


Other Background Content By Theme

Federal Budgets

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Auditor-General Report 3 Recommendations

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