OTTAWA, March 9, 2017 /CNW/ - All Canadians should have access to safe, clean, and reliable drinking water. This Government is doing the right thing by making historic investments to support Indigenous communities, including strengthening on-reserve water and wastewater infrastructure.
Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, along with Joël Lightbound, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, announced that the Government of Canada is delivering on its Budget 2016 commitment to end long-term drinking water advisories affecting INAC-funded public systems on-reserve within five years.
As part of its long-term strategy, the government is working closely with First Nations to prioritize infrastructure investments and streamline funding processes. This will result in the implementation of sustainable First-Nations-led approaches and support training and operational capacity in order to address water issues on reserves before they lead to long-term drinking water advisories.
"Having access to clean drinking water is a basic necessity for all Canadians no matter where they live. Many First Nation families are just now able to drink their water and we have a solid, achievable plan to end the remaining long-term drinking water advisories affecting INAC-funded public systems on-reserve within our promised five-year timeframe. We will continue to work in full partnership with First Nations in the true spirit of reconciliation to ensure that all communities can access this essential resource."
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
"Safe, clean drinking water is a fundamental building block of health that, too often, is not available in First Nations communities. While there is still much work to be done, I am pleased to see progress is being made to lift long-term drinking water advisories. To support these efforts, Health Canada will continue to assist First Nations communities in monitoring the quality of drinking water and advising on issues related to drinking water safety."
The Honourable Jane Philpott, M.D., M.P.
Minister of Health
- In November 2015, there were 77 long-term drinking water advisories affecting INAC-funded public systems on reserve. As of January 2017, there were 71, and the Government of Canada is on track to lift these advisories within the five year timeline identified in Budget 2016.
- In 2016-2017, investments in water infrastructure projects will go towards addressing more than 60 percent of existing long-term drinking water advisories affecting INAC-funded public systems on reserve.
- Budget 2016 is providing $1.8 billion over five years to significantly improve on-reserve water and wastewater infrastructure, ensure proper facility operation, maintenance, and the training of water system operators. This is in addition to $141.7 million over five years to improve drinking water monitoring and testing on reserve.
- Committing investments over five years provides the stability which allows for long-term planning to improve on-reserve water and wastewater systems.
- To date, $275.7 million has been allocated to support water and wastewater initiatives, including 201 water and wastewater projects. A total of 159 communities, serving more than 196,000 people stand to benefit from these investments.
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SOURCE Government of Canada
For further information: Media may contact: Sabrina Williams, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, 613-697-8316; INAC Media Relations, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-953-1160