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Council calls on Trudeau to implement national enforceable drinking water standards

Photo: Global News interviews Lui on her report On Notice for a Drinking Water Crisis.

Photo: Global News interviews Lui on her report On Notice for a Drinking Water Crisis.

In March, the Council of Canadians released a paper titled On Notice for a Drinking Water Crisis. The paper highlights that as of January there were 1,838 drinking water advisories in effect across this country and that with tar sands expansion, pipelines, mining, fracking, bottled water plants, climate change and agricultural run-off, we can expect even more advisories.

Global News in Saskatoon now reports, “The report revealed a large number of communities, including First Nations reserves, currently have drinking water advisories. …According to the Council of Canadians, there is no national standard for water quality reporting, and that makes it difficult to see exactly how many people are affected.”

Council of Canadians campaigner Emma Lui says, “One major finding was the lack of information and the lack of consistency. We had these general numbers, Saskatchewan [is] one of the provinces that [posts] information on the website, so that’s one step forward, but in terms of consistency and understanding how many people are affected and how many communities are affected we still don’t have a clear picture.”

In our report, Lui notes, “Most provinces and territories make information on DWAs [drinking water advisories] publicly available on a website – only Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Nunavut do not. The number of advisories is not exhaustive as several health authorities note that not all DWAs are reported.”

The Global News article highlights, “The Council of Canadians is now calling on the new Liberal government as well as the provinces to address the situation and set a national standard for water quality reporting.”

Our report also calls on the federal government to:

  • recognize water as a human right

  • respect Indigenous water rights

  • declare surface and groundwater a public trust

  • create a national public water infrastructure fund

  • provide a strategy to address water pollution including reinstating changes to environmental legislation, removal of the Schedule 2 loophole that allows mining companies to dump toxic waste in healthy lakes, a ban on fracking and a just transition away from tar sands and all fossil fuels

  • invest in water and wastewater infrastructure, particularly in First Nations communities

  • ban bulk water exports

  • exclude water from the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and all current and future trade agreements

To read On Notice for a Drinking Water Crisis, please click here.