OTTAWA, Nov. 1, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister
of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, announced the coming
into force today of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act.
"Improving water quality in First Nation communities is a priority for
our Government and I am extremely pleased that this important Act is
coming into force today," said Minister Valcourt. "Our Government will
continue working with First Nations towards our shared goal of ensuring
that First Nations have the same access to safe, clean drinking water
in their communities as all other Canadians."
"Water continues to be a very important public safety issue for all
Canadians," said Chief Dean Vicaire of the Listuguj Mi'gmaq First
Nation and Atlantic Policy Congress Co-Chair. "Water will always be
fundamentally important to all our First Nation communities and people.
The legislation helps clearly focus attention on this issue and on the
need for speedy action to ensure all our communities have safe drinking
"I am very pleased that the ongoing work on the development of detailed
regulations for a clear framework is proceeding in partnership with the
federal government," added Chief Deborah Robinson of the Acadia First
Nation and Atlantic Policy Congress Co-Chair. "This is something that
we have been asking for in the Atlantic for years to ensure all our
First Nations have safe drinking water."
"This bill is the product of engagement with First Nations over the past
seven years and will make it possible for our Government to work with
First Nations and other stakeholders to develop regulations comparable
to those that safeguard drinking water elsewhere in Canada," added
Minister Valcourt. "We will continue to work closely with First Nations
and provincial and territorial governments, and will be consulting
widely as we develop future federal regulations."
Regulations supporting the Act are being developed on a region-by-region
basis and will be phased in over time. This will give First Nations and
the Government the time necessary to bring infrastructure and capacity
to the level required to meet the regulations.
The Act, which received Royal Assent in June 2013, supports the
Government's long-term strategy to improve water quality for First
Nation communities. Between 2006 and 2014 the Government will have
invested about $3 billion to support First Nation communities in
managing water and wastewater infrastructure and in related public
Between 2006 and 2012, 177 government-funded major water and wastewater
projects were completed by 152 First Nations (a major project is one
that costs over $1.5 million). Total Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada investment in these projects was $846.6 million. In
2011-2012, 402 major and minor First Nation water and wastewater
infrastructure projects were started, and 32 major capital projects to
build or significantly upgrade water and waste systems were completed.
"We have made significant achievements in helping First Nation
communities access reliable drinking water," added Minister Valcourt.
"This new Act will allow us to continue making good progress in
partnership with First Nations."
Backgrounder: Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act
Frequently Asked Questions: Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act
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SOURCE: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
For further information:
Erica Meekes Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Press Secretary Development Canada