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The Government plan is to have mandatory training for all treament-plant operators and assurance that all systems are monitored or overseen by certified operators. Remote monitoring and contracting of independent certified operators will be put in place while training of community water operators continues.
The requirements for First Nations water systems operator certification are set under provincial guidelines. The certification can be obtained for example, through the Circuit Rider Training Program (CRTP), administered by individual First Nations or First Nations technical organizations and Tribal Council Consultants. The CRTP offers hands-on training for water and sewer systems operations in First Nations Communities.
Some of the skills learned by the trainees include:
INAC provides funding to various technical organizations offering the CRTP throughout Canada. Depending on the region, different arrangements are made. In BC, for example, the Sumas First Nation helps deliver the CRTP to First Nations by administering allocated funds and providing input to First Nations water operators on request. On behalf of INAC, Public Works and Government Services Canada oversees the project, offers support on technical advice and make recommendations to Sumas First Nation Water experts. In regions where no technical organization is available to deliver training to water operators, funding is provided to First Nations to allow them to send trainees to neighbouring centres.
In remote communities, it is challenging to train certified water operators. Trainees may have to leave the community for months to attend training, which explains the importance of back-up operators. The ideal would be to have an on-site certified water operator who could either train or oversee the apprentice. Retaining qualified water operators is an additional challenge experienced in rural areas, both on and off-reserve. Mandatory training will be required for all treatment-plant operators and a regime will be set to ensure that all water systems have the oversight of certified operators. Various inititiaves such as remote monitoring of water systems and the contracting of independent certified operators to provide necessary oversight will be put in place.
March 21, 2006