Backgrounder - CanadaOntario First Nations Pilot Initiative to Improve Drinking Water Quality
In July 2011, the Governments of Canada and Ontario announced the Canada–Ontario First Nations Initiative to Improve Drinking Water Quality, a new joint three-year initiative harnessing innovative and alternative drinking water systems to improve water quality in Ontario First Nation communities. The Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC) is also supporting this initiative by providing technical support to First Nations and Tribal Councils.
Many First Nation communities face challenges providing safe drinking water and are looking for solutions. The initiative's goal is to demonstrate the benefits of innovative and alternative approaches to water treatment and distribution systems to improve drinking water quality in Ontario First Nation communities.
On March 20, 2012, the Governments of Canada and Ontario announced that four First Nation communities will participate in the Canada–Ontario First Nations Pilot Initiative to Improve Drinking Water Quality. The communities are:
- Alderville First Nation, which has a population of 1,046 members, with 308 on reserve, and is located in south-central Ontario, approximately 30 km north of Cobourg.
- Lac Seul First Nation, which is made up of three communities, Kejick Bay, Whitefish Bay, and Frenchman’s Head. It has a population of 3,103 members, of which 827 live on reserve. It is located approximately 38 km northwest of Sioux Lookout.
- Munsee-Delaware First Nation, which has a population of 568 members, 173 on reserve. The community is located on the Thames River,
- Zhiibaahaasing First Nation, which is an Ojibway community of 165 members, 75 on reserve. The community is located in the Manitoulin District.
The next steps for the pilot projects include:
- selecting appropriate design and technology solutions for these communities through a request for proposals (RFP) process conducted collaboratively with representatives from the First Nation communities, Ministry of Environment of Ontario and AANDC
- implementing drinking-water solutions
- operating, maintaining and monitoring the systems
AANDC will provide up to $5 million in funding to cover the full costs of capital infrastructure and, in addition, at least three years of operations and maintenance funding for the projects.
The Government of Ontario and the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation will provide technical support and training. The role of OFNTSC will be to provide assistance to First Nations and their Tribal Councils as required for the full duration of the project, including providing advice during construction and operation. The Government of Ontario will be making the Walkerton Clean Water Centre available to provide additional support for the project during the training and monitoring phases.
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