Background: Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act
This Act enables the Federal Government to develop enforceable regulations that ensure First Nations have access to clean, safe, and reliable drinking water, effective treatment of wastewater, and the protection of source water on First Nation lands. In 2013, the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act (SDWFNA) came into force despite objections from First Nations across Canada for lack of meaningful engagement and consultation with First Nations, as well as insufficient resources to enable First Nations to comply or implement the regulations.
Through the direction of the Chiefs-in-Assembly, a First Nations-led Engagement Process for Safe Drinking Water Legislation was mandated following extensive advocacy for the repeal and replacement of the SDWFNA. As part of its commitment to fulfilling the mandate of the Chiefs-in-Assembly, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) facilitated regionally-led engagements sessions on important components of new legislation. These sessions were held in the summer of 2019 across Canada.
To view the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, click here.
Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Regional Engagement: First Nations Water Law Reform March 2019
A National Engagement process has been initiated to seek First Nation thoughts, insights, views, and aspiration for the future of First Nations water law. The existing Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act denies the fundamental responsibilities of the Crown and First Nations’ individual and collective rights. It was created by the federal government without meaningful consultation and supplies no monetary or practical resources to actually provide clean drinking water and sanitation. Long-decried inequities continue to grow and sustainable clean water for healthy communities continues to be out of reach for many. New challenges, particularly climate change and strain on source water from expanding resource development and new forms of contamination make our water future uncertain.
Technical Bulletin: First Nations Led Process for New Safe Drinking Water and Wastewater Legislation July 2018
This bulletin provides an update from the Assembly of First Nations on the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act and the current First Nations led process to co-develop new drinking water legislation.
Concept Paper on the Process to Develop a New Federal Bill on Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Phare Law Corporation, 2018
The Assembly of First Nations Resolution 76/2015 calls for the federal government to immediately repeal the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act and to develop, in partnership with First Nations, appropriate outcomes for the provision of safe drinking water that are respectful of First Nations rights including the identification of necessary funds for capital investments, operations and maintenance funding, personnel, and training for all First Nations communities, to improve the state of First nations water systems while a new legislative framework is in development.