Safe, reliable drinking water and wastewater services are human rights under international law.  They are also the heart of healthy communities. But these rights are denied to many Indigenous communities in Canada.

It’s a national disgrace that any Indigenous communities have unsafe water. Some communities have lived under boil water advisories for decades. Other First Nations don’t have any functioning water system at all. 

CUPE stands with Indigenous peoples in proclaiming “Water is life” and recognizing water as a basic human right for all people. Our union will work towards reconciliation by honouring Indigenous peoples’ role as the stewards and protectors of the waters of their treaty lands and traditional unceded territories. CUPE will support Indigenous peoples in their fight for access to safe, clean drinking water – a fight that has been going on for far too long.

Across Canada, cities and towns are under growing pressure to privatize water services. CUPE has a proud history of defending public water and wastewater services. The vast majority of municipal water systems are still publicly owned and operated, many run by CUPE members. We must fight to ensure they stay public.

There is a looming threat of profit-seeking contracting out and public-private “partnerships.” Inadequate federal and provincial funding has left municipalities facing budget crunches and corporations are using this as an opportunity to sell their privatization schemes.

We need to be on the lookout for privatization threats. And we need to stop the spread of privatization by bringing water and wastewater work back in house.

On World Water Day, we urge CUPE members to protect water as a human right and a public service.

Take action: