Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

March 20, 2008 10:53 ET

Statement From the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians

World Water Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 20, 2008) - With World Water Day quickly approaching on March 22, I thought I would use this opportunity to reflect on the significant progress that the Government of Canada has made in improving First Nation water quality.

Just two years ago, on March 21, 2006, our Government took decisive action to ensure that all First Nations reserves have access to safe drinking water through a Plan of Action for Drinking Water in First Nations Communities.

While there is still much more work to be done, the progress we have achieved in partnership with First Nations across the country is unprecedented. Since forming government, we have reduced the number of high risk First Nation water systems from 193 to 85. As well, only six remain on our original list of 21 priority communities, which means the community has both a high risk water system and a drinking water advisory.

I am confident that this momentum will continue. In Budget 2008, this Government announced an investment of $330 million over two years to improve access to safe drinking water in First Nations communities. Our Government also disclosed in the Budget that we will undertake consultations with First Nations and provincial and territorial governments on the development of a regulatory regime to oversee water quality on reserve.

Finally, in Budget 2008 we revealed that plans are underway to extend the Plan of Action, which will result in an additional 30 to 40 trainers for water and wastewater system operators being hired, nearly doubling the present number of trainers. In addition, we continue to make important investments in the upgrade and construction of new water and wastewater treatment systems in First Nation communities.

A great deal has already been accomplished through hard work and collaborative efforts and we will continue to follow through on our ongoing commitment to improving the lives of First Nations peoples.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Josee Bellemare
    Press Secretary
    819-997-0002
    or
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160