Government of Canada Makes Progress on Improving Water Conditions on Reserves

Ottawa, Ontario –(April 13, 2009) – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, issued the following statement today:

I am pleased to share with you the significant progress our Government is making to ensure First Nations have access to the same quality of safe and reliable water as all Canadians.We’ve made substantial improvements since 2006, when our Government launched the Plan of Action for Drinking Water in First Nation Communities. Since then, the number of First Nation communities with high risk water systems has been reduced by two-thirds. I’m also proud to report that out of the 21 priority communities identified in 2006 as having high-risk systems and as drinking water advisories, only four remain today and that action plans are in place for each of these.

Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan we have committed $515 million to accelerate infrastructure projects in First Nation communities, including $165 million for 18 water and wastewater initiatives across the country. These investments are included in the $1.4 billion investment for Aboriginal peoples under the Economic Action Plan.

Furthermore, in 2008-09, the Government invested approximately $368 million to address water issues in First Nation communities, including upgrading water and wastewater facilities on reserve, maintenance and operation of the facilities, training, and moving forward with other initiatives under the First Nation Water and Wastewater Action Plan (FNWWAP).

Engagement sessions on the development of a legislative framework for water have been completed and the national assessment of water and wastewater facilities that provide services to First Nations is anticipated to commence this spring. We have also committed to doubling the number of trainers who will assist water and wastewater system operators. Since January 2008, 14 additional trainers have been hired to prepare the operators and even more will be hired this year.

Real progress is being made but more remains to be done. Future success in addressing water needs on-reserve will depend on continued collaboration between Government, First Nations and other partners.

For more information, please contact

Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
Nina Chiarelli
Press Secretary


Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Media Relations

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