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The Council demands better from Ontario Premier Wynne on bottled water

Premier Kathleen Wynne

The Council of Canadians says that the Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s new bottled water pricing policy will not protect groundwater and that provincial permits for bottled water takings – notably in Hillsburgh and Aberfoyle – must be phased out.


CBC reports, “The provincial government has confirmed that as of August 1, companies that bottle and sell water in Ontario will pay more to take water. The fee will go from just $3.71 for every million litres of groundwater taken to $503.71. Companies that take more than 50,000 litres of water a day must apply for a permit to take water.”


The article highlights, “Mike Nagy of Wellington Water Watchers [says] ‘we still need these consumptive commoditized permits to be phased out’… Mark Calzavara, regional organizer for Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut for The Council of Canadians, echoed Nagy’s sentiments. ‘It is good that the province is doing cost recovery with the new charges but the people of Ontario overwhelmingly want to see bottled water phased out’, he said. ‘Charging roughly one penny per case of bottled water will do nothing to protect vulnerable groundwater’.”


The Council of Canadians argues that the Ontario government’s new rules for Nestlé fall well short of public demands.


Moving forward we are highlighting:


1- Nestlé has applied for a 10-year renewal of its now expired 5-year permit to extract 3.6 million litres of water a day from a well in Aberfoyle. That permit expired on July 31, 2016, but Nestlé has been allowed to continue to extract water during this government review process. Will the government now grant the company a 5-year permit? How much longer will Nestlé be allowed to pump water under an expired permit?


2- The Nestlé permit to extract 1.1 million litres of water per day from the Hillsburgh well expires on August 31, 2017. Will the Ontario government grant them a 5-year permit for that operation as well?


The permit applications in Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh will be key moments in the lead up to the provincial election that must take place on or before June 7, 2018.


3- Nestlé also wants to extract 1.6 million litres a day from its recently purchased Middlebrook well in Elora. The Ontario government’s new regulations put a two year pause on that plan, but what will happen on January 1, 2019 when that temporary moratorium expires? Given that well is on the traditional territory of the Six Nations of the Grand River, and 11,000 of their members do not have access to clean drinking water, what will the consultation with them look like? How meaningful will it be?

To add your name to our online pledge to Boycott Nestle, which has now been signed by 52,265 people, please click here.