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Archived - Moving Forward to Develop Regulations under the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act

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Next Steps – Regulatory Development for Water and Wastewater in First Nation Communities

October 14, 2014 - Ottawa, Ontario - Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister, Bernard Valcourt, and Health Canada Minister, Rona Ambrose, today announced next steps to ensure that First Nations have the same access to safe, clean drinking water in their communities as all Canadians.

Regulations will be developed with First Nations, under the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act. Regulations aim to protect the health and safety of residents on First Nation lands by implementing much needed enforceable standards.

Building on the substantial progress and investments made by First Nation communities and Canada in water and wastewater infrastructure and capacity, regulations will help protect the long-term operation and maintenance of these systems.

Regulations will be phased in, region by region, to close the regulatory gap and to allow the federal Government and First Nations the opportunity to bring infrastructure and capacity to the levels required to meet the regulations. During this phased approach, there will be multiple opportunities for consultation and engagement, to inform the drafting of regulations.

Quick facts

  • The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act was introduced in the Senate in 2012, received Royal Assent in June 2013 and came into force in November 2013.
  • Economic Action Plan 2014 proposed to continue to implement the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan with $323.4 million over two years to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities.
  • The Institute on Governance was contracted to present a factual summary of the existing provincial/territorial regulations in each region. These summaries have been shared with every First Nation.
  • Regulations will exist for each region (the Atlantic provinces are considered one region and Nunavut is exempt as there is no regulatory gap).
  • Over the coming months, the federal government will engage with First Nation leadership, their technical experts, and provincial, territorial and municipal governments, as well as other stakeholders, to obtain feedback on the summaries.
  • The Government of Canada will use the feedback received through this process to inform the drafting of regulations.

Quotes

"First Nations should have the same access to healthy and safe drinking water in their communities, as other Canadians. Prior to the passing of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, First Nation lands were the only jurisdictions in Canada without regulatory safeguards for drinking water or the effective treatment of wastewater. Now that this important legislation is officially in force, I am pleased to see that the next step toward developing regulations has begun."

- Bernard Valcourt,
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

“Access to safe drinking water is important to the health of all Canadians. By working together on these regulations, we will create drinking water quality standards that will serve to protect and improve the public health of residents on First Nation lands for generations to come.”

- Rona Ambrose,
Minister of Health

Associated links

Contacts

Erica Meekes
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
819-997-0002

Michael Bolkenius
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
819-953-1160

Health Canada
613-957-2983

Follow us on Twitter: @AANDCanada


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