Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner will table his first ever private member's bill Wednesday. In it, he asks the province to protect a drinking water source for Guelph, Wellington county and Waterloo region. It's the first bill introduced by the party in the provincial legislature. "For decades the people of Guelph have shown the province how to responsibly use water and what it means to defend water against private interests. Now, climate change and sprawl are putting even more strain on our water supply, so we must take action to protect what's left," Schreiner said in a release prior to tabling the bill Wednesday.
No Canadian pays for water – not citizens, farmers or industry. Under NAFTA first – and now the USMCA – if the government starts selling water, it becomes an exportable product, which is widely recognized as a very bad idea. What does cost money is the use of water infrastructure: things such as pipes, testing and labour. Large industrial users are charged more than residents for the privilege, but the amount collected from commercial water bottlers in Ontario has long been criticized as ridiculously low. Until 2017, the administrative fee was just $3.71 for every million litres. The provincial government now charges $503.71 for that amount.