Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

March 19, 2009 14:05 ET

Canada's Economic Action Plan Delivers Quick Action on Water and Wastewater Systems for First Nations Communities

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 19, 2009) - The Government of Canada is taking more action to ensure First Nations have access to safe and reliable drinking water and wastewater facilities. Today the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians was in Vancouver to announce investments for improvements to water and wastewater treatment systems for 14 First Nation communities across the country These investments are thanks to Canada's Economic Action Plan (http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/eng/index.asp).

"We are following through on our commitment to improve water and wastewater facilities for First Nation communities across Canada," said the Honourable Chuck Strahl. "With our provincial and First Nation partners, we are bolstering Canada's economy and making a difference in the lives of Aboriginal Canadians."

These 14 projects are 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. Not only will these projects result in improvements to essential water and wastewater infrastructure for First Nations across the country, they will also lead to strong spin-off benefits for Aboriginal businesses and trades employment and an ongoing commitment to First Nation community development.

"These investments will ensure First Nations have viable water and wastewater infrastructure, essential for the health and safety of these communities. We are working to ensure First Nations' community water and wastewater needs are met," added Minister Strahl.

"It is very exciting news for Tla-o-qui-aht to be granted these infrastructure dollars, it has been a long standing issue that we operate our current systems with very limited services that doesn't allow for growth," said Tla-o-qui-aht Councillor Elmer Frank. "With these improvement funds, it will bring our infrastructure services to standards, we strived for many years to achieve improvements to provide sufficient wastewater management and provide us with clean, healthy and safe drinking water for our citizens on our reserves."

The Government of Canada is investing in projects that will provide lasting, sustainable benefits for First Nation communities. March 22nd is World Water Day and the government is pleased to report 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.

Canada's Economic Action Plan means action for Aboriginal Canadians. The government is moving forward with investments in First Nation schools, on and off reserve housing, critical First Nation community infrastructure and skills training. We are also very proud of the partnerships we have made with provinces and First Nations in the areas of education and child and family services and look forward to creating new partnerships soon.

Contact Information

  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160
    or
    Minister's Office
    Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Nina Chiarelli
    Canada Press Secretary
    819-997-0002