Supporting long-term sustainability and building local capacity in First Nations communities

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Supporting long-term sustainability and building local capacity in First Nations communities

The Walkerton Clean Water Centre (WCWC) is proud to announce work will begin on a new project focused on collaborating with First Nations communities to strengthen and improve how drinking water services are delivered to better support the needs of First Nations communities.

“Our government is taking action to help strengthen and improve how services are delivered to build capacity and support First Nations drinking water systems and their operators, management and leadership in Ontario,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “It is only by working together that we will discover better ways to continue supporting the well-being of First Nations communities and their access to clean, safe drinking water now and for generations to come.”

With support from the Ontario government, this project will explore the need to develop new mechanisms and improve existing drinking water services and supports for First Nation communities, including:

  • pilot testing projects to assess treatment options for addressing water quality challenges faced in First Nations communities
  • drinking water training
  • individualized operator training plans
  • drinking water resource library, a digital repository of drinking water related knowledge
  • more support for drinking water related inquiries from First Nations communities

The first stage of this project will involve:

  • partnering with First Nations to organize and complete Voice of Customer sessions involving community representatives, which will help identify and better understand the diverse drinking water needs of First Nations communities
  • analyze gaps and identify areas for improvement
  • determine priorities for provincial services and service delivery

The goal of this project is to improve awareness and accessibility of existing services and, as necessary, develop new, more effective approaches to providing First Nations communities across Ontario with the tools they need to support the resolution of long-term drinking water advisories, build local capacity, and promote sustainable water management and infrastructure solutions on reserve.

“By working directly with Indigenous partners to strengthen water service delivery, we are ensuring better health outcomes for First Nations communities across the province,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Developing custom operator training plans will give individuals the tools they need to improve water systems and will improve the safety of community members.”

Did you know?

  • Since 2016 the WCWC has been providing First Nations communities with training and services.
  • As of March 31, 2023, WCWC has trained 211 First Nation operators to Ontario’s standards with the Entry-Level Course, so they can pursue their Class I drinking water operator certification. WCWC has also trained 164 Chiefs and band councilors, managers and supervisors on their responsibilities in managing those systems.
  • The WCWC’s services to date have helped build capacity and sustainability in First Nations drinking water systems and have been positively received by First Nation participants and communities who have identified a desire to see this relationship continue.
  • Despite the efforts of the province and the work that WCWC has undertaken to date, there are still areas of support required. This project aims to bridge some of these gaps. The WCWC have a proven track record of successfully working with First Nations communities on drinking water issues.

Please stay tuned for details about the upcoming Voice of Customer sessions.

Questions may be directed to: