18% of people in Ontario don’t have sufficient legal protections for their drinking water.
That’s over 2.6 million people whose water is at risk of contamination – from sewage works, landfills, manure application, road salt… the list goes on.
Despite passing legislation over 15 years ago that provides the mechanism to protect drinking water, it still hasn’t been implemented everywhere in Ontario. In 2006, the Ontario Legislature enacted the Clean Water Act (CWA), which allows for a multi-barrier approach to protecting drinking water, including protecting water at its source, treating it, inspecting it, testing it, and finally delivering it – clean and safe – to your tap.
The CWA establishes a process for developing enforceable plans – source protection plans – that identify and protect drinking water sources against significant threats to water quality or quantity. But those plans generally only safeguard people who are served by municipal drinking water systems located within source protection areas. Even within those source protection areas, not everyone’s water is protected. Many of the people and communities left out of the CWA’s safety net are the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in the province.
Too many people in Ontario still don’t have critical, multi-barrier protection for their drinking water. Gaps in the rules in Ontario mean the following drinking water sources are left unprotected:
It is unacceptable that the CWA has been selectively applied in a manner that only protects source water for some – but not all – residents of Ontario.
In order to ensure safe drinking water for all, CELA continues to call on the provincial government to:
A Source Protection Plan is a strategy and suite of policies designed to protect municipal sources of drinking water from contamination and overuse.
Multi-Barrier Approach is an integrated system of procedures, processes and tools that collectively prevent or reduce the contamination of drinking water from source to tap in order to reduce risks to public health.