Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

June 10, 2013 16:39 ET

Bill to Ensure First Nations Have Access to Safe Drinking Water Passes Third Reading in the House of Commons

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 10, 2013) - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development announced that Bill S-8, the Government's Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act passed third reading in the House of Commons. This bill will fill a longstanding legislative gap that will allow for the creation of enforceable standards for drinking water, wastewater and source water on First Nation lands.

"Our Government believes that all Canadians should have access to safe drinking water regardless of where they live," said Minister Valcourt. "With the coming into force of this bill, we will help ensure that First Nations living on reserve receive the same drinking water health and safety protections as other Canadians."

When this bill comes into force, the Government of Canada will work with First Nations to develop federal regulations and standards for the protection of drinking water, on a region by region basis. Investing in water and wastewater infrastructure has been a priority for the federal Government and will continue to be. The Government of Canada will have invested approximately $3 billion towards infrastructure and resources to support First Nation communities in the operation of their water and wastewater systems.

The bill is the product of seven years of engagement with First Nations and supports the shared goal with First Nations of ensuring strong and sustainable First Nation communities.

The government recently proposed an amendment to remove the opt-in provision of the bill to ensure respect for self-government and land claims agreements. This amendment was moved by the government as direct result of concerns that were raised by self-governing First Nations.

The Safe Drinking Water for First Nation Act is part of our Government's comprehensive long-term plan to improve the quality of drinking water on-reserve and demonstrates the Government's ongoing commitment to ensuring the health and safety of First Nation communities.

This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.

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Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Andrea Richer
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt

    Media Relations
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada