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Harper Government Announces Major Investment in First Nation Water and Wastewater Systems

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/13/13 -- The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, announced today the Harper Government's plan for new investments in First Nation water and wastewater systems on reserve.

"Our Government is committed to addressing water and wastewater issues on reserve to ensure that First Nations communities have access to safe drinking water," said Minister Duncan. "That is why we are taking concrete action to support First Nations in operating their water and wastewater systems on reserve."

The Harper Government will invest $330.8 million over two years to sustain progress made to build and renovate water and wastewater infrastructure on reserve and to support the development of a long-term strategy to improve water quality in First Nation communities. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) will prioritize capital investments to target high and medium risk systems, in over 50 First Nation communities, including Canoe Lake, Saskatchewan; Tallcree First Nation, Alberta; and Nazko First Nation in British Columbia.

Year one of this funding will be allocated by AANDC in 2012-2013 in three areas of planned expenditures: $47.7 million for operations and maintenance, $32.1 million for training for First Nations and $47.3 million for capital investments. Health Canada will support First Nations with an investment of $27.4 million each year to build capacity, enhance drinking water quality monitoring, maintain a national wastewater program, increase public awareness and review project proposals from a public health perspective. Chiefs and Councils will continue to be responsible for public health measures, such as issuing drinking water advisories in the affected communities, communicating the information to residents and addressing drinking water quality problems.

"All First Nation communities now have access to trained personnel who can monitor their drinking water or test water quality at the tap," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. "This provides First Nation residents with the information they need to make informed decisions about their health."

This investment builds on the approximately $197.5 million the Harper Government invests annually for water and wastewater programs in First Nation communities.

Between 2006 and 2014, the Harper Government will have invested approximately $3 billion across the country to support First Nation communities in managing their water and wastewater infrastructure and in related public-health activities.

Backgrounder: Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012: Investing in First Nations On-Reserve Water and Wastewater

This news release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.

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Contacts:
Minister's Office
Jan O'Driscoll
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable John Duncan
819-997-0002

Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
819-953-1160

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