As part of its goal to end long-term boil water advisories for First Nations reserves, the federal government has added nearly 250 more drinking water systems to its list of those eligible for public monies, meaning it will have to address many more advisories than it originally intended.
In the past federal election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to end all such advisories by March 2021 to finally deliver clean drinking water for all First Nations peoples.
While progress has been made in the first two years of government, the list of long-term advisories still stands at 67 — a number that increased to 91 on Tuesday as a result of the new systems receiving federal supports.
These systems are ones that are considered “public” — in that they operate at fire halls, community or healing centres and other such buildings on reserve — but weren’t previously see as the domain of the federal government.
Thus, a total of 1,047 drinking water systems will now eligible for supports from Indigenous Services Canada, the five-month old department created by the government to better provide services to First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples.