Indigenous Success Stories: First Nations

December 14, 2020

Okanagan Indian Band Group of Companies (OKIB GC) water utility

The first Indigenous owned and operated water utility in Canada

The first Indigenous owned and operated water utility in Canada developed by way of Public-Private-Community Partnership (PPCP), is a step closer to reality with a formal agreement signed last month between the Okanagan Indian Band Group of Companies (OKIB GC), EPCOR and Enterprise Canada. The companies will identify commercial opportunities in utilities-related infrastructure, including water, wastewater and irrigation management systems, to provide quality drinking water and ensure adequate firefighting supply to serve the Okanagan Indian Band’s reserve lands.

The OKIB GC water utility will lead to skills training and employment opportunities for community members, in clear alignment with the fundamental right of self-determination for First Nations peoples in Canada. The professional partnership will support ongoing business arrangements to further socio-economic development opportunities for the Syilx of the Okanagan Indian Band.

June 23, 2020

The Atlantic First Nations Water Authority

Signing of Framework Agreement

The Chronicle Herald – Signing of a framework agreement with Government of Canada for an Indigenous-led water authority as a first in Canada and a way forward to further reconciliation as an “important step towards the full autonomous First Nations-led operation of water and wastewater services for 15 communities serving approximately 4,500 homes and businesses.”

The Atlantic First Nations Water Authority that has been in the works for more than a decade “estimating an annual operating cost of $11 million and capital costs of more than $230 million over a 25-year period” Immediately joining the authority on its journey are 15 First Nations, nine from Nova Scotia, four from New Brunswick and two from Prince Edward Island.

“The utility model is scalable, it can easily grow to include all 33 First Nations communities in Atlantic Canada,” Yates said. Carl Yates, the former, long-time general manager of Halifax Water, is the interim chief executive officer of the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority.

February 14, 2018

Lytton FN and RES’EAU-WaterNET

Develop options for providing affordable, sustainable water-treatment solutions

Vancouver Courier: Lytton First Nation is working with public and private organizations and universities in a “circle of trust” to identify challenges and test solutions in real-world conditions. They partnered with RES’EAU-WaterNET, a strategic research network under the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Because problems with drinking-water systems vary, RES’EAU-WaterNET works with communities like Lytton First Nation to gain insights early on in the process. With First Nation’s water-treatment operators at the centre of an “innovation circle,” they and experts from government, universities, consulting firms, water companies, and contractors identified and piloted several options for providing affordable, sustainable water-treatment solutions.