Water is regarded as the most valuable life-sustaining substance; being as abundant as it is, one would think a larger effort would be made to provide safe drinking water to all Canadian citizens.

Hundreds of indigenous communities have been affected by water advisories over the last few decades. A single water advisory means unsafe drinking water for over 5,000 individuals living in indigenous communities. Unsafe drinking water creates many health, economic, and mental health issues.

From the Council of Canadians website, it is revealed that in 2015, the Trudeau administration committed themselves towards removing all water advisories from indigenous communities across the country. “During the 2015 election campaign, Trudeau promised to end all long-term boil-water advisories within five years … the Liberals chose March 2021 as their deadline. However, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller conceded that the government would not meet it,” said Atanu Sarkar, professor and author. In 2021, water advisories continue to be implemented, and an average of thirty indigenous communities are said to have a water advisory implemented in their communities at all times. The reason the Canadian government was not able to meet this deadline was due to them not committing themselves towards funding their corrective effort. If the Canadian government acknowledged these water advisories as a larger issue, surely the government would have allocated more money towards resolving it.

“It’s clear the government is aware of this ongoing matter, so why have they not taken greater strides to rectify the issue?”

Not all issues caused by unsafe tap water are limited to health issues. Many struggle with the problem due to economic issues. “I had to drink water at $1.25 a bottle and I needed four [bottles] a day … well, I couldn’t get fresh or clean water – I couldn’t afford to buy four bottles of water a day just for me,” said an unnamed woman living within a Canadian indigenous community. Many individuals have resorted to drinking Pepsi or other unhealthy beverages, due to the cheaper price of pop over water. 17% of people living in indigenous communities are living with diabetes, and a large contributor to this statistic is water costing more than beverages with higher levels of sugar. By doing so little to resolve the ongoing issue of unsafe drinking water, the Canadian government is indirectly responsible for the large number of indigenous people effected by diabetes; this in turn causes more costly problems down the road for the health care system.

It’s clear the government is aware of this ongoing matter, so why have they not taken greater strides to rectify the issue? Though it has also been recently made clear that Justin Trudeau does not truly care about the issues indigenous people face. “Justin Trudeau, has said it was a mistake to take his family on holiday on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.” It’s likely Justin Trudeau recognizes the issue but not the severity of it. The Canadian government and Justin Trudeau have the resources to completely remove the water advisories placed upon Canadian indigenous communities; meaning, resolving the issue is a matter of wanting to. Would this issue be of higher priority if it were to take place in primarily Caucasian populated neighborhoods? Indigenous individuals are no less deserving of safe drinking water than those of other racial backgrounds.

After understanding the severity of this “water crisis,” it’s clear that a larger effort should be made by the Canadian government to provide safer water to all its citizens. Solving the issue of unsafe drinking water means solving many other issues within indigenous communities.