There’s no reason Canada shouldn’t have the best drinking water standards in the world.
We only need to look to the Walkerton tragedy to understand how unsafe drinking water can leave a deadly legacy. While recent years have seen several provinces step up and improve their drinking water regimes, federal commitment to world-class water standards is still lacking. In fact, even though improving drinking water standards was one of the Walkerton Inquiry’s key recommendations, Canada’s standards continue to lag behind international benchmarks.
Canadians expect better. That’s why we’re extremely pleased to share that lawmakers on Parliament Hill are taking notice. Last week, Member of Parliament Francis Scarpaleggia introduced Bill C-664, An Act to amend the Department of Health Act (drinking water standards), a private members bill aimed at ensuring that Canadians have the best drinking water standards in the world.
The bill echoes a key recommendation from Ecojustice’s Waterproof Standards report, which calls for the federal government to implement a special review policy for drinking water standards. This would allow a special review to be triggered whenever another Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member country implements a new standard or strengthens a standard to a level more stringent than Canada’s. While Canada may not choose to improve the standards in every case, the policy will ensure that the health of Canadians won’t be put at risk due to oversight. A similar approach is already mandated by law for pesticides.
This could be the single most effective thing Canada could do to ensure that drinking water standards are properly reviewed and updated.
Thank you to those of you who signed our open letter to urge all parties to take a stand for strong drinking water standards and the health of all Canadians.