Drinking Water Safety in First Nations Communities

Oct 22, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
700-828 W. 10 Ave., VGH Research Pavilion
Sylvia Struck

Access to safe and reliable drinking water is essential to individual and population health. Media often presents the challenges of drinking water in First Nations communities but progress is being made. In 2013, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) assumed the programs, services, and responsibilities formerly handled by Health Canada's First Nations Inuit Health Branch – Pacific Region. FNHA is the first province-wide health authority of its kind in Canada and is responsible for planning, management, service delivery and funding of health programs, in partnership with First Nations communities in BC. The Drinking Water Safety Program partners with First Nations communities to support monitoring of water quality for access to safe drinking water and to build capacity in communities. FNHA also collaborates with federal partners such as the Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), to resolve long-standing drinking water advisories (LTDWAs) in First Nations communities with a mandate to resolve all LTDWAs in First Nations communities across Canada by March of 2021. Since 2015, 27 LTDWAs have been lifted in community water systems serving First Nations in BC but there is still work to be done including expanding traditional service definitions.

Learning objectives:

  1. Have a better understanding of how the First Nations Health Authority supports drinking water safety in First Nations communities in British Columbia
  2. Understand the strengths and challenges of providing drinking water services in First Nations communities in British Columbia