Government of Canada launches consultations on new Canada Water Agency
December 20, 2020
Canadians want cleaner air; cleaner water; and good, secure jobs when we emerge from the pandemic. There is no resource more essential to Canadians and the Canadian economy than clean, reliable fresh water.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced the launch of public consultations to help establish the new Canada Water Agency and improve freshwater management across Canada.
Water challenges such as droughts, floods, and deteriorating water quality are intensifying, due in large part to climate change. Canadians are seeing these costly impacts first-hand in their communities, across the country. That’s why the Government of Canada is establishing the Canada Water Agency to find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean, and well managed. The Canada Water Agency will be established in close collaboration with provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, and other partners.
The discussion paper launched today seeks Canadians’ input to help identify freshwater priorities for the federal government and build on the federal government’s existing activities to enhance freshwater management, while avoiding duplication and respecting areas of provincial and territorial jurisdiction. The Government of Canada will host a virtual national freshwater policy forum in January and a series of regional forums in February to provide further opportunities for Canadians to participate in discussion-paper consultations.
“Canadians want a future with cleaner air and cleaner water for their children and grandchildren. Establishing the Canada Water Agency will help to identify, better coordinate, and address various issues relating to freshwater in Canada. It’s an important part of Canada’s plan to build a cleaner, stronger, more resilient economy, with good, secure jobs now and into the future. I encourage all Canadians to take part in these consultations to help shape the Canada Water Agency.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Canadians know the importance of protecting our natural bounty of lakes, rivers, and other freshwater systems. Farmers need a reliable supply of quality fresh water to produce high-quality food for our country and for export around the world. This agency will be designed to complement and work in collaboration with initiatives already underway at the provincial, territorial, and local levels. We encourage Canadians and agricultural stakeholders to make their voices heard as part of these important consultations.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Through the Canada Water Agency, our government is looking to strengthen collaboration between the federal government, the provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, and other partners to find the best ways to safeguard our freshwater resources for generations to come. Robust consultations are an important part of this process, and I look forward to the input from Canadians.”
– Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency)
Canada is home to a fifth of the world’s freshwater resources, and Canadians rank water as the country’s most important resource.
The Great Lakes region alone supports 51 million jobs or nearly 30 percent of the combined American and Canadian workforces, and one in four Canadians draw their drinking water directly from the Great Lakes.
Freshwater issues affect Inuit, First Nations, and Métis communities, and water plays a central role in their well-being and cultural practices.
The Government of Canada reiterated its commitment to creating the Canada Water Agency in the Speech from the Throne and is now delivering on that important promise.