Name of Horizontal Initiative: First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan
Name of Lead Department(s):
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)
Lead Department PAA Program:
April 1, 2008
March 31, 2014
Total Federal Funding Allocation (from start date to end date):
In 2008, $735,639,806 in funding was announced for the first two years of this initiative. Of this amount, $202,500,000 in each of the fiscal years 2008–2009 and 2009–2010 was funded from existing reference levels. New funds of $165,318,143 during the period of 2008–2009 and $165,321,663 for the period of 2009–2010, including employee benefit plans and Public Works and Government Services Canada accommodation requirements, were sourced from the Fiscal Framework, as confirmed in Budget 2008.
The program was extended for an additional two years, with funding confirmed as part of Budget 2010. This provided an additional $845,547,800 in investments for water and wastewater infrastructure over the extended period of the program from 2010–2012.
Budget 2012 allotted the same investment amounts for the water and wastewater action plan for a further two-year period. The Government of Canada released $330.8 million dollars over the two years, in addition to the existing funding of $209,373,064 for 2012–1013 and $209,293,764 for 2013–2014. The total planned investment in safe water and wastewater for First Nations over the fiscal periods of 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 is $749,446,828. The total Federal Funding Allocation since 2008 has been $2,395,734,434.
Description of the Horizontal Initiative (including funding agreement):
The prime objective of the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan (FNWWAP) is to support First Nation communities on reserves in bringing their drinking water and wastewater services to a level and quality of service comparable to those enjoyed by Canadians living in communities of similar size and location. There are five key activity areas in the FNWWAP: infrastructure investments; operations and maintenance; training; monitoring and awareness; and standards.
To meet the objectives of the FNWWAP, several program enhancements have been introduced, including a national engineering assessment of existing water and wastewater facilities; consultations on a new federal legislative framework for safe drinking water; increased training through the Circuit Rider training program; modification of existing policies related to small water and septic systems and agreements for water and wastewater services; investment in a National Wastewater Program; and development of waterborne illness procedures.
The FNWWAP was implemented as part of government commitments in the 2007 Speech from the Throne, Budget 2008, Budget 2010, and Budget 2012 to support First Nations' access to safe drinking water. It supports the continued commitment to promote access to clean water in Aboriginal communities announced in the 2011 Speech from the Throne.
The FNWWAP supports AANDC's strategic outcome, The Land and The Economy: Full participation of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis individuals and communities in the economy. The FNWWAP also supports the Health Canada (HC) strategic outcome of the department's First Nations and Inuit Health Programming and Services: Better health outcomes and reduction of health inequalities between First Nations and Inuit and other Canadians.
More information is available at these websites:
The FNWWAP works toward the achievement of four outcomes:
- First Nation communities have an increased capacity to address potential water quality problems.
- Health risks associated with water quality and supply are reduced.
- All First Nation community water and wastewater facilities meet federal standards.
- First Nation communities have increased confidence in their drinking water.
The FNWWAP is a successor to the joint First Nations Water Management Strategy (2003–2008) and the AANDC Plan of Action for Drinking Water (2006–2008). A memorandum of understanding has been in place between AANDC and HC since 2005 regarding data sharing related to drinking water. AANDC shares information on the proposed water and wastewater infrastructure investments; the annual inspections of water and wastewater treatment plants; and action related to drinking water advisories. Conversely, HC shares information such as drinking water sample results that do not meet the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and reasons for recommending drinking water advisories. At the working level, the Strategic Water Management on Reserve Committee, which includes representatives from HC, AANDC, Environment Canada and the Assembly of First Nations, provides a forum for discussion to share information and coordinate joint action, although this is not a formal decision-making body. It also provides integrated and coordinated leadership to ensure safe drinking water for First Nation communities and to implement FNWWAP.
Directors general and assistant deputy ministers from HC and AANDC meet when needed to exchange and coordinate action on all relevant issues related to the FNWWAP.
The Government and First Nations strongly believe that First Nation communities should have access to the same quality of safe, clean and reliable drinking water as Canadians outside of First Nations lands. Between 2006 and 2014, the Government of Canada will have invested approximately $3 billion to support First Nation communities in managing their water and wastewater infrastructure and in related public-health activities.
In response to the 2009–2011 National Assessment of First Nations Water and Wastewater Systems, the Government has worked with First Nations to develop a long-term plan to improve on-reserve water and wastewater founded on three pillars:
- enhanced capacity building and operation training;
- enforceable standards and protocols; and
- infrastructure investments.
