First Nations Drinking Water Policy
While it is hard for many rural communities to provide safe drinking water, the situation in First Nations communities is especially difficult. Since 1995, a number of reports have highlighted the unacceptable situation in these communities. Health Canada still tells approximately 120 communities to boil their water and Indian Affairs says that there is a good chance that water systems in 85 communities could break down. Without a proper regulatory framework and enough resources, First Nations will continue to face this risk to public health. We work with First Nations to improve public policies to make sure that First Nations get the systems and resources they need.
On the recommendation from an independent report, the Federal Government committed in its budgets to work towards implementing a new system for First Nations drinking water. The government organized a series of engagement sessions in 2008-2009 to consult with First Nations on what this system would look like.
This was an important opportunity to create a better system to help First Nations provide safe drinking water. However, the government did not give First Nations a real and meaningful chance to shape the laws that will regulate their drinking water. The Safe Drinking Water Foundation worked and continues to work to make sure that First Nations understand the issues and options at hand. For more information, consult our series of background articles.
How to Find Out More
If you want to find out more, we have a selection of background articles that provide an overview of the situation and examine the issues involved. As well, we have put together a library of relevant reports on drinking water issues. We will continue to update this section with new information as it becomes available.
The recommended text for Band Council Resolutions (BCRs) to help your community reject the downloading of responsibility for safe drinking water from the Federal government until such a time that the resources are in place to be able to produce sufficient safe drinking water for your community members on an ongoing basis.
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