Engagement Sessions on Bill S-8, Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act

Overview and Rationale

Access to safe drinking water, the effective treatment of wastewater and the protection of sources of drinking water on First Nation lands is a priority for the Government of Canada. First Nation men, women and children should expect, as do all Canadians, access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water. The Government is moving forward with this legislation in order to ensure that drinking water and wastewater standards on First Nation lands are comparable to the standards enjoyed by all Canadians.

The development of legally enforceable federal regulations will fill an important regulatory gap and help protect the health and safety of residents on First Nation lands. The development of federal regulations responds to numerous recommendations related to drinking water on First Nation lands in recent years, including reports by:

  • the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (Office of the Auditor General) (2005);
  • the Expert Panel on Safe Drinking Water for First Nations (2006);
  • the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples (2007);
  • the National Assessment of First Nations Water and Wastewater Systems (2011); and,
  • the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (2012).

Consultation and Engagement

Throughout the last six years, the legislative framework for drinking water and wastewater has been discussed both informally and formally with First Nations, regional First Nation Chiefs, First Nation organizations, provincial and territorial government officials, and other stakeholders.

Parliamentary Consideration

Information on Parliamentary study of Bill S-8 can be found here.

Status

This legislation received Royal Assent on June 19, 2013.