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National drinking water protections range from excellent to abysmal

Nov. 15, 2011

Today Ecojustice released Waterproof 3, our third national drinking water report card. In it, we give the provincial, territorial and federal governments a grade on how well they’re protecting the country’s drinking water. Our findings reveal that Canadians are subject to a patchwork of drinking water standards and programs that range from excellent (Ontario) to abysmal (federal government). This means that how safe your water is depends on where you live.Waterproof 3 – Map with grades

Waterproof 3 gives the federal government an ‘F’ for lagging in almost every aspect of water protection for which it is responsible. Of greatest concern is the government’s reluctance to create rigorous national drinking water standards that protect all Canadians.

Provinces like Ontario (A) and Nova Scotia (A-), however, have been identified as leaders when it comes to drinking water protection — thanks in large part to strong treatment, testing and source water protection programs. In contrast, Alberta (C-) slipped in the rankings because of static treatment standards and poor source water protection efforts.

“The recommendations from the Walkerton Inquiry gave us a very clear framework for evaluating each jurisdiction’s efforts to provide safe drinking water,” said Randy Christensen, Ecojustice staff lawyer and author of the report. “Those recommendations spell out exactly what it takes to properly monitor and protect drinking water, and yet some provinces and territories, as well as the federal government, still haven’t put them in place.”

We need your help to make sure everyone has access to safe, clean water. Whether you live in Ontario or Nunavut, please join us in sending a message to the people that can make a difference – our leaders. Sign the petition today and call on the federal government to protect our right to water by developing national, legally-binding drinking water standards.

While you’re at it, check out the full report, our summary document and a short video about source water protection. Then spread the word by sharing them – especially the petition – with your friends, family and colleagues.