Ecojustice Blog – Healthy communities Posted on November 5, 2014 (updated: March 17, 2015)

Clean water – for all Canadians

Devon PageLawyer
drinking water
image via Shutterstock

At Ecojustice we know that access to clean water is one of our most basic human needs.

But thanks to a patchwork of water laws, Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast can’t count on consistent water protections, even when industrial activities put our country’s freshwater resources at risk.

In Ontario, we helped stop Nestlé Canada Inc.’s plans to continue bottling large quantities of water for profit at high rates during periods of drought last year.

Our efforts in British Columbia however, haven’t been as successful. We learned last week our clients lost a case that argued industrial users should go through the more rigorous process of getting a water licence instead of relying on repeated short-term permits to withdraw large quantities of water. As a result, the oil and gas industry has what essentially amounts to a free pass to B.C.’s freshwater resources for fracking operations — and it’s all legal.

Just days before our clients’ case was heard, the B.C. government introduced a new water law that expressly legalizes the very practice our clients were challenging in court. It’s a move that further legitimizes the concerns they raised about industrial water withdrawals leaving people and the environment high and dry.

On the other side of the country, our team has been working hard to stand up for people in the rural community of Harrietsfield, Nova Scotia. There, groundwater contamination by industry has left our client Melissa King’s well water so laden with toxic chemicals that her two-year-old son has never had a bath at home.

Clearly Canada’s patchwork of water laws isn’t making the grade.

Simply put, Canada needs to do better when it comes to protecting people and the environment. We can start by adding the right to a healthy environment to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But Ecojustice and our partners at the David Suzuki Foundation can’t realize this vision without you. Will you help us spread the word about the right to healthy environment in your community?

Drinking water image via Shutterstock

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