The Government of Canada introduced Bill S-11 The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act in Parliament on May 26.
The legislation is intended to help the government in cooperation with First Nations to move forward in providing, “a comparable level of protection for drinking water in First Nation communities as enjoyed by other Canadians.”
At the same time the government announced a two-year extension of the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan which provides an additional $330 million over the next two years for First Nations drinking water.
The government is also currently funding an assessment of First Nations water and wastewater systems that is to conclude later this year. However, it is already claiming that significant progress has been made in this sector, which has had a troubled past.
Since 2006 the number of high risk drinking water systems has been reduced from 193 to 49. Out of 21 communities identified that had a drinking water advisory and were on a priority list, 18 have been removed from the list.
In the years 2006 to 2012, the federal government is spending $2.3 billion in First Nations water and wastewater infrastructure.
Bill S-11 was introduced by the Hon. Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Hon. Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.