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 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.
The Assembly of First Nations is working with Indigenous Services Canada on a Joint Working Group to develop a Draft Framework to support the replacement of the SDWFNA by the end of 2022.