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Toronto’s water system is staying public and CUPE water and wastewater workers played a key role in the victory. In late November, Toronto city council abandoned plans to hand the city’s water and sewer system to an arms-length municipal service board. Instead, council will appoint a committee to oversee water issues. Councillors also passed a motion against privatizing the city’s water operations.

Water workers, members of CUPE 79 and CUPE 416, were active in the fight through the Toronto Water Watch coalition, which brought together a wide array of groups and mobilized thousands of citizens. Just days before the final votes, news reports confirmed that Suez and Vivendi had been working the corridors of city hall, lobbying for P3 water deals. When pressed by a Toronto Star reporter to confirm which councillors he’d lobbied, the president of United Water, (Suez’s North American arm) said he’d have to check his day planner but oops he’d just lost it. For more background, visit torwaterwatch.org.

In other water news, the city of Montreal has pledged to keep water distribution systems public. However, water activists, including members of Eau Secours, are on guard to ensure the privateers don’t move in on the management and operation of the city’s water.