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Federal government’s drinking water approach gets failing grade

The Sierra Legal Defence Fund gave the federal government a failing mark in its survey of the state of drinking wat...


The Sierra Legal Defence Fund gave the federal government a failing mark in its survey of the state of drinking water in Canada.
The government got an “F” for “failing to enact binding national standards for drinking water, failure to ensure safe drinking water for First Nations, and failure to properly regulate bottled water. It also failed for continuing to permit the use of toxic chemicals that are banned in the U.S. and Europe to enter Canadian drinking water.
The Sierra Legal report, entitled “Waterproof 2: Canada’s Drinking Water Report Card,” compares different jurisdictions in their water treatment requirements, drinking water quality standards, testing, regulation of water system design and construction, accredited laboratory and operator certification, and transparency and accountability. It does not include source protection, which will be the subject of a future report by the Sierra organization.
In issuing the report, the Sierra fund said the report shows that most of the Canadian provinces have improved their drinking water quality mechanisms since the Walkerton and North Battleford tragedies.
Ontario was “top of the class” with an A-, having implemented most of the recommendations from the exhaustive Walkerton inquiry. All other jurisdictions, except New Brunswick, made modest improvements in protecting their drinking water as well.
Following is the report card:
Federal Government: F
Alberta: B
British Columbia: C+
Manitoba: C+
New Brunswick: D
Newfoundland C-
Northwest Territories C+
Nova Scotia B
Nunavut C
Ontario A-
Prince Edward Island C-
Quebec B+
Saskatchewan B-
Yukon C-