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.
People from both sides of the Ottawa River took to the water to protest the construction of a nuclear waste disposal site at the Chalk River power plant. More than a dozen boats took part in the demonstration to say the federal government should heed their warnings about the potential dangers the dump presents for the health of the water.
Water is something most Canadians take for granted. We have so much of it, it's no wonder. Per capita, our country has the world's third-largest freshwater reserves, but yet in many Indigenous communities, water can be difficult to access, at-risk because of unreliable treatment systems, or contaminated. That's the case in Delaware First Nation, an Indigenous community of about 500 people an hour southwest of London, Ont., a place where fishing was everything 60 years ago.
Environmentalists are outraged by a "preposterous" large sewage dump into the St. Lawrence River near Montreal and a "staggering" number of smaller, chronic sewage overflows throughout the year in Quebec. They are calling on municipal and provincial governments to be more ambitious in their attempts to monitor and mitigate the release of toxic wastewater in waterways.