CUPE’s Water is life campaign provides educational tools to learn about Indigenous water issues and mobilize all locals and members in support of Indigenous peoples and allies to protect and fix the water.
CUPE has long recognized that water is a basic human right for all people and our union is committed to taking action towards truth and reconciliation. CUPE also represents over 10,000 workers delivering public water and wastewater services in cities and towns across the country. For these reasons and more, CUPE is launching the Water is life campaign.
The campaign includes this list of resources for locals to listen, learn and act:
- Learn about Indigenous water sovereignty and Indigenous water teachings.
- Learn why the term Water is life is important to Indigenous people and how colonialism has impacted Indigenous peoples’ access to clean water.
- Learn about the creation of the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority (AFNWA). Founded in 2018, the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority is a group of 18 Mi’kmaw and Wolastoqey First Nations working towards complete responsibility for the operation, maintenance, and capital upgrades of all water and wastewater assets in participating First Nations. The AFNWA received a commitment of $170 million in federal funding over 10 years in the 2022 budget.
- The very first river in Canada to receive the same legal protections as a person is the Magpie River in Quebec. This exciting development happen in 2021 and was driven by Indigenous people wanting to protect the water.
- Read Walking the talk: A practical guide to reconciliation for CUPE locals.
- In 2015, the federal Liberals made a campaign promise to end all water advisories in First Nation communities in Canada by 2021. That promise has been broken. Read about how many long term drinking water advisories remain and get the bigger picture with our fact sheet Water is Life: The fight for clean drinking water continues.
- CUPE has long supported water and sanitation as a human right. Every year CUPE celebrates World Water Day. See our annual statement and share why World Water Day is important to you on your social media.
- Read why it’s important that Canadian water and wastewater services remain publicly provided.
- Observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and consider inviting speakers to talk about reconciliation and water.
- Use CUPE’s guide, Truth and reconciliation: CUPE taking action through collective bargaining. Bargain to get members trained on Indigenous issues, including water, citing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #57, which calls upon all levels of government to provide education to public servants on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, intercultural competency, and anti-racism.
Check out the Water is life campaign page for more resources and materials to share in your local and on social media.