Repeal of the 2013 Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act

Repeal of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act and work to co-develop proposed new legislation

The Government of Canada is committed to working in full partnership with First Nations to improve access to safe drinking water in their communities and to support First Nations to independently deliver water services in their communities. Canada's commitment includes ongoing work with First Nation partners to address their interests related to the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, which came into effect in 2013.

As part of the Safe Drinking Water Class Action Settlement Agreement, the Government of Canada committed to making all reasonable efforts to introduce legislation to repeal the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act by March 31, 2022 and to develop and introduce replacement legislation, in consultation with First Nations, by December 31, 2022.

On April 28, 2022, the proposed repeal of the Act was introduced in Parliament as a related measure in Budget Implementation Act, No. 1. The Bill received royal assent on June 23, 2022, formally repealing the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act.

To replace the repealed Act, the Government of Canada is engaging with First Nations to co-develop the new proposed First Nations water legislation.

Why water on First Nations land is important

Everyone in Canada should have access to safe, clean, and reliable drinking water. Ensuring lasting drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nations communities requires a modern and effective regulatory regime.

The Government of Canada has a Protocol for Centralised Drinking Water Systems in First Nations Communities, which sets out clear standards for the design, operation and maintenance of drinking water systems; as well as other protocols and guidelines to support First Nations in providing community water and wastewater services comparable to the levels of service that would generally be available in off-reserve communities of similar size and circumstances.

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