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Overwhelming majority of Ontarians want the government to put communities before bottled water companies

Nestle Poll

Ninety-three per cent of Ontarians want the provincial government to prioritize drinking water needs of communities over bottled water takings. These are the findings of a new poll by Oraclepoll Research, released today by the Council of Canadians.

The poll also found that two thirds of people in Ontario agree that the provincial government should phase out bottled water takings, hold a series of public consultations to determine how water use is prioritized in the province, and want Nestlé to sell its well in Elora to the Township of Centre Wellington.

In August, Nestlé bought the Elora well – despite the local municipality’s attempt to purchase it to safeguard their municipal water supply. On Monday, Nestlé Waters Canada proposed a “partnership” with the local township to share the well.

“Regardless of age, region or political affiliation, people across Ontario are calling for a permanent phase-out of all bottled water takings. People do not want companies like Nestlé to profit from water,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “The poll shows that Ontarians understand very well that water is a human right and that the drinking water needs of local communities should be prioritized over commercial water bottling companies.”

“Based on these numbers, the Ontario government needs to considerably strengthen its regulations on bottled water and work towards phasing out all bottled water permits, not just new or expanded permits,” says Emma Lui, national water campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “We’re urging the Ontario government to act on these poll results by organizing public consultations and facilitating community debate on how water use should be prioritized in the province. For too long, the Permit to Take Water system has haphazardly been issuing water permits. This must stop, and the Ontario government must begin truly protecting water for communities.”

Summary of results:

  • 93% support the provincial government placing a priority on the drinking water needs of local communities over any pending applications from commercial bottling companies to acquire groundwater sources.
  • 68% support the provincial government requiring Nestlé to sell the Elora well to the Township of Centre Wellington.
  • 65% support a permanent phase-out of all permits for bottled water takings (water bottling operations) by the Ontario government.
  • 69% support the Ontario government holding  a series of public consultations to determine how water use is prioritized in the province.

A total of n=1200 respondents were interviewed in the survey. The margin of error for the sample is +/- 2.8%, 19/20 times. Surveys were conducted by telephone using live operators between December 8 and December 13, 2016.