Marc Miller, the federal Minister of Indigenous Services, has announced more than $1.5 billion in additional investments to accelerate work to lift all long-term drinking water advisories on First Nations reserves, and $114.1 million per year ongoing thereafter to support daily operations and maintenance for water infrastructure on reserves.

“In 2015, this government began working with First Nations communities to improve access to safe drinking water. We will not stop until all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves are lifted and all First Nations communities on reserves have reliable access to clean and safe drinking water now and into the future,” said Miller, adding that the announcement “makes tangible commitments to support stable and reliable infrastructure, in communities, and so for years to come.”

This funding will support First Nations in their work to provide reliable and secure access to clean water in their communities. It will also offer stable and long-term funding for the cost of operations and maintenance, an area that has been historically under-funded, to ensure the lasting impacts of these investments.

Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, announces investments to accelerate work to support improved drinking water infrastructure for First Nations communities.

To support daily operations and maintenance, and do so even after water advisories are lifted, the government is allocating $616.3 million over six years, and $114.1 million per year ongoing thereafter, to First Nations on reserves. This new investment will provide reliable and lasting funding to ensure water infrastructure can be maintained in good condition ensuring longer lifecycles and more durable systems. It will also mean problems with the water systems can be caught earlier and will help prevent future long-term drinking water advisories. This funding will also support training for water operators, and help communities to better retain qualified operators.

The investment also includes $553.4 million to continue funding water and wastewater infrastructure on reserve to prevent future drinking water advisories from occurring.

Additionally, $309.8 million will be allocated to support and accelerate on-going work to lift all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves by helping to respond to project delays including those due to COVID-19.

The Government of Canada will also work to support First Nations-led initiatives to create water and wastewater service delivery centres that can provide technical expertise on system maintenance and operations to multiple First Nations communities.

The federal government will continue to work in partnership with First Nations on long-term and sustainable solutions so that communities will continue to have access to safe drinking water.

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