CUPE works with our community allies to keep water systems publicly owned and operated. Our union is sounding the alarm about the Canada Infrastructure Bank. The Liberal government’s bank of privatization is specifically targeting water and wastewater systems, and we must push back.

We must also work to end injustice. The ongoing legacy of colonization has had devastating effects on Indigenous communities. Access to water and sanitation are human rights according to international law, yet these services are denied to many Indigenous communities in Canada. Corporate resource extraction, including the bottled water industry, is draining water sources, while Indigenous communities next door don’t have access to safe drinking water. What’s more, the federal government is not on track to deliver on its promise to end all boil water advisories in First Nation communities by March 2021.

For these reasons, and more, CUPE members adopted a resolution at our 2019 convention recognizing that Water is Life and a basic human right for all people. The resolution supports reconciliation by honoring Indigenous peoples’ role as the stewards and protectors of the waters of their treaty lands and traditional unceded territories.

We can stop the spread of privatization by contracting in. Local governments are making the choice to end privatization, taking back public ownership and control of water and wastewater services. Get involved in the movement to bring water and wastewater services back in house, and stay alert for signs of privatization in your community.

Learn, act and engage:

  • Oppose the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Share CUPE’s fact sheet and list of questions for municipal officials with your local elected representatives and with members of your local.
  • Learn more about the early warning signs of privatization, and order materials to share with your members.
  • 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.
  • 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.