Pilot Initiative to Improve On Reserve Water Quality in Ontario Moves Forward

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Ottawa, Ontario (March 20, 2012) – The Governments of Canada and Ontario are pleased to announce that four First Nation communities will participate in the Canada–Ontario First Nations Pilot Initiative to Improve Drinking Water Quality. Through this joint initiative, the Government of Canada and Province of Ontario are working with First Nation partners to explore and assess innovative, alternative and proven processes and drinking water servicing solutions.

“With this important project, and the recent introduction of water and wastewater legislation, our Government is delivering on its commitment to support strong and healthy First Nation communities,” said the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. “The collaboration between the federal and provincial governments and the participating First Nations is an important step to improve access to clean reliable drinking water, particularly in smaller, rural communities.”The communities selected are Alderville, Lac Seul (Whitefish), Munsee-Delaware and Zhiibaahaasing First Nations. The selection criteria required that the communities:

• have water systems that were assessed at either a high design risk in the National Assessment of Water and Wastewater Systems in First Nations Communities – 2009-2011 or did not have a communal drinking water system
• be able to demonstrate community support for the project
• submit projects that presented an opportunity to explore an alternative servicing model for drinking water treatment and distribution

“Ontario is committed to helping First Nation communities improve the quality of their drinking water,” said Jim Bradley, Ontario Minister of the Environment . “Innovative approaches can play a key role in making this happen. We are hopeful that the drinking water solutions for these communities will provide options for other small and remote communities in the future.”

The projects will include central management of all new and existing drinking water assets. Depending on proposals received from industry, the design and technology solutions may include such options as:

• installation of new point-of-entry treatment systems in a heated enclosure outside of homes
• improvements to existing infrastructure
• purchase of new water delivery truck(s)
• installation of pre-fabricated water treatment plant(s)
• other approaches deemed appropriate through the Request for Proposals processes

Point-of-entry devices treat all water distributed to the home. Pre-fabricated water treatment plants treat water for multiple homes while reducing capital costs.

The Government of Canada is providing up to $5 million in funding to cover the full costs of capital infrastructure and, in addition, at least three years of operations and maintenance funding for the projects.

The Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC) is also supporting this initiative through the provision of technical support to First Nations and Tribal Councils.

“The OFNTSC is pleased to support these selected First Nations, in their attainment of water treatment systems that will deliver quality drinking water to homes,” said Bob Howsam, Executive Director, OFNTSC. “It is through collaborative projects such as this one, that First Nations can build capacity and foster technical self-reliance for their respective communities.”

The Government of Ontario and the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation will provide technical support and training.

Backgrounder – Canada–Ontario First Nations Pilot Initiative to Improve Drinking Water Quality

For more information, please contact:

Minister’s Office
Jan O’Driscoll
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable John Duncan

Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Ontario Ministry of Environment
Joe Kim
Minister’s Office

Kate Jordan
Communications Branch

Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation
Colin French
Communications Officer
416-651-1443 ext. 256

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