Public water and wastewater services are vital to our lives and are fundamental human rights. These services are the foundation of safe and healthy communities. On March 22, CUPE members and our local and international allies recommit to protecting water and wastewater services from privatization and strengthening these services for future generations.

CUPE works in coalition at the community level to keep our water systems publicly owned and operated. We will keep organizing to stop the spread of privatization through public-private partnerships (P3s) and contracting out. Municipalities need reliable public funding to strengthen and expand water and wastewater systems.

We also know that what comes out of our tap is directly connected with the health of our water sources. CUPE is committed to safeguarding our water services and resources from international trade agreements, bulk water exports and commercial exploitation through bottled water.

A growing number of local governments are making the choice to end privatization, taking back public ownership and control of water and wastewater services. We encourage all municipal and water activists to get involved in the movement to bring water and wastewater services back in house, and to stay alert for signs of privatization.

There are many ways to take action:

Order copies of Back in House. This report documents the benefits of contracting in and tells the story of water services coming back in house in Banff, Hamilton and the BC communities of Sooke and Port Hardy.

Oppose the Liberals’ Canada Infrastructure Bank. This ‘bank of privatization’ is targeting public facilities, including water and wastewater systems. We’ve developed a short fact sheet and list of essential questions for municipal officials and staff. Share these materials with your local elected representative, and with other members of your local. And learn more about the bank at cupe.ca/not-for-sale.

Host a water workshop. CUPE’s Union Development Department has developed a one-hour water action workshop. It focuses on fighting privatization and highlights the need for safe drinking water for all Indigenous communities and is a great way to raise awareness with our members.

Check out the Blue Communities project. Blue Communities is a joint initiative with the Council of Canadians that builds support for public water and wastewater services in municipalities and Indigenous communities. A Blue Community formally recognizes the right to water, opposes privatization, and doesn’t sell or use bottled water.