First Nations

First Nations Zone

Photo of First Nations participants working on equipment at a course in Dryden

Many First Nations communities in Ontario choose to follow provincial training and certification requirements, and participate in Ontario’s Operator Certification and Training Program.

The Walkerton Clean Water Centre (WCWC) is committed to supporting First Nations drinking water systems in Ontario. Established in 2004, the Centre provides a state-of-the-art facility and highly skilled research and training staff to meet the specific needs of drinking water operators in Ontario, including operators in First Nations communities.

Read the WCWC Land Acknowledgement.

Operator Certification and Training

Keewaytinook Okimakanak/Northern Chiefs Council (KO) and the Walkerton Clean Water Centre (WCWC) have entered into a partnership to collaborate on projects that support drinking water operator training, certification and mentorship to First Nations communities in Ontario. Read the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – KO, WCWC.

Logo of Keewaytinook Okimakanak with link to their site

Entry-Level Course for Drinking Water Operators

The Entry-Level Course for Drinking Water Operators (ELC) is being offered to operators of First Nations systems to help meet their training needs. For more information, read the ELC Introduction Letter to Tribal Councils in Ontario – September 2017.

The ELC for First Nations provides operators with a basic understanding of:

  • water characteristics and public health,
  • water science and mathematics,
  • treatment and distribution systems.

Find out more about course content and requirements at A Guide to Drinking Water and Wastewater Operator Certification for First Nations.

How it works

ELC is delivered over a two-week period:

  • Week 1 is a facilitated self-study with face-to-face instructor support
  • Week 2 includes classroom instruction and a hands-on component delivered by two instructors

The course is available to current operators in First Nations communities as well as others in the community who have an interest in becoming a drinking water operator.

Registration for ELC for First Nations is free of charge and course participants’ travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed based on the Ontario Government Travel Directive.

Upcoming ELC for First Nations sessions

Registration Form
Week 1 – May 6 – 10, 2024
Week 2 – June 10 – 14, 2024

Registration Form
Week 1 – May 13 – 17, 2024
Week 2 – June 17 – 21, 2024

Sioux Lookout
Registration Form
Week 1 – November 4 – 8, 2024
Week 2 – November 25 – 29, 2024

For updates or to submit registration forms, please email
We are currently working on 2024 ELC dates and will be posting them soon!

Need a different date?

Participants are also welcome to participate in Entry-Level courses scheduled throughout the Province.

  • Funding, travel and accommodation for the course will still be covered for First Nations participants.
  • The self-study week would not be available for these courses but the Centre would provide assistance to the participants when needed.
  • If there is a specific course you would like to register for, please contact us directly by email at

More information about regularly scheduled ELC courses can be found at Entry-Level Course for Drinking Water Operators schedule.

Managing Drinking Water Systems in First Nations Communities Course

The Managing Drinking Water Systems in First Nations Communities (MWFNC) course is designed as an introduction to management practices related to the drinking water systems in First Nations communities. The course:

  • provides a high-level overview of drinking water systems,
  • explores components of effective drinking water system management,
  • provides resources and practical tools for consideration in developing or making improvements to current practices.

How it works

This course is designed for First Nations Chief and Council, managers and supervisors who have operational responsibility for drinking water systems.

There is no cost for this course for people living in the Province of Ontario.

Upcoming MWFNC courses

Dryden – May 23, 2024
MWFNC Dryden Registration Form 2024

Kenora – May 30, 2024
MWFNC Kenora Registration Form 2024

Strathroy – June 14, 2024
MWFNC Strathroy Registration Form 2024

Sioux Lookout – September 19, 2024
MWFNC Sioux Lookout Registration Form 2024

Virtual – September 25-26, 2024
MWFNC Virtual Registration Form 2024

Virtual – December 3-4, 2024
MWFNC Virtual Registration Form 2024

To schedule the MWFNC course specifically for your community or Tribal Council, please email or 1-866-515-0550.

Photo of participants working on computers at a First Nations course.


We are committed to provide the highest quality training experience from course content through to highly qualified instructors. Visit our training page for more information.

Drinking Water Resource Library

WCWC’s online resource library offers information on emerging and current issues, First Nations resources, regulations and much more.

Pilot Testing

WCWC’s pilot testing service gives owners and operators the opportunity to obtain site specific information on different treatment options for addressing water quality challenges.

Additional Information

For information on the operator certification program and how to obtain a certificate, visit the Ontario Water Wastewater Certification Office (OWWCO) at

For communities with small drinking water systems, visit our website’s Small Systems Zone for training and resources related to small systems.

WCWC Support Services


WCWC offers a Helpline service for Ontario’s owners, operators, and operating authorities of drinking water systems and members of the public. Through this initiative, WCWC provides information, education, and advice to address questions related to drinking water. This includes treatment processes, equipment, operational requirements, and environmental factors.

WCWC has a considerable amount of technical knowledge to offer and will strive to provide you with tailored information relating to your query.

Call the Helpline toll free at 1-855-306-1155 or email

Online Resource Library

WCWC is pleased to offer an online service, the Drinking Water Resource Library (DWRL). The DWRL was developed to provide easy access to trusted resources related to drinking water. The library includes a catalogue of documents, videos, and fact sheets. It features multiple search functions to make researching information easy. Access the DWRL at Drinking Water Resource Library .