Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

March 19, 2009 14:11 ET

Canada's Economic Action Plan Delivers Improved Water Treatment System for Betsiamites First Nation in Quebec

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 19, 2009) - The Government of Canada is taking action to ensure members of Betsiamites First Nation have access to safe, clean drinking water by supporting an improved water treatment system, thanks to Canada's Economic Action Plan. (http://www.budget.gc.ca/2009/home-accueil-eng.asp)

"Reliable water facilities are essential to the health and safety of the Betsiamites First Nation and its members," said the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State for Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians. "We are committed to ensuring growing First Nations communities such as Betsiamites have the water and wastewater infrastructure to meet their current and future needs."

This project is part of the $165 million for water and wastewater projects included in the $1.4 billion investment for Aboriginal peoples under the Economic Action Plan. The project consists of improvements to the current water treatment system, including identifying a new water source and rehabilitating the treatment facility.

"Water has always been closely tied to the Innus' way of life. Improving the Betsiamites drinking water system will eliminate health hazards for our members by providing them with access to quality water," stated Raphael Picard, Chief of the Betsiamites Innu community.

The Government of Canada is investing in projects that will provide lasting, sustainable benefits for First Nation communities. The government has made solid progress in improving water conditions on reserves across the country. For example, the number of high risk systems has been reduced by two-thirds. In 2006, there were 193 high risk systems. Today, this number has been reduced to 58. There were also 21 priority communities identified in 2006, meaning they had both a high-risk system and a drinking water advisory. Today, only four communities remain on that list.

The government is also taking decisive action to improve water conditions through the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan. (http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ai/mr/nr/j-a2008/2-3019-eng.asp?p1=209557&p2=6293)

Costs of projects announced today will be identified following the competitive tendering process.

This news release is also available on the Internet at: www.inac-ainc.gc.ca

Backgrounders on water are available on the Internet at: www.inac-ainc.gc.ca

First Nations profiles are available on the Internet at: http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ap/fn/index-eng.asp

Contact Information

  • INAC
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160
    or
    Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Nina Chiarelli
    Press Secretary
    819-997-0002