In the late 1990s, huge water corporations were circling offshore, eager to profit from Canada’s public water and wastewater systems. But CUPE was on the lookout and ready to fight back. H2O: The Price of Privatization helped kick off the Water Watch campaign. Working in coalition with the Council of Canadians and environmental groups, CUPE members helped stop many high-profile attempts to privatize our water and wastewater. We fought and won on the ground, community by community.

Fast forward a quarter century and the vast majority of municipal water systems are still publicly owned and run, many operated by CUPE members. Our union is proud to have stemmed the tide of water privatization. And we know we can’t let our guard down. A new wave of profit-seeking contracting out and public-private “partnerships” looms in the wake of the pandemic and municipal budget shortfalls.