Each of these areas has accomplished important results since the National Assessment:
- The percentage of First Nation systems that have operators certified to the level of the drinking water systems has increased from 51% in 2011 to 64% in 2013, and those certified to the level of the wastewater systems has increased from 42% of operators in 2011 to 61% of operators in 2013.
- Bill S-8, Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, was introduced in the Senate on February 29, 2012, and passed without amendment on June 18, 2012. The bill received First Reading in the House of Commons on June 19, 2012, and commenced Second Reading on November 1, 2012. Bill S-8 received Royal Assent in June 2013.
- Capital investments have been prioritized for the highest risk systems and to address factors that are the greatest contributors to risk such as capacity, training, operations and maintenance. The percentage of high-risk drinking water systems has decreased to 19% (133 of 691 systems) and the percentage of high-risk wastewater systems to 10% (45 of 449 systems).
The Government recognizes that more needs to be done to reduce risk levels and deliver results for water and wastewater systems on-reserve. While funding is not part of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, the Government will continue to work with First Nations to develop enforceable standards and to make investments in infrastructure, monitoring and capacity.
|Federal Partners||PAA Programs||Contributing activities/programs||Total Allocation (from start date to end date)|
|2012–13 ($ millions)|
|* These performance indicators support the FSDS target 3.10 Increase the percentage of First Nation communities with acceptable (defined as low) water and wastewater facility risk ratings by 2013. For more information consult the DSDS.
** Results exclude Saskatchewan. All regions have a water database in place to monitor sample results.
|Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
||Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program
||Planned Spending: 342.2
Actual Spending: 301.1
Increase in % of First Nations drinking water systems with low risk ratings.
Increase in % of First Nations wastewater systems with low risk ratings.
Contributing activity/program results (using specific indicators):
- 38% of First Nations drinking water systems have LOW risk ratings, exceeding the 2012–2013 target of 35%*.
- 43% of First Nations wastewater systems have LOW risk ratings, which does not meet the 2012–2013 target of 50%*.
||First Nations and Inuit Health
||Drinking Water Safety Program – FNWWAP funding
||Planned Spending: 27.4
||Planned Spending: 32.6
Actual Spending: 24.4
Increase in the number of First Nation communities south of 60° with increased or maintained capacity to monitor their drinking water quality as per Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and to reduce health risks associated with drinking water quality and supply.
Contributing activity/program results (using specific indicators): All (661 of 661) First Nation communities had access to trained personnel (Community-based Drinking Water Quality Monitor or Environmental Health Officer (EHO)) to sample and test drinking water quality at tap**.
All FNWWAP EHO positions were staffed**.
59.6% of public water systems (formerly called piped drinking water distribution systems) were monitored weekly in First Nations communities**.
A total of 134,246 water samples and 56,396 bacteriological samples were taken and analyzed in accredited laboratories. Analysis of 73,287 bacteriological samples was performed using a portable lab kit, 4,503 samples were analyzed for chemical parameters, and 60 samples were analyzed for radiological parameters**.
There were no instances where gastrointestinal illness was identified as a possible waterborne disease outbreak.
Thirty water, wastewater, and solid waste project proposals were reviewed at headquarters and 185 professional and technical advices were provided to First Nation communities within the context of public health protection.
Health Canada published and distributed the "Field Reference Manual: Non-Microbiological Drinking Water Quality Parameters".
Recruitment and retention strategies are on-going.
|Drinking Water Safety Program – A based funding
||Planned Spending: 5.2
||Total Planned Spending: 374.8
Total Actual Spending: 325.5
Comments on Variances:
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
The Planned Spending for the Department was $138,000,000 from Budget 2012 and $204,173,064 from A-base, for a total of $342,173,064. Actual Spending for water and wastewater initiative was $301,091,217 in 2012–2013, and $602,830 was paid to Public Works and Government Services Canada for accommodation costs. The remaining $40,479,017 represents A-base funding that was redirected from water and wastewater initiatives to address other urgent priorities, such as reconstruction following flooding in Manitoba.
Due to the Economic Action Plan 2012, personnel were cut back and activities were reduced.
Results Achieved by Non-Federal Partners (if applicable):
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Program Design and Regional Partnerships Directorate, Community Infrastructure Branch
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Interprofessional Advisory and Program Support, Environmental Public Health Division
First Nations and Inuit Health Branch