Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Feb. 4, 2019, in Ottawa.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the “enormously complicated” effort to end all drinking-water advisories in First Nations communities isn’t being held back by a shortage of money.

In response to a university student’s question Thursday in Guelph, Ont., Morneau acknowledged that fulfilling the Liberals’ 2015 campaign pledge has been a big challenge and won’t be finished quickly.

“The idea that we have places in this country that don’t have access to clean drinking water is just unacceptable in 21st-century Canada,” Morneau said at the University of Guelph after being asked if he had considered diverting more money into the program.

Story continues below advertisement

“This is not something that we’ve looked at from a constrained-funding approach. Every dollar that we need to spend in this to get it done we are spending. This has been a long-term challenge — and the challenge is not only putting the money in to actually get the (water) systems up and running, but it’s the ongoing maintenance.”

The Liberals have vowed to see all long-term water advisories on reserves lifted by March 2021 — and they have committed about $2 billion over several years towards investments like water and wastewater infrastructure to get there.

The federal government says 78 advisories about potentially tainted water have been lifted since the Liberals took office in November 2015, but 62 remain in place.

Morneau said that beyond building new treatment systems and replacing old ones, the effort faces obstacles such as technician training, geography and climate-related issues like flooding.

“It’s an enormously complicated challenge because it’s not only about the investments, it’s about the human talent, the people there to maintain it,” he said. “So, we’re not only funding that investment. And we’ve been very successful in getting many of these boil-water advisories taken off, but there’s been some that have come back on because of that challenge.”

In a December 2017 report, the parliamentary budget officer estimated it would cost the Liberal government at least $3.2 billion to make good on its promise to eliminate on-reserve water advisories.

The budget watchdog’s estimate includes $1.2 billion to upgrade existing water and wastewater systems so that they meet safety standards. The other $2 billion, it said, will be needed to replace systems as they age and to meet the needs of growing populations on reserves.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies