1.1 Water and Wastewater Infrastructure
The Government of Canada is committed to helping First Nations (FNs) in the provision of safe, clean, and reliable drinking water and the sustainable management of wastewater within their communities. To support this goal, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) provides funding and advice to First Nations to assist in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of both water and wastewater systems.
The funding provided by AANDC is allocated through annual investments made under the department’s Capital Facilities and Maintenance (CFM) Program, within which resides the Water and Wastewater Infrastructure (WWI) Sub-Program. The CFM Program provides funding totaling over $1 billion per year and supports community infrastructure investments for First Nations on reserve for four main areas: housing, education, water and wastewater systems, and other infrastructure (roads and bridges, fire protection, electrification, community facilities, etc.). For the audit period (April 1 2010, to March 31, 2012), AANDC provided approximately $678M in funding to First Nations for water and wastewater systems (includes capital and operations and maintenance funding).
The purpose of the WWI Sub-Program of the CFM is to assist and support First Nations in providing access to clean, safe and reliable water for their communities on reserve. AANDC also provides financial assistance to support FN with building and maintaining safe and effective wastewater treatment systems, and provides funding to train and certify First Nations people to operate water and wastewater plants.
In addition to the allocation of funding via the CFM Program, AANDC has also provided targeted funding to FN for WWI investments through Canada's Economic Action Plan and the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan (FNWWAP). FNWWAP, first introduced in 2008, is a joint AANDC-Health Canada initiative that supports FN communities in bringing their drinking water and wastewater services to a level comparable to those enjoyed by other Canadians. In May 2010, the Government of Canada announced that FNWWAP was extended for two more years, and it was recently renewed for an additional two years in Budget 2012.
AANDC has developed a Management Control Framework (MCF) for the CFM Program (including the WWI Sub-Program). The MCF provides guidance to regional and Headquarters Staff in the overall management of the CFM Program and the Regions are expected to be in compliance with all aspects of the framework, which includes Sub-Program components, the annual planning process, delegated levels of authority and roles and responsibilities.
A key driver in the capital planning and resource allocation process for the CFM Program is the development of the First Nations Infrastructure Investment Plan (FNIIP). The FNIIP planning process is designed around three linked plans that feed into one-another: a First Nations community level plan, detailing infrastructure needs; a regional plan, planning out Program expenditures; and a national plan, that provides a strategic overview of First Nations infrastructure needs and CFM Program investment.
The National FNIIP is a five year plan, updated annually, summarizing all regional FNIIPs that have been developed in collaboration with First Nations communities. The National FNIIP identifies specific investments per Region, for all of the capital investment areas (e.g. housing, schools and water/wastewater) and identifies national trends in infrastructure investment and CFM program expenditures. At the regional level, specific FNIIPs are developed for WWI Sub-Program investments that incorporate investment opportunities identified by First Nations communities and the Regions prioritize the investment opportunities through the application of the National Priority Ranking Framework, in accordance with the Program’s MCF.
To demonstrate the success and achievements of the WWI Sub-Program, AANDC is currently drafting a Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Investment Report. This report is a follow up to the Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Investment Report: April 2006 – March 2010, which detailed investments and highlighted progress made between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2010. The new report being drafted is an update that outlines activities undertaken between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2012. The report summarizes AANDC’s capital investments for water and wastewater infrastructure, including funding for the operation and maintenance of systems, highlights the outcomes of recent inspections of water and wastewater systems, and identifies the path forward for AANDC’s support to First Nations.