In 2015, S. Burnett & Associates Limited was retained by Naicatchewenin First Nation to provide professional engineering services for the detailed design of a new water treatment plant [pictured]. Under new funding, the community will receive approximately $2.7 million to fund a water and wastewater health and safety project. Photo Credit: S. Burnett and Associates Ltd.

Canada is investing $69.5 million for clean drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure improvements in 37 First Nation communities across Ontario.

The new funding will also address drinking water pipes; communal drinking water systems; sewage system rehabilitation; wastewater treatment plant upgrades and replacements; well upgrades; subsurface septic system rehabilitation; stormwater management; and water storage and distribution system upgrades.

Ontario is also providing more than $16.9 million for the upgrades, while the 37 communities are contributing a combined total of $5.8 million toward their respective projects.

“The Government of Canada is committed to fixing the Indigenous infrastructure deficit, and federal funding of over 70% for these projects across Ontario is another step toward the equality of opportunity that all Canadians should expect and demand,” announced Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, in a statement.

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In response to some $2.6 million in new funding, Zhiibaahaasing First Nation Chief Irene Sagon Kells said that water distribution and fire protection have “been a dream” for her community for some 30 years. Located on an island just south of Elliot Lake, residents have been under a boil water advisory since 1991. The new distribution system will help the community eliminate the use of concrete cisterns for water storage.

“Water is sacred and is a big part of our lives,” Chief Kells said in a statement.

Chief Kells added that the community had to decommission its water treatment plant in 2020 due to high water and structural issues. She said it will hopefully be able to be moved to higher ground with the new funding.

Chief Warren Tabobondung of Wasauksing First Nation, just southwest of Huntsville, said his community is thankful to be able to upgrade its wastewater treatment system under some $2.2 million in new funding. The community is planning to design and build a peatland wastewater system to service all buildings in its core area.

“These existing waste treatment systems, while functional, are extremely outdated and currently occupying much needed space required for community development,” Chief Tabobondung said in a statement.

Other notable upgrades under the new funding include nearly $3 million for the Brunswick House First Nation to upgrade its supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The community is located about 157 km northeast of Sault Ste Marie.

LocationProject NameFederal FundingProvincial FundingFirst Nation Funding
Alderville First NationCommunal, POE Water Treatment Systems$2,204,933 $538,885 $196,092
Anishinaabeg of Naongashiing First NationSewage Lagoon$2,240,235 $547,513 $199,232
Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First NationSeptic and Watermain Upgrades$996,514 $243,548 $88,623
Beausoleil First NationStormwater System Upgrade and Existing Drainage Rehabilitation$1,996,382 $487,916 $177,545
Brunswick House First NationSCADA Upgrades, Mono Drinking Water Systems$2,231,213 $545,308 $198,429
Couchiching First NationStormwater Management Infrastructure Upgrades$2,191,548 $535,614 $194,902
Dokis First NationLagoon Expansion$1,927,688 $471,127 $171,436
Garden River First NationReplacement of Drinking Water Pipes in the Block Subdivision$2,182,860 $533,491 $194,129
Grassy Narrows First NationReplacement of Sewage Pumping Stations$2,213,978 $541,096 $196,896
Hiawatha First NationRehabilitation and Upgrade of Communal Drinking Water Systems$1,291,163 $315,560 $114,827
Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First NationWater Distribution Renewal and Fire Protection Upgrades$1,322,360 $323,185 $117,602
Kiashke Zaaging AnishinaabekGull Bay Lagoon Expansion$2,218,545 $542,212 $197,303
Lac La Croix First NationWater Treatment Plant Upgrades$2,055,442 $502,350 $182,797
Matachewan First NationUpgrading and Relocation of Wastewater Lagoon$309,375 $75,611 $27,514
Mishkeegogamang Ojibway NationNew Osnaburgh Water Treatment Plant Upgrades$2,206,418 $539,248 $196,224
Moose Cree First NationSewage System Rehabilitation$2,142,743 $523,686 $190,561
Naicatchewenin First NationWater and Wastewater Critical Health and Safety Project$2,083,337 $509,168 $185,278
Naotkamegwanning First NationWastewater Plant Replacement$2,221,200 $542,861 $197,539
Nigigoonsiminikaaning First NationWastewater System$2,241,315 $547,777 $199,328
Nibinamik First NationRehabilitation of Nibinamik Lagoon Sewage Treatment Lagoon and Collection Systems$2,237,963 $546,958 $67,437
Nipissing First NationVLA Water Plant Replacement$2,187,878 $534,717 $194,575
Northwest Angle 33 First NationDogpaw Water Treatment Plant Upgrades Project$2,237,423 $546,826 $198,981
Washagamis Bay First NationReplace Existing Distribution Water Main at West End WTP and Upgrade 10 Residential Septic Fields$2,242,553 $548,080 $199,438
Ochiichagwe'Babigo'Ining Ojibway NationCommunal Wastewater Collection and Treatment Rehabilitation$2,192,173 $535,767 $194,957
Ojibways of Onigaming First NationWater Treatment Plant Upgrades$2,226,759 $544,220 $198,033
Ojibway Nation of Saugeen First NationWell Upgrades$1,060,038 $259,073 $94,273
Sagamok Anishnawbek First NationWater Infrastructure$2,183,062 $533,540 $194,147
Seine River First NationWater Treatment Distribution System Rehabilitation$1,547,325 $378,166 $137,609
Shoal Lake First #40 NationSubsurface Septic System Rehabilitation$1,547,746 $378,269 $137,646
Six Nations of the Grand RiverWastewater Lagoons Forcemain Upgrade Construction$697,125 $170,377 $61,998
Wabigoon Lake Ojibway NationRehabilitation of Water Treatment Plant$2,233,080 $545,765 $198,595
Wasauksing First NationPeatland Wastewater System Design and Construction$1,645,650 $402,197 $146,353
Weenusk First NationSewage Pumping Station Rehabilitation$484,304 $118,364 $43,071
Wikwemikong First NationWastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades Phase 1 - RBC Replacement$2,064,752 $504,625 $183,625
Whitefish River First NationNew Lagoon and Septic Bed Assessment and Replacement Program$2,219,850 $542,531 $197,419
Whitesand First NationStormwater Management Infrastructure Remediation$2,220,200 $542,617 $197,450
Zhiibaahaasing First NationWater Storage and Distribution System Upgrades$2,009,388 $491,094 $178,702


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