Ending long-term drinking water advisories
Everyone in Canada should have access to safe, clean drinking water. The Government of Canada is working with First Nations communities to achieve clean drinking water on reserves.
Recently lifted long-term drinking water advisories
Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation
as of December 1, 2022
The long-term drinking water advisory affecting Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation's Public Water System, in Ontario, has been lifted effective December 1, 2022. The advisory affected 95 homes and 7 community buildings. Upgrades to the plant, including the installation of a new back-up power system and high volume pump, have been completed. ISC is currently working with the First Nation to advance the design stage of their project to address the long-term water needs of the community.
Sachigo Lake First Nation
as of October 12, 2022
The long-term drinking water advisory affecting Sachigo Lake First Nation's Public Water System in Ontario was lifted on October 12, 2022. An upgrade to the community's water treatment system and expansion of the wastewater lagoon has been completed. The water quality meets safe drinking water requirements. Operational support is provided through the ISC-funded Hub delivered by Windigo Tribal Council.
Recently added long-term drinking water advisories
Lac La Croix First Nation
as of January 5, 2023
The drinking water advisory affecting Lac La Croix First Nation's public water system, in Ontario, became long-term on January 5, 2023, as it has been in effect for more than 12 months. Repairs to the system have been completed and the plant is operational. However, low chlorine levels in the distribution system are being experienced. The ISC-funded Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Advisory Services Water and Wastewater Hub and the Giishkaandago’Ikwe Health Services Environmental Public Health Officer continue to provide support to the local water operator to address the issue.
Fort Severn First Nation
as of December 29, 2022
The drinking water advisory affecting Fort Severn First Nation's public drinking water system, in Ontario, became long-term on December 29, 2022, as it has been in effect for more than 12 months. The advisory is in place due to issues with the raw water reservoir and affects 110 homes and 6 community buildings. ISC is supporting the First Nation and the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Water and Wastewater Hub to address the issues and interim repairs are underway. ISC is also supporting the First Nation on a project to upgrade the treatment system to address the long-term water needs of the community. Construction of this project is set to begin in spring 2023.
Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
as of December 14, 2022
The drinking water advisory affecting Chippewas of the Thames First Nation's public water system, in Ontario, became long-term on December 14, 2022, as it has been in effect for more than 12 months. The advisory affects 365 homes and 20 community buildings and is in place because water production cannot meet the current demand. ISC is working in collaboration with the First Nation to implement their action plan to address the long-term drinking water advisory. A bottling station to mitigate the need for bottled water is now under construction. Repairs to the distribution system to address any leaks are complete. A feasibility study is currently underway to assess options to meet the community's long-term drinking water needs.
Long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves as of January 5, 2023
137 long-term drinking water advisories lifted since November 2015.
33 long-term drinking water advisories are in effect in 29 communities.
- 2023: 1 long-term drinking water advisory added and 0 lifted
- 2022: 7 long-term drinking water advisories added and 11 lifted
- 2021: 7 long-term drinking water advisories added and 28 lifted
- 2020: 13 long-term drinking water advisories added and 11 lifted
- 2019: 6 long-term drinking water advisories added and 9 lifted
- 2018: 10 long-term drinking water advisories added and 38 lifted
- 2017: 13 long-term drinking water advisories added and 19 lifted
- 2016: 10 long-term drinking water advisories added and 17 lifted
- 2015: 3 long-term drinking water advisories added and 4 lifted
Progress on lifting long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves as of January 5, 2023
- 81% advisory lifted
- 9% project to address advisory complete, lift pending
- 7% project to address advisory under construction
- 2% project to address advisory in design phase
- 1% feasibility study being conducted to address advisory
Ensuring sustainable access to safe drinking water
Ending a long-term drinking water advisory is a complex process and requires collaboration between First Nations communities and the Government of Canada. Actions to resolve a water or wastewater issue can include:
- feasibility studies
- new system design work
- interim repairs on existing systems
- permanent repairs to existing infrastructure
- construction of new infrastructure
- improved training and monitoring
Initiatives are underway in each community to address the remaining long-term drinking water advisories. The decision to lift a long-term drinking water advisory lies with a community's chief and council, based on recommendations from environmental public health officers.
There are different types of drinking water advisories in First Nations communities. To learn more about why and when they are issued, visit About drinking water advisories.
Eliminating long-term drinking water advisories is just 1 part of ensuring First Nations communities have reliable access to safe drinking water:
- Investing in water and wastewater infrastructure
- Keeping water systems running and properly staffed
- Supporting First Nations' control of water delivery
The timeline of every water and wastewater infrastructure project differs. For example, completion of a new water treatment system can take 3 to 4 years to complete. See the Life-cycle of a First Nations community infrastructure project.
In addition to resolving long-term drinking water advisories, work is also underway to support community infrastructure projects on reserve to build a sustainable foundation and increase reliable access to clean drinking water for generations to come.