It’s no secret that water is a necessity in life. From consuming water each day, to washing our hands, to bathing, and much more – water is essential.

Why is it, then, that many of our Indigenous communities in Canada continue to only have water that isn’t safe for consumption or bathing? The Indigenous people in these communities have turned to boiling water or bringing in water from elsewhere since this issue began. This water problem has been ongoing for years, and it’s time that something changes. In many cases, people’s health is being negatively impacted. The Indigenous people deserve better.

Many politicians on the Municipal, Provincial, and Federal levels have promised over the years to ensure that this water crisis is resolved – and while some action has been taken, the progress is much too slow. In a country as well established and as well off as Canada, no resident should go without clean water.

As tensions have grown and this issue has gone years without an end in sight, Indigenous leaders (Including Tataskweyak Cree Nation in Manitoba, the Curve Lake First Nation, and Neskantaga First Nation in Ontario) initiated a class-action lawsuit towards the Federal Government of Canada. Earlier in 2021, the Federal Government came to an almost $8-Billion-dollar settlement with those that launched the lawsuit.

While water advisories have been lifted in several communities over the years, there are still many that continue to have them. According to the Government of Canada’s website, there are still 43 long-term drinking water advisories in effect in 31 communities (as of October 25, 2021).

With mounting pressure, it is clear that Indigenous communities are stressing to politicians that this is not something to be left on the back burner. This affects the day-to-day lives of so many people in Canada and deserves to be a top priority.

An issue as simple as providing clean water to Canadians shouldn’t have to result in a lawsuit just for the powerful people in this country to enact solutions, but it has unfortunately come to that.

Time will tell if the government makes good on their promises to get this issue resolved, as they have spoken about time and time again. Actions speak louder than words, and this water crisis needs action as soon as possible. All Canadians deserve clean, useable water.

For more information about the ongoing water crisis, please visit the following resources:

Article by Heather Gunn