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Harper Government Takes Further Action to Improve and Protect On-Reserve Drinking Water

Ref. #2-3796

Ottawa, Ontario (May 8, 2013) – Today, the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, announced the Government of Canada is taking an important step to ensure First Nations have access to safe, clean drinking water on reserve.

To ensure that Bill S-8, the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, passes second reading in the House of Commons, the Government will bring it to a vote, moving it one step closer to being passed into law.

“Improving water quality on reserve is a priority our Government shares with First Nations,” said Minister Valcourt. “I hope that all Members of the House will support this legislation so that people living on reserve can have access to safe, clean drinking water.”

“Safe drinking water is important for protecting the health of First Nations,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. “Having a regulatory framework for drinking water and wastewater on reserves is an important step towards improving the overall health of First Nation communities.”

There are currently no legally enforceable standards and protocols governing water quality on First Nation lands. Bill S-8 would allow the Government to work with First Nations and other stakeholders to develop federal regulations for the access to safe drinking water, and ensure effective treatment of wastewater and the protection of sources of drinking water on First Nation lands.

This bill is the product of engagement, over the past seven years, between the Government and First Nations on safe drinking water legislation and enforceable standards. Should this proposed legislation be passed, further engagement with First Nations on the development of federal regulations will follow.

The Government of Canada remains focused on four priorities, as outlined by the Prime Minister, that Canadians care most about: their families, the safety of our streets and communities, their pride in being a citizen of this country, and their personal financial security.

For more information, please contact:

Minister’s Office
Andrea Richer
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt
819-997-0002
Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
819-953-1160
Health Canada
613-957-2983
NT5