Inadequate Access To Clean, Safe, Drinking Water in Canada's Indigenous Communities

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1325 Words
Date:  2022-10-26


Indigenous communities of Canada still experience inadequate access to clean and safe drinking water. Right to Water. Culturally, water is intricately associated with Canada's indigenous community's livelihood. It plays a significant ceremonial and customary role to the community's daily lives. Despite the fact that Canada has an abundance of water, the indigenous communities of Canada still continue to face challenges of water security which affects their access to clean and safe drinking water (Karen, 2007). The inadequate accessibility of clean and safe drinking water which is experience by Canada's indigenous community is due to long-standing or frequent water advisories, infrastructure that are obsolete or old, uneven and discrimination of water distribution across the indigenous communities, contamination of drinking water, and persistent government under-funding and illogical budgeting of costs related to water.

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In Canada, not all citizens share access to safe and clean drinking water. Canada's indigenous communities have over two decades faced water insecurity, hence calls from international community that the government has failed in providing a critical resourced to some of its citizens (David & Claudia, 2007). Unsanitary, and poor conditions of water have forced indigenous communities to alter their lifestyle in the way they clean, wash, and bath as well as when and how they consume water.

The ''United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights'' gives nations commitment in protecting, fulfilling, and respecting a broad range on human socio-economic rights. It is, therefore, critical to have safe drinking water as well as sanitation. The right of human beings to safe and clean water is a fundamental right to livelihood, health, and life. The imperatives of meeting basic human water needs are more than just moral, but too, they have rooted in law and justice as well as individual and Canada government responsibilities (Bradford & Lalita, 2016). Inadequate access to clean, safe, affordable, and sufficient water has a great devastating effect on the prosperity, dignity, and health of Canada's indigenous communities.

Right to Water content contains various information scopes. Water quality should have a minimum level that is sufficient for meeting human basic needs in terms of sanitation, cooking, cleaning, bathing, and drinking. Water quality also must be free and safe from any contamination (David. & Claudia, 2007). Safe and clean drinking water should not be contain anything that is likely to pose a health threat not only to human beings but also to other living creatures.

Clean and safe drinking water should be accessible to all people despite their status. Therefore, any charges made against water ought not to be so high in the sense that people drink contaminated water or go on sacrificing other human basic needs so that they can be able to afford safe and clean drinking water.

It is the duty of the government to ensure that all people including the indigenous community of Canada enjoy their human basic rights. For drinking water, the government has no obligation of denying anyone the accessibility to clean and safe drinking water (Bradford & Lalita, 2016). There is a need of establishing legislation that prohibits manufacturing companies from discharging untreated industrial wastes that pollute water. The government may be required to establish plants for water treatment or construct wells so that safe and clean drinking water may be provided to the people.

There has been unequal water distribution among the citizens of Canada. Canada has an abundance of water, but discrimination of water distribution still exists (Daphina. & Gupta, 2014). Ontario province shares Great Lakes and contains 18 per cent of fresh surface water of the world with the United States, but many of its indigenous communities are not safe to affordable, sufficient, clean, and safe drinking water which is a fundamental human right (Bradford & Lalita, 2016). Water distribution in many of Canada's indigenous communities is at risk due to faulty systems of treatment, hard to access, and contaminated. The Federal government regulates water supply and quality to the indigenous communities, but it does not have binding regulations to the provision of clean, safe, affordable, and accessible water to its indigenous communities.

As per Right of Water law, advisories of drinking water need to advice and alert indigenous communities supply of water is not safe and clean to drink. Contrast to this contemporary issue, in Canada, such advisories are much concentrated in the indigenous communities an indication of the broad systematic crisis which many of the indigenous communities face in their daily lives of accessing clean and safe water for their hygiene and drinking, which is a fundamental right which most of the other Canadians enjoy.

There has been persistent government under-funding and illogical budgeting of cost system related to water. Despite the Federal government devolving most of its social services to the indigenous communities, it still remains the major source of revenue for the communities (Bradford & Lalita, 2016). The leaders of the indigenous communities are accountable to their members for service provision including operating and owning wastewater systems, and water, but their leadership powers are controlled by the Federal government.

Except in few occasions, all capital costs, as well as a portion of maintenance and operation costs towards provision of clean and safe drinking water to the community, comes from the Federal government, hence it has jurisdiction over the leaders of indigenous communities (Karen, 2007). Despite the community's limited resources, funding for a portion of Canada's indigenous communities public wastewater and water systems by the government leaves a deficit of 20 per cent for the community to cover.

Therefore, Canada's indigenous community's faces persisted underfunding from the government, including an arbitrary cap of 20 years (Michael, 2012). According to the United Nations Rights of Water, imposing such capping level to indigenous communities of Canada is likely to slow down Canada's indigenous community's progression in the realization of their human Rights to Water.

My personal opinion is that there is a need to have equal water distribution to all citizens of Canada. There should be no any discrimination whosoever. The Government of Canada needs to invest in the failing infrastructure especially to the indigenous communities so that equitable distribution of clean and safe water to all citizens without any discrimination is achieved. It should establish an independent indigenous community commission to evaluate and monitor the performance of the government in relation to the provision of clean and safe drinking water. In its work, the established commission needs to take an account of the practices, laws, and customs of the indigenous communities. There is the need for the government to work closely with the community and promulgate enforceable regulations and legislation pertaining accessibility of clean and safe drinking water. In such, Canada government need to act in a manner which is consistency and in alignment with the Canadian Right of Water laws and international right of water laws.


In conclusion, the inadequate accessibility of clean and safe drinking water which is experienced by Canada's indigenous community due to long-standing or frequent water advisories, infrastructure that are obsolete or old, uneven and discrimination of water distribution across the indigenous communities, contamination of drinking water, and persistent government under-funding and illogical budgeting of costs related to water, can be overcome by Federal government through establishing legislation that would ensure that international standards of Right to Water are implemented.


Bakker, Karen. (2007). Eau Canada: The future of Canada's water. Burrard Peninsula, Vancouver: UBC Press.

Lori, Bradford., Bharadwaj, Lalita. (2016). First Nations Water and Health: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 75(1), 1-16.Retrieved from

Grey, David. & Sadoff, Claudia. (2007). Sink or swim? Water security for growth and development. Water Policy, Vol 9, 545- Retrieved from HYPERLINK ""

Mascarenhas, Michael. (2012). Where the Waters Divide: Neoliberalism, White Privilege, and Environmental Racism in Canada. Landham, Maryland: Lexington Books.

Misiedjan, Daphina. & Gupta, Joyeeta. 2014. Indigenous communities: Analyzing their right to water under different international legal regimes. London, Abingdon: Routledge.

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Inadequate Access To Clean, Safe, Drinking Water in Canada's Indigenous Communities. (2022, Oct 26). Retrieved from

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