Safe drinking water for First Nations legislation: First Nations-led engagement 2019

From Indigenous Services Canada

Current status: Closed

The engagement closed in July 2019.

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All Canadians should have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water.

This new First Nations-led engagement process, facilitated by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) with the support of Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), will provide the opportunity to co-develop options to address First Nations concerns regarding the 2013 Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act. The Chiefs-in-Assembly have mandated the AFN to seek co-developed legislation for 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 advance options to address their concerns on the 2013 act, including the possibility of repealing and replacing the act as one of those options.

This AFN-led engagement process is independent from previous engagement sessions, including sessions that took place early in 2017.

All First Nations are invited to share views and identify priorities going forward regarding innovative and long-term First Nations-led solutions to safe drinking water and wastewater treatment and source-water protection challenges on First Nations lands.


The AFN will lead engagement sessions with First Nations.

ISC will:


First Nations on reserves are the only Canadian jurisdictions without regulations supporting the provision of safe drinking water and wastewater and the protection of source water.

To address this issue, the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act came into force November 1, 2013. The act allowed for the development of federal regulations to ensure access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water and effective treatment of wastewater on First Nation lands.

In its current form, however, the 2013 act presents challenges and concerns to First Nations.

The Government of Canada is committed to working in full partnership with First Nations to address their concerns with the 2013 act.

This engagement process will help find long-term, First Nations-led solutions to ensure safe drinking water for residents of First Nations communities.

A joint working group on safe drinking water for First Nations, formed of First Nations and Government of Canada representatives is being established to:

The working group's framework will then be further considered by First Nations and the Government of Canada.

How to participate

There are 3 ways to participate:

  1. attend a First Nations-led regional meeting organized by the AFN for First Nations representative organizations, First Nations technical groups and First Nations communities
  2. send your comments and suggestions by e-mail to
  3. send comments and suggestions by mail to the address in the Contact us section below

ISC will also facilitate engagement sessions upon request and all material will be reviewed by the joint working group.

When and where

The AFN is leading engagement with First Nations. ISC will seek to engage directly with modern treaty and self-governing groups and involve provinces and territories. ISC will also facilitate additional engagement sessions upon request.

What we heard

Summaries of any meetings hosted by ISC will be posted as they are available to provide full transparency.

Related information

Contact us

Indigenous Services Canada
10 rue Wellington
Gatineau QC K1A 0H4

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