December 3, 2020

The six member nations of WBAFN in Northern Ontario announce their partnership with a Canadian charity to deliver a drinking water treatment and environmental water science internship program for young Indigenous adults. Approximately 12 interns will be recruited from six participating First Nations communities across the tribal council’s region to pursue Operator in Training (OIT) and Water Quality Analyst (WQA) certifications.
unded through a partnership with the Anishinabek Nation, a regional Indigenous organization with 39 member First Nations across Ontario, and with the support of Water First’s donors. Under the internship program, each intern will accumulate 1,800 hours of on-the-job experience in water treatment plants, which is a part of the certification process. Through the 15-month program, interns will also pursue their water quality analyst certification, which can lead to work in both drinking water treatment and the environmental water field.
This critical internship program is designed to support and empower young Indigenous adults to enter the field of water science and obtain industry recognized certifications. With hands-on experience and customized training, the interns will have an important role to play in addressing local water challenges, now and in the future. We look forward to supporting their journey in partnership with the Waabnoong Bemjiwang Association of First Nations,” said John Millar, executive director at Water First.
Discussion about the Waabnoong Bemjiwang training project began in 2019. Water First has implemented two successful internships to date: one that is nearly complete, in partnership with the Bimose Tribal Council and 11 affiliated First Nations, and the other, a pilot, in partnership with the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, and the Anishinabek Nation, on Manitoulin Island.
Many First Nations with drinking water challenges have identified the need for more young, qualified and local personnel to support solving water issues independently and for the longer term. Indigenous communities do not receive adequate education, training and employment supports when it comes to attracting and retaining young people in the water science fields. These supports are critical to ensuring the long-term sustainability of Indigenous drinking water systems.