Many children in schools and daycares across Canada are likely being exposed to dangerous levels of lead in their drinking water and don’t know it, because most provinces aren’t requiring comprehensive testing at the taps, according to a collection of provincial studies and internal briefing material. The internal briefing material included memos and other advice prepared for high-ranking government officials in several provinces. These documents were released through freedom of information legislation to Global News as part of a joint year-long investigation into drinking water in partnership with Concordia University’s Institute for Investigative Journalism and other media organizations.
A decision on how to proceed with water bottling permits is expected by early to mid-December, with a review nearly complete, Ontario's Environment Minister Jeff Yurek said Thursday. A moratorium on new and expanded permits to take water for bottling, which was put in place by the former Liberal government in 2017, and was extended last year by the Progressive Conservatives, is set to expire on Jan. 1. Yurek said his decision will be based in science, though if the government can't find a "conclusive way to go forward" he would extend the moratorium again.
Regional staff are urging the province to reconsider proposed policy changes that could loosen rules around gravel mining and other aggregate extraction. Aggregate is the technical term for raw materials like sand, gravel and stone. The proposed changes are outlined in a draft update to the Provincial Policy Statement, a document that provides direction on land use planning across the province.
Indigenous people fare far worse than non-Indigenous populations when it comes to attaining safe and secure housing, both worldwide and here in Canada, according to a new United Nations report. The UN's special rapporteur on adequate housing, Ottawa's Leilani Farha, presented the report to the General Assembly Friday. It found that Indigenous communities lag behind when it comes to housing conditions and that their territories tend to be the "most disadvantaged in terms of access to infrastructure, including access to drinking water and sanitation, education and health services."
I would like to thank the Global Landscapes Forum and the United Nations General Assembly for having me here today to share my concerns and share why my people have a sacred connection to the water and the lands. I would like to start by sharing that the work I do is in honour of my late Great Auntie Biidaasige-ba. If it weren’t for her lifetime commitment and sacrifices to create the awareness and the sacredness of water, I would not be standing here today. She inspired me to do this work as she was an Elder when she began. I thought about who would keep doing her work one day; I just didn’t expect that day to come as soon as it did. She created the Mother Earth Water Walks. She walked around all the Great Lakes, more than once. She did this because the Elders began to see changes in the lands, medicines, animals and waters.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada's director of consumer and industry relations for Ontario, it might not be worth it to sign up for a new, optional sewer and water line warranty program introduced last July by the City of Windsor. "Rather than going out and purchasing another policy, we recommend that consumers, homeowners, contact their own insurance company and see if, A, this coverage is part of their current policy, or, B, can they add it on as an optional coverage," said Pete Karageorgos, with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
Canadian Indigenous water activist Autumn Peltier, 15, addressed hundreds of international guests at UN headquarters in Manhattan on Saturday, where she urged the global community to respect the sacredness and importance of clean water. "I've said it once, and I'll say it again: we can't eat money or drink oil," said the activist from Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario. Peltier spoke at the Global Landscapes Forum, a platform on sustainable land use founded by UN Environment and the World Bank that's dedicated to achieving development and climate goals.
Evacuees from Neskantaga First Nation started returning home Monday after recent water testing showed chlorine and microbiological levels were at acceptable levels after a new pump was installed in the local water system. The previous piece of equipment malfunctioned earlier in September, triggering a state of emergency. About 220 residents were in Thunder Bay for more than a week after the pump went down on Sept. 14. Chief Chris Moonias called for the evacuation himself, concerned about symptoms he said were showing up in community members, including skin rashes, stomach problems and headaches.
Residents of the regions around Belleville, Napanee, Madoc and north of Kingston, Ont., are being asked to conserve water after a dry spell resulted in low water levels. Quinte Conservation has declared a "Level 2 Low Water Condition" for the Moira, Napanee and Salmon watersheds. That means wells have water levels below normal for this time of year, and with warm temperatures and little rain in the forecast, levels could drop further, leading to serious water supply issue in the region.
