Ecojustice Blog – Healthy communities Posted on October 5, 2010 (updated: April 2, 2015)

Walkerton 10 years later: Rural areas and First Nations remain at risk

Kimberly Shearon headshotKimberly ShearonStaff

Ten year’s after the drinking water tragedy in Walkerton, Ontario, Ecojustice and FLOW have released a report on the safety of drinking water in Canada. Canadians remain at risk of waterborne disease outbreaks as a growing divide emerges when it comes to access to safe drinking water in our country and those that do not.

Seeking Water Justice: Strengthening Legal Protection for Canada’s Drinking Water, reveals a two tiered system of drinking water management in Canada where urban centres benefit from better standards, technology and personnel while rural and First Nations communities remain at risk from poor infrastructure, patchwork provincial laws, and a lack of binding drinking water standards from the federal government – a gap water safety that Ecojustice has been highlighting for close to a decade.

– Latest available data shows that 1776 drinking water advisories are in place in Canada.

– As of April 30th, 116 First nations communities were under Drinking Water Advisory for risk of waterborne contaminants

– 20%-40% of all rural wells have coliform or nitrate concentrations in excess of drinking water guidelines, threatening citizens with illness or even in severe cases, death.

– Less than half of Canadian provinces and territories require “advanced” treatment of surface water, which is standard practice in the European Union and the United States.

The report builds on Ecojustice’s work at the Walkerton Commission, as well as on our leading series of National Drinking Water Report cards. Ecojustice is continuing to advocate for national, legally binding standards that will ensure safe drinking water for all Canadians whether urban, rural or First Nations.

Build the case for a better earth

Thanks to the support of people like you, Ecojustice goes to court to protect what we value most — the air, land and water that sustains all life. Make your gift today and support bold litigation for a brighter environmental future.

Join our newsletter

Get updates on the most pressing environmental issues delivered straight to your inbox.

Join our online community

Follow us on social media