Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act

This Act allows the Government of Canada and First Nations to develop federal regulations to ensure clean water.

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Planned repeal and replacement of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act

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.

As part of the Safe Drinking Water Class Action Settlement Agreement, the Government of Canada is 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.

Access to safe drinking water on First Nations land

Ensuring First Nations communities have access to safe and effective water and wastewater systems on First Nations lands is a priority for the Government of Canada.

The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act came into effect in 2013. The Act allows the Government of Canada, in collaboration with First Nations, to develop federal regulations to ensure access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water and the effective treatment of wastewater.

Why water regulations on First Nations land are important

All Canadians should have access to safe, clean, and reliable drinking water. While provinces and territories have their own legally binding safe drinking water standards, First Nations communities do not have comparable legally enforceable protections. The Government of Canada has a Protocol for Safe Drinking Water for 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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