An abrupt downturn in an already poor water-quality situation in a northwestern Ontario Indigenous community poses more of a safety risk than the federal government is willing to acknowledge, representatives of the First Nation said Wednesday as they called for help covering the cost of evacuating the community. Most of the 250 residents of the Neskantaga First Nation, a member of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, flew out of the community on the weekend after untreated water began flowing from local taps and water pressure tapered off dramatically.
SHOAL LAKE, ONT. — A joint venture (JV) involving Shoal Lake 40 Contractors LP and Sigfusson Northern Ltd. has been named the winning bidder in a competition to earn the right to construct a new water and wastewater system for Shoal Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario. Indigenous Services Canada is contributing $33 million for the project, which includes construction of a water treatment plant, reservoir, raw water intake structure and lift station as well as the installation of watermain connections and fire hydrants, stated a Sept. 6 release.
In Canada's largest city, raw sewage flows into Lake Ontario so often, Toronto tells people they should never swim off the city's beaches for least two days after it rains. Across the country in Mission, B.C., a three-decade-old pipe that carries sewage under the Fraser River to a treatment plant in Abbotsford is so loaded operators can't even slip a camera inside it to look for damage. If that pipe bursts, it will dump 11 million litres of putrid water from area homes and businesses into a critical salmon habitat every day it isn't fixed.
It's been one month since Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency over its poor water quality. The measure was taken in the northern Ontario community due to high levels of trihalomethane (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) in the water the residents use for bathing and cooking. The fly-in community has a separate system for its drinking water.
Eabametoong First Nation, an Ojibway community that sits about 360 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, passed a band council resolution declaring a state of emergency Friday after water test results showed levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) between 122 to 182 per cent above Health Canada safety standards.
Yesno said residents are also reporting a foul smell coming from the community's tap water.
A non-profit group is working with a First Nation community in northeastern Ontario to become citizen scientists. Swim Drink Fish, with funding from Environment Canada, is continuing to set up citizen science water monitoring hubs. The group is now working with Zhiibaahaasing First Nation, located at the western end of Manitoulin Island on the northshore of Lake Huron. "We're trying to build a community of people around the Great Lakes who are working for swimmable, drinkable and fishable water," Mark Mattson, president of Swim Drink Fish said.
The taps to Winnipeg's drinking water were first turned on in April 1919, but as the city celebrated its engineering feat and raised glasses of that clear liquid, another community's fortunes suddenly turned dark. Construction of a new aqueduct plunged Shoal Lake 40 into a forced isolation that it is only now emerging from, 100 years after Winnipeg's politicians locked their sights on the water that cradles the First Nation at the Manitoba–Ontario border. "The price that our community has paid for one community to benefit from that resource, it's just mind-boggling," said Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky.
As of Wednesday morning, water levels on Lake Ontario at Cobourg exceeded those seen in the historic 2017 flood. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the water level at Cobourg is 75.92 metres above sea level. At its highest in 2017, the level was 75.88 metres above sea level. “We’re approximately 40 centimetres above normal,” Cobourg Mayor John Henderson said. “With the rain we got this week, I expect that 40 centimetres will be higher, approaching 60 centimetres.”
Some Calgary business owners are teaming up to help flood victims in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. "Absolutely not kidding. Brought a tear to my eye, absolutely devastating," is how Terry Rawn describes the situation in Rhoddy's Bay, outside of Ottawa. The region has been hit hard by spring flooding in the Ottawa valley — more than 5,000 homes flooded last month.
Dozens of people in the Township of Whitewater Region have been forced from their homes as water levels on the Ottawa River peaked this weekend. The Renfrew County, Ont., township is about 140 kilometres northwest of downtown Ottawa, and includes nearly 90 kilometres of shoreline. About 100 homes have been affected by flooding, Mayor Michael Moore said Sunday.
Rising flood levels led the city to recommend people leave 300 homes in the Constance Bay neighbourhood of Ottawa Tuesday night. The city closed Bayview Drive and power was cut to many of those homes. People there are being encouraged by the city to check in at the Constance and Buckham's Bay Community Centre at 262 Leo Purcell Drive.