Skilled water and wastewater operators are essential to ensuring long-term access to safe drinking water in First Nations communities. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting First Nations as they implement sustainable solutions that address the need for skilled operators in ways that best suit their communities.
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, launched a call for proposals for projects that address the retention, recruitment, and availability of water and wastewater operators working on reserve.
Applicants are invited to submit proposals that will address community-based, regional, or national issues related to building water and wastewater operator capacity in First Nations communities. Proposals delivered or offered by Indigenous communities, Indigenous organizations, or in partnership with Indigenous peoples will be prioritized. Projects that are selected will receive up to $500,000 in funding to support new or expanded capacity building initiatives.
The call for proposals is open until April 25, 2022. For details on how to apply, visit Capacity building for water and wastewater operators.
Indigenous Services Canada supports various capacity building initiatives for water and wastewater operators through investments of approximately $20 million annually. This includes more than $12 million per year for the Circuit Rider Training Program.
Since 2016, the Government of Canada has committed over $5.2 billion to building and repairing water and wastewater infrastructure, and to supporting effective management and maintenance of water and wastewater systems on reserve. Operations and maintenance funding allocations have increased to provide 100% of formula funding for water and wastewater assets, up from 80%. Future funding allocations will also include adjustments for annual inflation and any new assets constructed.
“Our government remains committed to improving access to clean drinking water for First Nations communities. For many of these communities in need of long-term solutions for reliable access to safe, clean water, the availability and retention of a trained water and wastewater operator plays an important part in addressing that challenge. Proposals funded through this initiative will help to address some of these barriers and support First Nations in creating and sustaining a qualified workforce of operators.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
- This call for proposals is prioritizing projects delivered or offered by Indigenous communities, Indigenous organizations, or in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.
- Funding will be awarded to initiatives that present projects, tools, studies, and/or strategies that will be used to broadly benefit water and wastewater operators in First Nations communities on reserve.
- Additional consideration will be given to proposals that target First Nations communities with either drinking water advisories and/or high-risk systems.
- This call for proposals is providing up to $500,000 per project in funding to support new or expanded capacity building initiatives on reserve. Projects can last up to two years.
- All proposals must be received electronically before 11:59 pm ET on April 25, 2022, or be postmarked April 25, 2022.
- With the increases made as part of Budget 2019 and the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, over $400 million per year in permanent funding will be provided to First Nations across the country for operations and maintenance of water and wastewater assets by 2025-2026, up from $109 million in 2018-2019.
- ISC has increased operations and maintenance funding allocations to provide 100% of formula funding for water and wastewater assets, up from 80%. Future funding allocations will also include adjustments for annual inflation and any new assets constructed.
- With these new investments combined, the Government of Canada has increased the annual funding it provides to permanently support the operations and maintenance of water and wastewater systems by almost four times by 2021.