The Canadian federal government has increased the number of indigenous public drinking water systems earmarked for an upgrade
On Jan. 23, the Canadian federal government’s Indigenous Affairs department announced the addition of 250 public drinking water systems to the number of First Nation drinking water systems the government oversees, which now totals 1,047. There are 91 systems with long-term drinking water advisories and 21 communities at risk of joining this list.
This announcement is part of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge to eradicate all drinking water advisories in First Nations communities by March 2021. With the ever-expanding list of compromised drinking water systems, critics worry his administration will not be able to meet this pledge. Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott, however, remains optimistic.
“We decided to expand the scope and make sure that anything that was reasonably considered a public system on reserve, that we should obviously be prepared to support,” said Philpott. “Funding will not be an issue to achieve that target,” she added.