Editorial: Focus on the environment
It’s time for our environment to go on the front burner
By Colleen Cross
In June the federal government released recommendations from the public on water issues of concern and their opinion of what the scope, mandate and activities of the Canada Water Agency should be.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change consulted the public from late 2020 through March 2021 using national and regional online forums, an online survey and written submissions.
Its report, “What We Heard,” identified five priorities based on comments received:
- Federal policies to promote effective management and protection of freshwater resources and ecosystems in Canada for 21st century challenges and beyond – including adapting to climate change.
- Data and information are available to support informed decision-making at all levels.
- Canadians are actively engaged in managing and protecting fresh water.
- Indigenous peoples play an increased role in management of fresh water.
- Canada has and applies cutting-edge science to tackle freshwater challenges, including climate change.
Some Canadians suggested the government consider a consistent national approach to freshwater management in Canada, improved understanding and sustainable management of Canada’s groundwater resources and access to safe drinking water by Indigenous communities.
The focus on climate change holds special urgency in light of the United Nations’ report on climate change in early August – described by the U.N. Secretary-General as a “code red for humanity.”
The ministry heard from 2,700 Canadians, including direct submissions via email like this one from your Canadian National Ground Water Association:
“We believe the CNGWA mission aligns with the goal of collaboration and centralization behind the Canada Water Agency and that the CWA could play a helpful role including:
- Working with the Canadian National Ground Water Association and relevant government departments to centralize, standardize and share groundwater data and water well records
- Giving the CNGWA and provincial groundwater associations a say on how funds are allocated for groundwater and the industry
- Helping the groundwater industry to promote awareness of groundwater as a clean, reliable source of drinking water – including giving groundwater due consideration in supplying new urban housing and commercial developments compared with piped in surface water”
You can read the full report, Toward the Creation of a Canada Water Agency: Stakeholder and Public Engagement – What We Heard.
As protectors of the environment on the front lines talking with the public, it’s important for contractors to be up to date on environmental concerns across Canada and upcoming legislation that requires responsible practices. It’s also important for you to demand and drive change.
With all this in mind, Ground Water Canada is introducing a Focus on the Environment page starting in our Winter edition. We will alert you to the latest environmental issues and concerns and how they affect this industry. We are looking for your participation here. Let us know what issues matter most to you and what laws and regulations are keeping you up at night. Until then, stay safe.